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  • Kathy Marsak

Ones and Holding Up the World

The focus of attention for Enneatype Ones tends to be on noticing what’s wrong, errors, mistakes, and what needs correcting – both within themselves and the external environment. The feeling arises that if they could just get things right (their version of right!), all would be well. Consequently, they often feel the need to control themselves and everything around them, as if they have to hold up the entire world (like Atlas / “Atlesse”). It can feel as if the world around them might literally collapse if they were to relinquish “Central Control” (as Molly Peacock so beautifully describes in her poem below).


We all have a bit of Type One in us, struggling to hold up the “narrow center pole” of the “tent that is the sky of your world”. But the cost of that is high, both for ourselves and for those around us. What if we didn’t have to hold up the entire world all by ourselves? How might that change our relationship with ourselves, and with the world around us? Can we begin to cultivate the belief that the Universe is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to be? How and where might we begin to let go of some of that need to control so that we might, at last, be able to “curl up” into “a fleshy fetal figure cupped about its own vibrant soul”?

This is “Good Girl” by Molly Peacock…



Hold up the universe, good girl. Hold up the tent that is the sky of your world at which you are the narrow center pole, good girl. Rupture is the enemy. Keep all whole. The itch to be yourself, plump and bending, below a sky unending, held up by God forever is denied by you as Central Control. Sever yourself, poor false Atlas, poor “Atlesse,” Lie recumbent below the sky. Nothing falls down, except you, luscious and limited on the ground. Holding everything up, always on your own, creates a loneliness so profound you are nothing but a column, good girl, a temple ruin against a sky held up by forces beyond you. Let yourself curl up: a fleshy fetal figure cupped about its own vibrant soul. You are the universe about its pole. God’s not far.


Poem: Good Girl by Molly Peacock

Art: Portrait of Atlas Holding Up the Cosmos by Alexander Vidal




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