Enneagram Prison Project Podcast

Episode 14: THE Enneagram Prison Project (10 Year Anniversary Episode)

April 12, 2022 EPP & Friends Season 1 Episode 14
Enneagram Prison Project Podcast
Episode 14: THE Enneagram Prison Project (10 Year Anniversary Episode)
Show Notes Transcript

Susan Olesek is the Founder of Enneagram Prison Project.  Rick Olesek is the Executive Director of EPP.  They are partners both in life and in the project.  In this episode, EPP Ambassador Clay Tumey sits down with Susan & Rick to talk about the entire journey of EPP as it has unfolded over the past decade, plus the years that preceded the project's inception in the first place.

In 2022, EPP is celebrating 10 years of freeing people - all over the world - from the prisons of our own making.  As part of our 10 year campaign, we invite you to help us GROW OUR COMMUNITY - on both sides of the bars!  Thanks to the generosity of a donor - just like you - every gift made to this fundraising campaign will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

https://give.enneagramprisonproject.org/campaign/epp-celebrates-10-years/c396564

Clay Tumey:

Hi, my name is Clay Tumey and I am an ambassador for Enneagram Prison Project. Today is April 12 2022. And today, we celebrate 10 years of EPP. During these past 12 months, I've had the opportunity to sit down and have a talk with many of the people who've had a major impact along the way with EPP. If you've been following along, you know by now that 14 episodes simply isn't enough to talk to every person that we'd like to hear from. And to that, I'm happy to say again, that the podcast will be returning for a second season, and that should kick off early next month. More details on that later. For today's episode, I travel once again to California and sit down for a chat with the founder of EPP Susan Olesek and her partner and executive director of the project. Rick Olesek. Fair warning if you didn't already notice this is a long episode. Susan, Rick and I looked back at some key moments in this first decade of EPP and we didn't want to limit ourselves by trying to squeeze it all into one hour or even two. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening. And thank you for joining us as we celebrate 10 years of Enneagram Prison Project. So these Oh, you have the names of who

Unknown:

was there? It's not helpful. So

Rick Olesek:

some of the names. Yeah, just because I had

Clay Tumey:

Irani. Oh, that was Burlingame. Right. Yeah.

Rick Olesek:

They're your Rodney Owen was the one with Alex. Alex. Yeah,

Clay Tumey:

that's the one where all the good pictures are from? Well, I

Rick Olesek:

was just I just figured I would put in there. Some of the notes. The one thing that of the interesting one about the one in Fort Lauderdale was I think that was the first time you presented. And then right on the back of the Fort Lauderdale when she went and presented it en t in Sylmar. And if I remember correctly, there's a really lovely picture in a in a in a like thing they did in 2011, where there's a picture of you and David, kind of sitting there. And I was I've always thought to try to snap that picture. It's on YouTube, and just kind of crop it out. Because it's a nice picture of the two of them.

Clay Tumey:

So Fort Lauderdale in 2011. Is that when you went on the news? Also on the news? Yeah. Was that separate for you? And you and David both on the right. Was that like, how was a trip? Yeah, I've been on the news before, too, but we're not as fun broke.

Susan Olesek:

The news was with my high school best friend from seventh grade in Hong Kong, Shannon cake, who is a reporter there in South Florida. And I was going to be in town and I was like, hey, Shannon, and then we cooked it up. And she went way, way overboard to accommodate and produce such a special episode. And that was David was adorable. And he was really, he was really in his element.

Clay Tumey:

What all did, so did you contact her and you're like, hey, I want to be on the news where you work? Or did she just know you're in town? And how did that all come about? I

Susan Olesek:

don't, I don't actually remember. Kind of like I just told you that she was in town. I was in town in her town. And I had never met her kids or her husband or anything. So I had one night where I got to see her and then she didn't know she didn't know what the Enneagram really was. Turns out I think she she picked that week that she related to three. And she it was just amazing to watch her work and her in her you know business what she was up to and putting on her makeup and the whole thing. And I remember it was 150 degrees and like, practically raining, so hot. And David and I showed up and we were trying to look nice, but we were like stuck to our shirts. And he showed up a little later and he was so giddy like he he hadn't done something quite like that before. Of course I hadn't either. But I just trusted David so much and I was terrified of just saying the wrong thing about the Enneagram and he just came to life and then it made it all okay she she really brought out the best in him was Dr. David Daniels. Well, David is so many things to so many people to me. David was one of my first teachers. He was a mentor. He became a colleague he and invited me into so many places and myself but really everyone ought to know that David is one of the major developers of the Enneagram

Clay Tumey:

When did you that was an O when you go with the date did you look these up Rick by the way, we should like do the affair. So I'll start, like the point of the podcast is to tell the story of EPP and the first 10 years that we're now celebrating coming up soon. Today is April the 12th, which is not today, but it's going to be today. And other people hear this. So it's 10 years, 10 years of EPP, and there was some time before that, that we could talk about. And then there's a lot of time in the last 10 years to talk about. And typically, the podcast is me having the opportunity to chat with another person who's had an impact along the way. And today, I get to talk to two people who've both had impacts, we're just going to go ahead and understate that real quick along the way. So who am I talking to in whichever order that you? I don't know if I'll draw drew straws or flip the coin. But who am I talking to today?

Rick Olesek:

Well, I'm Rick Olesek. And I'm the executive director for Enneagram Prison Project. And I have, yeah, I'm really excited to be talking, and then be joined with Susan who, of course, the founder of Enneagram Prison Project, and she can introduce herself

Clay Tumey:

also had an impact

Rick Olesek:

also had an impact.

Susan Olesek:

And being joined with Susan in more ways than one, I think it's really fitting that we're sitting here on our loveseat Let the record show I suggested the loveseat. And I am the founder, of course, and also a guide, a board member, and I fill in, I fill in where I can lots of things DVP

Clay Tumey:

what does it like to just be able to say the cool sentence of I am the founder of dot, dot, dot and then a cool thing. Like EPP

Unknown:

that felt like anything to

Susan Olesek:

you. It feels like a lot at this point, honestly, and I don't use the word proud very often, but I am proud of of who we are and where we've come from, and all that we've all that we've put in motion, all that we've created, co created together.

Clay Tumey:

And we can start anywhere we can go in any order that you want. We have a list of all, like some bullet points that help us chronologically, but I'm curious. What was Was there a situation or an instance that gave birth to EPP? Was it a gradual? Like over the course of an X amount of time years or whatever? Like where where did this? Where did this come from?

Rick Olesek:

I want you to talk about Megatron, Megatron,

Clay Tumey:

I'm happy. We can go there. That's that's actually at the towards the end.

Susan Olesek:

I mean, I think is there a lot of EPP thinking there are places to start, like when I met David and those things, those places where I was first, of course, learning the Enneagram inside of myself, but it has to start in prison where it really did start. And that was when I had just barely certified to teach the Enneagram I was teaching one class in my living room and one in my local church and I got invited to teach at prison entrepreneurship program and in Texas. And I said yes, right away. But I really had no idea what I was saying yes to. So, but I didn't, I've told the story many times I showed up and stretched myself like crazy just to get there. And when I got there, I was just absolutely blown away by the humanity in the room, the people in the room were so, so excited that I was there so welcoming, put me at ease, and we're so happy to learn about themselves. And that just that just being received with so much appreciation, adoration and fulfill I didn't even you know, didn't even know. And that was the beginning of my own personal prison because I didn't feel that way about me. And I didn't know what to do with people who received me in that way. And vice versa was totally true. All I could see was the light in the room and a bunch of people who didn't feel that way about themselves. And there we were each other's perfect mirrors.

Clay Tumey:

So what's so stressful about knowing that you're going to prison? It's a little different. I suppose when you haven't broken a law to know that you're headed there. What were you stressed out about? Why was it stressful?

Susan Olesek:

I think the most stressful thing for me at the time and still to this day can be just going into the unknown, not having a plan, not knowing is it? Is it going to be am I going to be okay? And in the absence of a plan and the absence of a guarantee that it's going to be okay. When I'm not really grounded, I fill in with all the all the worst possible things that they might think about me I might do to them, that kind of stuff.

Clay Tumey:

Do you remember when she was telling you about this idea to go to Texas and go into prison and teach this stuff?

Rick Olesek:

I do remember about it. I mean, it was a big deal, right? It's a big deal. For Susan had already gone in, certified in the narrative and then certified with EI and she was wanting to teach. But now all of a sudden, she's, you know, catching a plane to Houston to go into, you know, a prison. And I remember, but I don't think that I think, I think it was just kind of a foregone conclusion that we were that that was going to happen, and that as soon as she was like, Hey, this is what I'm gonna do. I was like, Great, that sounds great. And, and I don't, I don't think I really understood all the pieces that were, you know, all the things that were in motion at that point.

Clay Tumey:

Part of what I usually say before we start recording, and I'll just say here is that at any point, it's it's not like a question answer, question answer. So it can go this way to If you'll have any thoughts to share, or even even memories that you fill in each other's?

Susan Olesek:

Well, I'll say here in this place that it was I wasn't actually certified with Enneagram Institute at the time, as soon as I finished my certification with ein T. But it was called at the time, I immediately signed up to start taking courses at Enneagram Institute, because I felt so unsure of myself and my own knowledge and my own self. And so I don't know if you know this, but when I was, after my first time, I went to Texas, and I got invited back. And I think it was the second time or the third time, because they were recording the whole sessions, I had to produce a video for Enneagram Institute. So I use this for a video that I had in Texas to send to this part of your teaching.

Clay Tumey:

It was part of my

Susan Olesek:

certification.

Clay Tumey:

I didn't know that. Oh, something.

Rick Olesek:

I don't remember that at all. I totally remember

Clay Tumey:

that because of the feedback. I'm recording because we recorded everything

Susan Olesek:

right there. And I really wanted, you know how hard it is to record yourself as a new teacher, whoever can do that, especially, you know, all those years ago. So it was really helpful on a practical level. But I remember it because, of course it was it was a unique way to submit for certification. But I remember the feedback I got was, you spoke so fast, I don't even know if they can understand you. And I heard myself and I thought God, what did I say you know, was that that's how my nerves came out.

Clay Tumey:

So the feedback was when you after you submitted it for certification, the the group that was certifying you or not, did they certify you like right off the bat? Or did you have to resubmit and do

Susan Olesek:

Oh, no, they got me. Right off the bat.

Clay Tumey:

There's a fair chance that you teaching the Enneagram in prison, that video that you had, there's a fair chance that that's the first time that that ever happened.

Susan Olesek:

You think so? Teaching the Enneagram in

Clay Tumey:

prison? Yeah. Well, I like the video recording of that. It's probably probably the first time that's ever been done. And

Susan Olesek:

thus, cat has that recording with her. And then she did all kinds of stuff there.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah. And cat is that's who that was your connection. And PDP Yes,

Susan Olesek:

the founder, Catherine Ward, now, Peter PPP.

Clay Tumey:

This is why this is why I say entrepreneurship program program instead of PDP because I get excuse. I think I said EPP I actually think I don't know. Eep, Eep, Eep, Eep. Yeah, you know me?

Susan Olesek:

Well, I think I mean, I always give props to cat, because she had that idea to bring the Enneagram into a very interesting application. And she was already doing such amazing work with, with men doing business for good turning people who had I can't do her sound bite, but who had hot street hustle to do something else? Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, the people. I think what a lot of people might not always realize at a glance is that the people who succeed in crime are very often very, very similar to the people who succeed in business in general, it just so happens that one of them is not allowed. And so people who you know, run, like drug or drug organizations or other kinds of criminal activity that are, they're like organizations, and they're illegal, and they're not okay, I'm not like justifying it. But that skill set is very useful when you come out, and, you know, not doing a pitch for them at all. But I'll just say that when you get out of prison, it's hard to find work. And your best bet oftentimes, is to either find, you know, knuckle busting work, you know, blue collar stuff that's not very fun, or go into business for yourself if you don't have connections. And so that's what that program was around. Was, was learning how to get out and hopefully starting your own business so that you didn't have to pass a background check somewhere else. And part of the program. It was a six month curriculum, and part of that program one of the weeks to the weeks, but one one of the weeks very early on, we did a character assessment, and we it was like a 360 review where your peers and other other people give you feedback on how you are as a person, and all these other things. And then the week after that is when they brought in, who we called the Enneagram. Lady. And that's when we started learning about personality types. And you know, we're, the character assessment was very, it was painful. And it was, in my opinion, very, very healthy, like deconstructive, kind of thing. And then all these questions show up in our minds and our lives like, we thought we were good. But you know, we're really struggling,

Susan Olesek:

can you speak to it just specifically the character assessment? What happened for you, because that is really relevant. It was like a primer for how you receive the Enneagram. I think, like

Clay Tumey:

100%, I don't think that I would have been open to hearing you, frankly. And that's only that's all on me. Because what the character assessment did for me, by that point, I was in my third year of incarceration. And I'd already been doing what I thought was working on myself. And it's, it's unfair to say that I was doing nothing, but I was doing something, I just wasn't achieving the level of development that I thought I had been. And I didn't know anything about the Enneagram. I just, I just knew that like, I'm a better guy today than I was when I before I got locked up. And so all these patterns that had been in my life of being a know it all being like a jerk and arrogant, condescending, you know, jacket, all these things that are, you know, some people would argue, are still here, by the way. But they, I was I was very proud at them at that time, that I had, quote, unquote, gotten over it, and that I was no longer this person than I was for the first 30 years of my life. And then the character assessment showed me otherwise. I don't know how I was so blind to

Susan Olesek:

what do what did the character system assist assessment show? Yeah,

Clay Tumey:

they literally fill out a form. And by they, I mean, my peers, my classmates, the other graduates that are still there. It's about 150 people. And they part of it is literally just going through this list of adjectives and saying what they think you are both good and bad. He's condescending, he's helpful. It's very wise. Very rude, you know? And there's no limit to either. There's the range. Yeah, it's all there. And if you if the list if the word that you want anything, you can you can write it down.

Susan Olesek:

So what was your biggest takeaway from that?

Clay Tumey:

I was still arrogant. I was still condescending, I was still a No at all, I was still rude to people still very abrasive, and how I went about things. And yeah, I did know a lot. And I was very informed. And I was the guy that a lot of people went to, if they needed help, but not necessarily the guy that they went to, if they needed a friend. And it totally took my self image that I had of myself. And just, I just threw it out the window. So I had all these things that I thought I'd worked on all those all those words that I just listed. I was I tricked myself somehow to thinking that I was beyond them. And it just wasn't, it just wasn't the case. I was still all of those.

Susan Olesek:

So perfect. Case in point. So you were my mirror because I had a whole set of other additives that I felt about myself. And I had a different cover that I was operating under. And that's obviously what personality is. And to go back to David for a second. He was so excited that I was going to prison. And he wasn't he was adorable about it. And we were working on I was on the planning committee for the EA and T conference which was happening in Sylmar around that time in 2011. So I had just certified in 2009. And that's, that's around that time. I remember working a lot with David. And he said to me, you don't teach in prison and you any different than you teach in the church. And that always stayed with me the way he said that. And I think intuitively instinctively, that is how I want to teach and I also felt like David knew how valuable and how precious an audience I was about to be in front of

Unknown:

and yeah.

Clay Tumey:

Do you want to talk quickly about Megatron? You brought up Megatron earlier can you want now?

Rick Olesek:

Well, I just I just think that the Megatron thing. If you I mean, Susan, you're such a great writer. And I remember you writing those blogs and we were just talking about those earlier today. And the blogs from when you first went into prison. And the one of them was you know, the second or third blog if I remember correctly, was second blog was about Megatron and how you had been named Megatron. Which you know, I'll let you tell the story so

Susan Olesek:

well I thought one of the cool things about working with those guys I think this also just shout out to cat who came up with this idea of is that everyone had a sweet name. And so people were what was your sweet name? Clay?

Clay Tumey:

We've already mentioned that on a previous episode, go find out. Okay, I'll tell you it's pumpkin pie.

Susan Olesek:

That's right. That's right.

Clay Tumey:

I just got the stare of Megatron

Susan Olesek:

it's just a question.

Clay Tumey:

Goodbye Anna. Yeah, pumpkin.

Susan Olesek:

I mean, pumpkin pie, right. And, and most people have street names. So it's obviously turning that whole thing on that on its head. And people would introduce themselves with their name and their sweet name, and often a funny little movement or motion that went along with it. And I just thought it was so it was so endearing. And I, it was quite an I was unsuspecting. I think it was the second or third time's my

Clay Tumey:

class. It was the second one I remember in crystal clear. Okay, well,

Susan Olesek:

I'll tell you how I received it. Why didn't you set it up and say how it came to be? What is it? What happened?

Clay Tumey:

So yeah, the sweet name is literally just a sweeter version of the street name I do. And I think you nailed all that. And, and the way we would go about giving each other sweet names, like as a class. So it wouldn't be like one person saying, Oh, your, you know, Taffy Laffy Taffy, or whatever, you know, it would be in front of the class. And it would be like a collective effort. So with the guys, and we would do this with guests, too. So as a business program, a lot of executives would come in as guests, and we would have events and all kinds of cool stuff. And we would give our guests tweet names as well. We, with with women, they got tough names. So the men got sweet names, and the women got tough names. And the process was the same, we would ask you a few questions. And by way, they'd be the whoever the MC was, you know, that day one of the guys in class, ask a few questions. You know, sometimes it's obvious. So like, for me, I got a big head. So I probably got pumpkin pie just literally because of my pumpkin on top of my shoulders, you know? So there wasn't there wasn't there was no sweet name interview for me. But so the the questions and this and that. And the other and this was also after having taught this was towards the end of the weekend after you'd already taught the, the types of so like, it was different back then. It was like a 12 hour crash course it wasn't, like, hours, two straight days. Yeah, it was a Friday and a Saturday. And then towards the end of that there was like a little bit of a party where we had like music and you know, it was it was it was kind of rowdy and just fun. Yeah. And so and that that's when we we you know, it was it was the MCS name was fast and fast was just asking you a few questions, you know, thrown out. You know, anybody have any suggestions is that in the other and Megatron is a character from transformers. And it's a very in the way that you wrote about this in your blog. I wish I wish I had that in front of me. Because it was it's one of my favorite stories to read. And yeah, so we decided on Megatron so you're Susan elastic, aka Megatron,

Susan Olesek:

ego maniacal transformer. That's what really stuck with me. And I felt like damn, I'm like I've arrived. One of the guys. One of them.

Clay Tumey:

Got yourself a prison name. Yeah,

Rick Olesek:

I just thought that ego maniacal transformer was the funniest thing ever. So clever. It was so clever.

Clay Tumey:

And that's when you know you really got a good nickname. And the the lady who was head of I think she had many titles, HR and all these other things that she you know, in the in the program, we called her Mimi, but she also had a she was like a grandmother. So she brought cookies in and stuff but we call her Sergeant slaughter. That was her. That was her. That was her tough name. So there isn't that like the women got all the best names. Like I'm pumpkin pie. And I wouldn't I could never have a cool name like Megatron.

Susan Olesek:

Well, I grew up with a sister named, nicknamed Princess clean and I was bug face so I thought ego maniacal transformer really flooded my

Clay Tumey:

first record. I like Megatron better than bug face. I promise to only call you Megatron

Susan Olesek:

turned on to bug. But that whole beginning of the journey really propelled me into just so much passion for what was possible conviction for how it can be done. And I loved my my experience. I looked forward to it. I had three little kids. It was a big stretch to go every single time. I did that for years, and then it stopped abruptly. Yeah, and that was a really important thing. It was a big moment to not be able to go anymore and they changed their mind changed their program and I kinda got, you know, got eliminated or I don't know, I didn't even have the adjective for it. And I I think it forced me to do something inside because I knew this was a calling, I knew this was something I was going to do forever. And I had to figure out a different gigs. So I remember trying to figure out how I was going to get into a different jailer institution around here. And I talked about it for a long time. And then finally, somebody just said, why don't you just like, well, what are the places around you and I, I Googled jails and prisons, and there was 120 2.2 miles from my house. And I think those numbers can be assigned to the angels. And I thought, well, that must be my jail, that must be my spot. And that was only correctional facility.

Clay Tumey:

I want, I want to say how I remember this in my head, and you tell me if this is fair, or accurate or anything, I remember exactly where I was, when I found out that PDP had stopped using the Enneagram, they switched over to Myers Briggs, or whatever they whatever that's called. And I was, I was so pissed, actually called, I called the office, the PDP office. And I was like, What? What the hell? My Mom, listen, so I gotta edit myself.

Susan Olesek:

It's gonna have to be bit later. But yeah, what the?

Clay Tumey:

What, Why, like, this is this, that was an so I got out in 2010. And then I think you thought you taught through 2011. And then early 2012 is when is when they said, nevermind, basically. And nothing happened. It wasn't like, you know, just for the record, it's not like you did something. And they're like, well, we don't know. But we'll, we'll get some other Enneagram teacher in here. It was like, no, not no to, you know, to the Enneagram. And we're going to do this business thing now, which is what Myers Briggs is, I think, and they were not open to reconsidering that at all. And I was so angry, I was so pissed, because the value that the Enneagram has, to me as a tool as an as an inmate, knowing that I'm about to get out is immeasurable. And I thought you just hundreds of men who are coming through your program, or,

Susan Olesek:

or they opened the door exactly 1000s More, which

Clay Tumey:

is the second part of what I'm saying. And then now 10 years later, I can say, Damn, maybe that was like the thing that said, do something bigger, do something that'll touch more lives, and not just men, and not just incarcerated people. So that's, that's my, that's my story that I remember it, as now. And is that fair? Or is that?

Susan Olesek:

Yeah, I think that's I mean, that's accurate. I, and I feel like I, I took the experience with me. And I also took the stories of some of the men and they were very generous with me. All throughout, they allowed me to write to them and to ask them more about their stories I I presented at, I guess that was Long Beach.

Clay Tumey:

That's the one that I think Lance was saying that Diane went to, that's the one and he didn't go

Susan Olesek:

and also Sylmar were and I was able to have screenshots from the videos that they let me take they they audio tape and videotape my as we talked about my teaching, and I got to tell the stories of people who had really blown my mind with what was possible with the tool. And that was so important. So I feel like I just honor that program and everything it opened up in me, it was never my idea to use the Enneagram in prison. But I sure got a lot out of the the invitation.

Clay Tumey:

That's one of the things that I took that I took away from the first time that we chatted on this podcast on episode two or three, I think it was three, one, where I asked like you you it wasn't that you've just had this calling to prison. And then it was that the prison was basically saying, Hey, want to come hang out.

Susan Olesek:

I haven't I haven't had a calling to prison, I have always been, you know, very true to type on a mission for something. And I used to say to save the world, that sounds so.

Clay Tumey:

So a lot of world. So a lot of

Susan Olesek:

ego. But I wanted to have a purpose. I wanted to do something purposeful. So I am not surprised that I ended up there. So

Clay Tumey:

catching. We don't have to go chronologically, but it's there's certain points that I want to hit. And the next point I think is April 12 of 2012, which is a very significant day. Obviously that's what we're here we are on April 12 10 years later. What exactly happened, Rick, on April 12 that we're celebrating?

Rick Olesek:

Well, it's such a it's such a funny thing to be celebrating. Because, you know on April 11, Susan's no submitted the you know, the corporate paperwork to the state and it was stamped on April 12. So at that point, there was this, you know, this this paperwork that was sent AMT by the state that's like, Hey, this is Enneagram Prison Project. It was actually it's actually the Enneagram Prison Project. And, and then the next set of things to happen, Susan had to go. And after the corporate paperwork was done to figure out, you know how to turn it into a 501 C three. And that took a couple of years for her to do that. So,

Clay Tumey:

so on on that day when they stamped it, and you got notification that they had done their thing? Was that just like another normal day, like, Oh, that was cool. Or did was that? Was that grounds for celebration? At that point?

Susan Olesek:

I think it was pretty pretty. Oh, my God, we did it. We did we just did this thing. And I don't I don't think it was a an easy process also wasn't like a super hard process. I had a attorney who did a lot of pro bono help help. For me to get it filed. I remember driving to his office in Palo Alto and not knowing what the hell I mean, not to answer a lot of these questions, and so much of that. Rick just had a lot of just practical business know how and it wasn't at all I was doing it by myself. And it was a lot of understanding of how, how that kind of stuff might work. And then we we really kind of said, we're gone or doing it.

Clay Tumey:

Somebody is wondering what kind of questions were they like What's so hard to answer? With the with the legal stuff? Well,

Rick Olesek:

the heart the hard part, I think as you're going through a 501 C three application is trying to define what it is that you're going to be doing as a nonprofit. You're doing it.

Susan Olesek:

And so back to whatever said, what exactly do you do here? Well, we didn't know what

Rick Olesek:

to say. But and so and the funny part about that is that once it's filed, and once you submit it, then you have to wait. And it was like two years. As we were waiting, I was

Susan Olesek:

waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. And then I remember coming back from this as for so filing, that's one thing, we get the name and then waiting for the 501 C three tax exempt status from the IRS is a whole nother thing. So I remember getting that right after the IEA conference in in Denver, where I met where I didn't meet you, but where I brought you where they met me. Yeah, everybody else met you. And I remember wishing we had that status before we got there and then getting $1,000 donation check after our presentation. And carrying that thing around with me wondering what am I gonna do with this and came home and got the status and got a bank account and finally deposited that guy?

Clay Tumey:

What what was Denver all about? What happened there? That was such a big deal. And I can answer this question for myself. But I'm curious what your memories are of that?

Rick Olesek:

Was that 2014? Is that what the 2013 2013 2013 I know, for me, it was the because all the conferences up until that point, Susan would just go and I would take care of the kids and Susan would go

Clay Tumey:

to the conferences. And you were still working. You weren't the executive director

Rick Olesek:

that was not the executive director. I was still working. And in, but Denver was like the first time that I actually went, I think that's the first time that I went to. And so for me, it was it was interesting, because Susan's sister lives in, you know, outside of Denver. And so we, you know, we got a chance to see you see them and but it was really there was like up on stage Susan, and clay and Elam. And so, there's more here for Susan to talk about, I don't want to.

Susan Olesek:

But a couple of things led up to Denver. For me, one, I had presented a couple of different times co presented and I knew that the conference was a big deal. I I don't think anything rivals the important part, which is that I was bringing two people that I had worked with in prison who are no longer in prison, who were working with the Enneagram in their lives, and that the idea of what I had was a reality. I said, Let's go to Denver. And so here we are. So Clay, I think I'll start with you. And I'd like to just know, how are you for time? I'd like to know if you could tell us like how is it that you identified yourself as a five? Well, that's the big thing that I think happened and it happened. It was happening but it was something that other people got to experience. And leading up to that I really it was so important to me to have a film of some kind that would sort of tie this together because I think media like that is so compelling. And I had gone to I've gone back to Texas where you and Elam and another person from the program we're living and set I and we set up a time to do a film shoot and it was an afternoon and Joey's house and Joey was just such a magician such a beautiful filmmaker so I we did the shoot. It was It was eventful, and we came back. And I remember getting the film while we were in the hotel pretty much like we had not seen it. And or we had just seen it you had in the hotel and in Denver, but you you had not seen it. But we had just received it. And from its final edits off the hot off the press,

Rick Olesek:

and it was literally going to be played in the in your, in the presentation presentation. Yeah.

Susan Olesek:

And I remember standing in the in the hotel room, and you literally just rolled off the plane. Elan was there a little bit before you. And we sat in a dark hotel room, because I don't know, it was just we wanted to have the film that had the impact. And we stood there and we put it in front of you. And you cried. I mean, it was like it was it. It was real. It was real. And we kind of did our little huddle and said, We're gonna go talk to everybody and see how this goes. Let's come on up for you.

Clay Tumey:

I remember thinking y'all have lost your damn mind. Like it was it was so I was not prepared for how big that was. I was fine. Talking about my past my history. I was fine. You know, on the inside, we did panels, you know, I talked about a lot of things. And I think going to Denver was it felt big. And I think I didn't realize until that video like, like people are about to know, a lot. And I didn't I don't think I would have signed up if I realized that it was gonna be that significant. I don't, I don't, I don't think I was ready for that. And at that point, it was too like important to back out of, and I have such a history of backing out. I just quit everything. And so it wasn't, it wasn't an option. Like, logistically. And also just personally, I didn't want to do that. But I it was emotional. Yeah. It was uncomfortable. It wasn't, it was It wasn't like, it just felt massive. It felt like a big deal. I also, you know, from I remember, Ilan, and I were talking about this in the room and stuff, like, we felt really, I don't want to speak for him, I felt really out of like, I didn't like a fish out of water, you know, around all these people who've paid all this money to just come to a conference, like we didn't belong, so to speak. And I wasn't sure how it would be received, the video was amazing. But there's a difference between seeing people on a screen and having them breathe the same air that you're breathing, so I wasn't sure if people would be scared of us if they would feel dangerous, or if they were feel would feel like we were dangerous. And it was a lot to deal with. Because it's it's it's unsettling to think that you're gonna be vulnerable in front of people who might be scared of you. It's just, it's bizarre to explain. And, you know, 10 years later, you know, it's, you know, actually nine years later now, from that event, I'm, it's funny, it's kind of funny to think about it because I was worried about a lot of stuff that that just didn't happen just wasn't

Susan Olesek:

just the entire, it couldn't be more opposite happened. Right? Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

And the like the number one memory I think that I have of the whole, there's a lot of good memories from that weekend, there's this countless we could do hours on just how many good memories I have from that. I think the most powerful or even significant memory for me was after the panel. Like they lined up to the side of the stage to ask questions. I don't know if you remember, like all that. But when the panel was done, we talked with cried, we've done all this stuff. You know, Elan hit me at one point. I told him don't ever hit me again. And everybody laughs So success there people left. And they lined up for questions. And some someone asked me a question around parenting. And I thought, first of all, I'm just a kid, like I was in my 30s I wasn't literally a kid. I was 30. I was a weak shy week or two shy of my 34th birthday. And I just and and her son, who she was asking a question about was like, not that much younger than I was. And I thought I'm so not qualified for this. But I also thought, I can totally answer this question. And I remember thinking like this, this is one of the most important moments I've ever had as somebody who's talking because I could really fuck this up and say something that she will take as the gospel and go try to implement this idea, and it backfire like it was it was Scary. And I was also, I was also sure that, that I that I knew what to say, it was really bizarre and there was a lot of that afraid to say it, but know that it was right. And that creeps up sometimes now still just because life. And and it's better now. But early on it was like, I don't know about this. I do know, but I don't know.

Susan Olesek:

I think that the another place that I could have started to talk about like where did this all begin is when I learned the Enneagram which was in a parenting class. And I would say the basic foundation of our curriculum. Our is a lot of what I learned in that first class, how to take emotional responsibility, we had a method called the Gordon method, Thomas Gordon was a call a colleague of Carl Rogers, and this very, very old method was about really actively listening and, and trusting ourselves and note taking responsibility for our lives. And so much of that just comes up for me, as I hear you take fielding a parenting question as a formerly incarcerated person at a conference, people have probably never spoken to somebody who's been in prison before. And, and you trusted yourself. And so I think what was so powerful about that, for me was, I still was like, am I going to remember all the stuff about the five I was still at that place. And it was the least important thing. The most important thing was there was a container of trust that was so deep between us. And I remember you said, You've got carte blanche asked me anything, what you just said is very important that unless I trust the source of the question, I'm not going to tell you so there's something about the trust?

Clay Tumey:

Absolutely. And like I've we've discussed this several times. And, and, and Susan has, she has a blank check as far as what questions that she asked me and, and a phone call or whatever, because I know that her I know her heart. I know her intent. And and that covers everything. And it can be a very personal, very specific question. And you have a very, you have the key as far as as far as, as far as I go. And yeah, the intent matters and knowing where you're coming from matters. And, and, and with us specifically. I know that.

Susan Olesek:

And I appreciate that. I felt like so it was such as so generous. It gave me such permission. I didn't feel like I had to ask the right question. I knew you would just take whatever I asked. And you did. And you leveled people who were there. People were at the end. I remember. We played the film. We're so excited about the film. And then there was a glitch like I hadn't fully downloaded or something. And it was one of those Ah, shit moments. But it's so didn't matter because we've started again, back from the beginning. And no one moved. No one got up to leave. No, I was like minutes. It was a spiritual moment. And then when it was all over, there was just silence. And then there's like a standing ovation for what people had just sort of downloaded. And I remember Klaus, a lot of people probably know Klaus Type Eight from Denmark, I remember him sitting in the front row, I'd never had met him at the like the pre party is the first person I met. He's sitting in the front row sobbing, sobbing face in his hands. And he just came to life after that so many I connected with Ross after that, whom, of course I knew. And I remember having my forehead to forehead with rest and embrace. And I just felt like, oh my god, a lot of a lot has my back. It's not any one of us.

Clay Tumey:

I remember thinking that was good that there was not another presentation for very soon after us. There was some time to mingle. And there was so much he had to clear the room. Well, yeah, eventually.

Rick Olesek:

It was I think, if I remember correctly, it was both it was that we had to clear the room in about half an hour. But it was actually such a, it was a long time that we all sat in that room. And it was so it was like it was like a space. I also remember in that conference, and I don't know if we can ever go back and find all the old footage. I remember we actually interviewed a bunch of people Enneagram folks about that presentation, we should probably go find that we have

Clay Tumey:

that. If we can find it. We can cut it into this. We can find it between now and like a week

Rick Olesek:

later. Yeah, that's it. It was just it was interesting up but I'll tell you the funny thing that I remember about that conference. I mean, the presentation was incredible. The container was incredible. People were you know, really there with the energy was was awesome. And funnel and in a funny way. The thing that like first popped in my mind was at some point to let off steam you were like, I need to go drive. And I was like, Okay, I'll go with you. And the two of us just drove a big loop around Denver.

Clay Tumey:

Something of the gods there was somewhere I drove or that had like blam of the guy, we drove all the way do we drive with somebody with that place?

Rick Olesek:

It's garden. Far away, we drove all the way down there and then drove back because we're like, we just got to blow off. So

Clay Tumey:

I gotta get out of this building. Because my I'm about to explode with, right? All this pressure.

Rick Olesek:

Right? And it was a pretty, it was a pretty far drive. And the two of us just sat with the windshield time and talking.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, it's worth mentioning. That's like, I'm pretty sure that's the first time we've met that moment. But that weekend, yeah, we've never hung out, right.

Susan Olesek:

And I remember Rick and I went on vacation right after that, in Florida, right with our friends. And we had all these, all these Facebook requests. And people were um, we just didn't even know if we had a Facebook page or anything at that point. But we were, we were like, God, some something about this is so much bigger than than just this, this, you know, one event.

Clay Tumey:

So that was summer of 2013. Yes. And what happened in the next two, and I know there was another conference in 2014, that we went to another big deal. But in those 12 months, between conferences, what all what all happened. Everything detailed list right now.

Rick Olesek:

Well, if my memory serves, and my memory is faulty, I believe that Susan taught her first class in in Elmwood in 2014. And her first class was in December of 2014. It might have been December of 2013, and January of 2014, I think that actually was so just just January of 20, or December of 2013, into January of 2014. And that was the class that had Tom, Papa, and Alex and Vic. And I mean, there was a whole slew of people from that class that really had br had had huge impacts.

Susan Olesek:

And being in that facility is where I really began to put together an actual curriculum, I had been teaching the Enneagram in these 16 hour intensives. But we had to start breaking it up into weekly modules. And we didn't use the word module at the time. But we had, we had to start having our own approach. And that took a good couple of years. Before we we could find our way with that. Another thing that was in important during that year was I started to want to understand more about incarceration worldwide. And there was a moment where I, I wanted to go abroad, and I had a trip, I think I was in Denmark and Norway, and maybe that was it. And I remember that Susanne Dion substitute taught my class with David Daniels. And I don't think either of them ever expected to be in jail. They were sort of like cheering on the sidelines saying, like, we believe in you. But I was like, no, come on, in like, this is great. And here, you're gonna love my students. It was like, No, it was a no brainer to me. And I just remember how how impacted by that David was and how he he started to say, then the things that I was, I was feeling so I felt from, you know, above, because I put David on such a pedestal and and I still do, that he saw the potential for,

Clay Tumey:

you know, how much. I wonder. And this is a little bit of an aside, but I'm curious, what do you get? Are there like certain questions that people ask you before they go in for the first time to teach that like things that they're, whether it's concerns or curiosities or whatever? Are there some standard things that people typically want to be placed upon? Before they go in?

Susan Olesek:

I don't know that there's a standard set of questions, I can kind of tell people who are more nervous or not. I give people a lot of play by play so that I just think more information is better. And, and I think there's also a part that I withhold, because I don't think you can express how it will feel when you meet human beings who are just like your brother, who are fascinated about the Enneagram and can tell you all these things about themselves using the tool who are sitting there and stripes or something, you know, orange, and I like people to have that. That moment where their head is spinning a little bit. I don't want to change that moment. I want people to come in raw and that's the part that's transformative.

Clay Tumey:

David has one of the greatest quotes, I think on on the topic, and he was sitting right there. And I will go find it and cut that in if it's okay. But where he says,

David Daniels:

I see the future of the Enneagram Prison Project is expanding and expanding and being very successful. treat prisoners just as human beings, not as another class, lower class of citizenship, not as criminals. Yes, people who have committed some crimes, and treat all human beings with the equalness of openness. And it's

Clay Tumey:

such a common ex con like I've, I'm the guy that he's talking about, and it still hit me like, damn, I don't think I've ever done that. And frankly, I've been vocal about this, I still struggle sometimes to see past the crime. It's hard. It's not, it's not an easy thing. It's not automatic for a lot of people. So I liked that you don't give them a warning. I'm paraphrasing all that you just just let it just go. Just jump

Susan Olesek:

in. What was happening for you, Rick, when that class was going on? And what do you remember from that time, because I remember making the kids lunches and trying to figure out when I could put the class because I had to get my first grader and and to get my sixth grader and I had the high school, they're starting and, and you were working a very intense job, what was happening for you at that time,

Rick Olesek:

I think what was happening for me was, I was with all of the activity, and all the things that were going whether it happened to be the stuff that I was doing at work, or happen to be all the stuff that was happening in the family. This was just like this added thing. But it was, but it brought such life to you. And when you would come back, it would be it would be it would be a touchstone for me like oh, look, there, there is more to this life than working a high stress job. There is there is there is a I mean, you would just come back so lit up. And I remember us sitting around, you know, dinner tables, or after putting the kids to bed or after the kids would kind of go in different spaces that we would talk and me catching up with my day was like, Yeah, I had a lot of meetings. And you're and then it was and then I would turn it to you and say what happened for you. And you would, you would light up and he would talk all about the things that were happening in the classroom. And so I was I think I think I was living a little vicariously

Clay Tumey:

how much how much time after that. Were you no longer living vicariously?

Rick Olesek:

I started as the executive director in August of 2016.

Clay Tumey:

There was still a couple years then yeah. Like, almost a full two years, two or

Susan Olesek:

three years. Yeah. So I may have been carrying you. But I think Vic and Alex were carrying me because I was so inspired by what I saw. And I was hearing about people, you know, who'd spent 26 years behind the walls who've been you know, labeled a career criminal, and I was seeing, especially just at that time member, when Alex finished the class, and he was sent to prison, and I I couldn't believe that this person I had completely fallen for I couldn't I didn't know if I was gonna see again. And I remember just the light and VEC and seeing how, how much he was taking on how quickly he was changing. And I was trying to keep up with like it was blowing my mind, then what do we do when Vic gets out? Because he can't, he can't not be supported. And we didn't know what we were going to do. But I remember that was that was such a significant year because I at the dinner table with my kids. And Rick, I just, I'm sure I asked you first but I said what do you think about? You know, one of my students that I think I just couldn't say Vic at that point, because he was at dinner time. name at the table. He's gonna come and stay here for a few days. And they just did my kids have the Okay, what do you know?

Rick Olesek:

And that was December 23 24th. of 2014. So it was a year later. So literally, he started in December of 2013 with the first classes and interviewing classes and classes and classes. And then he got out in December of 2014. And I think somewhere in there. There was an other conference too, but

Clay Tumey:

where did where did he stay when he was here? Because most I don't know if people know this. There's literally a halfway house says I use the air quotes, which is the coolest name ever for for a guest room?

Susan Olesek:

Because it's a little tough shed. Yeah, it's pretty cute in the inside everyone. It's pretty huge. It's

Clay Tumey:

cozy as hell. But there's no bathroom, no bathroom. It's a shed that's been turned into a sleeping quarters.

Susan Olesek:

It's the halfway house because it's halfway between the House and the chickens. Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

And there's another one that's the hen house but the halfway house and there's it's there's a sign on it. Right. That's halfway house that he did the did Vic's day. He stayed there. halfway house. Yeah, he did the best.

Susan Olesek:

That's a big story to tell. But I mean, it was so special that he was willing to trust us and that and that and that he came right and that was the beginning of a I was like a continuation of something that was I had a friendship already there. And then he was family.

Clay Tumey:

He told that on a previous episode where he got out, and actually, you know, kind of like a Hollywood type moment there where he had a choice to make, because you were in the parking lot when he got out. And other people were in the parking lot also that he could have gone with. And it was, you know, the fork in the road, you know, metaphor, I suppose, except it was literal, it was, like gone with.

Susan Olesek:

And the other thing that's cool about that is remember the $1,000 I got at the conference, you know, the years before, that was just sitting our bank account, we didn't know I was gonna do with that money. And it was from Rick Benson. And Rick was running recovery programs in Arizona at the time, and he really loves the Enneagram of another eight. And he said, when he gave me that check, he, you know, I'm such a sucker for the eights, I just, yeah, really remember him walking up to me. And he said, I really love what you're doing. And here's $1,000. And I want you to send me one of the men from your program, and they get out and I'll give him a bed and a place to be and, you know, I'll, I'll, I'll have him. And I would like for him to teach my other residents, the Enneagram. And when you're done, I want you to send me another one, and send me more. And I was like, okay, and then I thought, I don't know how in the world. And then Dick got out. And I knew that I had a life with three little kids. And I didn't want anybody else living with me, not just Vic, but I wasn't up for somebody to move in forever. And I also knew I wanted someplace where he was going to be safe. And so Rick and and Vic connected. And Rick said, sent come on over, gotten a ticket to Arizona, and I took him to the airport. I mean, he'd been out a week or so, so brave avec. And I remember sort of standing going through the line, because I went all the way as far as I could insecurity because I wasn't sure you get through. I didn't know how that all worked. He didn't have a license. He had a piece of paper. And he's literally about to show his piece of paper. And then I was afraid that they're going to search and what are they going to do? And I realized, I don't even know if the UK has any money. It's like fifth Germany money. And he's like, No. And it's like, that's how I, I remember when I was 12. And I was going to Italy for a month with my dad at the airport. He's like, Yeah, any money, like, No. And he's like, gave me some money at the airport. So almost exact same scenario. And I was like, I fit the mold in my purse, I had like 50 bucks cash. So I take this. And he just did. And I mean, just the amount of the places of trust. And then he went off and Vic, Rick and got him set up in a place and Vic got into Vic was stones over and long since handle that. But then he got himself into a really good job situation for a while and I started to realize this village aspect of what we were doing, I needed someone else bigger than me and Rick had something that was really beautiful and needed at the moment.

Clay Tumey:

I can tell you flying as someone who has been recently released from prison, it's not it's not super comfortable. I flew the day I got out and flew home from from Houston, I didn't know that about I didn't know that about him not having an ID yet I use my Person ID to fly. It's at least the Texas ideas. I could still use it to this day if I wanted to. And I didn't know that about the money. That's a fun detail. It's like all the things that like these tiny little details that I just didn't know

Susan Olesek:

and also that you and the boys took Vic kick Creek.

Rick Olesek:

We were I had it was a Sunday or something and I was gonna go out

Susan Olesek:

this week between when he was when he was just out and he was getting his his paperwork and

Rick Olesek:

his paperwork in order so that he could go to Arizona. And I was going to take the kids golfing at a nine hole course down in San Jose. And it was our my kids and it was our friend the Roscoff kids. And, and I was like well, Vicki want to come and he's like sure, I guess. And so, and I'm like well, and at this particular place, it just converted it had golf, but it also had what's called kick golf. So you could show it like had set up these different, you know, other holes on the holes. And so here we are, it's me and Vic and and a bunch of kids. Yeah, I mean it was probably like five kids running around a golf course. Right kicking ball kicking the balls down the fairways and trying to kick them into these and it was it was a nuts. Vic Vic it just rolls his eyes when I talk about that.

Clay Tumey:

I've never heard this story so so how did Vic do?

Rick Olesek:

I think Vic just stopped kicking the ball. He was just like you No, it was. And in fact, I think I stopped as well, because I realized that was just really it was just for the kids and the kids were just having fun.

Susan Olesek:

And that's the way Vic's always roll with our family. He's just always like, sure, whatever. And he'll say yes to it. And that's how he's, that's how he's been. So Beloved.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah. I want to keep going. We have so much more to talk about, oh, my God. And I just unless you're done, no, we're definitely not. We're an hour in and I just want to make sure that we're okay. Like physically, do you want to stand up stretch? Go anything good on water, you know, have a cup glass of water over there. Right? Yeah, good. So the next conference, there were a few like the first few years, the conferences all seemed like a big deal. Like Denver was a big deal. The next year was like a big deal. I always felt like

Rick Olesek:

the next year Susan was the end note speaker at a San Francisco. What does that mean? That meant that's when she when you always have a keynote speaker. And then you have an EndNote speaker, when the keynote speaker would start the IEA global conference off, and then you have all the different

Clay Tumey:

a whole weekend worth of classes, classes, and

Rick Olesek:

then you had the everybody to come together for the EndNote. And so Susan gave her an EndNote speech or speaking on that show in 2014. So

Clay Tumey:

do you remember that?

Susan Olesek:

Yeah. Remember that? Well, I remember being asked to do it. And I was asked to do it at the conference before which is with you and Elam that we were just discussing. And it was at the very end of that conference where somebody approached me. And I just burst into tears, because it had been such an intense emotional weekend. And I thought like, really? And then I thought, yeah, really. And so I remember I remember preparing for it, and Suzanne Dion. And I used to sit in one of our hotel beds and go over our notes. And she would be working the slides that we'd created behind me during the presentation. And she always just had a beautiful cadence with that. And I remember practicing and trying to figure out what I wanted to say and and finding some really evocative, provocative things that I, I was that were on my heart. And I was scared to I was scared to go there. And I remember making a choice that I just said, Well, here's a lamb, I'm going to crawl all the way out on it. And I'm just going to say what's on my heart because that was real. And that's what

Clay Tumey:

I remember. Got me with water my mouth. What did you What did you talk about?

Susan Olesek:

One of the things I talked about in that and note was the influence of Ken Hartman, on me. And Ken Hartman, as someone who was introduced to when I was when I was trying to figure out who knew how to teach the Enneagram in prison, I was introduced to Diane Panola, who is one of the who had, I felt like Diane was the real deal Type Eight. She had been. She'd created a written a book, created a program around it and was delivering it in a women's prison in Chowchilla. And I was so impressed. She's who I first presented with it before all the other conferences. And when I met Diane and Lance. And she introduced me to this book called Mother California, the story of redemption was written by Ken who was serving a life without the possibility of parole sentence. And he'd been in for something like 30 years at the time. And I read that book, and I read it again and again. And I was it really blew my mind. I had night, I don't read books, really front end, and I don't read them twice. And then I read a wrote to him, and he wrote back, and I got into this long correspondence with cannon. And all of the things that were happening in me, this quickening that was going on with the project as I was seeing the power of the work, the work was having a lot of impact on me. And I was realizing more and more things about myself spiritual things about myself structural things about myself defense's defense systems were, were falling away, I was expanding who I wasn't who and who I understood myself to be in the world in my marriage, as a parent, and I was I had boundaries. I wasn't disclosing all of this to Ken, but I was unfolding the themes as in our correspondence and he was having his own process and he was never supposed to get out. And as I read and reread his book, things were occurring to me and so I wove that into my EndNote. And it was, it was so important because he was so important to how, how the work was an it was complex because Ken was never my student Ken had his own transformation had nothing to do with the Enneagram and he's still not an Enneagram fan, or not not a fan of the Enneagram it's just not has ever been his thing and I NS but it was important to me to put myself in the, in my own non EndNote. And, and part of my ongoing work in my life has been to include myself in the story of what's going on, I think it's really easy to see the beauty in you, and all the students that we get on the inside and all the people that come into EPP, but I, I continually have to work and remember to include myself. And so standing up and taking up space to do the note, as I did, and let it have its way with me was was significant.

Clay Tumey:

How was it received? I remember I was there. But how did you hear much like beyond that, like the people start just like beating down the door, please come speak at our conference or teach in our prison or anything like that? What was the what came after that?

Susan Olesek:

Well, I don't even know how to what to say here. I'm looking at Rick,

Rick Olesek:

I have some things to say.

Susan Olesek:

Why don't you go first? I always helped me find my way back. Well,

Rick Olesek:

I think that there was there it was. So up until that point, up until Susan gave that talk. I think there was things inside the Enneagram community that were were coming to life and and there was a I felt like there was I don't know how to say this. So I'll just say it this way. It felt like there was kind of a couple of different two camps. And one of the camps was, you know, what a great, what a great place and experiential way that the Enneagram is being brought into the world. And another one was, have we heard enough about the about about prison? We've talked about it now for three or four years have we heard enough? And so I feel like there was both those both of those camps were kind of happening. And it was it was it was an interesting thing to kind of witness as as so I'm, I'm kind of almost kind of an outsider of in the Enneagram community. But I you know, I done my own narrative tradition stuff. And I'd gone to a lot of conferences, and we're now at Kotla, these couple conferences, but I was noticing it and I was like, Huh, that's such an interesting.

Clay Tumey:

Would you hear this directly? Or would you just hear people talking about it?

Rick Olesek:

I just think that it was just like it was? I don't know, I'll ask Susan what she thinks if I'm, if I'm way off off base here.

Susan Olesek:

Well, we did hear it directly. We did hear it in a way that was like, So what do you what are you wanting to present and what's new? And, and so we were taking, I mean, it was always me. So but it was it was a we were collaborating before I would speak about it. We spoke we brought in ambassadors, and then we brought in families of the ambassadors and we brought in

Rick Olesek:

families of people are impacted by incarceration.

Susan Olesek:

The whites were so impactful and Elam his daughter came in and spoke. And we started to talk we started to bring in John Felipe, who was it was such an expansive idea to to know that. This idea, this division that started in a little, you know, Texas prison, and then in California and then enter John Felipe, who was the equivalent of a

Rick Olesek:

warden, he was a warden at the

Unknown:

end, I'm trying to think of the name.

Susan Olesek:

He was he was delivering the Enneagram to wardens, and above, in all of Belgium

Rick Olesek:

are wardens and staff. Right? So by legal was lieutenants, and above

Susan Olesek:

tenants and above. And he had, he had a vision to bring the Enneagram to all of corrections. And he wanted to include the detainees, as he called them. I hadn't met jauntily before, but we talked on Zoom, and then we met in person. And so just the expansion that was possible with the these were all of the, you know, future co presenters that was I was doing different conferences with so in my mind when we started to hear that like, well, is this you know, is this what you're Is this the same theme that you're bringing kind of the same panel with more formerly incarcerated people? To me, I felt like people are not understanding that. What a vast and overwhelming epic problem incarceration actually is, and it won't go away by having three little presentations. This is like we had so much more to do.

Clay Tumey:

In the first, the first conference where we were in Denver in 2013. There were plenty there was a lot of people in there, but there were plenty of empty seats. That could have been filled up. And then within a couple of years, there weren't enough seats there were people just standing around. So clearly people, like wanted to hear more about it. Right? That's, that's part of why I found I remember hearing like, like, maybe not everybody's such a fan and thinking, why we're like, it's people. It's so so many people are gone. And they're, they don't get the freedom to just say, Okay, nevermind, after a few years. I don't know. I'm glad that got brought up because I don't I don't ever I never know how to bring that topic up. But I think it's interesting to talk about and to hear about, and also did it, did it not go away? That's the wrong phrase. But did did people come around and realize that it's actually worth talking about, like all the time? And it doesn't?

Rick Olesek:

I think it's nuanced. I think that there was a, and I think what was happening actually, was the Enneagram community through the IAEA was actually shifting. And, and it was not as insulated, as it had once been. And so it was starting to end. And there were there were folks that that were kind of rebelling against that. And it was just an interesting time to look, we'll have them rebel against that. Because, because there was like Susan was saying, there's so much to say. And every one of those talks that Susan would give with different people on stage. They were vastly different than the talk that was before it. And yet, I would still hear just as a fly on the wall in different places. Oh, you know, it's just I have five different talks. I can go talk to I can go listen to Enneagram Prison Project. Oh, yeah. I've already already heard that one. Right. So it was kind of like, We're just there was this under, like, in the Enneagram? You know, IEA, go, Oh, I'm just gonna hear the same, the same spiel again. But it

Susan Olesek:

had a helpful effect on us. Because what it did was it compelled me to want to bring more of our curriculum into the presentations to help people to understand what we're doing. And I think people had that question. And so at one conference, we we brought in the ACE questionnaire, an adverse childhood experience questionnaire is a big part of how we help people to understand what has happened to us. And, and so we gave it out, and we give it out with the holding in the container that we do in the classroom. And we invited people to start to take up this work inside themselves to and to, to see the reflection of the people that have been on panel, and it's easy to just listen to a great panel. And it's easy to be impacted from afar. But what we are wanting people to know is like there are literally we all are in these own our own personal prisons in the same exact way. And so it was, you know, like anything, it was it was productive, and it was useful.

Rick Olesek:

Yeah, it was it definitely. It said some other things in motion, which, which I think were were important things to

Clay Tumey:

where did this, this one of my moto is the right word. It's this this thing that you said, and it's printed in several places that we're all in a prison of our own making. And the way that we suffer our personalities is how I don't know if suffer is the right word. But that's how I that's how I first heard, okay, because it feels like a suffer from, for me a lot of times, where did that come from? Who was that? Something that just got said and was like, oh, that's gold? Or did you like crafted over time,

Susan Olesek:

I know exactly where it came from. Before I went to Texas, I was in my such anxiety. And I got introduced to a man named Jonathan, who's a beautiful coach, and doesn't charge a lot to coach people. And I didn't, I had never had a coach before that. And he pro bono just sort of spent a little bit of time with me. And he helped me to, to sort of harvest what I already knew in order to think about how to go in there. And that was in those that first conversation with Jonathan, where that came out of that out of that session, and it never left. And so I think I knew very well, I still notice that the the ways I kind of again, come up against my own structure, and it was so apt that it

Clay Tumey:

just stuck 2013

Rick Olesek:

I don't think I've ever heard that actually. Really, really, I knew I didn't know that's what that came from.

Clay Tumey:

Well, it took 10 years. So 2013 was Denver 2014 was San Francisco 2015 was also San Francisco right San Francisco as well later in 2015. We I left the country in the fall of 2015. And we went to Denmark. Copenhagen. Yeah, we went to Finland.

Rick Olesek:

I think we went to Finland different year but same trip.

Clay Tumey:

For me. Yeah, well, I was there. And I don't know if you all went a different time as well, for it was seven days in, in one we had like the house, we also like this big house with a bunch of us. And we did the Copenhagen conference. And then we went to Finland after that we went to Helsinki prison, which was wild because I don't think I had ID and they still let me write just Brainfart and forgot at the hotel or whatever. Right. And that whole trip was, there's so many, there's so many stories from that trip, that are that are fun to talk about. I want to hear what was what was your experience, either of you, I

Susan Olesek:

think was so significant about being in Finland was the work that Laura valtonen was doing. And she, she was Laura was such a pioneer. And we literally didn't have a workbook. And we would be Susanna and I would be on the on the poly Skype, right. We didn't have zoom, we were just on something with her giving her just enough curriculum to go into her next week class like, well, this is what we do. And here's some handouts that you can use, and she would go do it and then we would come back and I just thought she was so she was so brave and so passionate. She wanted it to be there. And then when we got to come into the prison and see and talk with the students that she had been inspiring and teaching and then they got to meet you, right they got to meet Vic and the universality of the system and the universality of the of the prisons that the prison system Yes, a lot friendlier for you, but also the same like this is this is how we incarcerate human beings. And this is this is the tool that people need to be able to free themselves whether whether or not they're able to get out that was all coming to life and the global pneus of it. And so I think it's really important to honor pioneers like Laura, who are so willing, with so little

Rick Olesek:

Do you remember? Just a little bit of a blur? I'm getting my Finlands mixed up. Yeah. So I'm trying to remember if you've been twice. Didn't we didn't we also wasn't there also, as it both back to back was the I'm getting my Finland's mixed up. I'm not sure I only

Clay Tumey:

got to go one. So if I got a second trip coming my way, then I'm, I'm ready to take it. I'm so ready to go back.

Rick Olesek:

I think that there, I think there was twice but

Susan Olesek:

and I think the thing that's important to note is that we were able to keep envisioning bigger because of all the day to day, week to week work that was happening in Elmwood Correctional Facility and then, and people like Dana, who would start start off like, I don't know if I'll ever be able to do this, but coming in week after week, and just being such a fixture of the program before she even got her feet and got her chops to do it. And there's just a lot that was growing, there was a foundation that was supporting what wanted to happen, you know, further abroad.

Rick Olesek:

Right. And right there in 2015. was when we started at San Mateo. And I think we just I think we've just passed our I want to say it's like 100 and 10th. Course and San

Susan Olesek:

Mateo was really cool.

Clay Tumey:

How did how did you get into San Mateo? I know the story with Elmwood a little bit about San Mateo,

Susan Olesek:

San Mateo happened because of Katie Rosenberg, who's our bookkeeper. And she was coming in and helping us with our books. And she Katie is always connected to cool people. And she kept talking about her friend Sherif monks. And she said, You ought to meet our friend Greg monks. He's doing great work at the prisons and the jail. And San Mateo and I was like, how do you know about me, I'm like, going back and forth to Elma and go and make dinner and she's thank god, she's doing the books. And she kept saying, and then finally she said, you're coming to dinner, and I've invited the monks. And so we all showed up, and Greg monks, I'd never met him. He came in and he, he was drinking a beer, and he put it down on the table. And he said, so I'm a nine. And I bought, I like Sheriff monks. And what are we talking about? It's in a Rick.

Unknown:

I don't remember.

Susan Olesek:

We talked about the Enneagram. We talked about his jail. We I remember

Rick Olesek:

he talked about the he talked about the jail that they were building which was now which is now Maple Street. And that he was that was the he was working on that because there was only at the time Maguire

Susan Olesek:

right. And they were the McGuire was old and falling apart and dirty and they wanted to have a programming facility and they were building a state of the state of the art jail. It wasn't popular, because people were thinking we already have a jail, you know, put more money into this. But Sheriff monk's was in every way that nine he he's not I'm not in touch with him but so I'm talking about him in the past tense but at the time when I got to perience him, he, he had an idea of what it would be like to bring something in that would be for everybody. He did not understand the Enneagram. But he knew enough to know that he was a nine before we even had dinner. And then he invited me to his office. And I remember talking to Susanna Rick, like holy should I go to go see the President and I felt like that, because he would go into the building and go through all the metal detector stuff. And I and then you you, kind of like his city, it feels like you go up the elevator. And there's a whole wall big long glass walls, like that's all going to be shared amongst stuff in there. And then, you know, he's he's in full dress uniform. And I didn't know I was supposed to, like, I just hugged him at Katie's house, like, what do I do now? Right? Like shake his hand or come sheriff. I didn't, I didn't know all the rules. And I was really a little tongue tied, I think. But then when we sat down, he's just normal as can be. And he said, so can you can you teach this program in our facility before we come into the new facility? And I said, Yes. And that was that was my big question like, would we get a chance to to program? He said, I feels like when the staff understand what's going on inside the institution, that that's what helps us like a language, they help start to understand each other, are you able to also teach our staff? And I said, Yes, I am. He said, It seems to me that the problem that we have when people get out is they don't get out in a place that is, and they come back to the same communities that they left in. And if they don't have any growth, or they don't have an understanding, there isn't a way to receive this person. And do you think that you could work with our families and reentry? And I said, Yes, sir. And I'm like, Oh, my God.

Clay Tumey:

Did you have this in place? No, we're saying yes, of this. But as we so confidently say, Yeah, sure, of course,

Susan Olesek:

because that was that's the that's the whole end game. That's the whole plan. And that's been the vision from the beginning. I know, I knew we would be able to do that. I didn't know how,

Rick Olesek:

or the timeline, or the timeline.

Susan Olesek:

I remember coming out of that visit and sitting on a little curve in between these two bushes. And I got Suzanne and rec on the phone. And I said, it's just blue all our dreams. We need bigger ones. Yeah. That's wild.

Clay Tumey:

Do you have a curriculum at that point? Or are you still like if you know, you're going to teach next Tuesday, you're planning now for what you're going to teach teens?

Rick Olesek:

We had? If I remember correctly, we had. We had the blue book. And Enneagram. Yes. And then we also had homework pages. For every one of the every one of the weeks.

Susan Olesek:

Well, we had Clay was a binder. Yes. Had a binder full of all the different handouts. And this is where I want to just say there were many Enneagram teachers who said, whose work I had come across and I had found really useful for myself and I would reach out to them and say, I'm teaching in jail or putting together a curriculum. Is it okay if I use this? And I never had anybody say no. So David Daniels was very generous. Very, very generous. The narrative Enneagram was very, very generous. Jerry Wagner. Peter Oh, Hanrahan. I'm sure I'm going to leave people out. Mario Gilbert. Then of course, he's also the visual Enneagram. Russ Hudson. Yeah. So I'm never going to be one of those people. I'm never going to write a book like the wisdom of the Enneagram. So we had curriculum, because we had teaching and we had people who knew that the Enneagram needed to be in more places. And so we had a binder. And each week, we're kind of shuffling things. We're making a lot of photocopies. So when we got into San Mateo gel, and we would stand in that copy room for so many hours. And they and then at some point, we got cut off and we're like, okay, because they they could see how much paper we were using an ink. Yeah. And then we realized we needed a workbook.

Clay Tumey:

So how the that come about who who was what, how do you put together your own workbook to teach the Enneagram to the incarcerated?

Susan Olesek:

It started off, when we would come back from each of our courses each week. And we would write down why do we teach but I was teaching like six different classes. So I teach, I don't know three or so in Elmwood and I would teach two or three or four in San Mateo. And then we also were starting in San Quentin. So we would stack our days to go to in San Mateo and then we end up at San Quentin at night. And it was impossible to keep track of who was where so I had little binders and folders of the different students with the rosters. And we would write down sort of the flow of of what we covered and then we started to move around. Well, this is what we covered then and shouldn't it go before and and then we slowly put together just a rough assembly of those things and then we realized we needed then it became clear what what we were missing. We're missing the introduction we're missing the the division of the different modules and Ah, somebody at one point said to me, it would be great if there was a table of contents and I looked at him I thought, yeah, wouldn't it would be so helpful if somebody would organize that for me.

Clay Tumey:

What was what was who put who put it together?

Susan Olesek:

Well, starting off when we we did that with Suzanne and then when Robert let and Robin came in he he brought his beautiful background full of curriculum and design and creativity and Robin is a creative and so he brought it to life, put color, put in, put in the modules, made pictures, Robin can, you know, whip up something visually that's compelling and it feels like just minutes. And that's that was really, really big. That's when we met Susanne Gawreluk. People are getting confused with the Suzanne's and welcome to EPP because there have been more Susan Susie's and Suzanne's and Susan's, I can shake a stick at Yeah, Susanne Gawreluk was really energized by the workbook and as has ever since then been somebody who's really followed through with it, making sure that the Table of Contents got in there making sure that things made sense getting all the typos, because there are many

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, yeah, who designed the first cover is because there's a different cover nowadays than it was originally or it's a different

Susan Olesek:

cover. Now, right now the cover is by Roche. And he's one of our students on the inside. And he's a Type Four. And we'd asked many different times if people had artwork they wanted to deliver to contribute. And when he showed up at that beautiful Enneagram we were all so excited. And we we had to get permission. We had his permission, we had to get it from the institution. We had it all ready to go. And then we were still waiting for the institution to give us their permission. And they finally did. We were so excited. We got it off the press. And then we realized, I think was it Helen? Was it Helen,

Rick Olesek:

remember who remind me it was Helen that there was there was a sixth missing? The sixth was on the cover. So number six, number six was missing on the cover.

Susan Olesek:

And we're like, oh, God, that now that's kind of like one of those rare baseball cards? Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

The misprint? Yeah, the error. So the guarantees, at least a few people heard you say his name and rewound. So did she just say, Roche? His name is Rose. Yeah, it's an MA. And sanquin. Yeah. And

Susan Olesek:

he's a person. He's a resident at San Quentin. Hey,

Clay Tumey:

I said the wrong word.

Susan Olesek:

You said you're worried. But I'm saying that's the word that I like to say. Because I think people it's not just semantics. It's not words matter. Yeah. And he's not Well, honestly, Clay, you have the right to speak as you do. Because you've lived a lot of experience that I haven't lived. So I respect it when when you say inmate, but I feel like for me brooches just business, not like anyone. And he has lived through more adverse childhood experiences than most people I've ever read about. And he's he's still working. I haven't seen Roche since the pandemic, and I miss him. But he's been a big contributor to EPP from the inside.

Clay Tumey:

How long till we get back in after the COVID related restrictions? Do you know that?

Susan Olesek:

Or it's on its way?

Clay Tumey:

It's coming? Yeah,

Susan Olesek:

I'm in good correspondence with the institution with the right people. And I see that's on the horizon.

Clay Tumey:

So I asked both of you before we talked, and I think I gave at least a day's notice. If there were any milestones or any, any moments or anything like that, I bet we've covered a few of them, at least. But I want to pause and say are there any like things that stick out that that we've missed so far, in the first few years of VPP?

Susan Olesek:

I think that there are angels in the project that we wouldn't have been able to continue the way that we did acting like a very large nonprofit. Without, and I think, at that conference, when we met Lance and Diane and Lance had just sold his business and he talked about this, and he I'm not sure exactly what he said, But and when he told the story, but what I remember is being at the party of the last night of the conference, and him saying I'd like to have a word with you. And and he I don't remember it being with you, I think it was just me. And he said I you know, I'm in this place and I like to I'm an investor and I can really see what what you what you have here. And and he shared a little bit about his story. And I realized how this whole inside outside right there's a big focus that I had been on the inside really all the way up to the pandemic our whole focus had been working with people who were currently incarcerated but the families and the the impact to lands and Diana and what that had been to live through. I didn't realize that and there are people who who have resources Lance and Diane are are one of them. And and they've they've been significant investors in the project. We have many times not been able to make payroll, without them, and, and so much more. And they're not just that they're they're also in our courses taking all of our public programming, they're also showing up that the reconnecting, which is that for people who have, you know, were formerly incarcerated and want to come back on a weekly basis. They're sitting in board meetings and inviting us to their home inviting you to their home like they are, as I mean, talk about engagement from a donor is just like to use the word donor almost just feels like to diminish what they're actually doing. And actually, the donation part has to be said, because we would not have subsisted, Rick quit his job. And we had no business thinking that that was possible. But we both know. And the means to her and Brian men are on our board and significant investors and donors. And they don't like to say that and they often go anonymous. But they are. They are, what subsidize our passion and our vision.

Clay Tumey:

I forget, I forget that aspect of it. Because for me, it's, I visited with Lance and Diane a lot, I've I go to that part of the country, I try to go every year for a big Foosball tournament, and then they live very close to that. So I try to add a day on the front, or on the back, sometimes both. Or even if it's just like I want to visit and their friends. They're like family. And it's, it's, it's, I will admit that when you said donor, I felt a little lightweight, like it is what it is it but I felt like that's my people. And the story that he told on his episode is funny, where he the conversation and Denver, where, you know, I guess he was asking about plans are what are your goals or something like that? And it was like, we want to be global. And he says, it's funny to me, but he says, Okay, you have anything smaller? It's, it's, it's funny to be. And it's especially because now it's like literally, globally. Grant? Oh, like many continents? Just go ahead, Rick,

Rick Olesek:

I think the number is now with with the difference with nine p 1k. And the programs have been doing I think, I want to say it's like 57 or 58. Countries, it might be greater than 60. Now, it's a lot.

Clay Tumey:

And it's not just on the inside, it's it's you know, prison is is our middle name still. And it's the programming is not, you don't have to break a law to qualify for our programming. Right, which is cool. Right? How did that come about? How did it go from something that you could only do on the inside to now it's, it's open to the free world?

Susan Olesek:

Well, that was the silver lining of the pandemic, that we could not program on the inside at all, anywhere. And can you hear my cat purring? Nope. Okay, she's right up in my ear.

Clay Tumey:

I see you're trying to nibble on your headphones, but I couldn't hear.

Susan Olesek:

And so we did. Just had a moment where I was like, I want to teach like I can't just sit here. And Halida Rick and I are sitting there and trying to figure out what to do. And we just decided to do a basic Enneagram class. And we we invited a few people close in, it turned into three cohorts. That was about 60 people. And we through the name nine prisons, one key on it, which is something that we had been already trademarked and new was some signature VPP. And that when it was over, we did it again. And we've done it now seven times. And that's only the first portion of our curriculum. That's just the basic introduction of the Enneagram that the premise that there's nothing wrong with you, and helping people to fall in love with all nine types. The second portion of our curriculum is about, you know, you've heard other people on this on this podcast, talk about it. Susanne did a great job talking about it. And it's the deeper dive to really what happened to you unpacking your, the childhood, and in threaded through that as our understanding of object relations and addiction and the brain and what happens in our defense system and the resiliency, and the positive experiences that help us to come out of that. And really, that's the second portion of of what we've called Path of freedom. All of that came about because we once we did one part, then we knew we needed the next part. And once we did all of those, both of those two classes, something really significant has now happened for the project. And that is that anyone anywhere who has an internet connection, who is willing to you know, follow our principles of safety, which is taking emotional responsibility for themselves and we show people how to do that anyone can come in and experience our curriculum. And that's been so significant because what and people wanted to come into EPP before we had no way of helping them to a culture aid to our way of being an it is a significant way of being we really are asking people to best they can to come with their whole selves to be conscious about themselves. And our curriculum that we teach is also our what supports us in functioning as a aspiring to organization helping us to even know

Unknown:

how to how to do that.

Clay Tumey:

There's a lot there. I want, I want to, I want to start with the emotional responsibility. You said this phrase, and what is that? Why is it important? What, uh, what is? Tell me more about that.

Susan Olesek:

In our curriculum, we use that very simple model of above and below the line to ask people if they're willing to take 100% Emotional responsibility, which is something Rick and I learned in therapy. Right when Leanne McWatters Thank you, Leanne, she literally donated that to the project. And I we went in, I went in first I was looking for a therapist, I'd fired three, I was very unhappy. I sat on her couch, and she asked me, Are you willing to take 100% Emotional responsibility? I thought what the hell? I'm paying you. Of course, I'm willing. And I was until I until like three set four sessions later where she got me to bring Rick in. And and she asked him the same question. And I realized, Oh, I was willing to take 100% Emotional responsibility until Rick was a total jerk. And then everything I felt was Rick's fault. And that's when she brought me back to the form that I had signed and realize that how convenient that was that if it wasn't the way I wanted him to be, then I didn't have to be responsible for anything. And he my anger and my frustration and my judgment. And I did not like that. And I knew I had the right therapist, because now I was in the work.

Clay Tumey:

How does that still show up? Do you still have to remind yourself?

Susan Olesek:

Oh, we have a flawless marriage I can't think the last time I've had any sort of reactivity.

Clay Tumey:

I don't think people realize how damn funny Susan is. I don't think that is twice today. Those were like that is That's hilarious. Something else earlier today was really funny. And I wish I wish I got to see more than you're hilarious. Oh, really? Phrase. Yeah. It's funny. Now I just did the thing from it, we can cut this out. But I gotta get it out of my head or it won't leave is No, I just threw it on the ground.

Susan Olesek:

That's all good old fashioned Coleman sarcasm

Clay Tumey:

was funny. A ball was dropped, what did you slip slip out, and I just threw it. That was funny. That was the same style of funny. And then you also mentioned, you also mentioned an aspiring till organization, which I think many people might not understand what that is or what all that entails.

Rick Olesek:

I think I think I talk about that at all on the on my podcast, probably I did you did. That. It's so interesting. How things are brought into the spaces, certainly into EPP at a really, really opportune time. And one of the things that also, at the same time that we were going about having this conversation around, like how are we going to teach, you know, in the, to the public. The other conversation that was happening was how do you grow community? And how do you change? What, what is what you are wanting from folks, as they're coming towards the quote unquote, organization? And how do you kind of differentiate? Because organizational, you know, theory is like, Well, we were in a hierarchical structure. Right. I'm the Executive Director, I report to the board, the board has, you know, fiduciary responsibilities, and then you have people underneath the executive director that are fulfilling all these tasks. And I was super, you know, used to that structure. And, and yet, the things that were coming up was like, Oh, how do you grow a community that way? Right, because it's just different. I understand how to grow a company that way. But it's, but it's but if you're but, but people are coming forward and they have, you know, passion skill, and, and they want to be, you know, part of a mission and vision and values. And how do you how do you integrate all of that under these like, into this like, hierarchical structure? And, and then Susan was meeting with somebody and they had given this book to her about reinventing organizations and we started to go went through it, and she started going through it. And I was like, oh, goodness, this is actually a perfect fit for how we actually can live into our values as an entire, you know, organism, you will, and how, and how to be able to do that across borders and boundaries and, and hearts, and then try to like, live into something that's different. And so this teal organization piece, you know, the simple soundbite for it is allowing folks to be able to bring their passions and bring their hearts online into something that, that moves them, and how and the thing that resonated with me as a seven is how empowering it is to have to not have some kind of hierarchical structure that you're reporting to, and that you can actually be free and and to, to explore. That was a that was kind of how my entry point into teal. And it was it was lovely. And it's really something that we've been over the last couple years have really been, you know, negotiating and trying to understand more and, and what the reason why Susan said, aspiring Teal is good. And it's because it's something that's ever growing and growing within us. So

Clay Tumey:

and the last couple of years, we've had a considerable amount of players to the game, so to speak. And what was once a few people. You know, you mentioned earlier, you're talking about watching the video in the hotel room in Denver, and there were four or five of us maybe. And that felt like a crowded room. I guess not in a bad way. But it's just like, we're like a little routine, you know, kind of thing. And now it's it's can't get us in a room? Literally. I don't think we I don't think they would. Yeah, literally. So first of all, do we know a number like how many everything from staff, you know, faculty guides, apprentices, all the all the different things that that exist inside of EPP.

Rick Olesek:

I think that we have north of north of 300 people in that have Enneagram Prison Project, email addresses. That's an easier than

Susan Olesek:

1000 people in Slack. Yeah, we have seven paid staff for Enneagram Prison Project. We have 1212 ambassadors.

Rick Olesek:

Yeah, I mean, it there's the numbers are they're always in flux, right? I had to do this thing for Laura, who was Laura Hooper, who was a program manager guide, podcast and all kinds of things. But she was she just wrote with his one quick little note to me was like, Hey, how many and then and then Halida followed up just a couple days? How many guys and apprentices do we have? And I was like, goodness gracious, the habit of I just say 50 plus. And then when we get started make leecher. And then when we get to when we get to 100 Plus, I'll say 100 Plus,

Susan Olesek:

and I think the number the grossing guides came from the pandemic, because when we finally laid out the curriculum, people, everybody could take in the experience of the curriculum. And then we did we rebuilt the guide training program to be all online and not over at 1440. Not in person, and not available, not yet in person anywhere, because that's not how the world was working. And so last year for the guy training program, we accepted 50 applications, which was the most we'd ever trained before last year was 12. And it took six faculty to train 12 people in person and we were hauling people up and down the peninsula into our facilities into San Quentin, which was magical. And honestly, I hope it can come back that way again in the future somehow, but it wasn't the way we were going to scale. And now we have we have so many guides in training in different stages of their apprentices apprenticing and, and nine prisons one key apprenticing the impact of Freedom Project, apprenticing in a virtual in custody program and practicing in an in person in custody program. And so it is really hard to count who's at what stage and how are you how are we going, but we do know it's going well. And we do know that people are taking the guides are some of the most equipped people to be evangelizers if you will for our work in our program because they know that the curriculum so well inside themselves, they've they've really done that work, and they can speak to it, they can articulate it, which is hard to do. It's hard to share what the Enneagram is, and that's starting to happen. People are in their own local, you know, community and they they know the chief of police there, they know the, you know, someone who's been incarcerated there. They're connected to the reconnecting program reentry programs, and they're able to start bringing it to places that we Rick and I would never meet and here in Los Gatos, California

Clay Tumey:

Hey everybody, it's clay and we want to pause here to take a quick break and and share with you this episode's words of appreciation. If you didn't know, words of appreciation is a segment that we began to implement, starting with the previous episode, the one before this one. And it was inspired by Jason white. And when I say that it was inspired by Jason white, I don't mean that it was his idea. I don't mean that he said, Hey, you should do this thing. What I mean is, Jason is so helpful. He's, he's just a valuable soul within the project. If you want to hear more about him, go to the previous episode, and listen, about halfway through the episode, and we talk more about him. So now, this is a thing that we're going to do, we're just going to pick someone in the project. And, you know, I've already collected words from people, you know, other guides and other students and other ambassadors and just different people in EPP and for this episode, we're going to share our words of appreciation for Susan Lessig. Now, if you're listening to this, there's a fair chance that you know who Susan is, but just in case, you don't, I'll tell you, Susan founded EPP. 10 years ago, actually, that's what we're celebrating here in this episode. And she began teaching in prison even a couple years before that. So for a dozen years now, she has been a shining light. I'll just summarize by saying that in a world where it's so desperately needed, she has absolutely been a shining light. So I messaged her, I don't know 10 or 15 people, and I said, Hey, what three words come to mind when you think of Susan Olesek and your experiences with her? I'm gonna read a collection of those words now. Acceptance, amazing. Angelic, calm, caring, compassionate, compelling, delightful. Direct. Energetic. Expansion. Exploration. Extraordinary. Fierce. idealist. Funny, gentle growth, healing, heartful. Hope. Inclusive. Inner Light, reflect inspirational, witness, inspiring, kind, love. Masterful, passionate, poignant. Present, pure, sincere, unconditional love. And one final word. So I didn't say before last is just at the end of the alphabet. Under vie for visionary, Susan elastic is absolutely a visionary. And I'm comfortable saying that without her. None of this EPP stuff even happens. So to you, Susan, we say collectively that we love you. We thank you. And we appreciate you. I want to pull something out that I saw on Facebook. It's a post from 2014 which is eight years ago. And it says it's a picture of a bunch of files and a bunch of there's a banner EPP banner in the back. And it says rolling up our collective sleeves and getting ready for the first EPP Summit. And that was here at your house. Do you remember what the first EPP summit was? I don't have a super clear memory of that. And

Susan Olesek:

well, it was a bunch of folks, some local some not who really were excited about what we were up to. And were willing to first drive up the mountain and second spend the whole day talking about it and then took our collaboration out into some next steps. And it was it was our it was our attempt to breathe into something more collective and, and bigger broadening broadening the vision. What do you remember?

Rick Olesek:

That's that's a good recollection. I remember. Everyone upstairs. I remember whiteboards. I remember conversations around EPP as the name Enneagram Prison Project, just the name? Yeah, it was it was it was it was a collective in breath.

Clay Tumey:

What kind of conversations were there about the name? Like what were there? Was it ever gonna be maybe something different? Or did other people have ideas and like, like

Rick Olesek:

the, I think that the the consensus was that Enneagram Prison Project was the name you were gonna go with. But there were lots of ideas that people were throwing around. The reason why I think Enneagram Prison Project stuck was that it was super descriptive Enneagram Prison Project. And so there were some things that were thrown out that were less specific. And they sounded might have sounded a little, you know, more esoteric, or, you know, free to me and whatever it just didn't

Clay Tumey:

occur to me like that, like that was the word was in the night like it was General Freedom Organization.

Rick Olesek:

Like imagine, imagine a name that doesn't. That is that could be applied, but doesn't have the word Enneagram or Edward Enneagram in it might not even have the word prison in it. Okay,

Susan Olesek:

and we just kicked it around for so long. And when we landed, we landed for good, because we wanted the name to say exactly what we do, which it does. And it has been a great decision. I think there have been many times I've been at conferences that are not Enneagram conferences wearing a badge that says Enneagram Prison Project. And I've been walking across the street and had people literally pull me back to their side saying, Tell me what you do. Because if anybody understands the Enneagram, and they see the word prison with it, they get it somehow they get something,

Clay Tumey:

or even if they've if they're into the if it's not an Enneagram community, it's a prison related thing. And I'm wondering what, what's the Enneagram? Like, how does that relate to prison? Because I went to prison. I don't remember that or whatever. How did you How why project instead of Enneagram prison organization or Enneagram, prison, school or anything like that? What's so significant about the word project?

Susan Olesek:

I don't think that was as significant as the first two words, honestly, but it did roll off the tongue. And it worked.

Rick Olesek:

Right. And then in quickly, from that we got to EPP and so

Susan Olesek:

I don't remember calling a CPP. I remember people calling us EPP. And then that did stick. Yeah. So, I mean, we definitely put the three letters together. We knew that that was an eventuality, but it was quick.

Clay Tumey:

I've also heard there. Some people, some people say the Wii and some people don't say that the so Enneagram Prison Project. Some people say the Enneagram Prison Project you mentioned last night, when we're talking about the paperwork that got stamped. And the was you mentioned that D was in there. So not that it's super important. But once and for all, like what is it is the V is there on paper? But is it significant? Or does it really matter? Is it just like?

Susan Olesek:

Well, it is on there it is on there on the paper, and I think our colloquial, affectionate use, we dropped the Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

Cool. Awesome. So where shall we pick back up today? Last night, we went through the first few years even before EPP began and talked about your first visits in prison. And we talked about quite a few conferences and other things that happened. And I feel like we left off in the 2015 2016. Ish kind of right. Yeah. So Where's where's a good place to get back started?

Rick Olesek:

2015 is a good time. Okay. Susan had been in it at Homewood and started at San Mateo. By the time 2015 rolls around, Vic had gotten out. There was the the end note had happened. In 2015, was a it was there was a lot of use the word quickening last time. There wasn't there was a lot of things that were starting to come together in 2015.

Susan Olesek:

One thing that has been a thread that from the beginning was the involvement of Russ Hudson. And it's significant because Ross is is a, like David, major developer, contributor to the Enneagram. And the world system, you know, the way we understand the Enneagram in the world. And it was significant because of how Russ personally endorsed and embraced what we were up to. And we invited him into our programs in the county jails, and and also into San Quentin. And he was an unequivocal yes. And you know, Ross has a lot of different places. He always made time, it's not convenient to go into an incident institution. And at times, I remember vividly how we brought rest into Elmwood Correctional Facility and it was so exciting. And we had the whole day mapped out and we were in multiple classes that day. We're trying to share him so that a lots of the students would get to experience for us. And we got to the lobby and he didn't have clearance. And we were like Oh no. And that was not the first time any of us had gotten to the gate and couldn't get in. It was often a glitch. I don't remember actually what that glitch was was on our side or the facility side. It could have been either. And for us, I just remember him sitting there in the lobby seats watching what ever drivel was on TV. And he said, and he didn't have his phone on him. He, I think, had to wait there an hour and he couldn't have been kinder, or more pleasant or more understanding. And then when he did get in, he just dropped right into wherever the class was. And he's always been that way. He's always just been one of us. Hashtag flexibility, and doing what he what he could do, which was sometimes nothing. But wait.

Clay Tumey:

Also what she remember what was that? His first time going in? Were you in the middle of like, a several week curriculum where you were talking about this, this part of the curriculum? Or was it like a general presentation too, because I know sometimes, like for new classes, there's like this a general presentation about who we are and what we do. Yeah, no,

Susan Olesek:

we were in the middle of our regular programs. And we had multiple classes at about the same time. But they didn't always start and end at the same time. And he came into M four C, which is where I met Rene, and I'd be curious to ask Renee if he was there and Ross came, I don't remember. And I remember when Russ introduced what we call now Mr. crumble. And Russ just had a stick figure drawn on a piece of paper. And he talked about how there's a divine spark and all of us and that were pure and pull, how are we calm. And he was sort of playing with the little guy that he was the little baby that was on his piece of paper. And then he started to talk about how we have things that happen to us and the people that we want to see us don't see us in exactly the way that we want to. And sometimes we come home from school, and there's no one there. And he took the piece of paper. And when he said there was no one there. Yeah, he made a little crumble. And then he continued to talk about different adverse adversities that happen to us. Things were big traumas, little traumas, things that affected our psyche and hurt our, our hearts. And you continue to crumple the paper until it was just a little ball. And I was standing behind Ross, I've never seen him do this exercise before. But I was watching people riveted, and so transfixed by, by the content of what he was sharing, and really, they were in those, all of all of us were in those crumbles that he was making. And when he got to the ball, you could feel the weight and the heaviness in the room. And rest knew he had us literally in the palm of his hand. And he knew where he was going with that exercise. And he began to open it up. And he said, You know, when you when you start to do this in our work, you unwind these things, and we realize that, you know, there's, there's there's wrinkles now on us, and there's things that are we don't we don't look the same but and he began to continue to unfold the paper. But when we, when we open it all the way back up, we're still in there, you know, that Divine Spark is still there. And we it was such a beautiful, simple illustration. And we harvested that teaching and we began to use it and we use it in all of our classes now and we and we are when we talk about the Divine Spark and he just always had has had a spirit of generosity about whatever he brought in he left with the women the men are students us in our curriculum, he he's not attached to anything it feels like and and it's it's something that I think Russell's involvement has, has said to in both directions to the Enneagram community, this project matters and to EPP your your work matters to the Enneagram world, right? It didn't just say the same thing, but it felt like there was a reciprocity he was translating in his formidable presence

Clay Tumey:

with Mr. Crumple that you said that was the first time you had seen him do that. And I wonder maybe you know the answer this, but I would like to ask him if, if none of us do, did he? Is that something that he had done previously? Or did he come up with that on the fly? Because

Susan Olesek:

you've done it before? You said he had done it before?

Clay Tumey:

Yeah. What were the what were some takeaways? As I talked about, Russ, his first experience going on the inside when we chatted back in episode five. And so I've heard a lot of his a lot of what it was like for him going in and all that stuff. Do you remember much about that day like after? Like there's this thing that happens when people go in for the first time and then you do? You're on the inside? Then you get out? You know, later that day you go have dinner and you go hang out you do whatever? Was there anything. Anything memorable conversations or takeaways from after the fact or like debriefing or anything like that? I

Susan Olesek:

don't know if I said this one on the podcast. But he came into San Quentin, he's been in many times. So I can't remember if this was that, that first visit or not going in the first time he he met with our class that was meeting in a closet of a classroom or 40 Men are so in that room. And it was it was tiny and had an entrance that went into the the main prison, but it also had an interest that was like the back door of a stage in the chapel. And sometimes during our class, men would come through our classroom for costume changes. I mean, it was one of the hardest rooms to be in. And he just rolled with all of that. When we were in there. He came in and he spoke about mercy. And he spoke with with just such tenderness. And I think the men really knew who had been there and who they were being taught by, not only because we had built him up and talked about him, but because of what he transmitted in that in that way. And so we got to take a picture with that class that's very special. It's on my bulletin board. And we, we had a long drive, you know, as a Friday night, at that time, when we were teaching Friday night at three, from San Quentin, to all the way down to Los Gatos is could be a three hour drive. And I was really wanting to get on the road because I know that drive and minutes matter. I forgot to point out the bathroom for us on the way out the door. And then we just had such a chuckle because I felt like my father, for poor wrestlers were driving down when I was little, we would say Dad, could you stop and be like, what more exit? Well, we're exit wrestlers about to pop by the time you got to a restaurant in those ghettos. That is that what comes to mind, you talk about the conversations funny,

Clay Tumey:

and there are there are restrooms when you go on the inside, but it's a very permission based situation. You don't just get up and walk out the way that you would you know, out here in the free world and I, I've been there so I know. And it's, it's not always comfortable to just step out and use the restroom while you're on the inside of a of a prison. That's funny. What what is it like to have? So rest is kind of a big deal in the Enneagram world. And and, you know, I think the world of him even outside of that he's my buddy, I think very highly of him as a as a as a friend. But what does it mean, to have someone like that, kind of just cosign for this project that you've that you founded so many years ago,

Susan Olesek:

I think it means a lot on different levels. For me personally, it has been a very deep validation of what has been on my heart. And

Unknown:

I started significant. I feel

Susan Olesek:

myself to be visionary for this project, I obviously founded it, see it, I still see it. And there. And yet there are some people who I have admired who have not resonated with it and have not done what Russ has done. And he has just always seen it. So I have a lot of teachers that a lot of Enneagram teachers, when Russ teaches I, I am really moved, when we are looking at our work and who have pendulous, when we started to work with instincts, there are a lot of different perspectives out there. And we decided to go with one approach to keep it clear to keep it cohesive, and he has his work works. And so I'm not sure how to Yeah, a good transition for this one. Part out I have

Clay Tumey:

some transitions are as they are.

Rick Olesek:

I think that I think the other part that is really clear for me, is such a generosity of spirit. The willingness to to be present to what is coming up on the inside, as well as in the project. Saying yes to so many different things. I mean, I remember we should we can talk about Susan doing a TEDx talk in in, in New York, which was about to 2015 when we stayed at Russell's apartment, he wasn't even there. Right? I didn't know that. Yeah. So. So you know, we're in town, he's not there. And he's like, Oh, you can just stay in my apartment. And again, just, just generosity, that is, you know, it's just been so. Yeah, just generosity of spirit and, and all the things. I mean, we've done so many different parts with SLN. And, and bringing folks around and it's been it's been lovely to be in the work with him. That's, that's just a little bit of my perspective. So,

Clay Tumey:

so they're in 2015 2016 moving forward. or what, what is the next? What's the next thing on the EPP timeline there? That's, that's worth stopping at visiting, mentioning talking about?

Rick Olesek:

Well, this isn't a TEDx talk was kind of a big deal. Yeah. I don't know, I never remember if it was 2016 or 2015, or whatever. But I'm sure I will at some point, we can find that out. Yeah. And that was a, that was her going to going to New York and, you know, on the campus, you know, New York University and doing the TEDx talk, it was and she killed it. Just and put a lot of herself into that space. And I really think that the fact that she had done the the EndNote. Before, really, for me, as I was kind of watching her blossom, I was like, Oh, this is like the next thing where, you know, one followed the other. I don't know what it was, what was it like for you?

Susan Olesek:

It was terrifying. It was a really big deal. I was it was again, one of those Absolutely, yes. And oh my god, all in the same breath. I knew it was going to be a big thing I knew I really wanted to do well at it. And we had to, it was really hard to pick who to speak to as an exemplar, there were there were two that I had in that talk. And in the end, we needed to edit it down for time. And, and speaking about John, he has been such a precious student, it was, it was easy to include John, John was super generous with his story. And communicating with him to get that permission was difficult, because he was on the inside. And trying to figure out how to write that. So that we could include everything that needed to be included, we knew we hoped that it would be widely watched and circulated. And that it would be able to say all the things all the elements of, of what we're up to. And I feel like we accomplished that. But it was it was a labor of love. And I was I was really grateful to be asked and to be included. And then, when we had to do a, we had to do a practice. And it was about a week before the actual event. And I had been, you know, I drove all over Hell's half acre all the time, I was just constantly saying that out loud, like I'd have it down. And it was 18 minutes long. So it was a lot of content. And I remember at the practice, when we were on with the producers, and I couldn't get through it without solving. And I think they were, they were sweating it because it's not powerful if I couldn't hold it together. And but I really lost it. And it's interesting thing for me with my writing because I hadn't been saying it. I hadn't had been saying it. And I had written it, but I hadn't delivered it to another human being. And so when that happened, Suzanne Dion was supporting me in a big way. And we just we just said, Well, you know, we'll be okay. We'll be okay. And the other thing that was significant is they they really wanted less visuals. And I want to just give a huge shout out to Susanne Dion, because she was she is such a talented artist, and she had created so much great artwork for that. And she just said, No, we've got these, we've got this art and it needs to be in there. Not all of it. But a lot of it did. And I think if you watch it now the visuals that are in there very powerful, and they do thread through the whole thing. And I when I actually did do it there was a there was a moment you can hear it in the in the talk where I really had to swallow and try to keep it together. And that was the same place I broke down and I did not want to miss the opportunity to to do right by John by this project. I wanted to hold it and I felt like it something. Again, it was another just significant moment. Like you say Rick, something, something was burst through at that at that moment at that

Clay Tumey:

point. What was the big deal with the visuals that did they add time? Or did they just make it more difficult? They

Susan Olesek:

asked for 10? I think we had 100. So I think we ended up down to like 45 or some other number we just had so many

Clay Tumey:

are they the ones having to click through it or did was Susanne doing that?

Susan Olesek:

No. Susanne did that in the on the backdrop on the background.

Clay Tumey:

I don't understand why they cared.

Susan Olesek:

I think it was just what they had in mind. And in the end they didn't mind. They were they were able to be flexible, and I was glad about that.

Clay Tumey:

So what came from that? That was it was a big deal. As you said, Rick, what what were the what was the aftermath or the aftermath? laughs following that TED Talk?

Rick Olesek:

Well, I think that the first thing was that a lot of the things that Susan said in that TED talk, she hadn't said before, she'd said them around the edges she'd spoken of them. But all of a sudden, it was like front and center. And it was in on a platform that could easily be shared and easily be be witnessed. It was witnessed in person by lots of folks that were there in New York. And so, so, the thing is, that were said all of a sudden had life to them. And, and there was a propelling kind of a momentum type thing. And because she had weaved, not only her own personal story and some other personal stories into it, but also weaved the intention of Enneagram Prison Project through the whole thing, it became quite easy for people to, to pick up the the energy of what it was that we were doing, without having to, you know what it was, it wasn't a brochure, it wasn't a website, it was a hey, go take a look at this. And I know it's 18 minutes long. But when you're finished with the 80 minutes, you'll get a good idea of what it is that we stand for and what we're doing.

Susan Olesek:

And short Writing is hard writing, we had to really hone our message in that talk. And I hope what comes through is that is what became clear to us is that we were not just talking about social justice or fighting against things, we were talking about having a system of caring about, really having compassion, for the lack of holding and what happened to people in childhood. That is the signature of what Enneagram Prison Project curriculum is all about that there's nothing wrong with any of us. And that if we can have some appreciation of what happened first, we would have a better way of healing in the actual institutions. And that was what we were experiencing. That's what we were resonating with what was happening in Europe. And that's what we were envisioning to propel the project forward. So we got really clear on our on our

Rick Olesek:

message. And I don't know where he was just after that, or maybe it was just a little bit before that, that that we were that we got to know Gabor. So I think that's kind of a another interesting point.

Susan Olesek:

Well, we were, we were big fans, and we we kind of stalked him. Who is he? Gabor Ma Tei is a Canadian Hungarian physician who operates a works out of Canada, an expert in addiction and the author of many incredible books in the realm of hungry ghosts. And he had such a compassionate approach to addiction when we got the, the grant in Santa Clara, we were required to have an approach to working with addiction that we didn't really have, we would say things like, we're all fiercely addicted to our personality, which is true. But we didn't have an approach that was grounded in something. And we we looked to Gary's work. And we realized that he was saying the same things that we were saying, but in his own way, he was saying, it's not actually about the addiction, it's about the things that happened, the pain, you know, and and what happened to and people tried to, to medicate themselves with, with a substance or with a behavior to create the dopamine. And we started to understand, wow, this is such an important part of how people are able to self regulate or not, and how we're able to have compassion for ourselves. So we wrote to him in Canada, he wrote back, we went to a workshop he was doing in Toronto, we invited him to dinner. He said, Yes, we couldn't really get over it. We brought him a t shirt. I was never the Enneagram book. And we invited him to understand our curriculum, what we were up to he he was adorable, and, and interested. And he didn't he really didn't understand the Enneagram. But he could understand that the way we were explaining it to him and, and the overlaps to his approach. And ours were were just very clear. And then we invited him to be on our advisory board. He wanted to know what that involved and we said what it is, which is we'd like your support and understanding as we work in this space, especially around addiction. And he he said yes from the beginning.

Clay Tumey:

He's a radical dude, by the way. And I mean that in the best possible way. He doesn't have like a traditional philosophy towards addiction. I think that's my, that's been my experience at least. And he he has, this is a quote by him that that has helped me see addiction, and specifically like substance addictions differently. I ever had previously because I didn't have, I didn't have experience with drugs or alcohol or anything like that my, my issues were different. And his quote, that quote is, is that eviction is not the problem. And addiction is the attempt to solve the problem. And the first time I heard that I thought it was first thing I thought was you trippin? Like that's addiction is clearly like a problem. Like I didn't, I didn't fully understand until I thought on it for a second. And, and then I, I, I'm so glad I heard that because it, it reframes for me at least it gives me an opportunity to see differently, how someone is struggling with whatever substance that they're struggling with, and that, you know, okay, it's not it's not greenlighting, you know, math, it's not saying math is okay. It's but it's saying it's, it's saying differently, what the real problem is, and that math is the attempt to solve a different problem that exists. And I think that's I thought that was wild. And the more I, the more I chewed on it, the more it just made sense. And I think radical can be scary sometimes. Or at least for me, because I'm not comfortable with it always. And I'm glad, I'm glad that at that I got to meet him and chat with him and hear him speak. We went into prison together at San Quentin, you know, heard him a little bit there is not a normal dude.

Susan Olesek:

Well, he would be probably honored to hear you say that, because he resonated with Type Four, when we went back whenever we've been working with the Enneagram. And, you know, fours are a bit radical. And they're not trying to say the popular thing, we needed a radical approach to be able to de shame addiction. And that's what it does. His approach is compassionate approach helps people to understand that there's nothing wrong with them. And when. And that's not enough of the approaches is useful. When gabber came in, and that roundtable that you were part of when we were in San Quentin, we sat in a circle as we are want to always try to do and I was sitting next to Gabbert in the middle of the circle, and circles don't have an end. But on the opposite side of it. Somebody started the just to check in, which is what we always do. And people were checking in with, you know, where are you above or below the line? And, you know, where are you right now, and every single person brought gratitude to be able to be in that room because it was a real privilege. It was special. It was videoed, and there was a lot of love in the house. And people could feel it. So people were honoring the project. And a lot of people are honoring me, because I've been there teacher for a long time. But there are a lot of us. And by the time that got together, he checked in and he said, You know, I gotta I gotta say, I kind of like why the hell is always so grateful about Susan, like, what about me? Or he said something like that. And I think that's where he had everybody. Because that's the for naming the real thing. And he did that. Yeah, just just beautifully. And I think his the rawness of gab or there was another town hall that we did that people can see with where he has an exchange with Jeff Limon. And Jeff, who is a, you know, a shining ambassador had been through so much work with us and had done just has been so many speaking again, engagements and panels. And GABA, questioned him about his happy childhood, and he got underneath something that Jeff had previously not, not seen. And he really has a way of just being on that edge and saying the most provocative thing, and that's what this project needs. That's that

Clay Tumey:

works. You mentioned that it was a requirement to have the curriculum directly address addiction. By I don't remember the facility that you said, or maybe that's a California thing in general, what is what is that? And what is the? What's the what and what's the why,

Rick Olesek:

I think, I don't know, if it was a requirement as much as it was, as soon as we were getting in there. To do work in it was in San Jose, Santa Clara. And we've been doing it now for a while there was it was a grant, and it's like, Okay, time to time to step up our game a little bit. And, and, and get a little more of a, we had had a curriculum, we'd had a syllabus, we'd had all this different these different pieces, and then it was like, let's integrate more.

Susan Olesek:

It wasn't maybe maybe a requirement is the wrong word, but 92% of the people in that facility are in for drug related offenses. So we knew that in order to get funding, we were going to have to have a solution to address the problem that the residents were dealing with.

Clay Tumey:

Right. And for those who might not know when you say 92% It's not directly that they were selling or that they were doing something that it could be they were they were stealing to support a habit or they were doing this to support that or that They were involved, and, and just distribution or whatever. But all all basic 92% isn't everybody, but basically everybody is there related to something to do with, with substance.

Susan Olesek:

And when we really got down to it, and we did start to crack the crack connect the curriculum like that we realized how, how apt it What's that actually all of us are addicted to something. And when the personality is not cutting it, we still want to feel okay inside of ourselves. So we reach for something else that does take the edge off and just like personality, or substance or process addiction, it does take the edge off, but then we're still left with ourselves. So it really worked.

Clay Tumey:

I feel like you're about to say something, I wasn't

Rick Olesek:

appreciating Susan.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, I have the pleasure of we're, it's only audio so nobody else gets to watch. But you two are sitting, you mentioned this last night on the left seat. And I'm kind of like across the room a little bit like a few feet. And I get to face both of you. And so I'm seeing founder VPP on this side, Executive Director here, but I also see, husband, you're not the husband, but husband and wife. And it's I'd love to watch the like the taps on the shoulder and just like the non verbal and the things that people won't hear. So I just want to call that out. The amount of love that I see between you two is it's inspiring. And I think it's, it's fucking cool. It's, there's no other description for that. I think for me, that's just it's really beautiful to see that there's this going back and forth between talking about, you know, the project and all the things that the the structural part of what the organization has, or the project is and what, but then there's also like these little loving things that are just happening. That's pretty cool. And I'm glad I get to see it. And I'm glad I'm not a couple 1000 miles away on a screen watching it because honestly, if we were doing it that way, you'd be on this end of the house and you he'd be on that in the bow. So this is a very

Susan Olesek:

this is this is nice. Thank you for naming it clay. And also we joked that you don't know the backstory to this loveseat. And that is I think it was 20 years ago, 20 or so years ago, we were we were I was we were in a different house. And we had a like a sitting room part of our bedroom. And I wanted to get a chair for it. And so we went shopping for one, and I really wanted to get a chair and a half, which is like a you know, big chair for one person. And Rick was like, but how about a loveseat? We had a lot of we've talked a lot of smack about that. We Chuck joked and joked and we ended up with the loveseat. And what do you just, I think that that was what I wanted at the time. And that's what Rick wanted at the time sort of sums up a lot of kind of how we are and Rick wanted something where we could hug huddling together. And I was at that time, kind of a lone ranger, like I wanted my own little spot. And I don't know what happened to that chair and a half is gone. But the loves loveseat has remained and I do sit this is my corner in the house. But I think the thing I I want to note for the project is that it would have been an impossibility to build EPP without you that we have such a perfect complement of skill sets and desires and things. Stuff that you know how to do I will never know and vice versa. And, and oftentimes we don't want to do it the other person is doing and I feel like that's why so much of this works. We care so much about each other. We care so deeply about this work. And we also really have worked hard in our marriage to to be married. And I know that's comes out a lot in coffee and different podcasts and all of that. And we just harken back to it because it's true. And it's it's real, that trying to stay present to the hard things like raising young children and staying in jobs that we don't like and being able to make ends meet when our passions are in a nonprofit and all those things. It's been a joy, and it's been a labor of love. And I'm really happy to be sharing loveseat

Clay Tumey:

Thank you. So this is where you tell us to take a breath. I feel like often. Thank you. Let's do that so In the curriculum, when we start talking about addiction, I want to go back to Dr. Montaigne his contribution to what we do. Did you Did you notice? Well, first of all, just to be clear, was there a point where the curriculum didn't have that? And now you just put a whole new piece in? Or was it there, and you just expanded on it? What was it like? Adding, when you met Dr. Matta, and all all that came from that, adding that into the curriculum,

Susan Olesek:

there were pieces, and it was gradual. And we and as we added one teaspoon of it, we realized that it, it needed more context with other pieces. For example, when you start to talk about addiction, we need to talk about attachment, and how the basic, you know, building blocks of personality come from our childhood. And if we don't have attuned, loving, present caretaker, to see us to help us to feel our own worth our own dignity, then we start to shut down to who we really are. And when we shut down, we still want to feel good. So that's that, you know, is the beginning of, of the actual personality. And when that's not working, there's something else. So then we put that context in there. And then we started to talk about people who don't have attachment, and what does that look like. And so, even after we put an addiction, and we started to talk about the brain and attachment, and what happens on the inside and how the brain, you know, not getting what it wants and needs. That's that's the effects of neglect. We did that for a while. And then there was a moment where I reached out to GABA, and we had been looking at the adverse childhood experience, study the ACE questionnaire. And I asked him what he thought about putting it into the curriculum. And he had no hesitation, he said, it's, it's a great idea, of course, you'll need holding around it, but it helps people to understand in a very quick way, helps them to not negotiate the actual things that occurred and the impact of them. So I think that was sort of the end cap of what we were adding. And once we had that, we realized we had something quite solid that worked. And, and it didn't just work in prison. It also worked when we piloted in Los Gatos High School, for example. And so, it felt to me like that, that approach, rounded out what we were doing in prison. And it also was a nice segue into the next population that we were heading into, which was the general public.

Clay Tumey:

So how exactly you know, I actually forgot about when you went to the high school. And I think, you know, from my perspective, I learned the anagram Enneagram. In prison, I met all most of the people. At least early on, I knew a lot of people who knew the Enneagram from prison. And it's not funny, it's not the word. But it's interesting to me to think of this, like what I considered a prison program. And now you're talking to high school students? How do you make that transition? And I know there's a lot of, there's a lot of overlap between the pain of, you know, being a prison inmate and the pain of being like a high school student. I've was miserable both times, by the way, when I was each of those. And so, I know, there's probably a lot that that can cross over. But surely there's some things that are inappropriate for that population that might I don't know, is that true? Even what how do you how do you go from a prison program? And how do you tailor it for for a high school student without watering it down so much and making it into can Barney and Friends or whatever, you know, I don't know?

Susan Olesek:

Well, it was a grand experiment. We had that same question. We wondered, a lot of people had been asking us, can you this program, and the curriculum could go here, it could go there. What do you think, and we absolutely had intentions of ending up there. But the opportunity in high school was the first one we had and we didn't know. So we we had been going in as a volunteer. My kids were there. And they never wanted me to be in their classrooms. But I got to be friends with Tiffany ham, who is an angel on the inside of another institution just happened. This one happened to be a public high school. And she loved the Enneagram. And she always welcomed me into her classroom. And the kids always understood exactly what we were talking about. And the graduating seniors who started who were using the Enneagram. She also had her kids do a write their own TED talk. She played mine and then they came in and I talked with them and then they they wrote their own life story or life purpose. And then the graduating seniors who were 18 got to come into San Quentin on a field trip. And so that was the sort of runway that we paved for coming in to actually do a pilot and There was just so it was, it was so crystal clear that this was going to be impactful that this work belong together that the school to prison pipeline was something that we could start to understand by being in a school and. And so we just started, it started a lot of the same ways that we just started in Belgium. And we just started, we didn't really have a violin or we had a workbook, we had a thumbs up, and we got a grant from the town that paid us to take about 220, juniors and seniors. And so we went, we took six classes.

Clay Tumey:

You said high school field trip into prison. And that's normal for us. And I promise somebody heard that and go, wait, what, maybe even rewind it to see if they actually heard that. And I know, you clarify that they did those who are 18, because that's just how old you have to be to go into jail. Voluntarily. You can go at any age otherwise, but what field trip to prison? Sounds pretty wild, especially taking in a bunch of, you know, teenagers. What was that? Like? Like? I? That's what I want to hear about?

Susan Olesek:

Yeah. Well, it wasn't like anything else. I would say that I had a sneak preview, because I have my two oldest kids had been coming in to San Quentin a couple of times, before with me through the project, that have been volunteering to doing different to do different things. And I had experienced them, just seeing it through their eyes, and then hearing them on the car ride home. And then that really came into our dinner table conversations. I knew it was very impactful. I also knew it was okay. And I had been teaching in San Quentin for years, the men in blue are so respectful, so honoring of anyone that came in and they absolutely fell off their chairs when they found out that I had brought my own children in. And they

Clay Tumey:

that's unusual to say the least by though people don't do that.

Susan Olesek:

Yeah, not everybody gets to experience what what happens in San Quentin and other institutions, too. It's not only there. But that's that was where we had access. And so I knew it was going to be magic. And I it was a classic example of following the green lights, because all we did was put it out as an offering. We had Steve Emmerich inside of San Quentin, who was another angel on the inside, who was the Community Resource Manager and everything was on the up and up, everybody had to be cleared, they all had to follow the dress code. A lot of them didn't and then couldn't. I'll tell you about that. And then we. So we had to have a whole bonafide visit. And it was a lot of coordination, a lot of licensed numbers and getting that and I know it's hard enough to get kids to turn in their homework assignments, nevermind that kind of security clearance. But they did. And on the day of they all showed up in their cars dressed all in black, because we said you know, you can't wear these seven colors. So might as well just wear a black. That's a real thing. By the way, it's a real thing. But inevitably, some kids showed up in shorts, that wasn't going to be okay. Or sweat pants, no sweat pants, no denim. And for high schoolers, that's like, Well, what else is there?

Clay Tumey:

And it's not just a matter of look, the look the part it's you can't wear anything that they might be wearing on the inside. Because things happen. Yeah, you can't come out with those clothes. Because theoretically, if I if I went in with blue jeans or whatever, or if I went in with something that they couldn't wear, I could swap with them, wear out their clothes, and now they have street clothes, which is obviously not something you want for someone who's incarcerated, if you're if you're worried about not letting them out or something like that, so

Susan Olesek:

and you can tell people that till you're blue in the face, but some people it just doesn't compute. And then inevitably, people end up with in the parking lot when the wrong thing. And I think it was Erin West who actually drove to target bought somebody another pair of pants or a different shirt or something and came back and we really worked hard to get everyone in because we knew how special it was going to be. Do

Rick Olesek:

you remember about that part? I just remember. I mean, it happened. I think it was two or three times where this end of year thing happened. And the other thing I think is important to note is that no one comes no one visits the our program as a visitor, everyone is a participant. So that's, that's a clearly stated thing. If you're coming to any program, whether it happens to be in San Quentin or any other place that we're doing this, you are you're you are going to be asked questions and you're going to be put on panel and you're going to be you know, you're gonna be part of the part of the class

Clay Tumey:

you're not just in an audience watching a show,

Rick Olesek:

right? This is not that's it's not that at all. In fact, they were on the panel, right and and There were some of the some of the kids and every one of the things that we did sat on panel, and the panel was made up of San Quentin folks and high school kids. And the questions were not, you know, they were not softball questions. They were questions about, Hey, what is what's it like to be your particular type? And? And what are some of the challenges of your particular type? And,

Susan Olesek:

and the tell me about the prison made for you in childhood? Right.

Rick Olesek:

And, and the lovely. I mean, the thing that's magic about it is to still to have people's eyes just go wide? Well, as people start to recognize the humanity of the of the exercise, and that the questions and the answers, you know, are so

David Daniels:

similar.

Rick Olesek:

And they see each other in each other. It's really magic. And it's in the other thing that's interesting about the San Quentin setup, at least for the ones when the when the 18 year olds were coming in, was that, in that particular room, everybody, there was about 60 men, and they all sit in a circle. So it's a pretty big circle. And so imagine, you know, 40 5060 men plus 20, high school kids, plus some chaperones, plus guides, plus, it's a big old circle, huge room. But everybody can see everybody, there's nobody hiding back in the back row. It's just one big circle. And then when we do panel, it's, the circle becomes a half circle. And the panel is at the front. There's a front.

Clay Tumey:

So so when you when you have there's, I have so many questions about the I wish I could talk to some of the I say kids, young adults who went maybe one day, I wonder, I'll just throw out a bunch of things that I wonder and you can pick whichever. Were there. Were there some who were excited, and then got there, and then were suddenly like afraid, or were there was there no fear? And whether you know anything to that to that side? And also, how, how much does a high school student, a young, a young adult? How much do they do they? You mentioned, there was a lot of similarities between the answers given regardless, that was one of the students or one of the one of the, the, the residents. Yeah. And I wonder it Hi, when I was in high school, I couldn't have answered as honestly as I can now about some things. And part of that was because I didn't want you to know. And then the other part was, I didn't know. So there are things that I can tell you now about my self, currently or as myself as a child that I couldn't articulate when I was a high school student. So how does that? How does that look, in your experience with with working with the high school students, when you're asked when they're paneling, or whatever?

Susan Olesek:

Well, I think they had a little warm up, because they've been working with the Enneagram for the year. And they really love it. They and their textbook is the same textbook, the wisdom of the Enneagram, in that book is a good one. So people really were already in their classroom on a panel already had been self disclosing had written their TED talk, they were in the curriculum, too. And that's why I think it wasn't as I don't know what to do with this question, they knew what the currency was in the room was to be able to drop in and be okay with not knowing and do your best. So I remember one panel in particular, or as a two panel, and then I think there was only one two that I recall from that class. And she was tiny. And she was flanked by two other. So the panel of five, two other men on either side of her and she was right in the middle. And so we had the questions. And you know, we're trying to we're trying to bring out, first of all, what's beautiful about the type? And that's the hardest question to answer. And so you have two men on either side of her talking about, you know, that twos are here to come to teach the rest of us about love. And they're giving real life examples about how that's true for them. And we want people to to answer that. And then they're also talking about how do you get in trouble with your personality? And And oftentimes, people take that answer, and they talk about what landed them in that institution. And so somebody was in for murder, and he's talking about that and that and then it comes to her. And she has definitely never heard that kind of answer before, or maybe entertained those exact questions. But what she did was get really flustered and not really have so quite quite the thing. And they stayed present to her. We all the whole room was a container for her. That's how we teach and how we roll. And but in particular, her compadres that were in it with her stayed very available, and and you don't need words to be able to convey that and she got to a deeper answer inside of herself. And as she came up That panel, she was just in a flush of just it's kind of elated at just what had what she just experienced. And it doesn't really even matter the details and that was the the way that everybody kind of moved through the room, it was only two hour class, you know, we break up and dyad exercises. Usually when we teach the type twos, we ask people to sit and turn knee to knee to the person opposite them and not say anything, but to just make eye contact for two minutes. And think about that, how much can transpire? And how present we know much presence as Russ, I love to quote him who who asked us this a long time ago, and which presents can you tolerate? And so when we, when we actually collected ourselves, and we got out of the room, and we're going all the way out? We sort of wrote a wave of how, and it went all the way out into the parking lot to I want to answer something, though, that you asked about, because I don't think there was anybody no, none of the kids were like, I'm not going to nobody was chickening out, everybody was really wanting to be there. There were people that just didn't show. And they had whatever High School happens, right. And they had things that conflicts that came up. But when they heard the report, the next day from the other kids, they're like, I can't believe I missed that. I will say there were probably a few parents that had some concerns, they had to obviously sign a permission slip. And we were coming out coming out of the classroom, this long walk from the class to the the, one of the clearance checkpoints at a gate. And then you go through something that's called a sally port, which has a big gate and and you enter into the, the in between space, there's another gate. So you're sort of like in this between holding space. And everybody has to show their ID. And so there's a lot of us, you probably have 30 people in that Sallyport is a very big one. But the gates are no joke. And they claim. And so we've already gone in through this. And now we're coming out through it.

Clay Tumey:

Kind of medieval It feels very old and loud and aggressive kinds of doors. Yeah,

Susan Olesek:

it's it's, it's no, it's big. And as we're in there, you know, we're all holding up our IDs. And the CEO who's behind the glass said is Emma with you do we have an Emma Jones, I can remember the person's actual name. And I'm like, What is going on? No one ever talks to us in there. We only ever show our ideas and we go in or out of never stopped and all the years have gone through. And one of the students is like, um, yeah, that's that's me thinking.

Clay Tumey:

You don't get to leave. I'm sorry. You messed up. When he

Susan Olesek:

says to her, your dad is on the phone. And he picks up the phone. No, no joke. It's got like a cord on it. And he takes it through the looks like those mail. You know, like the guy at a gas station, little metal door that comes out. He didn't you know, there wasn't like he puts it through the thing. And she takes it back out. She's She picks it up. She goes, Hi, Dad. No, I'm in San Quentin. And he just wanted to track her down.

Rick Olesek:

She says he says, No, I told mom. That was the quote that I was like I told mom,

Clay Tumey:

that's I would love to hear the rest of that story.

Rick Olesek:

You I'm sure there was a part to that story that we never got a hold of. But that was the that was the part that was the intro. That was

Susan Olesek:

the most trouble anybody got into in San Quentin.

Clay Tumey:

I'd be terrified if I was going through the Sallyport. And during the during, you know, we're especially on the way out. And they were wanting to ask. It's great to me clay Tumey Are you here? Like no, he's not.

Susan Olesek:

There was one of the only one other time like that, that I got a call when I was at the Hoover Dam from Steve Emmerich. And Steve never ever called me. I didn't think he even had my phone number. And it was because one of us had taken our brown cards out and not given it back at the door like we're supposed to. And those things never leave. So that was, you know, you don't often get stopped if you get stopped. It's because they have a question.

Clay Tumey:

What is the brown card?

Susan Olesek:

It's like a passport. It lets you get in and out of San Quentin, that shows that you're a volunteer with clearance so that you don't have to get re cleared every time you can have it for a year or a couple of years. Yeah.

Rick Olesek:

And trained. Yeah, yeah,

Clay Tumey:

it's a it's not just hey, can I have one as you get certified? You go through? I don't know the process. I don't I don't I don't have one. I don't even know if I can get one can I as a felon? I don't know what the process is. But it's not just like a regular, you know, thing.

Rick Olesek:

Right? You're basically that particular thing says, you're a volunteer with this organization. But actually, you're more than a volunteer, you're actually in charge of your volunteers, right? So you're going to be bringing other volunteers in, and you're in charge of them. And if you know any, so you need to know all the rules. And you need to, you know, be if anything happens. It's on you as the brown card holder.

Clay Tumey:

So one more question quick about the high school program and then we can move forward is, is that something that stuck around? Did we do? Did we do a second, third fourth,

Susan Olesek:

we weren't able to finish pilot because of the pandemic. So we stopped in March of 2020. And then we actually just were awarded a grant to go back into Los Gatos High School in 2020, to 23, to pilot our, our program again, and we're now in the process of looking at is that 191k? What will that look like? So we're really excited to be back. And we're gonna do that again in the same social justice English class.

Clay Tumey:

I didn't know that. That's kind of cool. Yeah, really cool. So in the next school year, that's right, for the whole year, for the whole year, and that'll be weekly.

Susan Olesek:

It'll be all Yeah, weekly for for two classes.

David Daniels:

That's pretty cool.

Clay Tumey:

Anything we want to say there before we move forward?

Rick Olesek:

I just I just want to say it, it's interesting, because the way that actually that came about is the way that lots of things come about, which is somebody did in this case, it was Susan does the same thing that happened in Elmwood, Susan, volunteers somewhere, and then at some point, and then it gets to a certain critical mass. And then people are like, let's do it for more people. Let's do it for and then and then, you know, so it goes from two classes a couple for a couple of years. And then it's like, 220 kids, right. And so now with 220, kids, you have to have four or five guides to go do that. The same thing had, like I said, the same thing happened in Elmwood, when we were in Elmwood, Susan went and she volunteered there for a couple years, before we actually got a grant to be able to do. It wasn't just Susan, Susan did it for a while. And then Susan Suzanne, David Daniels, and he was a again, this this whole, that's just kind of the way, I've been the way how do you get a grant? What's the process for that?

Clay Tumey:

To get funding to do these programs in either gels or high schools or wherever?

Rick Olesek:

So there's so many different ways. Usually, what what that is, it's all about is it's, you know, someone is saying that we have some amount of money to put towards some, you know, set of programs. And so then you have to say, Does my particular program meet these particular requirements? And then to be able to describe that in a way that the people who are awarding it to say, yes, we want you. And the things that they look at are how, you know, does the program meet their needs? But the other thing they look at is like, you know, what, what kind of organization? Are you? What, you know, what have you done in the past? What are your, what, you know,

Clay Tumey:

what would you say you do here,

Rick Olesek:

right? What are your What are your Bona fi days what it would? What says that? What, how can I sound? There's a lot of cya stuff in there, too. Right? It's like, How can I feel comfortable signing this assigning, signing off on this.

Clay Tumey:

So just to reset the point of the podcast is to tell the story of EPP. And it's been 10 years in the making officially, today on April 12. Or whenever this goes up. We're actually at the end of March when we're talking. And we've we've covered a lot. What have we missed? I mean, we we've gotten all the way up to the pandemic a little bit. Are there any pieces along the way that we haven't covered? Or any questions that we might not have answered?

Rick Olesek:

I think there's two big things that happened that, that I would love to just just reflect on. One of them is the IEA conference in Cincinnati. And the other one is the IEA conference in Oakland, because those were really the first two conferences are the first times when we actually brought a lot of people to a conference, and it would be good became a place for us to, to be in community with each other as well as to be in community with the, you know, the larger Enneagram community. Which one was first? Cincinnati was first.

Clay Tumey:

That was in 2016 1718 18. Yeah. 20 Do you have the list? Because I, so I can sound

Rick Olesek:

in Oakland was 2019. Yeah. And, and yeah, and it was was both of those were? Those are. Those were big deals for the for the, for the community for the organization, as a whole because there was a was really we traveled with a lot of with a lot of folks and

Clay Tumey:

put a number on that. And when you say a lot of folks, are we talking half a dozen 10 I was there. So I

Rick Olesek:

think the number I think we had, you know, when we were gathering in Cincinnati, I think we had like 25 or 30 people that went to the conference. And then when we went to Oakland, it was a lot more because there was just, you know, we were in our backyard, right? So lots of people were able to come and in the Oakland thing we also did the Blue Bottle events after you know, afterwards and then went and did a huge symposium thing at St. Quentin. And that was a big thing that happened after the conference. So it was those are two big. And, and, you know, I would be remiss if I didn't say that the, the, there was a really lovely, you know, thing that lots of people have reflected on where we met up on a patio in Oakland and and just in spent hours, just in community. So

Clay Tumey:

that's, that's my, that's my, I'll say my second favorite memory of any conference, and possibly anything EPP related was the patio of it. So it was the Saturday night party where everybody does, you know, all that, except me, I don't do that. And I actually went and just sat down, and somebody came and sat down with me, then somebody else, and then somebody else, and then somebody. And then hours later, there was, gosh, what 30 People out there probably, there was the whole patio at this hotel was was all our people, couches, you know, whatever, whatever,

Rick Olesek:

couches, fires, yeah, plenty of refreshments it was

Clay Tumey:

so it was so cool. And it was so late into the night of just talking and sharing and nothing formal. There was no, like, you know, director saying that this is what we do next. And we were just hanging out, having a good time and just saying stuff that was important to us. And yeah, there was tons of laughs, or tons of tears. And it was a good memory. Yeah. And I think

Rick Olesek:

that that was that was one of those places where we started to recognize or realize that, actually, we're not growing an organization. It might it might have, you know, we might be saying that we're growing a 501 C three organization, but we're not actually growing an organization, we're actually growing a community. We're part of a community. And, and then that's it, there's a difference.

Susan Olesek:

I always would say that a little differently, which is that EPP is growing all of us,

Unknown:

it's true to

Clay Tumey:

what is the difference between organization and community?

Rick Olesek:

Flip a new year and ask that question. I think that organization is I did I mean, I have only just kind of reflect here, I think the organization has a structure that feels we can we can all fall into a structure that we understand with regards to an organization or corporation or something where we're like, oh, I play a role. Or I have a, you know, a small part or something like that. But when you start talking about a community, community has really connection at its at its core. And yeah, and this, this, this concept of, we've been playing around with this concept for the last couple years, as we've been going through, you know, the teal stuff is this being and doing and, and, and how, in an organization, there's so much didn't needs to deliver your where you focus on the doing. And in a community there is there's really like, a lovely focus on the being doesn't mean that things don't need to get done, it just means that they get done through the being, to quote Halida

Susan Olesek:

The doing does get done in through the Bing.

Unknown:

That's truth. Right.

Rick Olesek:

And I think that there's this other part, which is like it actually there's like a higher order to this, where when, course, class courses, and, you know, classes are important, all these things that we're doing are important. They're important because they're, you know, their ways in which we're in the world and in doing the work that we're supposed to be doing. And, and the people that we're that the people that we're doing it with, we're enjoying that part, it's this enjoy the ride kind of thing. And it's so lovely to be in spaces, where you're like, Oh, I I really, I love the people that I get to be in spaces with and be in the work with. I love them and I love being in those spaces and and so there's, there's this there's a respect and a and a compassion for for everyone that we get to be and I think that it comes back for me to that to that patio. It's like Oh, that's right. Really, really love each other and want to be in the space together. And we don't want to go to bed, even if it's two in the morning or three in the morning who don't? Well, we don't want to some people peeled off because he started falling asleep on the patio. But you know

Susan Olesek:

think that the makeup and the high functioning of our board of directors is really noteworthy. And we are tiny. We're only a board of, we're only a board of five. And Eric's been with us the longest, I guess next to me. And I really enjoyed listening to his podcast I enjoyed.

Unknown:

The way that

Susan Olesek:

he came in, was because of our connection. And because our of our understanding as parents, right, our parenting is in the curriculum or parenting is in the, the bones of, of ultimately how all this stuff works and gets worked out. And we we've grown very, in tiny increments, but with big leaps, when we think about the people that have come in, and each new board member has brought so much to the project. And we we are at this place where we just we don't want to change a really good thing. But the addition of Alex Senegal to the board really did a number of things. And I think as soon as it happened, we all wished it had happened many years sooner, but I don't know that it could have. And I think that Alex, first of all, Alex saying yes, because it is a choice to take up the invitation to become a member of the Board of Directors hadn't been on a board before and didn't know what that entailed. And I would like to hear Alex share what that was like for him. But to I fell in love with Alex as a human being when I met him when he was in Elmwood correctional facility. And I already mentioned in here how he was sent to prison. And actually after Vic got out, I asked him to help me find Alex and he did because he's always been that kind of special soul. He's always been someone who really was a fixture of this project, even when he was on the inside of our community. And he, he had to do a lot to find his way back after after escaping a life sentence honestly and finding his way back into the world. And by the time he came onto the board it represented represented how solid he was inside of himself how much this work works, how much he it fills is what I want to say it filled a place. That was a massive gap. It was a lot like Sue Lambert coming into the faculty. It was a place where we started to see how much leadership mattered to the people who are the heart of our project. We say often that the ambassadors are the heart of EPP. And there was a question that we had on a townhall many years ago, where someone had asked this question I saw coming and I knew I didn't have a very good answer to the question. But I was going to answer the question anyway. And the question was, how do you empower people of color to have leadership roles within the organization? And I fumbled a little bit with the question I talked about how we aspire to have people on the inside, come out and train with us and become guides and go back in. But I didn't have a clear pathway in my mind. And I didn't have a good answer to that question. I invited an ambassador invited Rene to speak to it. He also sort of stumbled with the question. I took it back. And then later this, I got we got a lovely. And I do mean that we got a really thoughtful email from the person who posed the question saying how the lovely Susan Lessig. And then she used this word microaggression. And how I asked an ambassador to answer this question that I didn't have an answer for. And it really gave me pause. It made me wonder why I didn't have a good answer in the first place. And I wanted to go get a good answer not so that I would have it but because of that we would be it. And I also wasn't about to go rushing to put people in leadership roles. We're an aspiring to organization, we actually don't have a lot of hierarchies, but there are some natural ones in the board as a function. So when Alex said yes, it helped me to realize how much representation of ambassadors at the board level had always been missing. Like when Sue came on to faculty, and every time there was a discussion and Sue was now in the room, we could realize that that ambassadors weren't going to be missed there for the what we what we say we value wouldn't get omitted. And it was just until we had that happen. The other things in the organization that are now happening. We're also missing. In other words, now we've because of these, these two very important leaders in our organization who we met on the inside, now, we try to have an ambassador in as many meetings as we possibly can we try to have ambassadors as much as we can, in our public programming, we try to have ambassadors in the main room have a path of freedom, we do the ambassador, bring the ambassadors into our guide training program, because there's something that you can say clay that nobody else can say, unless they've lived through incarceration. So I just feel a lot of gratitude for Alex for being willing to be patient for us. And also for Alex being patient with himself until he had the readiness to, you know, for all of that to sort of come together.

Rick Olesek:

I am finding over the last couple years, as we've continued to lean in, more and more into bringing ambassadors into different spaces, just this incredible amount of lived experience that gets to be be present in in all the spaces and how it's so informative. And it's so it, it builds on itself. So because it is, it's, it's so clear, when it's not there. And it was something that as you're saying, Susan, it felt like it will maybe it wasn't that we didn't have the way to make it happen before. But maybe maybe we did. But certainly when I came alongside of like, starting to do the invitations, it was it was exactly right. And the more that that happens, the better the more grounded the project is.

Clay Tumey:

I have this tiny sense of pride that I experienced, as I hear both of you talk about that, as an ambassador myself, because I I'm on a very short list of people who was around 10 years ago. And I can remember I've talked about this plenty of times. So it's nothing new to hear this. But I remember when there was just a few of us. And I remember thinking, like, what's it going to look like in the future? You know, what's it going to be? How does How will one become an ambassador in the future? And things like that? And what purpose are we going to serve? Are we going to teach are we there's a lot of like, things that we would talk about among the three of us at that time. And, you know, then maybe the four of us or whatever, but it's fun to hear you talk about all the things, Susan about, you know, faculty and staff and board members and guides and, and all the different things that ambassadors are a part of now. And you mentioned that any any meeting, like, like, it's almost like you didn't say this, but this is how it feels that there's just this open door into practically any conversation where if there's not an ambassador, there's, there's a spot at the table. And it feels like that, as an ambassador, I absolutely feel that I'm just welcome everywhere. And I feel, and it's not like it's not like the kind of it's not like a past like, oh, there's you know, the exit give a shit about what I'm saying, or my input. And it's not just me. And hearing you talk about, you know, path to freedom and 91k and the programming, and there there is, there's a spot in every, every week, every class that happens, there's a spot for ambassadors to be in there as exemplars or as whatever. And not only that, but there is an ambassador scheduling that so like Renee schedules for nine p 1k. For the ambassadors to be a part of wherever there's a place to plug in an ambassador, and I've been helping with the path to freedom. So it's like, their stuff to do. And it's just cool. It's really, it's it's neat to see. And I don't even know if it's appropriate to say but I feel like saying it like these are also not just like us volunteering our time, like we're being compensated for our for our time and our energy. And it's, it feels like we don't just have a value in the in terms of our opinion. But we have like a we have a value in terms of the project is giving us money for work that we're doing, which is really cool. And I feel like I just feel very proud to know that that is that is what I'm affiliated with as a person. Like it's a big deal to me. And Alex is one of my favorite humans on the planet. And we could go for hours about just how amazing I think he is as a person, as a speaker, as a friend, as an ambassador as all that. And it's, it's it's neat to see him just kind of thrive and, you know, from our conversations, you know, he's my buddy so We've we've we've chatted, and I know there's some like technical limitations where when you've been locked up a certain amount of time, computers aren't that easy. And there's some things that you got to work through. And so for some people, and it's not to downgrade other board members at all, but for some people, it's easier to step into that role because of experience because of expertise because of whatever. And I don't know that it's always easy for an ambassador to step into a role. That might not have been anything that they've done before. And I just have, I have a lot of gratitude, and pride, and all the happy feels, when I think about that stuff. Because the big damn deal. So I, I'm, I'm happy to see the other ambassadors thrive in what they're doing. And I'm also like, I remember, so clearly, when it was just a few of us in a hotel room watching a video that was about to be played, and thinking like, it's a, it's gone from potential to reality. And, and to me, that's, that's the story of EPP, in this first decade, is I don't think there was a whole lot of doubt, at least not from those who were there, among us that the potential was there. But the potential potential turning into reality is just cool to see. Like, it's bananas, how many people there are? How many people? You know, when we, when we thought that how can we copy and paste? Susan, like, there's only one, Susan, we've talked about this on plenty of episodes. So it's nothing new that I'm repeating here that, like that was a real concern. And that's it's not now. And that, you know, how can we copy and paste data? Well, it's, it's, there's so many people, there's so many other people who can be themselves and we don't need another Susan, we don't need another Rick, we don't need another anything. We just need people as they are. And that's what makes the project what it is. That's that's, I can't say how special that is. Pretty cool.

Susan Olesek:

Well, it's a lot of gratitude to you for being willing to stick around, because it's been anything but smooth, right? We haven't had a file on anything that we've created, before we got there. And you said yesterday that you you know, you have this old story of someone who who doesn't stick around, but obviously that's not true. And you You did carve a pathway for the others who have also come, you know, alongside behind you, and alongside you, and then have also gone into different places. Like, I'd like to just mention, again, thinking about what Su has done because we haven't had another female ambassador and we haven't had another ambassador who has taken up so much of the curriculum, been able to teach it. So for sue to be actually teaching in the institution in which she was formerly incarcerated is magnificent. And not only that, she is apprenticing the majority of the guides who are now going back into that same facility. And she's like, we call her mama Sue, you know, Grandma Sue, because she's, she's got everybody under her wings, and she's tracking everybody. And she is absolutely lit up and full of joy to be in there. And she's amazing at it. So for that to be a real pathway. I'm I'm actually also very, very grateful for the question that I got in that town hall that really stopped me in my tracks, whoever that was shout out to you. And I can go look you up, pick us if we find that out. But I also am I'm glad that, that that's a change that has that has happened. I really admire Sue, for being that.

Clay Tumey:

I don't want to get to the end. But do we do we have more? I don't want to leave anything out. Like it's as

Rick Olesek:

long as there's a lot of things to be literally left out. And I'm sure as we reflect back, you know, there are places that we've been, you know, there are people in Australia and, you know, and in Belgium and France and the UK and Canada and, and all around the US, you know, the whole stuff with, you know, Minneapolis or, you know, with the Shakopee women's prison we haven't really talked about, but it's been another podcast and, you know, and Suzanne and infill. And I mean, there's so many things, right, how do you how do you? I mean, we, there hasn't been very much talking about Viva and I mean, there's, there's so many people, and I know that we're gonna leave people out, right. And then they've, some of them have had podcasts like, you know, like Laura and Robin and fed podcast, some of them haven't. Right, like Halida. So, so it's it's an interesting, it's an interesting thing, just to, to know that this is one or two days worth of discussions around some anecdotes that we can remember and recall for others, and there's lots of things that were missed, and that have other, you know, have resonance for others.

Clay Tumey:

Well, the good news is there's the pod Cast does not end here. And originally, you know, I committed to doing a year. And I didn't know that I would want to do it pass that originally in the beginning. And it's pretty easy to say that I do, like when I keep going forward with it. So you mentioned Halida, she, she will be one of the people that I speak with soon. Don't know when. And hopefully I get, you know, over to the other side of the world and speak with Viva and others that are over there. And maybe one day Australia will let me visit, you know, by the way, I mean, the government, not our people, right, because we know that I have an open door from them. But Australia, ironically, doesn't let felons into their country. So I poke jokes at that every opportunity I get. And maybe one day, I'll be, you know, allowed in there. But I want I so we can continue talking about the story of EPP. And we can, we can pause here to celebrate 10 years. And then we can continue in the future to keep telling all those stories. But this has been three and a half hours worth of dialogue. That's been very nice for me, I've enjoyed sitting down to talk with each of you. And thanks for letting me into your home yet again, I have no idea how many times up in here now. I can tell you, there's a guest book out in one of the one of the halfway house or the hen house, I forget which one where I can say the first time I was here a long time ago. Thanks for having me back. to chat with you both. I want to know, in as many words as you care to share what it what it means to you, Rick, to celebrate 10 years of Enneagram Prison Project.

David Daniels:

So

Rick Olesek:

one of the things that I've been noticing as, as we've been going through this pandemic, for sure, is that time seems so elastic. And you know, looking back 10 years to a space where, where it was, it was an idea and a dream for Susan, and that we were trying to navigate a lot of different, you know, personal and, you know, and organizational things. It seems a little bit like a blur. We were also at the same time raising children and you know, and so that was there was it was it was kind of like a blur. But what it means to me, I think is just that the I'm proud of Susan, for her vision and and the you know, she's she has borne a very heavy load over those 10 years, and we've talked about so many of the different things to make this a reality. And, and I'm really, I'm proud that I've been able to play a part in what wanted to transpire. And I've it's been it's, you know, Susan mentioned this whole, like EPP has been growing us, I feel, I feel like I am a very different person today than I was 10 years ago. And not just because I have great more gray hair. It's because it's because I have been able to, in that in that decade experience so much. So much of the people in our community, and the love and, and really be able to love myself in a way that that wasn't, wasn't clear to me at the time. And it just became clearer and clearer as I've kind of moved forward. And so some of that I can put down to, you know, just a little bit more of, you know, me aging, but I'd really feel what it feels like because it feels like being in the spaces and the intentional spaces, and being able to really step up into a space where I'm like, holding myself accountable for my own emotional responsibility and my own my own growth path has allowed so many things to help happen inside me. So I it's been it's been a blur, but I look back and I'm like I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago. And the project itself has changed and has grown and

Unknown:

Yeah. And so have I.

Clay Tumey:

Thank you. And also, Susan, I'll ask the same of you but one other also like, question one way to go with that because EPP this was your vision. In the beginning, this was your idea. This is what was on your heart. And, you know, we're, we're a decade later and into the, into the whole thing. And I don't see any time in the future in the near future at least that that's going to slow down or stop. So I for you to what is the EPP celebrating 10 years of EPP mean to you? And also, what is it that you want people to know about Enneagram Prison Project that they might not already know.

Susan Olesek:

For a long time. I don't know when we stopped saying EPP we're just in the starting blocks. We sat there for a long time. And then at some point, I stopped saying next I thought, Well, I think we're out of the starting blocks. We're definitely rolling and EVPs running. There's a lot of EDP that that doesn't need me or Rick to run. And that's not to say we're going anywhere. But it's nice to know that things don't need us because the whole The Division is really a success when it can go on and on and on. And I think at this point, I can say it will. Because there are too many other people who are passionate about what we're doing and have the know how and experience and everything's all so congealed together that I don't worry about that. I don't. And I feel like there's so much more to do. So, I think that this the thing that people may not know is that for a long time, as I was having a consulting life doing things as Susan Olesek I call myself a human potential just because I do see the human potential. But I was always 150 feet deep inside EPP in the prisons, doing all of that the pandemic has really changed because of all the things that we've talked about. What hasn't changed is the our desire to see the Enneagram in more spaces and places. And I feel that the next step for EPP is within the organization of the human potential lists with an S on the end the plural. And that's a benefit corporation that I founded last year, that's now also up and running. And it's like an end cap for what's going on with EPP. It's a way for us to take our compassionate curriculum and have it be infused into healing professions like coaching like mental health professions and like facilitators for other organizations that might not ever have this particular program in there, fill in the blank. And so we're trading guides and coaches and mental health practitioners to be able to have our Enneagram informed approach that was inspired in prison, to take it into markets all over the world. And our vision is to democratize the Enneagram and to connect people to the core of our shared humanity. And when I say that, I mean, what we learned in prison with You, what I learned in prison with, with Alex and with Sue, and with Jeff and Renee and all the other ambassadors that have come since then. And I feel that there are places in the world systems that are run by people who have all the privilege and all the power and all the resources that need to frankly pay for the program in order to understand the value of what they're getting. And that value, when it is when there's an exchange monetarily like that, and a portion of the proceeds can go back into social justice organizations like EPP and who who will benefit from from that and need to so I feel like that's, that's the full circle that people may not know is also currently happening. And I'm really excited to be seeing that part fill out. Because there's nothing like being taught by somebody who got their chops, teaching it in prison. And I'm really proud of our guides who can go and do that. I see. Other coaches have this compassionate approach and their coaching as well is I think there's a such a big need, the world is really hurting coming out of this pandemic. And we are, we are not only not done, we see so many more places that this is going to help people to really bridge what we've been seeing for for the last decade. But the importance of connecting people from from both different communities and our community Weaver Halida Hatic has had such a profound influence on how to tie those things up together and see the bigness of that and her eight way and I I can just feel that that's the momentum that we're writing. So I It feels damn good. I gotta say that feels I'm, I am proud of, of what we've all accomplished together. I'm I'm honored by the ambassador's who said yes, on the inside, when there were there was nothing that we could show them. Nothing that we could say, we could only share the field of love and hope that was enough. And it has been.

Clay Tumey:

Well, congratulations, on 10 years of Enneagram Prison Project been pretty damn good as the fist bump across the room and to each other. And of course, that's going to bring this episode to an end, almost. Thank you both, again, for everything. I just will just say everything.

Rick Olesek:

You know, I've given I've been able to sit with my thoughts a little more about the community stuff that you asked earlier. And I really feel like one of the things that's been really lovely to watch, over this last couple years, is the interconnectedness of everyone in the organization slash community. And and I've said this on a couple different calls. But there's this thing that's happening in our teal aspiring organization, where it's moving away from a hierarchy, and it's moving away from like a hub and spoke. And it really is more of this, all these cross connections. And I just, I think that that is the thing that there's, there's so much magic there, when, when we get to when when people get to have all of these different relationships, and the relationships don't have to be centered

Unknown:

around,

Rick Olesek:

you know, a founder or around an executive director or around a board, that can actually be you know, so, so spread out and, and all of those interconnections actually makes the fabric so much stronger. And that's something that's just been sitting with me for so long. These last couple years, we've been kind of going through the pandemic, and going through our public programming, and doing all this stuff with, with having people in different spaces. It's just an important facet that I just want to just call out. And how really that is what what ebp is now is this is this whole fabric of connections, interconnections. So that's what it was on my heart,

Susan Olesek:

it feels like you're describing you started off a little bit with a loved one. And I think I'll end on the love seven, which is two things I've learned about the law of seven right out of the gate is that nothing happens in a straight line. And nothing stays the same things are always changing. And I know that when sometimes that happens over the law of seven can refer to something that can happen over just a few seconds or a few decades. And in this case, one whole decade, I can see a an arc of different moments, shock points, things that have happened external to us where that have called us into ourselves, to take a step towards herself and to hold presence and not reject the moment so that we could become something beyond where we were in that moment. And that that continues to happen. And I can feel that in the especially since the pandemic when we have changed so much about our model and how we operate and how people have been able to, to be trained and to take this work back out into the world. We're about to see a scaling and an expansion like we've never seen. And I feel so excited about that, like kind of holding hands all of us and like let's just jump and go. And I I want to stay so present, because I don't want to miss any of it. Here's the person who has put up with me the longest and who has believed in me the most long before I could ever believe in me. I like to think Barbara Whiteside was my first Enneagram teacher, and David Daniels and Helen Palmer and Russ Hudson and Don Russo. And all of those people who just understand long before their students come to them what it is they have a hold of me of final word.

Clay Tumey:

I matter I make a difference and who I am today is important. Okay. Let's be clear about that. I'm doing well. And I'm doing it the right way. And that's because of the change that happened when I was in prison. Without a doubt, there's somebody there right now, it doesn't matter how they got there. It doesn't matter why they're there. And it doesn't matter how long they're there. They're clueless to who they can become clueless, because it hasn't been brought to them. You have a chance to help that happen. If you're here and you can hear me, this is your opportunity to be a part of something. Don't walk out until you've fulfilled that chance. Okay.

Susan Olesek:

And thank you very much for being here today.

Clay Tumey:

For more information about EPP, please visit Enneagram prison project.org We appreciate your time and attention today. Stay tuned for future episodes, which you can expect on the 12th of every month as we continue to tell the story of Enneagram Prison Project