Somebody? Nobody? — The Enneagram, Mindfulness and Life’s Unfolding

by Mary Bast, Ph.D. and CJ Fitzsimons, Ph.D.



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“I applaud the approach Mary and CJ have taken. Instead of imposing abstract Enneagram theory on the person, let the person tell you from their own lived experience. I found each contributor’s reflections and testaments both honest and humble – including the authors’. Thanks Mary and CJ for collecting, editing, and commenting on these essays; and thank you, participants, for writing them. You enrich our understanding and empathy for each type and give us direction and hope for transforming our own lives from somebody to nobody.”

— Jerome P. Wagner, Ph.D., Author of Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles and Nine Lenses on the World: the Enneagram Perspective

About this book

This book offers you important questions that impact your personal and professional life and bears witness to how people of different Enneagram styles have found or are finding their own answers.

Over the years, Mary interviewed people of all nine Enneagram styles about their everyday experience of the transformation process. In the beginning, she thought the path would be somewhat linear, even expected there might be a point of arrival. From our own experience and reflections by our clients we’ve found that observing and letting go of habitual patterns is a complex and continuing journey.

In Paths Beyond Ego John Engler wrote, “You have to be somebody before you can be nobody”, suggesting we can’t surrender our ego-patterns until we’ve developed a sense of self and can begin to see how that self operates. This explains what we’ve found in these interviews and inspired the title for this book.

In keeping with the subject matter, we have opted for a simple format. Each of the nine main chapters contains two stories of how representatives of that Enneagram style are seeking and finding answers to the Somebody? Nobody? conundrum. Rounding out each chapter, CJ has added a brief commentary that underlines the major shifts in the stories from an Enneagram perspective and provides a few questions to ponder. We close by reflecting on our own journeys and how development of the book has impacted us.

“Excellent. This book offers a deep, wide range of insights to help both Enneagram students and newcomers discover the depth of the system and its many meaningful applications.

By letting individuals speak through and about their personality styles, the book reveals their struggles and solutions. Plus, it guides readers down their own road to growing and changing and living a more complete life.”

— Tom Condon, Enneagram teacher and author

Who should read this book

Students & practitioners of Enneagram who are learning how to guide people on their own path to living a more complete life.

Managers & leaders who want to learn how balance personal and professional demands while staying true to themselves – by drawing inspiration from the stories of those with a similar Enneagram style and reflecting on the questions posed in the commentaries.

Anyone who wants to understand & work more effectively with people from all styles.

About the Authors

CJ FitzsimonsCJ Fitzsimons, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Leadership Sculptor, lives in Germany and works internationally. Clients include leading research institutes in Europe and North America, as well as companies like Airbus, BASF, Bayer and Daimler. He is co-editor and co-author of Internationales Projektmanagement – internationale Zusammenarbeit in der Praxis the first book to apply the Enneagram in project management, and three other books on project management. Introduced to the Enneagram in the 1990s, he has been using it in his leadership development work since 2001. He was vice-president of the International Association in 2012—13.

Leadership Sculptor website:
Leadership Sculptor blog:

KellyGoedeFinalThirdPhotoMary R. Bast, Ph.D. is a coach and coach mentor who works by phone with clients worldwide. She has published Social Research: Guides to a Decision-Making Process, Out of the Box: Coaching with the Enneagram, Out of the Box Coaching Field Guide, Out of the Box Self-Coaching Workbook, Out of the Box Coaching for Managers, and contributed two essays to The Enneagram of Death. Mary also writes poetry, paints with oils, and plays the lap dulcimer in Gainesville Florida, where she cares for her 102-year-old mother Ruth (also an Enneagram Nine) and her Four cat Timmy.

Out of the Box Coaching Web Site:
Coach Mentor Blog:
Out of the Box Self-Coaching Tips Blog:
Mary Bast Fine Art:
Poetry and Found Poetry by Mary Bast:

Buy the book

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Somebody? Nobody?: The Enneagram, Mindfulness and Life?s Unfolding


Early Reviews for the book …

“There are now many books available on the Enneagram, describing different elements of the nine personality types or styles. Some of these books use first hand reports from people of the nine different Enneagram types to help explain what the experience of that type is like. But just describing the types, while valuable, will only take us so far when we are actually interested in genuine psychological and spiritual development. in Somebody? Nobody? The Enneagram, Mindfulness, and Life’s Unfolding, CJ and Mary have done something unique and important by focusing on each type’s first-hand reports of what brought real development. The stories they present are highly resonant, relevant, and make clear how key elements of the transformational journey of each type unfold in specific and personal ways. This book is a great contribution and resource for those using the Enneagram on the path of awakening.”

—  Russ Hudson, Co-author of The Wisdom of the Enneagram


The old song and Zen parable tell us, “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.” The personal narratives in this book—stories from the heart rather than the textbook—show people on the trip up the mountain, people wrestling with the ongoing journey of finding yourself so you can lose yourself and ultimately find yourself again. These are stories of real people speaking about themselves with authenticity, not narratives based on theory or speculation about what goes on in the minds of others. Ironically, it is the naturalness of these stories that validate the theory. There is much to learn about the Enneagram in these pages.”

— Mario Sikora, Co-Author of  Awareness to Action


“Readers looking for insights on their own very human journey will find in this book a valuable resource for further examining their lives. Through the voices of individuals who have found the Enneagram to be an important part of their transformational journey, Mary Bast and CJ Fitzsimons illuminate the intriguing and paradoxical dynamic of experiencing oneself as “somebody” and “nobody.””

— Roxanne Howe-Murphy, Ed.D,  Author, Deep Coaching:  Using the Enneagram As a Catalyst for Profound Change, and Deep Living:  Transforming Your Relationship to Everything That Matters through the Enneagram


“The Somebody / Nobody thread in this book is mirrored by the process people typically use to explore the Enneagram. When first introduced people pour over lists of characteristics oftype to find out where they sit on the Enneagram. We need to be a Somebody first.  It is only in workshop settings seeing and hearing examplars of type that we can really get the dynamics of each point.  Mary and CJ have made this leap in book form through the rich intelligent reporting of 18 awake and aware individuals who share the stories of their journeys through the lens of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is made human and whole and we can recognize ourselves. Having a practice or being on a path is not formulaic: it is alchemical, and these wonderful stories and rich commentary shine a light on the process of transformation.”

— Sandy McMullen, Artist / Author of “Inner Landscapes” and Coach


“Much like old friends catching up on a cozy couch, after a long time of not seeing one another, Mary and CJ hold a space for you to share the journey of self-reflection with a gentle tug. So, pull up a chair, tuck in your feet, and bring yourself to this book with the presence of mind it implores. Inside, each human exemplar speaks with a candor that lends an utterly truthful tone to the telling of “type.” In turn, our authors weave their own authentic voices, through an application of the Enneagram, which leaves us knowing – without a doubt – that the struggle of being human is more than okay, it is necessary. If you are a lover of people, as I am, you will appreciate the gamut we run on the map of human experience, laid out on the pages within. And if, like me, you are also one who seeks to catch the subtle ways in which we each deftly avoid our true selves, you will find this a compelling avenue to bring you back inside yourself.”

— Susan Olesek, Founder, Enneagram Prison Project


“Mary and CJ did a beautiful job of telling and interpreting inspirational stories of transformation. I especially like that they have mostly been lived in ordinary contexts, by people who are candidates to “be in the world without being of the world”, following Gurdjieff’s concept. The result is an engaging and easy-reading book that brings to surface many subtleties of the inner work, while showing why there are at least as many paths as people on Earth. Provided that they help us become both somebody and nobody.”

— Uranio Paes, Director of UP9