Mr Yodd was the name given to God by a character in Zakes Mda’s novel ‘The Whale Caller’. One of my favorite novels of all time. As an agnostic truth seeker Mr Yodd is appealing as this cuts through the chafe and allows me to honour all belief systems and religions and suggests a spiritual entity.

But here’s the thing. I have become curious about this sometimes-fatalistic attitude of people just going with a lazy and secretive attitude when it suits not to take a stand, being honest, making the effort of trying something new and instead just handing over to fate – or Mr Yodd.

Many people now resort to going to psychics and other new age modalities in getting the answers which suit their own fatalistic attitude rather facing reality and the course of a more challenging action. The term ‘spiritual bypassing’ is useful as it suggests that ignoring our unresolved psychological traumas and resorting to esoteric modalities creates even more entranced states which often can lead to first world addictions.

This topic can become deeply philosophical and I am aware of the paradox as letting go also means we are able to breathe out our anxiety and stress. Niebuhr’s serenity prayer is a wonderful reminder in ‘Mr Yodd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.’

More troubling of late has been the interpretation by some so-called experts of the personality typology model, the Enneagram, which I have studied for many years and the topic of my authored a book ‘What’s your Tribe’. Each of these nine personality Types have a main fixation – that thing which leads us to remain asleep to our own potential for personal growth and navigating life in the kindest way to ourselves and others. These fixations are lust, sloth, pride, anger, gluttony, envy, stinginess, deceit and fear. The first seven are found in Biblical terms as the ‘Seven deadly sins’ and the last two were added by the original developers of the Enneagram model. The Enneagram is powerful when used as a model for honest self-reflection and then as a compass for further development. But this asks for a sober and honest mindset as we need to face our fixations daily and be willing to have the humility to own up to our nonsense and pick ourselves up and start over again. This happens through self-observation, welcoming feedback and treating ourselves with humor and kindness.

However, like any model it can be used to further ‘put people to sleep’ when used to massage the Ego into further slumber by excusing behavior in explaining away poor relationship and life choices with inherent fixations. This realization has led me to be more light about the nature of our personality and more curious about how we can focus on our choices as adults in overcoming life’s speedbumps, our addictions, choices of relationship entanglements and being our most authentic selves.

Victor Frankl reminds us that what matters is not the features of our character or the drives and instincts per se, but rather the stand we take toward them. And the capacity to take such a stand is what makes us human beings. Choice, Eckhart Tolle points out, implies consciousness-a high degree of consciousness. Without it we have no choice. Gabor Mate believes that addiction is a continuum, at one end of which lives the intravenous user hopelessly hooked on his habit. Most humans exist somewhere on that line between enslavement to destructive habits and the one end and total consciousness and nonattachment at the other. In exactly the same way, freedom of choice can be represented as a continuum. Very few people are ever to be found operating at the positive extreme, truly conscious and consistently free.

Other ‘letting go excuses’ might be:

  • Ignoring an addictive aspect of ourselves – whether that be substances, technology devices, being workaholics or destructive habits
  • Excessive grieving for someone and not allowing ourselves to live our lives fully as the person for whom we are grieving would have wished for us

Taking a stand might be:

  • Leaving toxic relationships – whether with a partner, a job which diminishes our potential or a friendship which exhausts our energy
  • Acceptance of getting older without excessive procedures but rather graciously accepting the autumn and winter years while remaining vital and curious

Brave coaches can give our clients a taste of developing this consciousness and freedom. We can hold up mirrors and ask the tough questions which our clients need to reflect and take action on in their development. We do this with courage and compassion. And we need to be mindful of the trap of our own projections and judgements.

Trickier can be navigating our own relationship field. When I see my friends and the people I care about taking on the ‘let go – let Mr Yodd’ attitude’ – I need to consciously refrain from harsh judgement, my own projections, unheeded advice, know it is rude to wake others up, remember why they are my friends – and let go – and let Mr Yodd!