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What is your enneagram?

A more reliable personality scale than Myers-Briggs for mapping your emotions and relationships has its origins in Islamic mysticism

MARGARET  COCHRAN — The Enneagram grew out of the teachings of the great Sufi mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff, whose memoir of early 20th-Century pilgrimages, Meetings with Remarkable Men, became a landmark movie in spiritual cinema. But today we care more about the Enneagram than the movie because it is an amazing tool for developing self-awareness.

The Enneagram helps us to realize what motivates us, and how to better understand the sometimes confusing behavior of our friends, family and co-workers — and possibly the most confusing person of all, yourself!

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Barack Obama, the secret Good Samaritan

Flying to Norway to start a new life, Mary Anderson got a helping hand from a stranger: Barack Obama. In her own words . . .

For Barack Obama’s inauguration we call your attention to a little-publicized event in 1988, after the future president left his gig as a community organizer in Chicago and enrolled in Harvard Law School. The unknown Obama delivered a random act of kindness to a complete stranger at a baggage check-in line at Miami’s international airport.

The recipient: a former California girl named Mary Menth Andersen (left, with her husband, holding a letter from Obama). This story first came to light a month before the 2008 U. S. presidential election in Norway’s national newspaper, VG.

It was verified to Soul’s Code by H. Dagfinn Kvale, a long-time Lutheran pastor who knows Andersen.

Click here to read the remarkable back-story of Mary Andersen’s encounter with Barack Obama. In this special to Soul’s Code, Mary celebrates the against-all-odds inauguration of her Good Samaritan from 21 years ago:

GUEST COLUMN: MARY ANDERSEN — On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, as domino arrays of disasters sit on our doorstep, I find myself strangely confident. Can a small act of individual kindness, so long ago, still compel this spirited optimism I feel for everyone?

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A West Coast lawyer’s first-person account of race and reconciliation

A West Coast lawyer’s first-person account of race and reconciliation

Childhood friends, then ‘tribal’ enemies, come to terms with a history of violence

In 1960, a few months before a life lesson

BY DANIEL D. WOO — In 1960 when I was in 7th grade, a bunch of kids started the “Boo for Woo” club.  I was furious.

Our family moved to the United States in 1953 when I spoke only Mandarin Chinese and not a word of English.  The Geary Act extended the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act until 1943 when the laws were amended allowing up to 105 Chinese immigrants a year.

We came into the US as political refugees and became citizens in 1963 under a special bill passed in Congress. It wasn’t until The Immigration Act of 1965 that the immigration laws were reformed allowing Chinese and other Asians to come into the United States in large numbers.

Our family wound up in a neighborhood in San Jose where there were almost no other Asians, a small number of blacks, and a few Hispanics.  The majority were predominantly white Protestants, and at my school there were also Catholics and Jews.

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Serenity in a blizzard

Serenity in a blizzard

How I survived a near-death road trip with my hillbilly Zen Master

BY AUGUST TURAK – I was 21 years old. And for the first and only time in my life, I was sure I was about to die. I was in the passenger seat of my 1963 day-glo green Ford Econoline van with a bubble-shaped skylight on the roof and a madman behind the wheel – a West Virginia hillbilly who happened to be my Zen Master. We had been on our way out West when he’d gotten news that his son was in trouble back in Wheeling, and now he was barreling home with me in tow to do what he could.

The trip had started out two days before on an almost comical note. On a cold dark morning at 5:30, his usual starting time, I was coming up his front steps to pick him up. My van was parked across the street and according to his careful instructions, was full of enough tools, extra tires, and spare parts to rebuild it on the fly if necessary. And because of the Arab oil embargo that year, it was stocked with fifteen gallons of spare gasoline in three five-gallon cans.

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Making peace with childhood ghosts

Daniel realizes the far reaching effects a 49-year-old fight has had on many lives

BY DANIEL D. WOO, 2nd of two parts — I immediately found Chapter 18 and read it; here’s a paragraph:

“It is a summer evening, down in a green hollow, at the corner of a wall. I meet the butcher by appointment. I am attended by a select body of our boys; the butcher, by two other butchers, a young publican, and a sweep. The preliminaries are adjusted, and the butcher and myself stand face to face.

In a moment the butcher lights ten thousand candles out of my left eyebrow. In another moment, I don’t know where the wall is, or where I am, or where anybody is. I hardly know which is myself and which the butcher, we are always in such a tangle and tussle, knocking about upon the trodden grass.

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