Return to Centerpoint

I recently had a second free interaction with the Centerpoint Institute. The founder had a couple trainees learning how to be career coaches and needed a Guinea pig for them to practice their skills. Since “free” is a great price, I offered to go in. I figured it would allow me to get a better taste for what they had to offer.

Overall I have found the experience to be good, and intend on trying to see what else I might do with them. But I had some reservations going in.

To prepare for the visit a bit more, I tried to catch up on my reading the founder’s book: The Time Between Dreams. I’d fallen behind on working on it due to conflicting reading needs, but I tried to at least have a better grasp on things going in.

My initial reaction to the book was that it felt at times a little New Age-y. Though this is not necessarily a problem, I sort of rage quit New Age things a while back. I had once been really interested in astrology, tarot, past life regression, etc. But now the topic just makes me angry thinking about it. (For those who care, I do still think of myself as Buddhist. But I have a much more agnostic/atheistic view of it, inspired heavily by Stephen Batchelor’s Buddhism Without Belief.)

A core of Centerpoint’s philosophy revolves around a cyclical view of change. She opens with talking about how a cyclical view of life is present in many older cultures: Native American Medicine Wheel, the Chinese yin-yang, the Roman Rota Fortunae. Then it starts talking about Jung and mandalas. So the small hateful part of my brain began thrashing around and growling, like a very angry small yappy dog. I’ve read enough New Age books that try to do this smooshing together of disparate cosmological views without having much context for the source material.

It was hard for me to not quit the book right there. But I reminded myself how badly I’m looking for change, so I soldiered on with the book.

It did ultimately back off of the analogies and used the concept of cycles as an interesting lens to look at things through. I’m currently at an exercise from the book, trying to figure out where my place of renewal is at. One of the things that the book has talked about is trying to find some emotional space and a centerpoint (see what they did there?) from which you can look at your life.

So I’m struggling to figure out where my place of renewal is at. This can be a physical space, or a time of day, or whatever. I don’t even know if I have one. I’ve tried to get back into the habit of meditating, but currently this has manifested with me sitting on the corner of my bed next to my shrine first thing in the morning. I’m usually half asleep and meditation lasts only about five minutes due to time constraints on my morning schedule.

Not the best example of a meditation practice.

I have things I do to decompress, but I don’t think I’m finding my emotional center by playing Mass Effect on my X-Box 360. Maybe this means I need to find a different approach to my meditation (a different time of day?). Maybe what this ultimately means is I need to find this space. I don’t know.

With my frustrations from reading the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my session. I’ve met some lame people in Buddhist and New Age circles. I’ve met some great people too. But with the whole rage-quitting thing, I automatically worried it would be someone awful.

When I arrived at the Centerpoint offices early on a Sunday morning and met Carol Vecchio, I instantly liked her. Instantly. She was really down to earth and welcoming.

The 45 minutes I spent with them had two other people that had been training with her. One had come from Australia just to learn from Vecchio. The other person, who was not Australian, took the lead on the interview. But all three people joined in over the course of things.

From what I could tell, the interview consisted mostly of asking me general questions about my situation and seeing how I emoted when describing things in my life. So they picked up that I love writing and putting out Mad Scientist Journal.

Their ultimate goal is to try and help me figure out what the underlying element of my passion for those things is. I guess ultimately that’s the same thing I was trying to do with the “Personal Mission Statement.” But it sounds nicer this way, stripped of double-plus ungood corp-speak.

Of course, we didn’t have a chance to dig into those deeper elements in this free 45 minute session for training the new people. However, I feel more comfortable with the notion of giving them $600 for the Passion Search workshop they offer. Not that I have $600, but I’m in a better place than I was several months ago to arrange a payment plan with them.

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