Enneagram Prison Project (EPP) Podcast

Episode 11: Alone Together

January 12, 2022 EPP and friends - hosted by Clay Tumey Season 1 Episode 11
Enneagram Prison Project (EPP) Podcast
Episode 11: Alone Together
Show Notes Transcript

Tara Meehan is a long-time supporter of Enneagram Prison Project and also a member of our board.  In this episode, EPP Ambassador Clay Tumey visits California and sits down for a conversation with Tara to discuss everything from life as Type Seven to the joy associated with generosity.

Clay Tumey:

Hi, my name is Clay Tumey and I am an ambassador for Enneagram Prison Project. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we thought it'd be good to sit down and have a chat with all the people who've had a major impact along the way with EPP. And today's episode, I traveled to California and sit down for a chat with longtime supporter and a member of the board, Tara Meehan.

Tara Meehan:

I'm just waiting for you to pick up and sing

Clay Tumey:

or pick up or sing. Yeah, what are we singing about? I don't know.

Tara Meehan:

The music and as a typical session, I was like, I want him to get back to music.

Clay Tumey:

We, I you know, it's funny. I was talking about music with. We went out to dinner last night. Rick, Susan, Gavin, and Quinn and myself and music came up. Because Susan was like, you know, thank the boys know that much about your music. Like your background? Well, yeah, it was a long time ago. And I don't like I don't have any. I don't have any ill feelings about my music days, so to speak. But I also have clean from all that. And I don't even I don't even have most of the instruments that I used to have. Because I play I'm a drummer.

Tara Meehan:

Totally different. You played all the different parts by yourself. I thought that was so cool.

Clay Tumey:

And it was fun in that was one of the things before before I went to prison because I knew I was going to be turning myself in and all that stuff. So I got rid of everything. Before I turned myself in, because I knew I'd be gone. And I just didn't want to store stuff everywhere. And then when I got out, I just, you know, I still have a few guitars. You know, like one of my sons is kind of he's kind of interested in playing guitar, so I'll play with him. But I don't I don't play too much anymore.

Tara Meehan:

So you'd like to listen to music? Because I remember you said you're so excited when you when Robin came up with the music for the podcast. Is it Robin?

Clay Tumey:

Yes, it was Robin and I I love so much the song that he chose for the podcast, if I were to do and I've said this probably before, but if I were to do, like, if I were to do the music for the podcast, that's pretty close to what I mean, I would have done that type of like kind of hard driving, you know, rock kind of sound. Which is funny because it doesn't really fit what you usually hear. And most like Enneagram circles. Yeah, that's true. I really like hard rock kind of world. Yeah, I

Tara Meehan:

love it. This is a new leg. Cool. Yeah.

Clay Tumey:

Well, I love it, too. I'm right there with you. And I don't know where he got where he got it. But I love it. The first time I heard it. I was like, Oh, hell yeah. Like this is this is what's up. Um, before we go too far. Who am I talking to? today? We, you know, I don't do like the formal introduction. I just, we hit record. And then we decide later where this I

Tara Meehan:

didn't? Yeah, exactly. It's like, oh, wow, we've already sauce. So this is

Clay Tumey:

kind of how it goes. And there's no there's no limits to where the conversation might go. And I'm open to whatever you're open to. And it's not like a formal me asking you. It's not an interrogation. It's a conversation. So feel free to ask or any new thoughts that you have comes up along the way. But first, who are we talking to today?

Tara Meehan:

My name is Tara Meehan. I'm British, originally also half Swiss. I moved to California with my husband and my three amazing daughters in 2009. And I'm a Type Seven, the social Type Seven on their Enneagram. And I met Susan very early on, because she she was invited by a friend of hers to be a facilitator for a group that I was part of. And I was so impacted by learning about myself and my husband and my girls. And I just became really fascinated by how brilliant it was to have an understanding of why how I react to things and how I could think about how my children would react and my husband too. So then I said, Oh, well, I want her learn more. And Susan said, Well, this isn't my real job. My real job is I teach inside prisons. And so she she took me in. And I remember she did one of those repeating questions. And I was I was standing in I think it was downward. And there was the sky opposite me covered in tattoos like way taller than I was and I was looking for him. I would know it wasn't a repeating question. It was you have to look into their eyes for two minutes without seeing anything Yeah. And, and I'm somehow I'm the type person I used to find that really, really hard. And I remember I was at some, some retreat, and we had to go round in a big circle and two circles in opposite directions. And we had to look into people's eyes for like, just maybe five seconds as we're walking around, and I ended up bursting into tears. So I wasn't quite sure how I was going to react to this. And it was just, it was kind of like this moment of complete stillness, and complete heart opening. And I was like bloody hell, this is amazing. And then because it was jail, rather than prison, it was interesting, because I had been, I have been many times into San Quentin since then. And there's a certain I found in the jail classes as a sudden energy because people haven't necessarily gone through the class. And they may be leaving any minute and but even still, it was like the class itself was, you could tell the people who've done the course before, but there was this sort of energy. And then in that moment, there's two minutes it was like, like a vortex of stillness. It was crazy.

Clay Tumey:

When you when you talk about the difference between jail and prison on, I know the difference. A lot of people might not. So what what is the difference to somebody who might not be super familiar with the world of incarceration between jail and prison? And why are they different?

Tara Meehan:

Well, you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that you're in jail. During the sentencing period, you may well not have been sentenced, you may have just been sentenced. And you and you could be there for a long time, many years. And you could even end up finishing your whole sentence there. But there's this very, there's this nature of people coming in and out and coming and going and leaving. And as I understand it, the correctional officers there and their administration, they don't have a chance to I mean, they feel that movement, too. And so that, so those are probably, there's less relationships and probably less kindness in a way if there's going to be any sort of kindness and carceral system, or any sort of understanding of people that it's not there in jail. And you arrive, as I understand it, people come in and you don't even know who your people are, and you don't know the rules. And I think Lance was mentioning it with his son, right. So I think it's just a place of upheaval all the time, and probably fear and anxiety. And prison is you know, I mean, I'm an abolitionist, so it's hard to even talk about it. But prison, you know where you are, and you know how long you're there. And you can begin to find a sort of routine and decide how you're going to be in a place where as I, as I understand it in jail, that really rarely happens. And I think, was it an ailment they had the aarC and that was kind of like a community, which provided a bit more a bit more solidity. And I think we were teaching aarC so it was slightly, it was slightly, perhaps slightly better than some of the other places.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, I think I have I've visited on what I've never been locked up there. And I don't remember all the programs they have. But I know that you have a lot of good stuff. And you know that that's exactly, that's exactly the difference between jail and prison with one tiny addition to the jail side of it, it's possible for you to be there and not be guilty, because that's where people are after they're arrested waiting for trial sometimes

Tara Meehan:

could be a long time, right?

Clay Tumey:

It could be, it could be it could be years. And in California, you can do your whole sentence there. In Texas, not so much. And then other states are different. But for the most part, yeah, when you get arrested, you go to jail. And then you're either waiting for trial, or you've already been sentenced. And so you're waiting for what we say waiting to catch the chain to go to prison. And it's, it's, it's a lot, it's a lot more stressful, it's a lot more anxiety, like, like you said, people don't always know, a if they're getting out or be when they're getting out or anything like that. And it's also where it's the first step beyond freedom. So in prison guys have been there for men and women have been there for years, most of the time. And so it's, it has a chance to like settle, you know, everybody can just kind of like settle into their life. Whereas in jail, it's very, you know, you might have you might see somebody coming in who they were just free like two hours ago. So it's super a lot more fights a lot more. Just a confused aggression, you know? And it's, it's not super fun. So, when you when you met Susan, and she, you first heard of the Intagram Was that your first exposure of any kind to Yeah, yeah. So did you notice anything? Or do you have any memories of immediately connecting? Something that you learned with an experience in the past that you couldn't quite explain? So like, for me, I had a lot of things as a five that I always knew were there. But I didn't know, I didn't know what the hell that was all about. And then when I started learning about Type Five, like, oh, yeah, of course, that makes total sense. Do you remember anything like that?

Tara Meehan:

Yeah, I think the, the options. And so the seven always likes to have options. And it's this sort of the Joker's they prefer a buffet to a to a restaurant, you know, with a fixed menu. And we do we do in our family have this. I'm one of four children. So there's six of us in the family. We whenever we go to a restaurant, this, there's like this massive bartering about who's going to share what with whom, and, you know, chaos and shouting all around. And my, my middle child actually did a whole art piece on the art of ordering with the law, it's so so I think that was definitely something that came out. And also the avoidance of pain, like I was somebody who would say, you can, you don't need to have the pain to be able to appreciate the joy because a lot of people say, Well, you need to have the doctor understand the light. And for a long time, I was like, Nope, definitely not definitely not. And whenever I felt anything that made me sad or painful, I would immediately find a way to distract myself, you know, immediately, I would never even think about looking at what was happening and why it was happening. And maybe that's trying to tell me something. And I think that even when I learned about the Enneagram, for a long time, I was still feeling that way even. It took me a long time. And I think it was probably because of Susan and all her teachings. And everybody else I met through the process. For me to, to realize it's important to look at the things that make me feel sad, really important. And then one of the most fascinating things recently is my daughter, Ola, who initially decided she was a three like her dad, and recently decided she was a four in terms of parenting her, and also all three of my children, but specifically her. She had a moment, you know, during COVID. And it was just a lot it was she had a hard moment and, and I was always trying to make her feel better. And so I could do it within myself, but I hadn't made the connection to actually, I have to be still and not immediately say, Well, how about this, or I wasn't necessarily trying to say, oh, it's not so bad. I was definitely appreciating her feelings, but I was trying to find ways to help loot, get rid of them get get away from them. And of course, the four finds that have super creative places authentic, it's meaningful, it's a place to understand who I am. And, and it's funny because I I've had moments of deep sadness recently. And I find with my wife parenting, that something will come up come to me something will happen to me in my life and and then it'll be directly related to understanding one of my children. And in this case, it really helped me understand her but also my middle daughter, who's a nine who is relatively introverted, and has a very deep soul herself. And she doesn't necessarily want to be helped to be better. I mean, of course, we shouldn't really be helping any of our children we should just be listening to them and supporting them in what they want. But I'm so so high energy and so positive that I always want to help other people be happy.

Clay Tumey:

Do you think you do you overrun people with energy? Definitely, yeah.

Tara Meehan:

Yeah, I think I think I can sometimes feel myself it's like being on a merry go round. Like if I get if I'm somewhere, like burning FOMO It is fun. It's definitely fun. I think it's, it's, it's sweet Susan and I we've we've been to a couple of events where there's big events. So there's a lot of things going on and and I always like to say I bring out her seven because once go to seven. And so I think sometimes it's a huge asset because I can help people or bring people along and I'm I'm very much, very much stick together with someone I would never say here, go and do this. It's really fun. We do it as a parent, it'd be really fun. And I think that's a great asset. But I also think sometimes I can I mean, even in a conversation like this, I can start talking, talking, talking, talking and speed off and that can be overwhelming for sure. And I've learned in the interim, to also be able to be very style and to really lesson

Clay Tumey:

so that it comes naturally for someone like me and perhaps someone like your daughter who's the nine to just chill. Like that's the natural move for us. So it's it's tough for me to totally understand Why would be work to go to that, you know, to work naturally if you're energetic all that stuff, but for someone who is naturally that? How do you how I mean, that's

Tara Meehan:

who I Concha not having? Well, I can, I can be very sore. If I'm listening to someone, if I'm having a one to one conversation. I will mostly actually really ask them questions and have have them do all the speaking. Because I'm just fascinated by people in general. And I love learning about people and who they are.

Clay Tumey:

Does that make this kind of exchange? A little different? Where you're the one? So, so far, at least? Yeah.

Tara Meehan:

Well, I did ask you about the music. And I was gonna comment on your I listened to the interview with Robin and Heather. But obviously, I didn't Heather as a seven. And it was right here. By the way, I noticed that she she was asked she was turning it around a lot on

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, she was awesome. I love it. I think it's fun. Especially, I don't know why it feels more conversational that way, just as a, for lack of a better phrase, just as a product, the podcast itself, but it's also more fun, because it's I don't, I don't always know what the hell to talk about. Like, we, you know, we've like, I always kind of make jokes that I don't make notes, I don't prepare. And as you can see here, there's we're just sitting across from each other chatting. So there's a whole lot of reasons that I like it. But also, I think that you can learn a lot from someone by the question, the questions that they're even asking, so I tend to be fairly withheld with myself anyways. But when someone is asking me questions, I'm learning about them, even though they're the ones asking me and I find that I just think it's fun. I think it's enjoyable. So maybe in future future iterations of the podcast, we'll we'll have some kind of way to like, involve more of that, because I think it's fun. And I said it before. And I'll say it again, feel free to ask anything at any point in our conversation today help you feel free to

Tara Meehan:

Yeah, no, I do. And I love the fact that I sometimes say the five is exact opposite of the seven, but at the same time, we're connected. Yeah. And so the whole chill factor, you know, I'm, I realized that's important. Because then I can hear things about myself that are not the sort of shiny golden parts, like what I quote. Well, I have this huge fear of being alone, and of being abandoned, but I think ultimately, it's of being alone. And I've been working on that for a long time trying to understand what it means. We did have, we had a really funny moment, I hope they don't mind me sharing the story. But we, we went to Aslan, a group of a large number of us from EPP went to Iceland to do a Russ Hudson workshop. And it was just so, so wonderful to have five days with all these incredible people who some of you might know quite well, and some of whom I was getting to know. And just to be in that space. And Russ is just, I mean, talk about five going to seven, Russ Hudson would be the ultimate example. And, and Laura, and Rick and I are all sevens. And we had a moment I can't remember what he was talking about. It was the heart types. And we had a moment where I think I was crying and Laura was crying. We're both sort of all in this little huddle, the three of us and Rick was there sort of being the gentle giant and and we were all saying we all have to work on being more alone. And I said, Well, can we just be alone together and it was just such a beautiful moment. And I think Laura sexual and Rick thinks he's self preserving. So it was also through different subtypes. And social as I'm a social subtype, and it was just such a special moment of, of being together with two other sevens and, but also we're all feeling really sad. And that's just not what we do. So it felt like such a genuine, sort of deep place to be together. It was so nice.

Clay Tumey:

Where, how long did the set? I don't know if I'm asking an Okay, question. But how if you were in a place of sadness, where you've were you trying to find a way out of it, or were you just kind of comfortably sitting in it for a while? How did that how did that feel? For you, or as the group? Sure,

Tara Meehan:

yeah, I mean, we were together. Probably it was after the end of class and we had just kind of sat there for 10 minutes or so and then when we went down, but I think I think with all these things, I don't know if you've seen the video, it's not about the nail. This hysterical video at Everyone should just go look it up. But it's about being being able to say how you're feeling without somebody trying to fix it. And of course, you know, that's my immediate go to. And we in that moment, it was not like that we were just together and appreciating each other and appreciating the vulnerability and. And real, I guess it was nice to realize that it's not so bad, and you can be sad. And if there are people around you, then it's not as sad as if you're doing it by yourself. Also,

Clay Tumey:

like the question, I just like it as a, it's just a fun phrase, Kitt, can we all be alone together? Like it's, it just has a nice ring to it? I don't know

Tara Meehan:

how that might suit you as a five.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah, well, the thing, that's the funny thing about and you mentioned a second ago about how that seven and five can be opposite in a lot of ways. But it's, and I agree, it's funny to see that we, so I have a similar fear of being alone. And for me, it's a matter of, I think we both share a problem. And we don't share a solution or we don't share a journey in finding the solution. So I am more likely to completely withdraw into the Batcave and disappear from everybody and then force myself into being alone. Because I, that it's, it's an odd way of describing it, but I fight loneliness by being by myself, and not worrying about creating relationships that I might lose. And then the loneliness is like super real. So if I, if I'm already by myself all the time, I don't have to worry about loneliness, because I've already, like beat myself to the punch, if it makes any sense. It's, it's, it's how it's how it feels for me. And I expect that to be bizarre to most people. And I would suspect that at least a few people might relate to that I like it might also be a control thing or a power thing, where I don't want the loneliness to be the result of the outside role, you know, putting I'm putting on myself, and then I take away the power for anybody else to do it. And it's not a fun. It's not a fun thing.

Tara Meehan:

But you're so you're, you're are you doing that because you start to feel it and you're like, Okay, if this is coming on, I'm going to go through the fire and get at the other end rather than distracting myself in of cooling dialing a friend to get rid of it that way.

Clay Tumey:

Um, I don't know, I think, um, I think I I don't, I don't always trust other people to be able to get me out of anything. First of all, I don't I don't always trust that those who love me are capable of helping me, which is a bummer. It's on me. But I don't know it's I don't I don't know that I like immediately can answer the question because it's a pretty, it's a pretty big one. I will say that I I have the art of distraction. Just as well as a lot of sevens do. I think it's just a little for me, it's more like instead of a partying outward energy, doing things with people kind of a deal. It's it's more like, what can I nerd out? Over? What kind of spreadsheets can I get lost in? Or what kind of books? Can I read? Or? Or whatever? So I don't know, that's a fun one. It's a fun one to look at. And think about because because I don't I don't immediately have the answer to the question. I don't think so. Oh, no.

Tara Meehan:

What do you think about this, this whole concept of that, ultimately, the journey is to realize that we have everything within ourselves that we need. And then if we can truly understand and see the whole of ourselves and love the whole of ourselves and know that everything we need is right here, then going out into the world with that knowledge and understanding allows us to be free, and allows us to be in the present moment. And not project like I know for sure that I project I'm learning to project less on my husband and my children, them reflecting my value back to me and who I am. And I get so much feedback about you know, how people love me and how wonderful I am and somehow I still don't believe it which and so the the work for me is to see who I am inside myself and that all of that is true and and then I'm not relying on it from the outside. And then then everything on the outside just becomes joy.

Clay Tumey:

Yeah. First of all, I believe I agree with all that and I believe I believe that when it comes to especially like the Enneagram and the different types, I think we have all of it in us and it's just what do we go to naturally because it's comfortable. And I don't think that comfort is always our friend. So if For me, the thing that is, the thing that is comfortable for me is why I call myself a five. The reality is, I could just as easily go out and experience life. And the joys that come along with being a seven, like I could I, if I would, if I would get rid of this idea that I have to be comfortable. In my, in my five minutes, for lack of a better phrase, I totally have the capacity to do what a seven would call comfortable. And that goes both ways. It's the same for the seven to the five, or, or any of the types, pick any two types, pick all nine types, I believe, I believe that's how it works. I believe that's how we are. And that's been one of the one of the more enjoyable things about learning. And like meeting people of all the different types who exist who experience life in a way. But like, I kind of want to do more of that. So like you mentioned earlier, picking, you know, dinner like, buffets are like the preference of the seven a lot of times. And I, I don't necessarily like I like like, I'm very simple in my tastes like I like things. And I don't always experience new things, because it's the opposite of the buffet. So, for me, it's on me to be like, I'm going to do the buffet. And I'm going to experience life outside of my comfort zone. And so I don't know if that answers the question, but I think I think that that is I think that's like a step closer to happiness, and ultimately just being healthy, and living in the world in a way that that would benefit. Everybody, including myself. So I don't know, does that answer the question?

Tara Meehan:

I can't remember the question. I think we're talking about finding everything inside. And then

Clay Tumey:

I think it's there. Yeah, yeah, I think I think we all have what we need. And it's just a matter of finding it. And, you know, like, I tell people all the time, I'm not a different person than I was before prison. Like, I'm the same guy. I make different choices. I have different. I have different opinions about things. And I've learned things, but the same thing that made me Okay, with robbing banks, I still have all that I just don't, I don't use it for that. I haven't, like magically switched my brain into a better mode, it's still still sport mode. You know, and I don't, I don't, I don't expect that that will ever change. So, but what I have learned is, you know, like, looking around me and saying, you know that this person from this type is living a kind of happiness, I kind of want a piece of that. So I just try to find that in myself. It's not so much mimicking them. It's just finding what I already have. So that's my, that's my thoughts on that. So the purpose of the podcast is to tell the story of EPP you told and in you met Susan, at a non prison related Enneagram workshop set affair. Yeah. And then you went in to jail for the first time? Yes. What is it about? This the incarcerated that that? Well, I don't want to put words in your mouth and say that that drew you in because you haven't said that yet. But I'm just kind of assuming that you were drawn into the, to the prison to the prison world to some extent. And then and in the effort to tell the story of EPP. Like, where do you fit into that story? What What brought you along? And who are you today? With with project?

Tara Meehan:

Well, I think I think I was it Susan brought me along. So if Susan said, Well, I do this work in hospice, or if I do this work, anywhere, you know, I do this work in high schools, I would have gone long. There is a there there is I do well, there is this obviously curiosity around prison for I think most people just what does that mean? Exactly? And I know that if I'm going to some sort of event and the lots of people and I say what if Enneagram Prison Project or have a tag that says that? I mean, people are immediately like, what, what is the Enneagram? And what are they what do they do? So I certainly when she said that I was like, Oh wow, that's something I never thought I would experience. So but it was Susan was the drawer. It wasn't in the Enneagram. And then I went several times into Almaden, San Mateo. And then eventually I went into San Quentin. And I was going probably, I got a brand card in the end which allows you to go in without having to get permission every time they sort of fingerprint you and do background

Clay Tumey:

checks on card is the get into jail free way.

Tara Meehan:

And and you if you lose it your adoption if you if you lose your driver's license, I lost my driver's license once in the car park and I didn't know where I'd lost it. And it was just like a huge drama. It was terrible. Oh, my God, anyway. And I'll tell the story from San Quentin. Because they're the students have have often been there before. And obviously, as you said, everyone's there for a long time. And there's so much wisdom. And so we were in a class and there were 40 people. And I don't know if I don't know if someone's mentioned this before on the podcast. But if you're lucky enough to go into visit, you're part of the class, you're not an observer. Yeah, another guest. Yeah, you're participating big time you're answering questions you're doing, you know, I mentioned the, the dyad that we did. And I went in, and I was on the seven panel. And so we teach the Enneagram. By panel. So there were eight of us. And there were five inside people and three free people, as they call us, and maybe four but it was Rick, Susan and me, a Rick, Laura and I. So the three who we were together. And as Susan was asking the questions, and I had seen other panels before, but because the seven has like the last number to come around, as finally at the end of the class, and I was on the panel. And Susan was asking the questions, and and I obviously had seen panels before, but the questions were being answered, and I was the last person on the on the panel. And I saw that we were answering the questions the same. Yeah. And the stories were very different. We were asking answering questions the same and it was just like this. It was like such a visceral realization to me, I was like, and I and I already had a deep affection for all this, the students there. And it's such a beautiful place to be in terms of just speaking with people and having this understanding about, you know, any thoughts you might have around somebody who's incarcerated, like, they're obliterated, because the stories you hear and the the hearts you feel, I mean, obviously, as people who are choosing to do this work. And I just started crying, and Susan was like, why are you crying, and I was so deeply touched. And, and I said that and I said, and I also realized that I have so much compassion for all the people in the room, and I don't have that compassion for myself. And she said, she said, look around the room, and there were 40 men in blue, and they were all looking at me. And I just started crying all the more because it was like, they were looking at me with such love and like, open hearts. And I was just like, This is crazy. And I just fell, I've know already was in love, but then I was totally in love with the whole process. And sorry, and I and the thing I love about EPP now is that I'm lucky enough to be on the board. And the community and it's been talked about in the other podcast the community we've created by also teaching on the outside without nine prisons, one key program the path of freedom. Like any meeting, you go into any gathering we have, you can walk up to somebody and you know, you're going to have a deep conversation, a heart connection, and people are going to be true. And when you get used to that suddenly, all the sort of banal conversations you have outside and, and and the people you that, that I spend time with, I realize I really want to spend time with people who are who are willing, even if they don't know how to do it right now who are willing to be present and truly themselves and to listen. And the thing I love most about EPP is that it's actually a new way of being in the world. It's a new way of being in community. It's a new way of having understanding that we're all the same. And we all have the same hopes and dreams and those of us who have been thrown into life circumstances. That means they end up in prison or in jail. You know, it could be any of us at any point. And and my wish, and my job is to is to help raise money for EPP and to to help people who are like me understand that prison is not the way forward and half the people there, you know, all of them that if they had been just given a small amount of love and affection, and if they'd been seen and been given more opportunities. No, they just they just get cut off at the knees and sent away and forgotten

Clay Tumey:

and So, yeah, I want to ask more about a couple of the last things you mentioned there. But first, thank you for sharing that the experience of being on the panel. And what that's like. I've been around a couple of those, and especially on the inside, and I guess it this might not be true for some people, but for me things feel a bit more real sometimes. 100% on the inside. Yeah. And I would venture a guess to say it doesn't always feel like prison sometimes for for everybody there. Once were in a class and doing like panels like I don't. I don't always feel like I'm being stared at by room of inmates. It's just people. It's just hearts, just people who are, like you said, they're just, they're open, and they're loving. And they're accepting us. I saw thank you for sharing all that

Tara Meehan:

I have, I have said several times that it does feel more real. Because because there's nowhere to go. And so you have to go in inside your heart. But, you know, we choose to because it's the same thing about meditation, if there's a large group of people doing the same thing. It's like, super amplified. And, and you really feel it, I really feel it. Do you

Clay Tumey:

find it easier to be present to the, to the room to the people to the group? On the inside? Because there are no distractions? Like, there's no cell phones? There's no, there's you can't just get up and leave the room. Does that? Does that contribute at all?

Tara Meehan:

No, no, no, I think, I think for me, if we're talking about something deep and heartfelt, I'm, I'm super, super present. And that could be any number of things going on around me. I think for me, when you're, when I'm inside, I think there's an intention and being there. For the students. And obviously, for those who are visiting. And then it's that everyone is, I think it's the combination of multiple people being present, it's not very often you get that. So I can do it one to one. And that's it. And I'm still very focused, but there is this, you know, it's like, a circle of energy that we're all connected. It's like when Susan says, Put your attention to the center of the room center, put your attention to book reading distance, pay attention into your heart, I think, I mean, it's the whole idea of the power of collective prayer, or any of this stuff is that the collective nature of everyone there is in that same field, is what makes it really powerful and really true. It's like Time stands still. Yeah,

Clay Tumey:

that was my first centering practice that I had ever experienced when she came in to the prison where I was, and I had never done I grew up in church, I've been a part of like, prayer circles and stuff like that, but I've never done like a, like a, like a legit centering practice where, you know, relax, get on crossed, you know, and just, it's, I always thought centering was about zoning out and like, you know, going somewhere else, whatever. And it's the opposite, actually. And it's about placing your attention, ultimately, where it needs to be. But it starts with, you know, like, with, I remember exactly where I was sitting in the classroom, you know, and, you know, place your attention at the, at the wall at the far side of the room. And then it's, you know, bring it in about halfway, and then now to the center of the room. And exactly, word for word, what you just said book, reading distance, and then into yourself. And I was I was actually kind of scared. Like, I was a little bit. Like, I didn't know what all was going on. And I was I grew up, you know, in the Bible Belt, as we say, and so I was actually I was sort of like, Is this even okay, but I was down with it. And it makes such a massive, massive difference. And also just in being able to be there and to now hear what what she was going to teach. So I always I love hearing people use those phrases because it reminds me of being in prison. As funny as that sounds in hearing, hearing her say that, for the first time, where we have, we can go as long as we want. I just want to check and make sure that you're still comfortable. We're like 40 minutes in here.

Tara Meehan:

Yeah, good. I have a question. Okay. So can I remember it is now? Oh, yeah, about about the Enneagram being very appealing to fives because it's so precise and can clearly be read and, and then how it can also be appealing to the sevens because it's so exciting and new. And I was I was just wondering about your experience, because, for me, it's like anything new that's gonna tell me something. I'm sort of a massive expert, not really in millions of different things. And I was wondering how it felt for you to find that? Because you could have been skeptical, right? I mean, the fives. Yeah, they're gonna check it out first.

Clay Tumey:

Well, I always say that I was I was super fortunate that the timing of it all for me, because I tend to be skeptical. To the extent that I want to prove something right or wrong. So it's not, I don't always just hear something and go, Yeah, I don't know about that. And then just leave it at that. I'm more likely, like, if you said, you know that, you know, rain doesn't come from clouds, it comes from the ground or something weird like that. I'd be like, Yeah, tell me why, like, what do you talk I didn't sound right to me. So with the Enneagram, it was pretty bizarre to think that mostly like the lines, all the lines inside the Enneagram, and how things are all connected, I pretty quickly accepted the idea of different personality types. But some of the super detailed parts of it, I just, I didn't know anything about it. So I was, I was curious. And, and for me, it was at a point in my life where I was, I was just so broken on the inside. And I wanted to understand, like, How can I live, like a more healthy, functional life, because I wasn't, I wasn't doing that for a long time. And so there's the simple part of it, where I love a good puzzle, I love understanding new things. And, and then there was the deeper side of it, where it gets super complex, you know, it can, it can get as complex as you want it to be. And I find benefit, and understanding myself, understanding others, and just knowing how to exist in the world in a better way. So it's all those kind of tied together. I mean, it wasn't so much about the newness of it all or like the the variety of everything or anything like that, then it was more like, this is something I'd never heard about. It's almost like finding out about a new type of engine, in a car, where I've always known about cars and engines, but now there's this whole kind of thing. That's totally bizarre. And I'm drawn to that kind of stuff. And then if I can find the benefit, or the value in that, and then all the better. So yeah, that's a fun one. And I just funny, I dated to seven for a while. And I got her turned on to the Intagram for a brief while. And she, it was funny to watch her. So five and sevens are, you know this, but anybody who doesn't who's listening, the we're both had types. So we, we were in our heads a lot to put it simply. And we we see things in a cerebral way, often. And this particular girlfriend of mine was, I actually didn't think that she was going to really be into it because she's so like distractible and wants to go out and party. And I was I was actually shocked that she was the least bit interested. And once I gave her like the brief overview of the types, and then we got to Type Seven, then it was like, it was like she found her, you know, happy place. And then she wanted to learn about all of them. And then she wanted to start labeling, for lack of a better phrase, her friends and saying who is what and what is my dad and I wonder what my mom is, and my brother. And of course knew I was a five, because that's where a lot of those conversations began. But it was fun to watch someone else with a very different style of thinking through things get fascinated. And just like there was a lot of light bulb. Yeah, it was like a lot of light bulbs. But like the flashy, exciting light bulbs like it was. It was It was, yeah, it was and I even I even took a picture in a small like video to send Susan, this was like seven or eight years ago. But to send Susan, I was like, check this out. Like this is like so cool, because she was just so giddy over this new world that she had that she had been exposed to. So that was cool. And then I think what I think it got a little too serious for her to consider some things and then it was no thank you. I don't want to be kind of like what you were talking about earlier, like, with anything to do with sadness or pain or anything like that. And then she was like, Let's go out for a drink. Yeah. And then that was pretty much the end of it. I can associate with that. Yeah. And I'll try to bring it back up for other stuff. And it didn't she didn't have a lot of interest after that. But I've seen the difference between how I as a five experienced that. And and her in particular and I'm sure it's probably not super uncommon. Yeah. With the sevens. You said something earlier that I want that I want to go back and ask more about you said that. You party Part of your goal is to help raise money for the for the project. And then also to show people like you that prison is not the way forward. And so the the phrase popped the question in my head, well, who are the people like you? And what do we say to them if they're listening?

Tara Meehan:

Well, I guess I think people like me, I was thinking more about people who have have the means to be able to be generous to organizations. And, and it's something that in our family is really important to us. And, and we know, you know, I'm connected to many people who have enough money to be very generous, and some are extremely generous, and some give a small amount and everything in between. And it's interesting, it's very interesting to see the different ways people do it, and many people will be interested in, you know, there are certain subjects that everyone feels like, this is great, we can give money and, you know, around children around art, you know, whatever. And I think when it comes to people who are incarcerated, there, there's possible to be a certain judgment around that about, you know, well, they've, they've committed a crime, they've done harm. And, and therefore, I don't feel like I want to put my money there. And, and I can, you know, I can understand that suddenly, at a starter level. And I think, for me, this whole, what I, one of the strongest things that I learnt is that we are all the same. And, you know, I knew that intellectually, it was a really nice thought. And it felt really good to feel that, but when I ended up spending quite a lot of time inside with people who were there, I really felt it viscerally. And that the example I gave at the panel, but many other times, and, and how, actually, I think Susan, phrases that, you know, people who the wild have, have chosen to forget. And so for me, I love to introduce people to EPP because I can, I can try and help. I can tell my story about how I how that happened to me. And, you know, we've had, we've had events at our house, and we've had ambassadors calm and, you know, everybody invariably falls in love with ambassadors, you know. And they are really fascinated, first of all, they're super curious and want to ask lots of questions. And, and I do think, and I do think the ambassadors, you know, in a generalized way, are so good at fielding that curiosity and, and possibly some questions that maybe they shouldn't be asked quite that way, and all this kind of stuff. But I think it also comes out the wisdom of, I think that seeing somebody seeing people who have have been put in the most sad and terrifying circumstances, and for the for them to find a way to understand who they truly are, remember that essence. And to have done that, I mean, I think for people like me, who have a comfortable life, you know, I haven't suffered from any sort of, you know, my I haven't got divorced, I haven't had any bad stuff happened in my life. And so it's easy to just carry on in that comfortable place. But I think everybody has this fear of something possibly happening, whether it is a death or an illness or, and being able to spend time with people who have experienced what one could regard as the worst of the worst, and have found a way to remember who they are. And also remember who everyone else is and have a, the amount of compassion and love I feel from the ambassadors and our whole community. But the ambassadors have this sort of aura about them that, you know, you can say something I remember, I remember, I went through a phase of, you know, whenever I felt sad, well, how can I even consider being sad, because look at the people who I'm working with, and look at what they've had to go through, and I'm feeling bad about XYZ. And, you know, how can I even do that? And I can't remember I think it was probably Alex and we had a conversation about it, and he and it was all about the fact that pain and sadness is legitimate, you know, whether it's because you were beaten up by your dad and I mean, it's an entirely different story, right, but it's still legitimate and and that's the compassion that that comes from people in our community who have gone through these things, whether they're incarcerated or not, but the those who are incarcerated obviously have a have this deep experience that is so beautiful. Yeah to be with,

Clay Tumey:

I would say that my pain does not reduce yours. So it's we it's easy to compare like, No. And Alex is a perfect example. I had breakfast with him yesterday. And I'll tell you something he said here in a minute about you. The it's easy for someone like Alex who is publicly discussed, like his, his early addiction to alcohol because when he was a small toddler baby, early in life when he was still drinking out of a bottle, there was there would be alcohol in it because it made him shut up. And I trust that he's comfortable with me sharing that, like I said, He's shared it plenty of times already. And so it's it's it's easy to say like, How can I be upset about XYZ when this man as a baby was already addicted to alcohol? And, and I agree with what Alec says. And I don't I don't know the phrase that he used exactly. But the way that I would tell people was that, you know, my pain doesn't reduce anybody else's pain. And there's no reason to compare anyways, because it's the way that I feel my pain might be about things that other people wouldn't think are that big of a deal. But I still feel it. I still experience it still hurts. And I agree that's legitimate. It's, it's worth it's, it's worth considering. So yeah, I like that. Thanks for sharing that I had breakfast with him. And I asked him, I said, I'm going to be speaking with tar tomorrow. Any questions you want me to ask? And he, he did have a question. It's it's an easy one. I think it wasn't, I was expecting, like, give me some dirt man. But he first before he got to the question, he spent a good five minutes just talking about how great you are, how highly he thinks of you. How generous you are, in all kinds of ways. And, and he just thinks the world of you. And Alex is one of our ambassadors obviously. Also on the board. Yes. And Alex is, is here, he's a good dude. And I consider him a brother. And I was really happy to be able to sit and visit with him yesterday. And and after, after all the the nice things that he had to say about you, he also he just he just wanted to know how like, that's this question like how do you? How do you continue to give yourself to just be generous with yourself and to give back to the organization to the project to the world at large around you?

Tara Meehan:

Well, how I think when I was little, all my life I've I've always I've always been about bringing joy to other people. And I guess part of it was that I would, I would try and see what they wanted. And I mean Susan says the social seven can look a lot like a two. But I would also plan things and bring people along with me. And I think as a we not as an AI and and I think I just found apart from just loving Susan and reckon the three boys and then the extended community of EPP. I have I have so much joy and happiness when I'm with anyone in the community. And so it's easy. I can afford to be generous financially, and I can afford to be generous with my time. And it Why wouldn't I I mean when I'm when I'm with EPP or doing EPP things or talking about EPP to other people I'm just like, in the flow, it's exactly what it where I want to be. And I one of the seasons still facilitates for the same group occasionally. And we had to do this we had to do this practice where we had we got we'd had a rock and then we had to write quickly on the rock what we're here to bring to the world and and what our purpose was. And I wrote down and in that moment, you know, we'd been sort of doing we'd been it was a day long thing. And we've been busy doing things all day long. And this was towards the end. And I said my purpose in life is to find the beauty and the essence of who I am and help others find their beauty and their sense. And, and that was a while back and I read it the other day I found the rock and I was like yeah, that's really true. And And so given that EPP is the best way the work that we do and the community we're creating, it's the best way in my mind for lots of people to be able to achieve this. That's why it but I can be I find it easy to be generous to everybody because because I can and I'm most generous people Because I love that if anybody asks, I will always say yes.

Clay Tumey:

Is it true what they say about it's better to give than receive? Um

Tara Meehan:

Well, I receive joy by seeing other people I'm seeing the results of giving with other people is, it's like if somebody needs something, and I can give it and I can help them get what they need, then why wouldn't I? And I've been blessed to, to be in the situation I'm in. So yeah, it is it is. And what's the point and I love Lynne twist. She's like, money's like energy. And so I love the energy to flow, whether it's me organizing something, or inviting or giving or, you know, whatever it is,

Clay Tumey:

one of the financial guys that I like to listen to is his radio show. He always taught like, the end goal for him is to is to build wealth and give outrageously, this is what he calls it. Yeah, just the joy that comes along with it's always fun to hear him talk about that

Tara Meehan:

commit acts of random kindness. Yeah,

Clay Tumey:

I like that. It's nice. Are there any? We've been going for, like almost an hour? I don't know. We I mean, there's been some questions that either I didn't ask that you wanted to answer, or vice versa, any topics that we didn't cover that you want to get in here at the end? Um,

Tara Meehan:

well, I'm just really excited about about THP. The human potential s and just the growth I mean, being on the board, though, I was listening to a really interesting podcast by this psychosis James Hollis, and he's talking about a meaningful life. It's on sounds true in case you're interested. And and he's talking about having this big vision, and really having a big vision and listening to your heart. And I've always been a little bit afraid of sort of the fire inside of me. And if I really let it go, what the hell will happen, but the vision that Susan has, and Rick has, and the board has, and the whole community has for EPP is so enormous and so incredible. And I think that I think that's the most exciting thing that's happening. And I feel privileged to be able to see it a little bit, you know, ahead of time because we're discussing it in the board. But THP is a for profit B Corp that's helping bring our message and our learning to corporations and individuals and to train therapists and other people who are working in that world that the world of psychology and social work, and how it's all going to link in with with EPP and using the EPP programming and how the Greenwald and various other people who are deeply involved in that. So for me, that's something that I think is super exciting. And the vision is so huge. I just think it's actually I think the way that we are community is the way that we should all be living in this world.

Clay Tumey:

The human potential list, potential as well as it plural, potential lists. Human Potential lists. Yeah, we're gonna sit down, as well, as I always do. I want to give you the last word to throw in anything. Any thoughts about EPP or about not EPP or anything to anybody that might be listening. Before that, I want to say thank you. I don't think we said earlier. But I'm at work at the OSX Yes, home right now. Yeah, I flew out. And then you drove down, down? I think you're north of here, right? Yes. So you, you gave us time today to come and have lunch and sit down and chat for the podcast. And I don't know what else is going on today. But thank you for that. I appreciate it. And yeah, if there's any, any, any, any closing thoughts that you have, about literally anything, and I'll I'll stop talking and, and however much time you'd like, go ahead.

Tara Meehan:

Thank you. Well, I guess I'm going to say something that's a bit scary because it's about the fire inside I have this idea that I want to write a book about parenting and relationships and the Enneagram. And I don't want it to be my book, I want it to be the community's book. And I've sort of said it to various people. But now I guess I'm saying it to the whole community. Because I want to get everybody's stories and and then find a way to amalgamate all the stories and because I've spoken to so many people, teenagers and couples and friends and they're like, Wow, this is amazing. I've understood so much. And so I think that's something that I really want to do and I've sort of been avoiding it because it seems like it could be really hard and also really big and also really exciting. But I think I'm just gonna have to send an email out to the community and ask for stories and ask for help

Clay Tumey:

for your primary. Sorry, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you. 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