Long a student of the Enneagram, I traveled to Menlo Park, CA in July and August 2015 to extend and formalize my studies, with the intention of becoming certified by Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition (ESNT) in both the teacher and professional tracks. My expectations of attending classes, fulfilling requirements of the programs, and becoming certified all quickly morphed into something much more comprehensive.
On Day One of my studies, I noticed my curiosity about the Narrative Tradition. The language and approach of the ESNT Core Faculty immediately facilitated an openness within me. Interacting with my fellow students and faculty felt easy and natural. By Day Three, my curiosity gave way to an ignited passion, driving me to dig as deeply as I could into the Narrative Tradition. Then came the big revelation. This is not just going to be about digging into the material – it’s also about digging into self! A course of studies turned into a touchstone and a significant turning point for my life.
What made the Expanded Enneagram Professional Training Program such a powerful experience? Articulate and caring faculty, carefully planned presentation of the material, and panels, panels, panels – they all set the stage, inviting me to journey anew by way of more interpersonal work, more inquiry, more awareness and more kindness. I did not anticipate these deeper aspects of the experience – not at all! I also didn’t realize until I was well into the process just how many questions I came with, and how open I would be to finding more answers.
ESNT is a remarkable learning institution. It is also a community. During my work, in the classroom and with others, I began to see the Enneagram Narrative Community and to feel its embrace. Some people already knew each other, having met along the way. Our teachers took time to talk to us, as did others from the community. We became an integrated group with a common cause. As it turns out, since my time at Menlo Park, the people I now talk with regularly, other than my family and a few close friends, are all people I met there.
I didn’t go to Menlo Park with a checklist that included “be changed forever.” It just happened.
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Ahshua Bolton of Bowling Green, KY, has worked as a CPA in healthcare operations, management and financial consulting, focusing on long-term care and bringing public awareness to the needs of the institutionalized elderly. A pianist and composer, he also enjoys extensive and frequent travels, especially to anything Enneagram.