Several years ago, I stumbled upon a little gem on Spotify by the name of 'Snow.' There was a softness and kindness to the song that seemed to pull me in immediately. Among the repetitive and mundane music that plagued the everyday radio, being introduced to the uniqueness and enticing artistry of Ryan O'Neal, the name behind Sleeping At Last was pure magic.
Originally, Sleeping At Last consisted of three band members that composed and created alternative music. Eventually, they would open for bands such as the Plain White T's, Switchfoot, and garner a feature in Twilight : Breaking Dawn. Overtime, the band members split to pursue different interests, leaving Sleeping At Last in the hands of Ryan O'Neal. As he started his solo project, O'Neil began to craft Atlas, a series of enchanting songs concentrating on life itself ranging from the universe, emotions, human senses, and now to the Enneagram. Ryan O'Neal has laid out the human experience in such a raw, artistic way that resonates with the most intricate parts of ourselves. With his distinct, beautiful artistry he captivates his listeners by translating our emotions, experiences, and our universe into pure art.
Ryan O'Neal has laid out the human experience in a raw, artistic way that resonates with the most intricate parts of ourselves
I strongly believe in learning about yourself, being in touch with the inner most parts of your being, and taking advantage of the resources around you. I have found sacred bits and pieces of myself through the Meyers Briggs personality tests, personality and career seminars, 'self help' books, and most recently the Enneagram. In short, the Enneagram is a collection of nine connected personality types. There is a dominant type in each of us, that develops in us based on childhood factors and the environment one was brought up in. The Enneagram brings insight to each type's 'childhood wounds,' pitfalls, and strengths.
The Enneagram brings insight to each type's 'childhood wounds,' pitfalls, and strengths.
Traveling through, it is easy to get lost within the wounds and the negative aspects. I can recall listening to a podcast about my personal type, the four, and feeling overwhelmed with the brokenness and negativity I held. But the Enneagram is essentially a tool to enlighten you -- even to the darkness and damage we tend to push into the closet. It forces us to come face to face with the baggage, but more importantly, the freedom we can find in sifting through and dealing with it healthily. It also helps us in understanding each other, strengthening our community and our ability to communicate with one another.
As O'Neal approached writing about the Enneagram types, he set out to tell a redemptive story about each type. Having mentioned that it is easy to get wrapped up in the darkness, O'Neal illuminates the types traits beautifully. While he touches on the wounds, he manages to illustrate the magic of the type as well through enchanting verse.
With this project, O'Neal had great intent to bring honor and respect to each type (which he does). He worked closely with Chris Heuertz, an Enneagram teacher who was originally introduced to the Enneagram in the depths of Cambodia. Since then, he has deeply studied the Enneagram as a tool for growth, calling it a sacred map for the soul. (You can listen to the insightful dialogue between O'Neal and Heuertz here, The Sleeping At Last Podcast Enneagram episodes) Along with O'Neal's research, he incorporates specific key signatures, key changes, tempos, and musical concepts to articulate the specifics of each type. He invites musicians of the type to share their gifts on the song as well as incorporating what he calls Easter eggs -- recordings of people doing various things from walking, washing dishes, and anything in between.
The outcome of O'Neal's in depth research, contemplation, and dedication to these types results in beautiful, honoring masterpieces, framing each type with a redemptive narrative, pulling at the strings of our soul. As an artist of sorts myself, it is magical to watch his art unfold. It is magical to be able to witness his creativity and artistry that has translated the deepest of thoughts into something I can resonate with so deeply. His work has always enthralled me, a healing balm in my brokenness -- And he has done it again with his latest installment of his Enneagram project.
Below I have attached some resources on the Enneagram to explore your own type, and a few different playlists to check out Sleeping At Last's Enneagram songs (9 is coming soon!)
App option for test: https://enneaapp.com/
Type descriptions: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions
Sleeping At Last's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sleepingatlast/
Written by Sveta Petty
Photos courtesy of Sleeping At Last Social Media