By: Sawyer Smith
When asked about her work, Lori Mueller didn’t tell me where her offices were located or provide me with the definition of what it means to be a life coach. Instead, she came back with a much better answer for why she did what she did.
She said she’d always been “fascinated by personal development, and growth, and building self-awareness.” She went on to say that she gets “really excited when people find that they have a choice in their life.”
Next, I asked her why she chose to incorporate her work into one of Holiday’s amazing river rafting trips, and she had an even better answer for me.
“I’ve always believed that experiential learning is the best way to learn… Much better than going to a 2-hour workshop in the evening,” and then heading right back to your everyday life afterward. And because Lori feels that “water creates a different energy… Being with people for four days creates some safety and awareness,” river rafting seemed like a great way for this trip facilitator to connect with those looking to learn more about themselves and others. Being on the water provides many opportunities to “incorporate experiences along the way.”
As for why she specifically chose to work with Holiday, that was also an easy one for her to answer, telling me, “I chose Holiday because several of my friends spoke very highly of them.” She went on to say pairing her work with a river trip “just makes sense” and I couldn’t agree more.
The Facilitator, The Trip, and…The Enneagram?
Lori Mueller, who will be facilitating a rafting trip in July, is a personal and professional coach. She’s been working with individuals, teams, and non-profits for more than 30 years, and recently started her own coaching business, called A Fine Balance, in her hometown of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Lori’s July trip will be a four-day adventure (21st-24th) through the Gates of Lodore on the Green River. Starting in Colorado, trip attendees will wind their way through the gorgeous and unique landscape of Dinosaur National Monument, marvel at all the astounding geological sights, and maybe even catch a glimpse of some rare critters like bighorn sheep and bald eagles. Interested? Lori would love to have you come along, but the trip deadline is May 30th, so act fast!
Now that we’ve gotten the nitty-gritty trip details out of the way, you may be asking yourself, what was that last word used in the heading? Enneagram?
Or perhaps you have heard of the Enneagram, and you’re just wondering what it has to do with rafting along the Green River for four days. These are all great questions, and ones that Lori has some very thoughtful answers for.
In her own words, Lori describes the Enneagram as a “personality system, typing system, where you build not only some self-awareness but it’s really designed to be able to look at our motivations behind our behaviors.” She told me that working with the Enneagram is about “recognizing where we get stuck, where we feel like we’re on a hamster wheel,” as well as acknowledging moments in our life where things are going well or according to plan. Armed with this information, Lori aims to help people be “more thoughtful, intentional,” and generally “create more joy”.
There are nine different personality types described in the Enneagram system, and if you decide to sign up for Lori’s trip, she will meet with you ahead of time to “begin the process of discovering [your] type.” She has a book for each trip attendee, and a goal of giving people the tools to uncover “the layers of who they are.”
The trip itself will give attendees a chance to process in real-time, to see how they react to certain situations, and to understand how their behavior fits into their personality type.
But it’s not just about introspection, Lori was quick to point out. It’s also about getting to know others.
“The other outcome of understanding yourself,” she said, “Is having compassion for yourself and compassion for others.” Learning about the different personality types, and how your mind works, will help you see where others are coming from, and remind you that “we’re connected to other people in this same journey of life… We show up differently, have different struggles and challenges, and we’re all in this together.”
As intimidating or complicated as the Enneagram may appear on the surface, at the end of the day, Lori’s mission with this river rafting trip is quite simple — “We’re gonna have fun, dive deep, get to know each other, and form community.”
“Just Go With It”, and Other Pre-Trip Advice from an Enneagram Seven
Before ending our interview, I asked Lori if she had any camping advice or items that trip attendees shouldn’t forget to pack. She laughed and said, “As a seven, I’m not necessarily that prepared.” It’s her husband, a type six on the Enneagram, who tends to make lists and plan things ahead of time. We shared a laugh, and I told her that my personality type leads me to be a fairly organized person as well, but that I think there’s something very appealing about her philosophy of just going with it, and the faith she has that “if you’ve forgotten something, I betchu’ your neighbor has it.”
This little interaction is a perfect example of how Lori’s work can lead to more awareness, cultivate connection and understanding, and also create more joy.
That said, there are a few things you might want to know before signing up for this trip. All the river rafting gear will be provided by Holiday, but Lori suggested that everyone make sure to bring what they need to get a good night’s sleep. She also mentioned that yoga instructor Kate Eakins will be joining the trip, so make sure to bring clothes you can stretch in if you’d like to participate in her Enneagram-focused yoga lessons.
Lastly, Lori wanted me to mention that this trip isn’t going to be physically too intense or strenuous. She lovingly described herself as a “modern exerciser,” with average strength, and “not an over-the-top adventurer.”
This trip is for everyone and anyone who wants to “rediscover and find their joy”, and what better place to do that than on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world?
Sawyer Smith is a Utah native currently residing in St. Louis, Missouri. When she isn’t working as a freelance writer or hiking through sections of the Mark Twain National Forest, she is planning trips in her head back to her beloved state to once again climb on the red rocks and ski down the snowy mountains.