Landmark Education/Abd/Blaming the victim/Never going back

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some notes. Writing this, I thought at first that the blogger was a man, though I quickly saw signs of the opposite. I could analyze why I persisted in this, but ... I'm not sure it's important. So until this draft is cleaned up, I refer to the blogger as "him" in many places. This was also a log of my impressions as I read the material. As I learned more, making some of my comments obsolete or even in error, I did not go back to fix them. That will ultimately be done.

Much of this is complete quotation of blog posts, for purposes of study. Ideally, this will be summarized. Until then, it's a logbook of reactions and impressions.

As described on the attached "Discuss" page, I informed the blogger about this study. She has responded with some edits here, and I thank her for that. This is my essay, but her comments are specially welcome, if attributed. They can be seen in page history, but to set them off, I will mark them with this color. Edits by others should be explicitly attributed.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Never going back to the promised land
A Landmark Education Survivor


This is a site dedicated to survivors of Landmark Education – people who have once participated in those courses but no longer do so because of the toxic environment. Many people post criticisms of LE all over the net, but LE devotees claim that these people never completed a course or were just un-coachable or non-participatory during their time there.
I beg to differ.

It is characteristic of the blog posts here that the statements of others are set up as universals, as if any counterexample would negate them. Then, the individual experience of the blogger are generalized to create universals. The ontological error, the irony, seems to escape the person. Many people criticize Landmark who have no experience. Others were, indeed, uncoachable or non-participatory. In this case, it becomes clear that the blogger was outside of the intended population that Landmark serves, had a particular disability, that made authentic participation impossible for her. Yet she believed that she was coachable. I'd say she "tried" to be coachable. She did invest a huge amount of time, and a fairly normal amount of money for two years and intense involvement. She writes as if she almost completed the Introduction Leader Program, or she actually completed it, she is not completely clear, as far as what I've seen so far. That is no small accomplishment. On the other hand, it almost killed her.

(If she went to the last session without formal withdrawal, she did complete. {I did} But she treats the matter as if she bailed.)

It led her to finally open up with the truth about her life. She waited a long time to do that! One wonders about her coaching. She'd have had a personal coach in the SELP, but sometimes participants slip through the cracks. I knew what was going on, generally, with all of my participants. However, I spent a bit more time with them, sometimes much more time, than the standard. Something missing from the manual: active verification that participants are not sacrificing their lives to participate. If nothing else, this blog might lead to upgrades to the trainings. What happened with the blogger, should not happen (my stand), and it does (my assessment), possibly still.

Her stories generally ring true. She is describing things that actually happened, for the most part, at least, factoring for the usual failures of human memory. But she has overlaid that with a story, an interpretation, and she loses the distinction, she believes the story. That's her choice, to be sure -- we choose what to believe -- but we'll see what she actually says. Much of what she says is of high interest, she is pointing to hazards of participation, and these are, in general, real hazards. I.e., there is actual risk of falling into what she points out. I've certainly seen what she describes. It is, however, far from the whole story.

Notice, she "begs to differ." But she is responding to a generalization, with a particular, as if the particular contradicts the generalization. She's missed that "exceptions prove the rule."

I was a participant in LE’s programs for 2 solid years in the early 2000’s, having taken the entire Curriculum for Living, the Communication Course, and the ILP. I have assisted in many capacities and interacted closely with LE participants, assistants and leaders.

This dates this. My first comments below were made without having seen the About page. I knew this was not recent, that was clear. It is now clear that this was up to 15 years ago, perhaps. {I took the Forum in August 2002} My experience with Landmark began with an Introduction, maybe in 2010, my Forum was in March, 2011.

I was so heavily involved, and so conditioned to believe that I belonged at Landmark, that it took me too long to realize that I was in fact giving up on my own life.

What took so long? Well, she was "heavily conditioned." By whom? "I belong at Landmark" was a conclusion she made based on what, at the time, if she had stated the full truth about her experience, could have caused her to be excluded from the Forum. (Policies have changed, she would no longer be excluded, but might be "advised" to not participate without having consulted a professional.) Back then, she violated the rules. She is concerned about whether or not she "lied." In fact, that concern is typical of an untransformed individual. She did not disclose a relevant fact, and that led to consequences when she did disclose it.

This person, in 2014, was still liveing in a world of right and wrong, innocence and blame, and so she is reactive to a claim that she lied. What was actually said, we don't know, because someone sensitive to being called a liar may hear "liar" when what is actually said is something else, like "You did not tell the whole truth." Of course, we never tell the whole truth, it would be impossible. But here, something material, she was directly asked, on a legally binding document, she did not disclose. And that meant that she did not belong. In fact, these things are waived all the time.

The Introduction Leader Program worked exactly as designed for her. What was hidden was revealed. That is one of the trainings in Landmark where it is very difficult to hide. She managed it for almost the entire program, and may still have managed it beyond that. What she disclosed was not the actual difficulty she was having, but something that had happened long in the past, and while the Center staff took it seriously, it was not the actual problem.

In the end, she chose not to hide, which was a huge step for her, she is to be acknowledged for that. However, then, her real training could begin. She chose to bail, dramatically, and with a lot of blame.

This blog is a place for people with similar experiences but are too afraid to speak openly, or else have been ostracized for doing so.

Landmark is a human society, and shows the traits of human society. Sometimes it rises above that. Not always. This participant thought of Landmark as something "out there." She did not consider herself responsible for Landmark. I did. I was told I was crazy for this, but, in fact, I know that this was very, very true to the training. ("What do you mean, you are Landmark? Are you in charge of the corporate office?" No, I'm, not, but I have their phone number. I am responsible for what I do and don't do, with this and everything on the planet. That is the training. I do make choices, set priorities, etc. I do not do everything at once, who could? And as a result of this stand, I see miracles. Who is creating those? Landmark? Not a useful idea. What is useful is the stand that I am responsible. There is an alternate stand: God is responsible. That one can also be useful if we understand it. Landmark, qua Landmark, does not talk about God.)

This participant wanted a miracle, that her life would turn around, but was not willing to take responsibility for that not happening, which is the same as taking responsibility for it happening. Instead ... Landmarkdidit.

This blog is NOT a place for people to defend Landmark Education, since there are many other places on the net to do that. So if you are here to comment on how wonderful the program is, or how much good it does, or suggest that I’m lying, your comment will not be posted.

That's not surprising. She does not want to hear anything that might contradict her developed position or stand. She's quite explicit, one of the topics is "ex-coachable." Actually, I don't think she was ever truly coachable, because she concealed who she was, what her life was like, the reality, so whatever coaching she received, at least until she came clean, was not of her, but of a fake image she presented. It was unravelling in the ILP, as it usually does.

Lack of authenticity becomes visible in that program. I recently supported a mock, a person preparing for their candidatable lead, this was set up close to me, so it was easy to go. The person had already met all the measures to be candidated. He was a financial consultant, and apparently successful, he could impress people with his reliability, he had the skill of inspiring trust. But when he shared his possibility, based on a situation in his life, something was off. Details were missing. It all seemed too pat. It was flat. His possibility was about listening to his wife, being sympathetic. Great.

What he was not saying, it came out, was that they were divorcing. The marriage had broken down. He wasn't dealing with real life, but with a nice-nice imagination. In a real introduction, people would have smelled a rat. The room full of Introduction Leaders -- and me -- dug and found out and coached him. My God, man, be real! You are going through what might seem like hell. Your strong suit is looking good! Stop looking so effing good!

And if he followed that coaching, his life would turn around. The divorce might still go through, but .... it also might not. Maybe his wife was tired of living with Mr. Perfect. We never know, family situations are complex and there are commonly interacting neuroses. But transformation begins with authenticity. If you can't pay the effing rent, say so!

I was coaching the SELP and completely ran out of money (for the first time in, what, ever? I had very little money fifty years ago. then years of always enough. Now, I'm on social security, as I was when I ran out.) I didn't have the money to drive to the next session. So I said so at the coach's meeting. So they threw money at me. I completed. In that program, my car engine blew up, I got pleurisy in the middle of Workday 3 and the leader had me carted off to the hospital, but .... I completed the program.

Pleurisy is famous for intense pain. Yup. Now I know. What would you prefer, pleurisy or a spear in the side. Okay, Pleurisy, because it can easily be treated and a spear in the side has other complications, eh? But as to pain, I don't know. Toss a coin?

In the next time I coached the SELP, there were many breakdowns, many possible excuses not to complete. None of them stopped me, what I did to complete still amazes me. When I had difficulties, I shared them. I did not expect others to fix them, but sometimes help was given. The Leader took me home one time, and then drove me to my home the next morning. I took the bus when I could not get ride-sharing. Taking the bus into the Center was risky, because there was no bus home. On one or two occasions, I went in, not knowing how I would get home. I always got home.

The ILP is an enormous investment of time. In fact, though, one can minimize the time, which might mean sacrificing meeting measures, that's all. Meeting measures is not the goal of the ILP. The ILP is an Assisting Program, and the goal, as with all assisting, is personal transformation.

But someone who must look good may not disclose what's happening. Someone who is afraid of blame may not disclose, and this blogger was definitely afraid of blame. She thinks one cannot speak up in the Forum. In fact, one can, and great things happen when people speak up. Whenever one person has an issue, many others also have it, typically. So if one speaks up, it can actually help many.

But there is a fear, many of us have it, of looking bad if we speak up. Of being blamed, considered stupid or whatever. It's obvious where this comes from! Childhood, in a word. This is all covered in the Forum, it is very basic Landmark.

Yet it can take years to realize the implications. Definitely, it can take more than two. This person might have continued indefinitely if she had not taken the ILP. So, from this point of view, that was a very good choice!

Much, much preferable, to be authentically angry with Landmark than to be inauthentically clinging to the teat that will not, under these conditions, give milk! {thank you}

Anyway, I started reading page 1, i.e., the most recent posts. I did not see the "earlier posts" at first, after forming an intention to respond. This is going to be long. So, here goes:

(This is all a first draft, and much of it was written without having seen most of the posts....)

(The blogger, or anyone, is invited to comment here, as with anything on Wikiversity. Opinions should be attributed. "Anonymous" contributions are allowed, but disruptive contributions will be removed. Disagreement is not disruptive, it is discussion, which is constructive. I will manage this page for clarity, ultimately, so what is here may be refactored. Comment on the Talk page ("Discuss" link above) will generally be left alone, but may also be refactored if this improves readability.) [as edited:] --Abd (discusscontribs) 02:03, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Silent too long[edit | edit source]

February 12, 2014

this gives me some clue as to what happened with this "survivor."

"Obviously, this is a PR machine at work."

No. While Landmark actively protects its reputation, it does not do so by having employees or volunteers comment on blogs, etc. {then what are you doing here? what were you doing on my blog?}

Where is "here"? This is Wikiversity. One of the things I do here is to analyze material I find on the internet. Someone edited the Glossary to request a definition for "unreasonable request."[3] While I could answer off the top of my head, I wanted to see what others had written. So I googled "unreasonable request landmark." I just did it again. 543,000 results, the top one was your blog. The link was to the blog, so the most recent page displayed: Never going back to the promised land: this one thing: Epilogue. I read it, and decided to write a commentary on it, before I realized how long it was, the full blog. So I spent about four full days, and some days, maybe over ten hours.
Notice the quick assumption. Do Landmark graduates (certainly including volunteers and possibly even including staff) "comment on blogs." Of course they do. They are human beings with access to the internet, with stories and opinions and experience and the ability to write, and they are often interested in Landmark as a topic. However, is Landmark "having" them do it? No. I've never seen it mentioned and there is no sign of any coordinated effort that I've seen. Landmark itself is famous for defending it's reputation. Write a magazine article and call them a "cult," and you are likely to hear from one of their lawyers. That is a Landmark action, whereas internet commentary is the ad hoc activity of graduates and others acting on their own without instructions, encouragement, or specific training. So too, most criticism of Landmark is such, though there is a little that is organized. And Landmark has been known to go after that.
I doubt that Blogger will hear from Landmark lawyers. If she does, I'd like to know about it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 03:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I have never seen anyone encouraged to do that. Rather, Landmark does engender high loyalty, and there are a lot of comments about Landmark that anyone who has done the courses knows are uninformed.

There is some legitimate criticism out there (at least that's my story!), but it gets mixed up with misunderstandings, often. Landmark leaders and participants are human beings. There is a story that in an early est training, someone mentioned a Werner-ism, "We are all assholes." The leader said, "No." You are not assholes, you are Graduates. You are turkeys. Yup. fresh out of kindergarten, often, walking around like suddenly, we have it all knocked. Gobble Gobble. That's a hazard of kindergarten, people who have been through it imagine they know more than those who haven't. And, maybe, sometimes, they do. But it's still only kindergarten. So, right away, I know that this person is very ready to judge. That's only normal, very human.

She tells a story from the Forum:

Here’s what I witnessed: A participant in my Forum shared that he had forgiven someone who had wronged him. This is good – he followed the assignment. The Forum leader praised him for an honest sharing, but said he left one important thing out: what actually happened. As opposed to the “story” about what happened.
Participant: “He took advantage of me.”
Leader: “No. That’s a story. WHAT HAPPENED?”
P: “He…..he…..took advantage of me.”
P: (long pause) “He…molested me.”

This is a totally standard interchange. I've seen many, many like this. It also happens to be standard therapeutically, but that's another issue, the Forum is not therapy. Rather, it is ontology. Something stands out very clearly to any graduate here: the participant does not want to say what actually happened. Instead, the participant reveals summary interpretations. "Wronged. Took advantage. Molested."

Freedom is never found in these. Where it is found is becoming grounded in what happened. Without interpretation. Yes, we did interpret events, and those interpretations might be "reasonable" or otherwise, they might be socially popular or otherwise, but they trap us into a world of good and bad, right and wrong, abuser and victim, and that world is deadly.

I have seen what happens when the participant is coachable and simply says what happened. Often, with almost nothing else, even with what would have been considered a "horrible story," freedom appears, it can be almost like magic. The "wrongness" keeps us locked into forever being damaged. The Forum leader could smell it and went for it. The forgiveness was likely fake {it wasn't, the leader acknowledged him for his brave share}, in fact, done because it was the "good" thing to do. Authenticity is a high value in Landmark.

I'll say that "likely" was an error, and "fake" was a story. To tone it down, I would now say that the forgiveness was, from the ongoing condition of the participant, likely not fully authentic. However, the Forum Leader will not go after every aspect of a share, and will acknowledge courage as courage. If the Leader actually said, "I acknowledge you for your brave share," that says nothing about the forgiveness.
"Him." It was a boy or man, touched by a boy or man. I recall not being sure of gender and aware of the danger of assumptions. However, somehow I'd formed the idea it was a woman, and some of what I wrote indicated that. I'm still not seeing any indication of age of incident or other details.
Immediately, the Forum Leader excused himself from the room, which was baffling. The whole audience was astir; one of the participant’s friends went up and embraced him. I was shaking; I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
About 45 seconds later, the Forum Leader comes back into the room and steps on stage with the participant to resume the conversation.
L: “Ok. What happened? He touched you?”

P: “Yes.”

L: “More than once?”

P: “Yes.”

First of all, the Forum Leader is forcing this participant to go into detail about his sexual abuse in front of an audience.

Nobody is "forced" to do anything in the Forum. The participant was not pulled out of the audience and asked personal questions. They went to the mike. (If the participant did not want to talk about this -- as a choice rather than as an already existing reluctance or embarassment -- the participant could easily have said so. Of course, not being able to stand up for yourself is part of not having this training!

So far, no "detail about sexual abuse, only the most superficial aspect, "he touched me." However, the blogger here is revealing a great deal. "Baffled"? I think it's obvious what the Leader might have done. Looked at the file in the office. But it doesn't matter and that is another aspect to this. The blogger is baffled, in general, doesn't understand what is going on, and that the Leader left the room isn't really relevant to the story. But, definitely, something is wrong!

Like I've said, this interchange is absolutely routine, though details vary.

The blogger was "shaking." This touched a nerve, it's obvious, something deep. The blogger appears to be having a stronger reaction than the woman {man} at the mike.

Yes, thanks. I will redact this, eventually, like I show here.

The Forum Leader knows where transformation is for this person, very likely. They are highly trained to do this. That does not mean they are perfect. They make mistakes, like anyone. But again, as I mention, I've seen the outcome of this many times. Someone observing it, like this blogger, may be horrified, but the participant gains freedom, freedom from something that may have been oppressing her for many years.

The problem with it being in front of an audience? Well, the standard belief about this is that it is shameful. I.e., a big part of "being a victim" is being ashamed of being a victim, as if it were one's fault. Landmark encourages "taking responsibility," and "being at cause," but that is about the life we live, ongoing. It is not "blame the victim" for "abuse." That is just the flip side of the same story, the same trap. We carry round the past, and that is what we are responsible for, what we do and continue to do.

Second, the leader wants him (and us) to distinguish what physically happened from his interpretation or story about what happened. The result of this distinction is that “touching” is something that happened, but that “abuse” and “taking advantage of” is an interpretation, a story that the victim made up.

"Touching" happened, almost certainly. That is, the Leader "believes" that. Touching is also a story, but on a different level, one routinely accepted. We never know what "really happened," but what is accepted is that the participant has memories, actual memories, and freedom is found in accepting them as "what happened." The memories will include what happened, but will also include immediate interpretation, which is highly conditioned.

In other words, the abuse didn’t happen.

No. That is not what the Leader is saying, that is not what the distinction of "story" implies. The distinction of story/what happened is not about "story" being false. That trips up a lot of people. The distinction is very simple, in fact, children can understand it. Stories are, in the Landmark ontology, neither true nor false. They are inventions, human inventions, and they obviously serve purposes. When we don't know that they are inventions, though, they can control us. We think they are the "truth." And then the real truth, the truth of being, and the power of declaring story -- just as we can invent disempowering stories, we can invent empowering ones -- is missed. Life becomes an event that "happened to us," and usually that is not a happy story!

The Forum is not a court of law, and the Leader is not interested in the "abuser" or "molester" here. The Leader is interested in the participant, and what will empower the participant. Period. As long as the focus is on the abuser, there is no possibility of transformation. What is being described here could be reportable child abuse. There may be mandated reporters in the room. There is a promise of confidentiality that Landmark makes. It can be broken, if the law requires it. "Abuse" is a moral or legal judgement. It simply is not the business of Landmark. If there is reportable abuse, I have never encountered any stand that "abusers" should be protected. This participant, though, is an adult, freely choosing to participate in a transformative training. Should they be handled with kid gloves? So far, I've seen no roughness from the Leader in this report. "What happened," coupled with comment that "wronged, took advantage of, or molested" are not rough treatment, even though someone might be embarrassed. Consider for a moment what a victory it might be for this person to be free of the shame, of the embarrassment!

I was shaking with anger from this. Not from the power of the distinction, but the implication it has in the real world. If an abuse victim is sitting on the witness stand and saying that touching happened but abuse didn’t, how is an accused child predator going to go to jail?

This completely misses the legal reality. First of all, if an illegally touched person gets on the stand and says "I was touched, but it wasn't abuse," -- which is not what the participant was being trained to say -- the criminal will still be convicted. No, there is an hysteria here. It happens to be a common one in present society. see Sexual politics. "Abuse" is a judgment of what happened, not what happened. The same touching might be, in one case, legally child abuse, and in the another, not. It depends on how the court interprets motives, and a great deal of complexity. Or it might be very simple. But "victim" does not help the "victim," that I'm sure of. That someone is stressed, distraught, confused, afraid, angry, all that can be consequences of "inappropriate touching." Those are reactions, and obviously involve a sense of wrongness, and Landmark addresses our primal decision that "there is something wrong here," which they claim is culturally universal. And massively disempowering in certain ways, though it is often life-saving initially.

All that is needed to send child predators to jail is children trained to be able to tell the simple truth. He touched me, and they can say where they were touched. This "child" -- no longer a child -- does not yet have that.

I actually stood up in the audience and said this out loud.

Good for her.

The Forum Leader replied: “But this isn’t a courtroom.”

Well…okay. But is this man ever going to go to jail? He doesn’t need forgiveness – he needs to be arrested.

It is not said if this was said to the Forum Leader. {It wasn't; I sat back down quickly}

Blogger did not disclose her disapproval. This is really normal, but ... it also missed an opportunity to confront the issue right then and there. We have very few details now, and Blogger seems to expect us to have certain reactions based on what she wrote. There is this paradox: if participants were transformed, they would be able to confront perceived abuse by Leaders. But they are not. When perceived abuse is confronted, we do not know what will happen. However, I've seen what happens when the one perceived as abusive was a Leader, and she turned on a dime. Other times I've seen a Leader take the complaint apart, and successfully. I'll say it is very tricky when one is coaching about a complaint about oneself, and the complaint is rooted in a misunderstanding. There arises a possible conflict of interest. --Abd (discusscontribs) 03:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Probably not. I'm not seeing any inappropriate details of sexual abuse in the story. I'm seeing that the blogger had such a strong reaction that many details will likely be missing from memory. We know no details of the event. My suspicion is that the details were not provided. We have no idea of when. We do not know if the offender was still alive (people will often "forgive" people who are dead). We have no idea how long ago this was and if others are at risk.

Why does "he need to be arrested"? That is actually a decision to be made by the participant (and then the police or district attorney), not the blogger. To report or not to report. Assessing guilt, as to a crime, is not the job of the child or adult that the child has become, nor is it the job of the blogger. But the she thinks it is. Very much. The blogger is furious. At the molester in her mind, and at the Forum Leader for ... for what? for asking what happened? For not respecting the unwritten rule that We Do Not Talk About Such Things? What? The Forum Leader did not say that abuse did not take place. When the leader shouted "NO," as reported, it was not to the story of "he took advantage of me," it was to this not being an answer to the question, which was then repeated. Again, I've seen variations on this many times.

I never told anyone about what I saw and heard there. I just continued to participate and listen, because you have to be non-resisting in the Landmark Forum. But it kept bothering me. If we all cultivate this idea that abuse isn’t real…wouldn’t we be giving abusers free rein to keep doing it?

No. We would not. "Abuse" is a judgment, an assessment, an interpretation. When someone testifies in court, they are asked to report what happened, and they will specifically be instructed to avoid interpretation. Interpretation is for the court, or for expert witnesses, a similar matter. If we simply understand the truth (as I see it) about interpretations, does this mean that we stop interpreting? Of course not! If I hear about child abuse, that is, facts and reports come to me, or I witness something, that I consider child abuse -- my interpretation! -- and it is a situation that puts any child at risk -- I will report it to the Department of Children and Families in my state. They then have a legal responsibility to determine if it is abuse or not. I'll just tell them what happened! What I know! I may mention my interpretation, but ... they are experts, I'm not.

No interpretation is real, except being really an interpretation. This is an ancient knowledge, Landmark did not invent this. Landmark distinguishes the realm of survival and the realm of "enrollment," which is about love, inspiration, all that good stuff. It does not deny the realm of survival, and this is a common misunderstanding. Rackets belong to the realm of survival, and people often get the idea that "rackets are bad." If they dare express that to a Leader, they will quickly be corrected, but the reality is that rackets are disempowering, if undistinguished. So most of Landmark training is about learning to distinguish the difference between this or that, and becoming quick at it.

What I see here is that the blogger failed to understand the most basic Landmark distinction, distinguishing interpretation from what happened. From this, I would have no hope in success in any Landmark endeavor, until that was remedied. Many do misunderstand this, to be sure, I'd say it is common. It is common to think that "stories" are wrong and bad, though one will never hear this coming from a format, it is simply assumed, like a lot of things, such as the blogger's idea of the unwritten rules of the Forum. (There are formal rules that participants agree to. What is stated. "You have to be non-resistant" is not one of them.)

The blogger focuses on "abuse is not real," which she invented as an interpretation of what was actually said. And we can then see how this colored the rest of the blogger's participation. That is a demonstration of how interpretation disempowers us!

I never told anyone about what I saw and heard there.

So, she is deeply disturbed, but doesn't tell anyone. Not just during the Forum. Why not? Look, it's obvious to me that the blogger was having a full-blown amygdala hijack, rooted in basic survival instincts and history, but if this had been shared, it might have been cleared up. I can suspect a lot here, but don't yet have much evidence. {I've been told by two Leaders to sit down after I've said just one or two sentences on the mic.}

They are running the course, and "Sit down" is within what they can say. It is said here in response to a comment that his deeply disturbing event was not mentioned, not just in the Forum, but elsewhere as well. So the Blogger is giving us as a reason why, I'd read this, that she had been told to sit down after one or two sentences on the mike. No explanation of what she was doing. A Leader may make an ad hoc judgment that was was being said was not going to "further the conversation," which is very specific during courses. That is, there is an agenda. However, there would still be many opportunities, and not just at the mike. Did she do any seminars? Her seminar group. Her SELP coach. Her ILP coach. The Advanced Course Leader, she tells us in another section, who said, "Any questions?"
Look, it's obvious. Blogger was not about to reveal this occurring. She was afraid. That fear was not created by Landmark, but was triggered by her Landmark experiences. From the point of view of designing the training, Landmark, to empower itself, will take responsibility. Sometimes it doesn't. (That is, sometimes individuals don't, even if they are Leaders.) --Abd (discusscontribs) 03:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Years later, I opened up to an LE friend about this incident. And he asked, “Were you ever sexually abused?” I said no, I was just very disturbed by this.
I don't buy it. There is almost certainly a source trauma. It might not be as simple as her being sexually abused, as I mention. Witnessing abuse can sometimes generate stronger reactions in the witness than in the "victim." She had a very strong reaction here, from what she reports. I don't believe that just appeared out of nowhere, and she knows how to tell a story (she has done very well here, in many places). I get angry about some of what she reports, the Leader claiming she had lied, for example. If she wants to know, she could probably find it, or at least identify a likely source. I was in therapy for years and the therapist told me I was likely hit when I was small, I had body reactions from it. I think I know the likely source, and much of my psychology can be derived from that. My mother. But I have absolutely no memory of it. One the other hand, and this is a huge clue: I have practically no memory of my mother, either, not from early childhood. I remember the house. I can't see anyone in it. And I knew this about my childhood memories when I was about 12. --Abd (discusscontribs) 03:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

This indicates to me that she does has not distinguished the source of the disturbance, and probably thinks that the disturbance was just an honest reaction to horrible treatment, but ... I'm not buying it. I think that sexual abuse is very possible, and it might not be consciously remembered. But that is not the only possibility. That people will react to stories of sexual abuse is common, but this one is very mild. I've sat in meetings (not in Landmark) where far, far more disturbing stories were told, where everyone in the room was crying. That this participant had such a strong reaction is a pointer to something I'd suspect the blogger needs to know, and doesn't. And doesn't want to find out. It is far easier to focus on others, and how wrong they were. Just my opinion! But I've seen a lot, I've seen people break through these things.

We have it all backwards, normally. We think that being wrong is a terrible thing. It's not. It's normal. Get over it! As long as we are afraid of "being wrong," we cannot truly find reality, which can be a terrible waste.

So, I'm writing this, as I read (I often do that, write as I read, my reactions are authentic, and if they are wrong, so what? I'll only go back and change them if they would actually cause harm. (This is a wiki, what I write here remains unless it is "revision-deleted" or deleted, which takes administrative tools. It's in history. I am editing this and may continue to edit it and my drastically change it, but the original version is easily readable.)

So this was incredible to read:

Fortunately, years later, I was to learn that forgiveness of wrongdoing (what that traumatized participant was trying to do) was not what I always thought it was. It doesn’t mean you condone wrongdoing. It doesn’t mean you can’t arrest people and put them in jail when they break the law. Forgiveness is actually a way to release yourself from the wrongdoing and move forward.

Right. To do this most powerfully, one drops the idea of "wrongdoing." Something actually happened. It happened. If there are actions to be taken, one can take them (such as reporting what is judged as abuse). But these are in the realm of survival. We do not stop functioning in that realm, but survival is a game we are going to lose. Playing that game is not where love and joy and freedom are found, practically the opposite.

When I was in the Forum, I was a long ways off from learning that. And it seems I should have learned it then. Because Landmark is so great; it works, right?

Where does the "should" come from? See, if one does the work, certain flag words pop out, like "should."

Landmark works. That is, it works for many, they claim over 90%. They do not claim 100%. For whom does it work most reliably? For those who take responsibility for making it work. That would include standing up in the Forum and challenging something that seems "wrong," even if one has enough training to understand that one is probably full of ****.

It would include not waiting years to share what is actually going on. But this is where this blogger was. In the training, we take something like that, for ourselves, and make up an empowering story. "I chose to go down this road because I had something to learn that I would not have learned otherwise." Choose what is is a distinction. That's quite a trick, actually, but ... it works.

And then we can also declare what might seem impossible.

We do not imagine that we have choice in many areas where we do, where simply declaring a choice can turn everything around. Of course, one must then stand for it. It's not "magic," though sometimes it can seem like it is.

But I didn’t.
In fact, I wasn’t to experience this realization until many years after I left Landmark. And that wasn’t the only thing I got since then. I can’t even begin to tell you…

The training deepens with time. It moves beyond words. "Landmark" does not own our transformation. We do. It can happen that "leaving Landmark" is absolutely perfect. I've seen many walk out of the Introduction Leader Program. I never thought any of them were "wrong" for doing so. They were doing what they were choosing to do. If they were.

That is, the "meaning" of what happens is invented. That realization is an endless well of possibilities. A couple of years ago, there was an experimental version of the Forum, testing techniques that will presumably be incorporated, it was called Direct Access. The reference is to our occurring world, how life occurs to us, and creating our occurring is Direct Access to creating our life.

Normally, we think we have no power over how things occur to us. As long as we believe we have no power over this, we are trapped by the condition of our own Already Always Listening.

I like this blogger. I can't wait to read the second installment. More will be revealed. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:10, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

More comments

Thinking about this story, about the one "touched," we know nothing about the "abuser," other than gender. We don't know age. The assumption presented by the blogger is that it was an adult, or at least someone older than the participant in the hot seat. Now, the blogger easily may not have told the whole story.

This much we know: the participant wanted to tell the story of forgiveness, was proud of it, perhaps. We do not know if there was actual contact for the "forgiveness." We do not know, for example, if the "toucher" was prosecuted, before or later, nor if he was convicted. The theme here fits with other Landmark criticism, that, allegedly, Landmark "blames the victim."

This is the obvious thinking: if something Bad happens someone must be to Blame.

Landmark is not blaming victims. It is pulling the rug out from the entire ontology of Bad and Blame and Wrong.

When that is disappeared, people still protect themselves and their children, etc. Societies and organizations still have rules and laws and still enforce them, perhaps with a little more room for compassion. It is not compassionate to tolerate harm. However, it's well known: abusers are generally also victims. *And* we still hold them responsible for what they do.

On the other side, if a victim lives the rest of their life, "ruined" because of the abuse, who is responsible for that? I.e., who is responsible for how the victim lives?

It is not about blame, it is about responsibility, and responsibility is about power. No power, no responsibility. The victim who becomes an abuser is taking control, in a certain way. And they are responsible for the choices they make. Is that the "truth"?

No. This is a stand, an interpretation, a story, but an empowering one. If you come to me with a Tale of Woe, about how circumstances have ruined your life, my training tells me to first listen, to feel and show empathy with the pain, no matter who "caused it." Then, as it becomes possible, I will point to the power, that the "victim" has power, *is* "at cause," is causing the present (this is a basic Landmark principle, that the present is not caused by the past, but by our present occurring, and we can learn to choose our occurring. Is this "blame"? No, only through the knee-jerk definition of "blame" as being automatic when one causes something Bad. Landmark distinguishes and generally sets aside these knee-jerk conditioned reactions.

Most of us are trained by our upbringing to avoid blame. It's obvious why, this is a social survival trait. There is limited time in the Forum, and a lot of material to present, and the presentation is not necessarily designed to generate a deep understanding, but to give an experience of freedom, an opening in the clouds of the past, the dramatic version of which is called "popping." It is naive to think that it will last. As I knew from my study of Zen, almost fifty years ago, w:kensho, if not followed by massive practice, fades and becomes a "pleasant memory." The training of the past is extensive, reinforced for years, it reasserts itself. For some people, the breakthrough of the Forum is enough. It actually happens that people have this breakthrough from an Introduction.

There are unfortunate aspects to the training, that, my opinion, exist because Landmark is also a human organization, and has a past, and relies on past experience. I saw clear examples, where an obviously inspiring idea was stopped because, a Forum Leader told, me, "they tried it and a child cried." So the entire future of trainees with children was determined by a Bad Experience, that, on reflection, was not necessarily Bad at all. It looked bad.

I confronted a few of these traits in my own Introduction Leader Program. One might note in the full blog that the blogger recognizes that some people in Landmark are spectacular. The Center Manager who asked corporate for a full refund. There are Center Managers who would not do that. And there are Center Managers who would. However, thinking of that (partial) refund as an action of the Center Manager is limited thinking. In fact, I'd identify the cause -- remember, cause is a story -- as the blogger, who knew quite what she was doing. She was being brave. She was asking for what she wanted, even if it was "unreasonable."

There are many parts of the story told in the blog that I consider "undigested." It is obvious, though. This blogger got something from Landmark. She thinks it some sort of amazing discovery that the benefits arose when she left. That's simply not uncommon. It takes time -- often a lot of time -- before the work actually sinks in, before it turns the entire psyche over. The process is never complete, unless we say so, and saying so is an unnecessary limitation. I have still not read all the posts.

This is a learning project, like all Wikiversity resources. I am not here to proclaim my infinite wisdom to the world. Hah! I'm going to keep it hidden until you are ready and ask for it .... How's that for a story?

No, I am here to learn, and I document my learning, I've done this for many years in many fields, and I find that a few others then benefit from it. If you follow a student, you can learn much of what the student learned (though not all. The full learning is not limited to what can be expressed in words, though poets may point to it). --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:10, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

It’s not an insult; it’s full self-expression.[edit | edit source]

February 12, 2014

Notice the title: it compares two interpretations of the same event, denying one, affirming the other. The more powerful position is that the event was both and neither.

He called his mother a bitch in front of my sister.
It was Thanksgiving, and I was spending it with a good friend and business partner who enrolled and registered me in Landmark. I brought my sister along to his mother’s place so that we could all have some family action together.

We know more about the friend, from the most recent blog entry. The fellow was apparently relatively new, and the behavior described in this is that of a new graduate, not a seasoned one.

Plus, I had an ulterior motive: to see if I could register my sister in the Forum.

You first must enroll her. The events of the day, and how you respond to them, will have an impact.

My friend was deeply into the Technology. So much so that he would speak in Landmark jargon all day long to people who didn’t get what he was saying but were nonetheless impressed by his charisma.

He must have missed the times when Leaders told participants not to do that. Were they impressed? {I'm not sure he was ever told, except for one incident when I actually saw a leader tell him, "take the jargon out."}

It is not necessarily prominent, but many times I heard participants coached not to use the jargon. Interesting.... the training is verbally delivered. The courses follow a format. If something is missing from the format, but is often said anyway, it may then sometimes be missing. "Don't use the jargon," one might think, is obvious. I don't know that it is in the format, it might not be. Within the context of the training, the jargon ("Landmartian") is very useful, creating a specialized communication. Take it out of that context, it can be harmful. A newbie will also attempt to explain the jargon, and may describe the distinctions as if they are truth, reality itself. So, then, they readily look like they have been taken over by a cult. I'm seeing if I can recall any guidance being given on how to interact with non-graduates after the course, i.e., dealing with the standard and obvious blunders. Somewhere, fairly early, I heard "don't use the jargon." I also heard, "don't play junior Forum Leader." I had a bit of a reaction to that, as if we were being treated as dolts. I would, now, frame it differently. "Be aware that you are not yet trained in enrollment and registration conversations, so your skill may be low. Be aware of how your conversations are impacting others. Simply repeating what is said here, outside of this context, as if it is "truth," can create major misunderstandings, so be careful. Be aware of your own desire to "look good" and "be right." Rather, to enroll others, demonstrate the transformation. Be a good listener, and care about the people you are listening to. You will see many situations where it will occur to you that the person "needs" the training. Be slow to suggest it, indeed, it is often more powerful to wait until they ask you."
There is the obvious risk of attempting to transmit ("teach") what one has not yet deeply understood. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

{Let me actually tell you about him. He was the first person I ever met who had done the Forum, and at that time he was in the middle of his SELP. I was instantly entranced by him and became obsessive about getting a hold of what he had. I held him up as a paragon of transformation, as he was so well respected and liked among his peers. Countless times I felt he was being self-absorbed and dismissive of me and others, and slinging Landmark jargon all the time to get attention. But I never said anything, because it seemed like I was the only person who noticed this, or I was the only person he treated this way. I didn't think anyone would believe me if I called him on his bullshit. He was a graduate, after all; surely he had been trained in something? But no, people liked him so much that I thought "Well, this is probably how graduates are expected to act." I did every single program he did, probably just to please him and the other people who admired him. But all the while, I hated myself.}

What I notice is the matrix she was living in. She was concerned as to whether or not she will be believed. One might think that she preferred to hate herself than be disbelieved. Her judgments of him are story, but that's her story. What would actually happen in the Landmark context is that she'd be reminded of this.
However, suppressing our own story because others will recognize it as story is heavily disempowering. Everyone tells stories. "The human being is a meaning-making machine." When we describe our occurring world, we are, in fact, describing a "what happened," but the happening is inside. "It occured to me that you are a jerk" is not a story, it is a what happened. "You are a jerk" is a story. The what happened is that a story was invented. We learn to take responsibility for how we occur to others, even though we also know that they are creating it.
"That's a story" is a story. All the distinctions are stories. "Story" does not mean "false."
I have seen "pressure is a story" being used to deny that there was an experience of pressure in Introductions. I.e., if pressure is only an interpretation, not something real (often distinguished with, "can you cut it with a knife?"), then "there ain't no flies on us, there may be flies on some of you guys, but there ain't no flies on us." I.e., we are doing nothing wrong, the participant has a problem, not us.
Which is a complete failure to take responsibility for how we occur to others. I played this game for years. It was my Act. I was right, they were wrong. And, dammit, I was right! Which completely overlooks the elephant in the living room. Why was I creating that rejection? How was I doing it? The training took me into taking responsibility for what I create in the world. And that took me into power. The survival brain is critically concerned with blame and avoiding blame. If I'm creating this Bad Thing, then I'm Bad, and that is unthinkable, or, the flip side, the sooner I die, the better.
A deep examination of this takes one into theology, is God Bad because he created suffering? The training doesn't go there, it simply points to a way out, distinguishing what happens from story. (A variation on a meme is Pain Happens, Suffering is Optional). The training is designed to be easy to "get." Most people do. Blogger did get something, but, in my mind, has not fully assimilated it. However, that is empty and meaningless. It's a story, as she will immediately recognize. To me, and for her, the question is "whose story is it, and what is the impact of the story, the effect, and is the story being chosen or is it believed to be "truth." A powerful meme:
It's my story, and I'm sticking to it! --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Similarly, she had a persistent complaint about her friend, and she had a fixed way of being about it. That fits the definition of "racket," another story. Is it an empowering story or a disempowering story? It depends on who is distinguishing it! For her to recognize her own complaint as a racket would be empowering. For her to voice the complaint could also be self-expression, of a kind (authenticity). How she does that, who she was being, would be what creates the effect. His behavior occurs to me as inauthentic, narcissistic. However, he also had something. He was coming into his power, I suspect that his calling his mother a bitch was a step in that. The blogger heavily judges him, but then recognizes her own judgment as a story, and so suppresses it. That's fine for an ad hoc and temporary response, while one is in training. Listen, watch, learn. However, this was persistent. And, yes, it's a racket. "Racket" does not mean "the complaint is wrong." It means disempowerment. She sees something and has no clue about how to communicate it.
She fears being wrong and being made wrong. One of the great discoveries of the work is a total reframing of being wrong as learning. As well, when we notice something about our world, about the habits of the people in our life, on up to the society as a whole, if we talk about it, people will attempt to make us wrong. So a fear of that will keep us trapped. The flip side is if we believe our stories are "truth." We become obsessed by them.
In this context (her blog and here) she has set aside her fear. She's reactive, she will defend, but ... she's going to express herself and nobody is going to stop her. And that is a spectacular victory.
A term I invented is "racketing." Racketing is a make-wrong, attempting to shut someone up by telling them that they are running a racket. She ran into that, or so it appears. In fact, she was running rackets, we all do. So distinguishing racketing from coaching can be tricky. Coaches develop and run rackets about their participants. A skillful and attentive Leader will detect this and coach the coach. Etc.
The key difference is that one who is racketing is uncomfortable with the content of the racket and is seeking to repress or deny it. So when people run rackets about us, a survival response for a graduate is to racket them. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
His mother hadn’t done the Forum, but he was enthusiastic to share about it with her and with the rest of us. He was basically trying to be a Landmark Forum Leader to us, even saying, “Let’s talk about the distinction ‘choice.'” (That bit went nowhere, thank gods.) His passion was so off the chart that he took delight in sharing about how he realized what an “asshole” he was, and then said to his mother’s face, “and you’re a bitch.”

The behavior is described, in the trainings, as "trying to be a junior Forum Leader." There doesn't start to be serious training in "enrollment conversations" until the SELP. The business partner is, by this time, in or has done the SELP, but it often takes a few times to get it down. (If you have done the SELP, you can coach it for free, which is where you really get nailed. Can't hide at all! Or you can take it again for half price. Coaching is much better training.)

[Apparently the blogger did coach the SELP. She doesn't say much about it. She did hide, and made it almost all the way through the ILP hiding, and was, I think, still hiding, she merely opened the door a crack. --Abd (discusscontribs) 03:40, 24 August 2015 (UTC)]

"Asshole" has been deprecated as a distinction. One never hears it any more, in the rooms, unless someone shares about the old days. It was never an excuse to call someone an asshole, except when coaching them, and coaching is always with consent. So you don't walk up to someone and call them an "asshole," and think this is somehow "Landmark." It never was. In my training, I was never encouraged to use any derogatory language about anyone. On the other hand, in my ILP, one evening, we were told to go to the phones and make calls, and I called an ex-wife, and apologized for being "such an asshole." There was a coach behind me cheering. Her response? It was amazing. She said, "I don't blame you for leaving, I was always angry with you." The woman had done a lot of work on herself. A year later, I met her for coffee, it was great, to let go of all that past, all the blame and shame and guilt and self-justification and blah, blah, blah. And just be people who had known and loved each other, for better or for worse.

She was shocked, obviously. As was my sister. I was, but only a little, because I’d been in those seminar rooms where people throw around words like “asshole” and “bitch” to sledgehammer people with the reality that none of us are really that nice.

Well, color me shocked. I've never seen it, and I spent a lot of time in those rooms. This may be many years earlier [9 years --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)], I have some sense of that, and there can also be different cultures in different areas. I've only attended trainings in Massachusetts and New York, and seminars in Connecticut.

But that’s OK for a self-help boot camp. We were having Thanksgiving with people who have no frame of reference to what my friend was talking about. And in that context, it was a rude insult.

It would be an insult in a training. I have seen an video of Werner Erhardt in the 1970s or so, calling a participant an "asshole." But he was essentially saying it for the participant. When "asshole" was used, it was in the context of "we are all assholes," i.e., inauthentic hypocrites. It's a basic realization, not a club to hit people with ("sledgehammer"). It's difficult to understand that this was thought of as "self-expression," though, indeed, it might have been that. This guy may have been waiting to tell his mother what he thought of her for years, so he dumped it. It could have been a step forward in their relationship, or not. There is no absolute meaning to it.

As to a goal of enrolling her in the Forum, it was face-palm stupid.

Or not. It occurs to me that he may have been mirroring his mother. That she talks about people this way. That he finally had the courage to tell her what he was thinking. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
I should have called him out for it, but I didn’t. (His mother did, and she deftly tore him a new one.) I just thought, Well, he’s being fully self-expressed. He’s transformed. He’s not afraid to look bad in front of others.
In other words, he had what she knew she did not have, an ability to set that fear aside. As a coach, if he told me about this experience, I'd want to know what happened then. He called himself an asshole, called her a bitch, and then she skewered him, perhaps telling the truth, or a story that she knew would bite, with a highly judgmental edge,, cutting. Or not. She's not being "loving mother," for sure. She is being the woman he grew up with, very likely. How did he respond to that? I can imagine them laughing. Or I could imagine mayhem. How "heavy" is this for him? If he's gotten the Forum, it won't be heavy. He will see her response and be flat about it. But this is his mother! For him to have fully processed his relationship with her, that quickly, well, not impossible. But also not common. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

A theme here: disapproval that is not expressed. {Again, he's a well respected graduate doing the SELP, I would have been the only one raising a stink. Everyone else thought he was wonderful. No one would believe me; instead, they would ask me about my racket.} The story tells me something about the man and his mother. It's not pretty. He may be able to handle this with more training, but he is still wrapped up in there being something wrong with his mother, and she plays along, by being a bitch, very successfully, in the eyes of the blogger. ("Deftly....")

"Well respected graduate doing the SELP, if it's his first time, if he is simply completing the Curriculum for Living, well, she was impressed. By what? By his reputation? No, she didn't know that. "Everyone else thought he was wonderful." She doesn't know what others think, this is basic story. As well, contrary to what she thinks and attempts to prove from her own experience, the Landmark community does not tear people up and apart. In coaching, the emphasis is on empowerment, and acknowledgement is a huge part of that. Consider: in the SELP, he not only turned his project over -- that's difficult for a lot of people -- he then enrolled and registered her into the Forum. Of course he's going to be acknowledged for that. People will applaud. However, there is a darker side. He picked as leader someone who practically worshipped him. I really wonder how the project worked, she drops that thread.
(rather than "worshipped," "envied" might be more accurate. Notice how she describes the possibility of distinguishing what he was doing: "Raising a stink." To raise a stink means to make strong judgmental charges. There is no middle ground. Either shut up and hate yourself, or blame and accuse and argue, and in the context, nobody will agree with it. So she really looks bad. No, there is no wonder, with this setup she prefers to stay quiet. In the world of survival, it makes sense. Sort of. Hating herself will lead to depression, but that is slow, "looking bad" is immediate. There are undistinguished contradictions here.)
I often look at the context and apparent intention of what is being said, more than the content. Here, the blogger is explaining why it was reasonable for her to behave as she did, and reasonable for her to stay quiet about it, the apparent intention being to avoid looking "unreasonable." She knows how limiting that intention is. My interest in the primary study of the blog is what happened, and what associations this creates with my own experience. Blogger is a self-expressed young woman, it's apparent from my looking around. She has strengths, and from the blog, weaknesses. The blog was written more than a year ago.
I've noticed this: when I write about old situations where I ran into conflict, I fall right back into the story that was involved. I've seen this in many. We may be, normally in the present, way beyond that story, but recounting what happened, the story comes up, the affect changes, and we are fully immersed in it. ("Dammit! I was right! I was so right it makes me sick!") That's a sign that we are not flat about it yet. It still has the power to trigger the amygdala, our survival mechanisms come up, and those are designed to dominate. In the Invented Life Seminar, this is addressed, and specifically how to distinguish it, and how to drop it. The "dropping" is not a rejection of our past, attempts to do that backfire. It is far, far simpler than that. I used to use w:NLP techniques for this kind of transformation, it's very similar. The key is the creation of choice.
And this brings up a missing. In the blog, I don't recall seeing any mention of Seminars. Lots of graduates take the Forum and never go beyond it, except for Seminars. Seminars are low-key, compared to the other advanced offerings. They are cheap. In the two years, after the Forum, if blogger had simply done Seminars, she would have spent maybe $400 total. There is suggestion in the Seminar to invite guests, but it's normally low-key, and a participant who ignores it is not called out for failure. (Almost everything happens occasionally, this is a huge program, with easily hundreds of thousands of participants, but I'm talking generalities: in doing, let's see, about five seminars, with three different Leaders, I never saw it. In Seminars, one gets to see a wide range of graduates, including highly successful ones who rarely or never Assist. (I think the number is that about 1% of graduates go into the Assisting Program, so the blogger was hanging out with a highly skewed subset of graduates.)
I also learned how to "kill" Seminars. I.e., how to nail them, to get the distinctions so that they stick, and don't just become a vague memory. Nobody told me how to do this, but it's actually simple. It does mean more work, but not difficult work, and immediately rewarding.
When my daughter is a little more ready to be alone, I may start going to Seminars in Connecticut, it involves me being a hour away, or travelling, for a total of about five hours, once a week. I did it, or the like of it, to complete commitments, when she first came to live with me. We survived, but ... there was also some pain and upset and ... I chose to demonstrate that she comes first, that she is important. I completed my commitments and she understood that, in fact. However, then, I made no more of them. Here we are: [4].
It did not happen that way, but suppose it had? Suppose instead of attempting to become "the shit," ASAP, she had just looked at the Curriculum flow chart, and seen the Seminar series there, and had taken the patient and slow path. I didn't do that, because I was 67 years old and decided I had no time to waste. But she was young. In the Seminars, one hears many, many stories, one becomes familiar with the range of responses, one sees people who have become obsessed by Landmark and eat the Curriculum for breakfast and then try ILP for lunch and run into a brick wall! and then get that the way they have been running their life, which included that behavior -- doesn't work. They may succeed at this or that with it -- this is "strong suit" -- but will never find peace of mind, joy, happiness with it, and the self-expression that happens in this is all the limited self, and typically fake, and ... we see high achievers, people who inspired many, who commit suicide because they had learned how to fake sincerity.
Now, was it a mistake? No. I think the blogger took a fast path to running into a brick wall, that she needed to run into. Is that the "truth"? Of course not! It's a story, but it can be an empowering one. If it was chosen, and for purpose, then all that suffering was not for nothing. It was not stupid. It was brilliant! And now what? She has a life, I can see that. Reading what she has written, elsewhere, it's obvious that the training "took." So, again, now what? --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

My interpretation: the blogger did not want to look bad to her friend, so she invented an interpretation that allowed her to set aside the obvious. It's not that it's wrong. She's telling the story now, she did not actually drop her first interpretation, but stored it up for later.

But was there any chance of my sister or his mother being enrolled in a powerful new possibility? Hell no. He lost them at “bitch.”

Enrolling the blogger's sister was not his goal, it was to express what he'd been afraid to express. For all we know, this was a major breakthrough for him. Or not. Basically, people will say that something is their goal, but then the behavior does not correlate with the goal, a sign of another agenda. However, I reread the story. The partner never said his goal was to enroll his mother. He was "enthusiastic" to share it, which can easily mean wanting to look good. And he might naively imagine that he could say whatever occurred to him, that he was "shitting gold bricks." He has a high opinion of himself, and communicated that to the blogger, who was, indeed, enrolled by him, likely because he had something the blogger lacked.

I’m sorry, but full self-expression is not full license to say whatever comes to your mind.
A lesson learned too late, and – interestingly – not learned from the very program that promotes great communication and healthy relationships.
She didn't learn it in the programs. However, she is rationalizing her own disempowering habit. There is no license or licensing authority, that is entirely invented. What we say will create a world of response. What we say without choice is the machine operating. Children blurt out things. They ask embarrassing questions. And they are sometimes punished for that, so they learn not to do it. This learning passes outside the possibility of choice. It is "wrong" to just say what is on your mind, "bad things" will happen. So it becomes practically unthinkable. I'm still working on this one! In an intimate relationship, is one free to say whatever comes into one's mind? Maybe. Maybe not. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't know why, yet, but I do have suspicions. It is not that the training wasn't there. I've heard Leaders tell stories like this one, about their own unskillful communications.

The "Self" in "Full Self expression" and as in "Self Expression and Leadership Program," is not the individual survival self, it is something else. Truly something else. The survival self will attempt to appropriate it, that's normal. It was [probably] not the Self that called the mother a "bitch." It was a childhood program running and maybe breaking down. We don't know the end of this story.

He called her a bitch, she tore him a new one. I had to look that up. It means tear open a new asshole, and the actual meaning depends on context. It can be a threat of violent physical harm, but here it probably means that she returned the verbal abuse. I have no idea that this was "wrong." It actually could end up with her registering. I wonder, did she? The blogger is looking at superficialities, immediate responses. Long term responses can be widely variant from immediate ones. It might be that this was the first time these two got really honest with each other, and that the blogger thought she was "deft" indicates that. She told him the truth about himself, or at least how he was appearing. Or this was just how they talked to each other. Family dynamics can vary widely, again.

I sense that the blogger is blaming the not-enrolled state of her sister on her partner, instead of taking responsibility for it. {I said yes to being his friend. I'll own that.}

Implied story. "Yeah, I made a mistake, I befriended a jerk!" The context is enrollment of her sister, and she considered it his responsibility, not her own. Was she authentic with her sister? Did she tell her sister how he was occurring to her? Which would probably resonate with the sister. Did she demonstrate her own transformation? Indeed, was she transformed? If not, of course she had nothing to use to enroll her sister, beyond simple honesty, which was probably missing. This has nothing to do with whether or not he's a jerk. It could be substance for an enrollment conversation, a background of relatedness. More likely, because of who he was for her, she might have tried to explain the occurring away. What actually was the sister's response?
It is completely obvious: some people after the Forum are arrogant, opinionated jerks. My guess is that they were this way before as well. The Forum transformation can be dramatic, and deep, but ... not always. Sometimes it merely scratches the surface. My story about my Forum was that I did not "pop." I saw other people pop, I could see what they were doing and how they were waking up, and I also -- from my own history, which we could call strong suit -- understood the Forum technology, why it worked, where it came from. I had been a "spiritual teacher," with credentials. But I'd arrived there intuitively and based on my own study, I was only trained a little, my teacher died soon, etc. So my effectiveness was limited. I saw that Landmark was doing what I'd wanted to do. And doing it with high effectiveness. And, yes, I could see the warts and blemishes. However, that's life.
But as to my Forum, what I say about it is that it "ruined my rackets." I had used them for years to justify my failures. I'd been successful in many things, even spectacularly, but ... then there were the failures. My rackets were stories designed to blame the failures on conditions. Then I did a great deal of work on how to change the conditions, I've actually developed process to alter the entire way that human societies make decisions, and I'm known for it. Those ideas were, in part, first suggested over a hundred years ago. It may take another hundred years to see widespread implementation, if that. So, meanwhile, here we are!
It ruined my rackets because I could now hear the whine. I could recognize a racket, it's trivial. You see them in others, hear the whine, and bang, racket. I didn't get the payoff, the etiology of racket. Why would I create these stories? But rackets they were, and when I told a bit of my story on stage in my Forum, the Leader said one word. He said it flat, it was just fact. "Racket." He didn't work with it, then. I think it might have been more to bite off than could be chewed, at that time. He knew that I knew: racket. So it was then my job to explore it, and explore it I did, in the Forum in Action Seminar and, as soon as I got the logistics together, the Advanced Course.
This was all crazy-expensive for me, on social security. I'd never spent money on training before. Other people spent money to attend workshops I created, on occasion. But this was important to me. However, all the money that I spent ultimately came back, in a grant I recently received. Unexpectedly, out of the blue, but ... created by the activity created by my taking responsibility created by the work I did in Landmark and by how I made that work, in spite of encountering conditions, some of which resemble in some ways what the blogger encountered.
My first SELP coach basically framed it all for me: Landmark was a human organization, far from perfect, but working to transform society, and open to transformation itself, if people will stand for it. He was "philosophical" about the whole "sales" thing. I mentioned this to a woman who was active in assisting and she went off the deep end over it. "He had no right to say that." He was a literally grizzled veteran, had coached the SELP so many times he had forgotten how many, he had been an Introduction Leader, and he was matter-of-fact. I don't know his age, but he might have been a little older than me, he was prominent in the senior-rights and support movement. It was always a pleasure to talk with him and listen to him. She was middle-aged, with far less experience. That woman followed me out to the parking lot. I confronted her on it. It was obvious story. I worked with her many times after that. Ate breakfast at her house, she more or less ran an inn for people doing courses. It was a great breakfast. She was growing and learning. We learn to "take what we like and leave the rest," an old 12-step distinction.

So far, no results from her training have been reported that would be inspiring, at all. Why did she continue? {Because of him. Because of all that was promised. Because at the Center, possibility is always in front of you. The inspiration. Even if the inspiration brings you nothing, you still want it. I wanted it. I hung my life on my professional partnership with this man, believing it was the only way I could get a life I wanted. And where was he? At Landmark. I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for him.}

Yes. Now, what the blogger acknowledges, in the full blog, is that she got value from the training, but that it only appeared to her when she left. She sees other examples of that, so she generalizes. What happened later? When she left, was her career destroyed? (I'd think not, however, she went through hospitalization for depression, which might have had some impact.) Going out into life and practicing the distinctions is called "getting on the court." Staying only in the Landmark community is playing safe, for most (not exactly for her, she was a walking setup for being confronted, and I can guess a reason, so Landmark was not safe for her).
In the ILP, the training is to "be at cause." I'm sure it was that way then. This distinction, she is not showing.
She needed the "yelling," the perceived blame, she needed to see how bad it would get if she continued as she was. So she created the blowup with the whole "hospital" and "lie on the registration form" story. We can see this as she tells it, later, she is telling the ILP Leader, who is going "wow." I read that story and wondered "is that all there is? This is some serious event? The Leader is either terribly naive about mental health (possible) or was being led into an assessment of how serious it was by the blogger. This was not something mentioned off-hand by the blogger, something that accidentally came out. It was deliberately raised by the blogger as a possible problem. That will create perception of it as a problem. This is how the brain works!
I think she was framing it as a reason why the training wasn't working for her. I'd want to reread this part. "No wonder I'm having such difficulties, I shouldn't have been here in the first place." So ... the Leader says "Wow!" The Leader validates her thinking, conspires with her on it, and then enrolls the Center Manager. It's clockwork, set in motion by .... the blogger.
No blame. She was trying to survive. There were unintended consequences. Somehow, the ILP Leader framed her signing of the registration form as a "lie," which I find mind-bogglingly unskillful, absent an admission from the blogger that she knew at the time that there was a misrepresentation. There was, in fact, no misrepresentation. There was an intepretation so natural that it wasn't even conscious, that this was not a hospitalization, any more than going to stay with Aunt Marion would have been, to take a break and get a rest would be a hospitalization. The formalities make a difference, and, as well, so would a psychiatric diagnosis. She never thought of herself as having been "hospitalized," until later she realized that this was the back door. She opened it so she could leave. And they, in a way, kicked her out.
I was about 21, and a friend, over breakfast at his apartment, told me I was "lying." I threw my cereal in his face, said, "I'll never speak to you again," and walked out. I've seen other people with extreme reactions to being called a liar, and especially from someone where they have an expectation of support. I never spoke to him again, he committed suicide shortly thereafter, and what I learned was to be very careful about speaking to people when emotionally triggered myself. It can bring drastic and unexpected consequences. Maybe my offense at being called a liar wasn't that important. Maybe I could set it aside and listen. He needed someone to listen to him (that's standard, I later did suicide prevention training). --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

The next blog post gets really interesting. She is onto something. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:29, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

The miracles are the ones who leave[edit | edit source]

February 13, 2014

This is brilliant. However, notice the rigidity of classification. One routinely sees "miracles" in Landmark training. What surprised this blogger -- and inspired her -- was a story of someone who did extremely well, "leaving" a program, and she then generalizes to make it a universal. Did that person "leave" Landmark? Obviously not! She came back and told her story. Rather, what she did was leave the SELP. Many do. It's a lot of work! If it were just going to a meeting a little less than once a week for 2.5 hours, and a 30-minute call with a coach once a week, it wouldn't make much sense to leave. But sometimes people are travelling long distances. Sometimes their project -- or the rest of their life -- opens up so much that they make a choice to leave a particular program. Sometimes they do not go to any Landmark events for a long time, but they haven't slammed a door and locked it.

My travel partner in the Introduction Leader Program was a woman who had been a Guest Seminar Leader for EST. Her EST work had completely transformed her life. She had gone to school, became an ordained minister, got married, had children, etc. Twenty years passed with no Landmark activity. Then, she was experiencing some obstacles in her life. She realized she missed "the conversation." So she started attending programs occasionally. Then she decided we needed a local Seminar, and so she went back into training to become, again, an Introduction Leader, which is the gateway to all Leader distinctions. (And retraining is required if Leader commitment is not maintained.) That's how I came to have a travel partner, she was financially constrained, and so was I. She was candidated, I was not. (Both of these were totally unsurprising. However, I can say that I created her as an Introduction Leader by inviting guests to her candidatable lead, guest who actually showed up, and didn't register, but filled out the necessary numbers. That I had a list of guests who showed up was amazing for me.... Many had not, before!) The point? One might decide, years later, to engage with the Landmark community, which is what that is really about.

The blogger seems to think that her insights are unusual, and not what one will find in Landmark. The reality: they are there, they are fairly common. {nobody around me EVER talked about them}

Perhaps. I certainly don't have a complete record in my mind of everything that people around me said. However, I acknowledge that conversations about some of these things are not common, and a great deal can depend on the circles in which the blogger moved. First of all, what is mentioned in the courses is rather tightly scripted. Forum Leaders, in "recreating" the material, do add commentary of their own, but it is limited (and, to some extent, if it is not merely an illustration from personal experience of what is in the format, it is discouraged. Likewise, Forum leaders interact with participants, and only some of that is scripted. That is, in a particular segment, there is a purpose to the shares, and the Leader will use the shares to address the purpose. But A Leader who was rigid about this would probably be ineffective. There is a trade-off between freedom and focus.
However, graduates talk to each other. One of the benefits of my living so far from the Center was ride-sharing. I shared rides with Leaders, on occasion, or advanced graduates. Two hours in a car with an SELP Leader, not shabby. Or four hours a day for over forty days, ride-sharing with my ILP partner -- who had been a Guest Seminar Leader. Riding with our Statistician who happened to live about half-way, and was an Introduction Leader. And many more such. There were all kinds of conversations. Here is a conversaiion that had an impact on me, at the dinner break in my Advanced Course, after I'd stuck my foot in my mouth, on stage, with my Act, and had realized what I'd done and the implications.
I was told, "Oh, don't mind, it doesn't matter, don't feel guilty about it."
My reaction: "You stupid f***s! Don't tell me how to feel! I just got my Act, and I thanked it for showing up -- as we had been told it would. I don't feel guilty, I feel free! I'm so happy I can practically burst, and all you can do is to expect me to be guilty that I screwed up. You don't get it! I screwed up nearly everything important to me, at one time or another, my whole life, and now I get it! I did it. It was not conditions, it was not them, it was me! And if it was me, I created it and what I created in one way, I can create in another."
(They were new graduates, their reaction would be fairly normal. I did -- and still do -- react to "stupidity" like that, but carrying around "stupid f***s" is not terribly useful. It was, I'm sure, well-meaning.) --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
(I walked up to one of the Leaders in the completion session and showed her what I'd found, which was how to express the Advanced Course without words, and she lit up (as did every AC graduate I tried this with). "That's it!" She said.)

But if one doesn't have these realizations, the conversations about them will pass by without understanding, they will not be noticed or remembered. The blogger's ideas about Landmark are largely a reflection of her own thinking when she was a participant. No blame. We learn things when we are ready to learn them. Blaming the teacher is the flip side of teachers blaming students.

(I.e., from the teacher's point of view, the powerful stand is taking responsibility for what the student learns. I ran into this with Suzuki Violin. Dr. Suzuki, who is famously quoted with "Doctor / Suzuki / Says never / be lazy / but practice / and practice / until you / go crazy," took full responsibility for the students being inspired to practice, and his stand was that all children could learn. Yet I saw a teacher who was directly trained by him who said, "Some children can't learn," and in some literature written by another trained Suzuki teacher, I found assignment of incapacity to learn to students, which is essentially avoiding responsibility for teacher failure. "Responsibility" is not about truth. It is a powerful stand. "The student can't learn" is a way for a teacher to avoid responsibility, to avoid "failure." But "I failed" is a far more powerful stand. We have it backwards!

If I fail, it is then possible that, by varying my behavior, or even simply through persistence, I can succeed. When I blame external conditions, over which I have no control, I have a back door. "Not my fault!"

Now, to the blog:

My Self-Expression and Leadership Program was in its final weekend, and it was a disaster.

Happens. I've heard of this with the SELP, actually. Notice what is done:

Our leader had stepped down and let two other SELP leaders take the reins in the final weeks of the program, because the tank of possibility was running on empty with failed projects, not enough people registering for more LE programs, people leaving, and on and on. (Truth be told, this SELP was a real anomaly, but I didn’t know this until later, when I got into the assisting program to see more sides of it.)

One of the true "dirty secrets" of Landmark: Leaders have "measures" to make. If they don't meet measures, something is considered missing. Is that "true?" Of course not, silly! But measures are still useful, and usually they correlate with something missing. SELP Leaders are volunteers, which is true for nearly all Leader distinctions, but the position is roughly equivalent to Forum Leader, the difference being that Forum Leaders have a huge time commitment, which is why they are employees. We will get to this.

Failure to meet registration measures would probably not, alone, have led to replacement. Replacement is a huge step, disruptive to the program. However, SELP Leaders are, again, human. They can burn out, become cranky, can have personal difficulties that distract them, etc. {Let me elaborate: Our initial SELP leader stepped down after leading about halfway through the program, and two other SELP leaders stepped in to co-lead from the front while our original leader went to the back. But when it got down to the very end of the program, the two co-leaders were pulled aside and the Registration Manager, who was also an SELP leader, stepped in to try to save the sinking ship. I was to find out later that our original leader was actually on her LAST SELP at that time, for whatever reason we don't know. My TMLP friend, upon hearing all this from me, said, "I apologize on behalf of Landmark Education."}

The cynic in me would want to ask your friend, "Will she get her money back?"
Landmnark issues no performance guarantees. It could be tricky to set them up. The first thing that occurred to me when I first thought of this (which was not recently) was that it would provide a financial incentive for grads to tell a story that it didn't work. Given that this is story, there is no "truth" about it. Our friend here describes that SELP as a disaster, with lots of evidence. However, my basic stand as a participant is that I am responsible for my experience in the course.
For the SELP, the money is trivial. $220 for about 60 hours in class, plus at least 4-6 hours direct coaching (or more), plus the participant's time working on their project. (I became aware of a similar training offered by a nonprofit in the area, it was well over $1000.) No, the major investment is one's own time and intention. In my SELP, the Leader was going through a divorce, and it was getting ugly. He came in and told his story, and almost any one of us could have identified it as "story!" But we didn't. And not because we were afraid of him. He was an incredibly nice guy, always smiling, always welcoming, acknowledging. He told his story, I think, to discharge it (and the way he told it, it was almost a parody, it was so crazy it was hilarious. The innocent guy and the wife's greedy attorney, who leaves him nothing but the shirt on his back. And his motorcycle. He loved his motorcycle. He had a characteristic way he talked, it was a whine, like a racket, only he wasn't actually suffering. So I imitated him one time, the class was rolling on the floor laughing. And he was smiling. I got paid back, when that opera singer imitated me.... It's all perfect. Just remember to have fun. If it seems like you are not having fun, say, "Are we having fun yet?" Didya ever see those skits on Saturday Night Live? Guaranteed, you will start laughing.)

Now: some discrimination here. This is obvious: something was missing, and it led to many symptoms. However, SELP projects don't "fail." If one reads the Promises of the program -- when I was SELP Registration support in two Advanced Courses, the cushiest assisting position ever, I memorized the Promises. They are realized with high reliability. "Project success" is not one of them. The project is an opportunity for training. Especially when this is a participant's first SELP, many choose impractical projects, for starters, but we don't judge the projects like that. The training and purpose of the SELP is focused on participant development of skills, and practice with the skills. Indeed, this blogger was mightily impressed, at first, by a routine SELP guideline and goal: turn the project over. That is not easy for many participants! However, if the project is actually a community project, not the participant's pet, turning it over is a powerful move for success. Otherwise the project is limited by one person, and often by one person's ego.

Participants, however, were not getting value. Some participants will stay. I would, generally, because I understood early on that my development was my job, and that the Leaders and coaches were all there to assist me, and if there was some shortcoming there, it was my responsibility to fix it, to supply what was missing.

An old 12-step conversation:

Newbie: I don't like that meeting, there is no recovery there.
Old-timer: Take some!

So they were in the final weekend, Weekend III. This is normally a big guest event, and is sometimes run a bit like a party. Guests are there for an entire morning (at least this was recent practice; in my last stint as a coach, the entire program was being rewritten, we were testing it.)

The most revealing incident from that day was when a visitor came in. She was a participant who had left the program. She participated with us up to about the six-week mark and then left. She came back to complete with us, but as it turned out, she was more than complete.

No. She was not "complete" with the program, until she came back. She understood that, apparently. "Getting complete" is a major activity, commonly emphasized in the Introduction Leader Program. Completion ties up loose ends. In the ILP, as an example, I completed what had been an ugly end to a marriage, twenty years before, I described the completion conversation elsewhere in this study. People in the SELP get to know each other, sometimes quite well. Just disappearing leaves, then, something unfinished. If possible, it is highly recommended to say goodbye! One made commitments in the program, including an attendance commitment. Integrity does not require that we never change our minds, but it does require that we communicate when we do. So, for multiple reasons, this participant came back to complete.

The blogger is only thinking about the project, as if the project were the goal of the SELP. No. The project is a learning device. A few projects go on and become a sustained activity. Most do not. Projects may be declared that create one event only. One of my participants declared a goal to have a family meeting, in her huge family that had become divided. The large meeting did not happen. Did she "fail"? Well, technically, she failed in one of her measures, but the purposes of the SELP were amply fulfilled, and she had vastly improved her communication with her family, and many of her declared measures were met. And she had far stronger connection with her family after than before.

Of all the participants in that SELP, her community project was the most successful, her life the most radically transformed, her leadership the most fully realized, of any participant in the room.

Well, the SELP wasn't over at this point, and the blogger does not know the private life of all the participants. What he knows is that she was inspiring. Some people come into the SELP with strong suits that allow easy creation of "successful projects. However, the blogger declares that this woman's life was radically transformed. Transformed by what? If she left before Weekend III, she had received the bulk of the training. So she used it.

She even looked different and spoke with 10 times the confidence and authority she had before. She truly embodied transformation in a way that the rest of us didn’t.
After she left.

So she had been through an obvious transformation. What caused that? We don't know the truth. Maybe she fell in love, and was being loved. But most likely, she took the Forum and Advanced Course and "got it." The Advanced Course opens up the Self, as a community reality, directly experienced (that's my personal summary). That is why the SELP follows, it is about expressing this Self, and the Self is a natural leader. My theory is that we instinctively recognize Self-expression.

So then, she did take that next step and registered into the SELP. I wrote that SELP registration support was the cushiest existing job of all of them. I was able to attend the entire Advanced Course, but with nothing I needed to do most of the time. I could sit and watch and study it, I could go out for coffee, I could help out with, say, the Outside Door (and one of my most powerful interactions, ever, in Landmark training, took place when I took on that Most Boring Job. So must for the story of Most Boring! That interaction showed me that my presence could change a person's life, someone vastly confused, in one glance. Immediate, visible, transformation, from confusion to joyful presence and clarity.)

It was easy because pressure would have been silly. Most people, having invested two 3-day weekends and something up to $1400 (it depends on when you register into the Advanced Course, and, big secret ... shhhhh! .... don't tell anyone and if you mention it, I will say I was lying .. some people don't pay for the Forum or pay a reduced fee, I created one registration like that. My only personal registration, by the way. It seemed like a miracle at the time, to me and to the registrant. But I know how it was created.) (I personally paid $1150, fairly common then.)

So $220 to complete the Curriculum for Living? No brainer. All we had to do was tell people about Da Rules. Dates. Answer any questions they had. Doing this job, on Saturday night I was the only one at the reg table. Sunday, we had a horde of people come in to assist with registration, and then a few were there Tuesday.

(another big secret.... attendance on Tuesday night, the "completion session" is not obligatory. {It was when I took the Forum.}

Maybe. How did you know? When I say that it is not obligatory, I mean that if one doesn't show up, one is still a graduate, as far as I've been able to tell. If one asks, though, someone may say "You must!" Look, it's far better to show up than to not. The issue would be logistics. For people who are close, no big deal. It's a very big deal for people who live hours away. The closing sessions are great. One hears stories about how it has gone. Most people don't bring guests, in my experience. Forum of maybe 130 participants in Boston, maybe 50 guests? Certainly not 130! And some people bring more than one. I would think that if attendance were compulsory, there would be a population of people who took the Forum, missed Tuesday night, and who were considered non-grads. Never heard it mentioned. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Actually, little in Landmark is truly obligatory. If you record the sessions and try to publish them, they will sue you. So not publishing it we can call obligatory. But the point here is that if you don't go Tuesday night, you are still considered a Graduate, and thus eligible for a great deal. You can go to any seminar, and, in practice, you can attend single sessions free or for $10. In my experience, I was never asked to pay, but some people might consider it an obligation, and would button-hole an assistant to make the payment. I've never seen it, though.)

(I point this out to point out how much Landmark is not about money. In those Seminar rooms, nobody is being paid to do this work. Not one person there, unless someone from Staff or a Forum Leader visits. The fellow who designed the Wisdom curriculum, I was told, was in my Seminar. As a participant. Was he paid? I don't know. Probably not then!)

Interesting, because Landmark does everything they possibly can to prevent people from leaving programs.

This comment is interesting, revealing that the blogger believes in ghosts. {bullshit} The ghost of Landmark, as a living being with intentions, fully committed to Preventing a Bad Thing.

But it is obviously not a Bad Thing. People choose to be in programs, and they choose to leave, and nobody can stop them. {Hold on: several of us wanted to withdraw from SELP the very night it started, including myself, but I simply chalked it up to, "my Act is running the show" and I stayed in. Because they always ask if your Act or whatever is guiding your decision to leave, and who wants their Act to run things?}

"Wanted to withdraw" but did not withdraw. They might not refund the tuition. Landmark wants people to complete, that's obvious. The motive for it is obvious, also. This training can be tough. Almost everyone at some point or other wants to walk out. Some actually do. We don't necessarily hear from them. However, many don't, or do walk out and come back, and these very commonly describe it as their "no agreement." My name for that, for myself, is "I don' wanna!" It comes up in many, many areas of my life. They want people to complete because they are more likely to benefit if they do. And, yes, there are exceptions, but Landmark is playing the odds. That is, the "standard coaching" is based on what usually works. The best coaching is not programmed, and it begins with deep listening. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

What is done, routinely, is defined by protocols, but there are individual variations among Leaders. As a coach, my instructions were to inform the Leader of any departure conversations that were more than the normal "I can't do this." I was to find out when the participant could have a direct phone conversation with the Leader. The SELP is a difficult program, the ILP is more so, intense. I'd say that if an ILP participant claims to have never thought of leaving, they are probably in denial, they are forgetting! Or maybe they live across the street from the Center. I was travelling from two to three hours each way to be at the Center.

I had, in two SELPs as a coach, something like six participants leave, out of 15-18, I forget the exact numbers. All left with integrity, and that is what the Leader wants to assure, otherwise leaving can easily be cognized as a "failure." It is not a failure -- unless the participant says it is.

(Was that a high number? Well, higher than some. On the other hand, all four participants out of six who remained in my last session committed to the Introduction Leader Program, which is spectacular performance. I know what that program does for people if they complete it, and many get much of the benefit even if they leave, and especially if they leave with integrity. "Completing it" does not mean becoming an Introduction Leader. It means showing up and not being kicked out for non-attendance. It means facing "failures," no more running away, based on this or that excuse. It means the development of real power.)

(I saw one ILP participant in my tranche, in New York, who was allowed to leave with full credit, i.e., he could take it again and his existing measures were preserved, instead of the calculation being started anew. He had a cause. His wife died. He told us the story, the entire room of over 200 people listening intently. It was very clear: if not for the training, his last day with his wife would have been spent, estranged. He knew exactly where the training had allowed him to connect deeply with her. And then she died unexpectedly, the next morning. As a result of the reconnection, he had video of her, about her love for her husband and children. That would not have happened. So ... he had a lot on his plate, so he left the program, the entire room in tears and cheering at the same time. That's what Landmark is like for those who dive in and pay attention.) {There was a participant in an SELP that I coached who was actually discouraged from going to a funeral of a loved one because the leader suspected "he was just going for the dead person."}

My response to that would be "Damn straight I am! My last chance to stand for her! I intend to cry my eyes out missing her, and remember the joy that was her life and those she knew. Something wrong with that?" Who coached the participant like that, and why did you allow it? Your Leader?
This is my guess: the participant was going to miss a Workday. It's inflexible. You miss the Workday, and don't make it up in another city (before or after), you are out of the Program. I had two of my participants go to New York, and another went to another city. The coaching would be to "have it all." Sometimes, though, we take a stand. This, and not that. There is nothing wrong with either choice. What I hear in the commnent about the dead person was a coach or Leader who had forgotten that. We do forget. As a coach, though, my goal is the empowerment of my participants. Always. It would not be as simple as "Of course you should go to the funeral." Nor, "the importance of the funeral is imaginary." (Consider the latter: the importance of the SELP is also imaginary.)
Rather, this is an opportunity to take a stand. I've seen people choose both, juggling schedule, or -- if the workday is missed, taking that trip to another city. (I think I mentioned the ILP participant who missed a workday in New York, and thought that was that, he was out, until he was coached. He went to Bombay, and now, the world was his oyster, I think he'd never been outside the U.S. They loved him in Bombay.) --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

My SELP Leaders were experts, highly skilled, and very enrolling. However, the training is very clear: the free choices of participants were to be respected. We do not know -- ever -- that they are "wrong."

Now, again, all Landmark participants and Leaders are human beings. We do judge people. The difference between one of low skill and one of high skill is "velocity," which I should define in Landmark Education/Glossary. It means that the recognition of "story" and "judgment" becomes rapid. I've seen a Forum leader turn so quickly that the original story was almost invisible, one had to be watching closely to see it. I saw my SELP leader be confronted by a participant for "making her wrong." She paused and took a breath and said, "You're right." And she apologized, and then stated her stand, the participant stated hers, and then they worked out what to do. It was an amazing interaction on all sides, and this is what you get to see by being a coach. You get to watch and experience truly advanced coaching. Up close in a small group.

So, what happened that this participant was OK to leave in the middle of the program without incident, and most others would get “coached” back into the fold – with repeated harassing phone calls and even house visits? I have no idea.

Uh, house visit? Maybe. By whom? {This happened to a mother and son who went AWOL in my ILP.}

The picture is becoming clear to me. This is not at all an official action. From what I saw, it might not be approved. I remember a young man who left the ILP. I asked what had happened to him. The Registration Manager was casual, and somewhat dismissive. "Oh, he wanted His Way rather than the Program Way." Maybe, but ****! We care about each other! So I called him. He was glad to get the call, and our friendship was strengthened. He was out of the program, I did not, in any way, try to convince him that he was wrong. I just listened to him. So ... mother and son disappear, participant or participants wonder WTF happened? I'm pretty sure that if I went into the office and asked for the home address of my friend, I'd have been told it was confidential. The same for the phone number. But this was the ILP. We all had each other's phone numbers and email addresses. People who cared about you -- for whatever reason -- may want to talk with you, and yes, being human, some will try to tell you you are wrong. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Harassing phone calls? {I've been called after I put my name on the DNC list.}

Of course. By whom? The DNC list is confidential, you only see DNC if you have access to the database. I saw it because the Registration Manager made a decision to trust me with the data for my area, for non-sales calls. Nobody will know you are on the DNC list, and if they have your contact information, they may contact you. Landmark has no control over that! The picture that people have, though, is of an organization that will not "leave you alone." No, it's a human society, and they will, in fact, leave you alone, but you may have to take a stand, or they will frame it as abandoning you. How far you want to go is up to you, but my own preference is to acknowledge the intention of well-meaning "harassers." I welcome Jehovah's Witnesses to my door... --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

I've done Landmark phone work. There are strict limits on phone calls. If someone says "Don't call me," that is entered the database and the phone number is typically hidden. Remember, in my coaching, the instruction was to turn all departure cases over to the Leader. If a Leader harassed a participant, that could cause loss of the Leader distinction, if reported.

What happens is that participants are sometimes mealy-mouthed. They don't say what they want, they don't make their choices clear, because general social training has often made this "impolite." So they will leave the question open, but, in fact, have chosen to leave. Thus they allow others to have expectations that they have no intention of fulfilling, and this is out of integrity, and Leaders may attempt to head this off.

The problem is not leaving. Lots of people leave, without incident. The problem is leaving in such a way as to create harm for the participant. Our focus, as coaches, was always the welfare of the participant and their success in realizing the Promises. Anything else was transient mish-mosh, we are all human, blah, blah.

But in terms of self-transformation, she came in first place ahead of all of us.
And after that, I never saw her at Landmark again.

I'd bet this: she never said, "Never going back." Let's see, right now, the last thing I attended was a seminar in Connecticut. Must have been about 18 months ago. However, I live far from the Boston Center, and even the seminar in Connecticut is an hour both ways. My daughter came to live with me, and was twelve, then. She needed to not be left alone. I actually had commitments when she first moved in. I kept them. There was one night when I got stuck in Boston. She was home, one of her first times ever being alone. She had a headache, she was in pain, and she could not find the Ibuprofen. I was in the bus terminal, stuck for the night. Last thing she said, on the phone, was "I love you, Dad." Was this a terrible thing? Well, life goes through these stages and states. She survived. She learned she could be alone, the world did not end. She did not like it, and when I completed all my commitments, I did not create new ones requiring travel.

I've been to some local Introductions. I love the Introduction format. I highly recommend attending Introductions. For non-graduates, if you fear "hard sell," it's true that Introduction Leaders and be quite persistent, they care about participants, they tend to believe that Landmark is for everyone (even though the training negates that), and so ... I talk with people I'm inviting about what happens, and if I find that a potential guest fears hard sell, I'll suggest they leave their payment method at home. [The opposite of how we are sometimes told to tell guests, bring a payment method. But my goal is to make sure that guests have a choice, and I do not believe that if they want to register and have no credit card, therefore the opportunity is lost forever!)

Work the Possibility Exercise, it can be, all by itself, life-transforming. The training of the ILs is to respect your choices, so, notice, if they are arguing with you, ask them if they think you are wrong. If you actually want to learn, say so. Don't bind your future unless you are fully ready to do so.

ILs are trained to lead you to making a choice. That is the goal of a "registration conversation," that the participant chooses. In my IL training, there was a video from the Forum Leader responsible for the ILP and it was said in that "Our business is not the registration of people into courses." Really? What is the business, then? It's in the Originating Document that is given out to all participants in the ILP. I'm not going to reproduce it, that is confidential, to my knowledge, but ... it's about listening and delivering "what makes a difference."

And Landmark, not perfectly but with high reliability, delivers that. The participant who left "got it." That's obvious, and the idea that there was something wrong with her leaving was a matter of the blogger imagining what others were imagining, and probably what the participant herself was following, that it would be "bad" to leave. We see many signs in this blog of such an attitude. {My thought was, "If she could leave and have all these great things happen and no leader bothering her and calling her a "criminal", why can't I have that? Lots of people around me were getting passes on things that I was being called out on routinely.}

It is not uncommon. It boils down to imperfect understanding of the distinctions. As is stated in the trainings, we are all in training. It never ends.

Turns out she wasn’t the only one. In the two years that I participated in Landmark, it seemed to me that the people who experienced the biggest miracles as a result of the work were the people who left and never came back. The people who stuck around, registering in course after course and assisting night and day for Landmark, were the ones still struggling with jobs, relationships, family, and whatever else – not getting anywhere.

[This is truly remarkable. If one takes this experience at face value, it would be a recommendation to do the training, then go out in the world and apply it. That is far, far from a Bad Idea, it's an excellent one! But the training does not have to be anywhere near as miserable as the blogger makes it out to be in her story. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:31, 24 August 2015 (UTC)]

There is a subtle change that the blogger makes to the fact. People go out into the world and do well. That's one side. I've seen this phenomenon many times in my life, it did not start with Landmark. One works with some modality. One reaches a plateau, nothing is working any more, one is stuck. One leaves, and it is like a miracle. It all turns around. I remember listing to a well-known spiritual teacher. He was going on and on. I was having difficulty staying awake. Eventually, something happened. Everything disappeared. Now, it happens that I already knew this state. I mentioned it to the teacher later, and he said, "That what I was trying to transmit." I only experienced it when I stopped my effort to stay present, when it disappeared -- along with everything else.

I was once following another well-known teacher. A situation developed where honesty led me to say something to him. He said, "If that is so, you must leave." So I left. Now, what I'd said was true of many or most of those following him. When I left, one of those remaining said, "Just ignore it, keep coming and it will all blow away." He was probably right, but I knew the history of this work. I knew that one of the greatest teachers in history had once to a follower to "Go!" and the follower went, and kept going, a perpetual traveller, the rest of his life. And that was perfect. Staying just to be a part of a social circle of sycophants? No thanks. I left. A year later, I phoned up the teacher, a follower answered, and I asked him to convey to the teacher my salaams. The follower came back and said that he "returns your greeting and says that you will find success with whatever you do in life."

So ... leaving something can be a powerful move. {Nobody, nobody, nobody said this to me. Or around me. Ever. Participants who declared that they wanted a break from Landmark programs were promptly told that they were shrinking from their game, playing small, not powerfully choosing, or whatever.}

Most participants who say they want to leave are going through a transient No Agreement. First of all, Blogger reports what participants "are told," when the large majority of conversations would not be heard by her. She'd know what she was told, and the few conversations that were in front of the group. Most "leaving" conversations are private. There is a lot of conversation about "playing small, not powerfully choosing," etc. Because we do that, and frequently! Most conversations where the participant actually leaves are not noised about. It's rare that much of anything is said, before the group. But people gossip. Shocking, I know! What blogger is reporting could be that. It also could be what some were told. After all, this is common, and people actually do give up when maintaining the intention would be far more powerful. That does not make "staying" always the best choice. It's a question, indeed, of choice and stand. My training was to always listen for the participant's stand, and affirm it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:10, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Key phrase: "can be." What it actually is, depends, not so much on conditions, but on what the one leaving makes it to be. It can be a victory, for sure. A breakthrough.

What is funny here is that the blogger seems to think this is somehow outside of Landmark. I've talked about many of these things within the program. Occasionally, some of it from the stage. I've experienced, as well, a level of opposition, always followed by confirmation from leadership. This is all training.

Truly, it is training in Self-expression, which is not bound by rules. At all. But it is also at cause for rules. It is the force that can create them or change them. It is free. {The thing about rules: The surest way you get people to follow your rules is to tell people there aren't any. Same with freedom: The surest way to get someone to be your slave is to promise them freedom. If they buy it, you got them for life.}

That sounds cute and pat. Really? I'm suspicious. What is the content of "there are no rules" that gets people to follow rules? Landmark does not say, "There are no rules." What is said is a series of things, such as "What we are telling you is not the truth." (I.e., it's a story, an invention, a way of interpreting things -- distinctions. They are not saying that it is false.) Blogger does have a point. If you tell people there are no rules, they will still follow rules, but unwritten ones. Whose rules are they following? Blogger had a series of rules she brought to the table, and found confirmation for. Don't speak up. Don't raise a stink. Be cuachable, interpreted as be submissive.
Consider. I'm a coach. I suggest the participant do something. The participant has no clue, no understanding of what I'm telling him. It seems wrong. Now, does "being coachable" mean that he says, "Yes," with no clue, and is submissive -- the kind of submissive that avoids conflict -- and does not engage with me. Would I prefer this or a participant who says, "That's crazy, how could I do that, it's wrong? And if I say, "Be coachable!," They say, "I am coachable, you idiot! I'm on this phone call with you even though you are telling me complete nonsense, I'm not hanging up, I'm hanging in. You just don't like me confronting your BS!"
I have no doubt. It can be disconcerting and my own survival programs can be activated, but my training is to notice that ASAP. And then I've got, "OMG, there is a live one on the other end of this line! What an opportunity!" And then I acknowledge. If I'd said what I reported here ("Be coachable'), I'd apologize, I'd acknowledge the participant for honesty and authenticity, and then I would lead the participant through the distinctions -- or they would lead me! Really, I don't care who leads whom, what I care about is freedom. Mine and my participants'. The story the participant gave was that, story. Having this kind of conversation with a graduate is relatively easy, they know what "story" means, and the first thing I get clear is what it does not mean. It does not mean "false, wrong, stupid." It's just a story, and we have learned to distinguish that. So "crazy, wrong" are stories, and the participant does not actually know that it can't be done (the implication in "how could I do that") What is real is that the participant has not recognized how to do it. And we acknowledge that. It's a state of emptiness, actually, something missing.
And what happens when we sit with emptiness? Anyone who has watched a Forum Leader working on a Special Evening has witnessed this. It's part of the Introduction Leader training. It's routine. A possibility shows up that inspires everyone there. The whole room lights up. The participant (or guest) gets it. This is a real possibility, it is workable. In reality, sometimes, later, it turns out that something is still missing, but ... rinse and repeat. This is, in fact, how to become "unstoppable." Sitting with nothing involves dropping the idea that anything is wrong, otherwise the fearful chatter will continue to cover up our possibilities.
Even center leaders, people in paid positions in Landmark (there are a handful) would leave and find greener pastures. Why?
If this program is so good, why are people better off leaving?

The blogger wants rules, fixed meanings, this means that, this causes that. This is all from the survival self, which needs rules, desires fixed relationships, so that it can control life. It's obvious where this comes from, it is natural. And it does not allow, if it is the whole show, moving into the realm of enrollment, of joy, love, peace, etc.

The ideas the blogger has are actually funny! {story bullshit}

Well, story, for sure. I don't think the blogger understood what I meant by "ideas," but it doesn't matter. "Funny" is an occurring. My occurring, my actual reaction. That is not "bullshit." However, I stated this with ordinary language, as if "funny" was a truth. No. It's simply recounting my state, as it arose when reading this. That's all. It's about me, in fact, not about the blogger.

Center leaders are generally highly skilled, more or less Leader distinction, and anyone with those skills is in high demand in business. Center Leaders are not well-paid. Program Leaders, setting aside Forum Leaders, are not paid at all. Center Leader is a difficult job, with high responsibility, working long hours and, as a management position, no overtime.

Forum leaders are paid staff. I don't know what they are paid, but this I do know: I had a participant who was in business, and he hired a business consultant who was a former Forum Leader. Her consulting rate was $500 per hour. He was happy paying that, though he did say that the training in the SELP -- I was his coach -- was of equivalent value. So Landmark loses leaders, they move on, which creates new opportunities for people to gain those skills.

There is nothing wrong with this. It doesn't mean that the program is not "good," one could derive the opposite conclusion: it works. My last Seminar Leader in Connecticut had been a very long-time Leader, all of it as a volunteer. Ah, what a beautiful woman! Former model, former owner of a New York fashion boutique. She had become a business consultant, the largest corporation in the world flew her to Alaska once a week to train executives.

Did the training work? She didn't leave Landmark, the contrary. She kept up a level of commitment, and she was fantastic as a seminar leader. However, if one does not already have the Leader distinction, it is a lot of work to attain it. Some people simply are not going to do that, and that's fine. I now know how to become a Leader, I could do it. And I'm choosing not to. I have plenty of other ways to work with this.

Landmark is not the only show on the road. The blogger seems to have thought that Landmark people believe it is. He has quotes to prove it. The quotes show what one person was thinking at one time, they do not negate the existence of apparently contrary thought, thought that is, in my view, actually prevalent among the experienced, the ideas the blogger is talking about are common among the relatively raw and new.

I will say this: the Landmark work is based on very old, actually ancient, work. However, I have never found it so reliably expressed in contemporary society. Much of what the blogger will mention, about alternatives, are programs derived from EST.

EST was itself derived from earlier work. I had the great pleasure of assisting (SELP registration) at an Advanced Course led by Charlene Afremow, who was Erhard's trainer in Mind Dynamics. Most participants had no clue about this. Most participants, nowadays, don't know the name of Werner Erhard. This is something totally brilliant that Werner did: like an SELP project, he turned it over. He headed off a common hazard: a cult of personality.

I didn’t learn why until after I left for good.

The action was leaving. "For good" is obviously a story. Some people, to make a difficult choice and sustain it, bind themselves. That's what he did. LANCB. "Leaving and Never Coming Back." Now, I don't yet know why he left. What he is writing here reads as a rationalization. Quite a well-worked out one, by the way.

Landmark programs run the very high risk of conditioning people into dependency.

It is possible that any highly effective modality runs this risk.

You get a taste of possibility in the Forum and you want more.

Yes. What one may taste in the Forum takes one into a new realm, "born again," but one is a baby in that realm.

You register for more courses.

Some do. The majority simply take Seminars, which are cheap and low-commitment. However, some are impatient.

There is an Zen story:

A man's father was a Samurai, and was killed. The son vows to avenge his death, and he goes to a sword master and asks to be trained. The master says that it will take ten years. "But what if I work really hard?" "Twenty years," said the master.
You notice more issues in your life that you want to turn around, and you keep running back to Landmark to get them transformed.

Which doesn't work. That identifies the source of transformation as outside, "out there," -- in Landmark -- when it is inside. We create our own transformation. Landmark provides a context that can make that easy, but this depends on how the participant uses Landmark. Skillful leadership can identify what is missing here, and facilitate it, but ... how skilled a leader is, and on a particular day, can be the luck of the draw. If the participant takes responsibility, finding transformation becomes reliable.

Leaders and assistants tell you that you can transform anything if you just take more courses, assist for more hours.

Well, I never heard that. There is a general attitude that exists in some participants. However, merely taking more courses and assisting for more hours isn't going to cut it, not by itself. Ultimately, conditions will prevent transformation until the participant takes full responsibility, and, yes, sometimes this leads to leaving. That the participant then cognises this as "leaving for good" demonstrates that the participant does not trust herself. She needs that "for good" to bolster her decision. It's a technique that the participant chooses to use. The danger here is that the participant is making this into a general rule, that people always do better when they "leave for good." In fact, in the one specific example given, there was no "for good" except in the imagination of the blogger, and there was probably no "for good" in the others.

People at some point realize that they are missing focus on their own life, that they are turning their life over to others to manage. They have likely been doing this for their whole life, it is a deeply entrenched habit.

And if you’re a person who has a lot of issues, or keeps finding or creating new ones, you’ll go back to Landmark over and over and over again.

And some do and benefit, and some do and don't. However, "having a lot of issues" is an image of someone really screwed up. And the person likely believes this about himself or herself. That's a story, for sure. Now, lots of participants "hide out." They may avoid positions where that's impossible. They keep hoping that transformation will come by osmosis, and that sometimes it does bolsters this. But, in fact, what is missing is personal responsibility, and that is not going to arrive by osmosis. It takes choice, a willingness to become authentic, to be as one actually is, accepting that as the starting position, and with there being nothing "wrong" with it. The coaching is to "be at cause."

Sometimes this is not well-explained. {How about never?}

Story bullshit. :-) Look, I'll conspire with this. Few people get it like I do. Now that is real bullshit.

One of the things that blew my socks off with Landmark was that after the Already Always Listening segment (that's Day 1), I made a point of sitting next to people where my expecation was that they would be boring and uninteresting, they just weren't "my kind of people." And, definitely, this training would be over their heads. So, we are seat partners, set up for paired sharing. (I always counted the row so I knew whom I would be paired with). And my expectations were always wrong. Not just usually. Always. If this was not "well-explained," the questions were not asked. The Forum and AC do not anticipate all possible questions, they are narrow, focused, designed to produce, not "understanding," but an experience. Remember in the Forum? They call it "like riding a bicycle." A description of how to ride a bicycle is almost entirely useless. Nobody learns that way!

I can rationalize it, tell stories about it that make sense to people (including long-time grads, esties, etc.) With that and 25 cents, at one time, I could get a ride on the subway. Now it takes a couple of dollars....

I have to do with work myself. Werner said, "understanding is the booby prize." But maybe it still has some purpose. It gets me lots of upvotes on Quora. Feels good. Maybe it helps someone make sense of their experience, reconcile to it. They still have to do that, it's a choice. Definitely, if I try to force someone to believe something by the sheer force of "true argument," they are very likely to dig in their heels. One of the major forces in the world of survival is "resisting domination," and there are strong survival reasons for this.

Does a participant who doesn't understand something ask about it, or do they keep their head down, wanting to not look bad? {This was me.}

Yeah, got that! Our blogger may also know that this is not uncommon. Hence her courage in speaking up may help many. (That's a reframe, a brilliant one, that was used in Alcoholics Anonymous: "No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." AA story)
One of the realizations that helped me to speak up in courses was that if I had a question, it was very likely many others had the same question. So suppose my question is "stupid." By being a "stupid one" ... who will not accept shaming, but who will listen to coaching, I have just educated many. Often, though, my question is not so stupid. But so what? I could also ask a question just for myself. Bottom line, no question, no conversation, unless someone else is kind enough to ask it.
Forum Leaders often acknowledge this. Someone ask a question that might be considered "foolish," and the Leader says "How many others in the room have this question?" Forest of hands. I've never seen this fall flat.
I know that blogger asked a question and felt rejected. However, I don't read what the Leader said as a rejection. It was just the truth. "This is not a courtroom." I.e., this is not a place where we assess guilt. Blogger, then, had a further question, unasked. That question is actually very common: if "abuse" is a story, doesn't that let abusers off the hook? --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:59, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Consider how many (most?) people are trained by their early education. That's a clue. If one is taking responsibility, and doesn't understand a thing, they will ask. They will overcome and set aside fear, embarrassment, the "unreasonableness" of asking a "stupid question," etc.

You’ll spend all your money and time there. Your life outside of Landmark will feel irrelevant. Nothing else will matter. It doesn’t matter how good it feels or how wonderful the people are.

The blogger is describing her own experience. "Spending all your money" is difficult in Landmark, if you have money. There are certain boutique offerings, I've called them. There was All the World's a Stage, an absolutely spectacular program, offered in New York, with a huge set of highly qualified experts on staff (voice coaches, acting coaches, and Forum Leaders). $3000, which was reasonable for what it was. There is the Wisdom curriculum. It is six weekend courses, held in six different cities around the country, over about a year. It is essentially the rough equivalent of six Forums. So, no surprise, it costs about that much. There are cruises that are trainings.

Now, I know a number of people who did Wisdom. They all say it was wonderful. I've met the man who was one of the designers of the course. Very quiet, beautiful man, a minister, and attended my seminars in Connecticut. He was quiet and the Leader dinged him for hiding out. So then he opened up a little more.

Most of those who took Wisdom could easily afford it. But I know one woman who really could not. She was a perpetual student, was living on student loans, and she, as a student, had credit. So she wanted to take the course, and put it on a credit card. Which she had no means of paying.

What does this indicate? I'd say poor impulse control. This woman had done courses for many, many years, but had never done the Introduction Leader Program, and the reason? She wasn't ready. I saw her interact with a Forum Leader, who said, "Isn't it about time that you drop that racket?" No. It wasn't time. Basically, my summary, she did not actually want transformation. Something else was going on, a story of victimhood, etc. Sometimes it takes a long time.

So, if it were up to me, I'd do a little investigation before allowing registration into the expensive course. However, this then runs into privacy issues. Landmark used to prohibit people with mental health issues from taking the course without professional approval and special permission. That created problems with discrimination against people with disabilities. So ... all I can say is that I have seen only limited pressure to "over-register."

I felt pressure to register into the Communications course. At that point, it would have been very cheap for me, but I'd have had to take it in New York, which makes it expensive for accommodations, unless I found someone to stay with. (I had a $100 discount from being in the ILP, plus a participant offered to pay half the cost. It was actually quite a good deal. But ... I decided that the timing did not work for me. Too bad. No communications course. Boo hoo! Not. It's a great course, everyone I know who has taken it praises it. So?

Real life calls.

You can transform anything, at least that is the stand. However, what is the actual promise?

"You can have anything that you want for yourself and your life, though your participation in the Landmark Forum, that you share with another, who is moved, touched and inspired by your having gotten the possibility."

The wording of that is precisely designed, but it does take a little thought. What does "participation in the Landmark Forum" mean? Can you have "anything" right then, when you are taking the Forum? Maybe, but that's not what it means. It means "through using the technology revealed in the Forum." And then there is an additional condition: the sharing with another. There is nothing in there about continuing to take course after course.

What is actually recommended is the seminar series, with a free seminar offered as covered by the Forum tuition. I took that free seminar, it cost me about $500 for transportation, to get to Boston. I could have done it in Connecticut, with ride-sharing, for about $50 for all ten sessions. Why did I choose to do it in Boston? The leader was the assistant director of psychiatry at a local hospital, and quite an impressive person. And my thinking about money, back then, was a bit deranged. I had not adapted to a world of expensive gasoline, so I was living in the past, I remember twenty cent per gallon gas!

You’ll spend so much time transforming your life that you stop living it.

There is this hazard, to be sure. So if something is dangerous, therefore we should not do it? That is a survival choice, which rules out things like marriage, which is risky as hell, climbing mountains, having children, striking out for a new career, and someone who is risk averse, but who finds some kind of hope and solace in being present with the Landmark community, might well get stuck in what isn't working. It's an addiction. This blogger ultimately broke free of that.

Most people simply regulate their behavior.

If you ask me, these people are the worst people to talk to about transformation. That’s the terrible irony, because those are exactly the people that are constantly working the centers, manning the phones and registering people.

People who are obsessively assisting are not good examples of Landmark success. However, some people assist who are not obsessive at all. They are living transformed lives. The saying is "run with the winners." Basically, you can tell. The obsessive assistants are, shall we say, generally dark. Those who have eyes can see. Are they lit up, happy, are they actually inspiring to be around? And does following their advice, if they give advice, actually make you happy?

Someone who is not living in the realm of enrollment, though, may not readily recognize the traits. Remember, the blogger was enrolled and registered by his friend who was fairly new and unskilled. Mr. "Mom, you are a bitch." And the blogger knew that something was off, but kept quiet about it. This woman was hiding out, routinely, and leaders -- who are dealing with somewhere between 30-40 to several hundred participants -- may not notice. Those who hide out often fall through the cracks.

It becomes much more difficult to hide out in the Introduction Leader Program, and I think that is where the **** hit the fan. This is a benefit of the ILP. We'll see.

The people who avoid this cycle – the ones who actually leave the nest – are the ones worth talking to about transformation. Because they’re living life and not just constantly fixing it.

The ones to talk to are those who are actually living life, whether they are connected with the community or not. To them, they are not fledglings in the nest. Fledglings must leave the nest, or eventually, Mama Bird will kick them out, and they make it or they die. No, they are Mama Birds. If they return to the nest, it is to create life.

To be "constantly fixing one's life" one must have something wrong with it. Someone who is thinking and acting like that has not gotten the most basic of Landmark distinctions, communicated in the standard Introduction. Freedom! So, yes, the blogger is describing an affliction reasonably common among newbies, and more rare among experienced graduates. And it was her affliction. She generalizes from it to others, and that is her fantasy. It might be a reasonable description of some, not of others.

To repeat, yes, those who most clearly have mastered transformation are not found only at Landmark Centers. I've known many of these. But they have not declared "never going back." They know much better than that. This blogger thinks of going back as continually trying to be fixed. There are other reasons to "maintain the conversation." It's clearly known in 12-step programs: to keep recovery, one must be actively engaged in giving it away. Those who believe that going to meetings is a weakness, betraying that there is something wrong with them, and who then just try to get some immediate help with their "little problem" and who leave as soon as they find any sobriety, almost always fail to maintain it.

We need people. You can find them at the Landmark Centers, reliably. I can go to Boston and I know well over a hundred people, who will recognize me and say it's been too long! They are not saying there is something wrong! They are saying that they miss me.

However, if I can only meet people through Landmark, something is off, I think most readers would agree. What I'll say is that meeting people is reliable in Landmark, but I meet people on just as deep a level, frequently. Bus drivers, shopkeepers, hey, woman on OKCupid!

People who have done this work, long term, will maintain occasional contact. My local friend completed her obligation as an Introduction Leader and let it go. She had gotten a job as a social worker, ending her financial difficulties. And then she was hired as a minister again, her dream job. She's living her life. There is no problem that is not just routine life. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:33, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

This is the only thing that works[edit | edit source]

February 14, 2014

LE leaders, assistants and devoted participants believe theirs is the only game in town.

This is a gross generalization that, on the face, makes a claim about the "belief" of many people, based on the conclusions of the blogger about a few. I know that most leaders in Landmark are aware of alternatives. They may think that Landmark training is the best, but "only game in town" if taken to mean "only training generally available" is preposterous. I am aware of many alternatives, and was extremely active, at the national level, in one. 12-step programs convey much of the same training, in effect, which is well known in Landmark. There are differences. The 12-step work is typically slow. It might seem to be free, but when one considers meeting donations for, say, one meeting per week, continued for the rest of one's life (which is recommended), and travel costs, and investment of time, it isn't "free." But it is definitely immediately affordable, and is ubiquitous, normally there are meetings close to where one lives or works.

The ontology might seem to be different, but that is mostly a matter of language. Landmark is general purpose, each 12-step program is for a specific issue, though some programs shade into general purpose, such as w:Codependents Anonymous or or w:Al-Anon (the Adult Children of Alcoholics flavor), and experienced participants in all the programs know that one cannot partition life neatly into the "problem" compartment and the rest.

Landmark developed out of precedent work that still exists in various forms. However, it took on a unique flavor, and was design for rapid transformation, for better and for worse. Having had experience with more traditional models, the transformation and opening of insight that I have seen routinely in Landmark is remarkable, accomplishing in a weekend what might take years of work traditionally. And it actually does this, that is, the insight is real. The implications are not necessarily understood. If a participant does not know that this transformation is not something new, they may then become highly attached to Landmark. I would say that the trainings connect the work with what came before, but inadequately to counter this misunderstanding.

I stood up in my Advanced Course and asked the leader how Landmark Education compares with other self-transformation programs, philosophies and spiritual practices.
The answer? “This works.”

Great example. This was not an answer, unless taken that way. The blogger may think that it meant, "This works, and those don't work." That would be nonsense. A basic epistemological rule: parse communications and interpret them to make them true. That is not necessarily recreating the intention, but it is far more likely to create value.

I read the answer as "This works," with nothing added. Now, this was asked in the Advanced Course. What did it have to do with the Advanced Course? {The leader asked if we had questions!!}

Fair enough. The context, though, would be "questions about the Advanced Course." However, this is not a question about the Advanced Course, it is a question asking for comparision, and we are largely trained to avoid that. We want the "best" this or that. In the Introduction, we want a "better" relationship or "better" job. These all distract us from creating our life Now, with what we have now. The Leader did not -- as reported -- answer the question. Rather, blogger assumed that "this works" meant that "the others don't work." It's not a comparison, the Leader certainly does not know all the other possibilities, but, at most, a few. The Leader answered with what the Leader knew!
I could give a detailed answer, but it would be based on my own study and, again, even though my experience is much broader than most, it is still limited. I often prefer to talk about similarities, and many similarities can be found between Landmark and other modalities. A great source describing where Werner got the technology for est is the authorized biography of Werner Erhard (which is heavily quoted by Pressman, the best-known attack piece, but Pressman is not interested in the training itself, and its origins, only in scandal). --Abd (discusscontribs) 23:49, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

The participant is asking an intellectual question, the answer to which is not likely to further the goal of the Advanced Course. I wonder if the participant remembers the goal? It is stated, and it makes no sense to anyone who does not reach the goal. The Advanced Course is designed, and they tell you this, to create a goal that is impossible to reach with the old brain.

I am not sure what percentage of AC participants actually "get it." I know that some don't. I almost didn't. I stood up, Sunday morning, I didn't just stand up, I shouted and strode to the mike, "We are out of integrity." Because we were not clearly standing for the declared goal of the course, as I saw it. I still think that, by the way, but this interaction was perfect for me, because it revealed in unmistakeable clarity why I had failed in so many contexts (even as I was successful in others). I was bounding for the entire morning, I could not function in the Be-With exercise, which normally would have been great fun for me, I was ashamed and confused and wanted out, and I had registered into the SELP the night before, I was trying to figure out how to get my money back, because this was going to be the same as what I had seen so many times, I was going to be odd man out, seeing what nobody else saw, a voice crying in the wilderness, blah, blah, blah.

It was all too obvious. "Same as before?" What is the common denominator? What is the same. Duh! ME!

And then I knew. For me, this knowing was not new. But ... it can be forgotten. I had forgotten, and now I was remembering. What was I remembering? I'm not going to explain. This is truly esoteric, but I have demonstrated with Advanced Course participants over and over that they get it. Not all! But every one that I've been able to meet with in person. It's a simple exercise, and I demonstrated it to the AC leaders. They told me, yes, that's it. I demonstrated it in front of my SELP. Yes. The room lit up.

No words, except a little setup.

Yes, it works. I find it amazing that it works. I've seen it work with people where I never would have expected them capable of it.

I can see most of the elements of why it works and how it works. Not all. I am not a Forum Leader. However, I have the IL training and it is basically the same. If one gets this, enrollment is duck soup, as long as one doesn't get caught in ego-involvement -- which happens a lot. It is about presence and being.

That’s it. That’s all they will tell you. It works. They might throw out statistics about the number of people increasing their income and reporting a happier life overall as a result of Landmark, but only if you probe deeper will you discover that not everyone comes out of it with a fresh, happy possibility.

The statistic they give, in fact, imply that. The idea that everyone comes out happy is not stated by them. On the other hand, they don't want to set people up for failure. Telling them that it might not work for them could be a setup. As to increasing income, our blogger's income did not increase, obviously, because he didn't get a job and didn't start a business or do what it takes to increase income. What I've seen is that people who take the correlated actions have seen practically miraculous increases in income. And I saw precisely and exactly with people I was coaching how this worked. It was actually clockwork.

But people caught in the survival mind can't see it, they will have a million arguments why this is impossible, couldn't be, and obviously this is a cult, etc. It is, in fact, the human brain operating at potential, which is much larger than the individual, it is actually connected with everyone else. No, I'm not talking telepathy, but it can look like that. Ah, this blogger has done the Communications Course. Did they do the Colors exercise? That is so far out of most people's experience that it sounds completely unbelievable. In fact, it's just what the brain can ordinarily do, when not limited by thinking. I never did Communications but Colors was done at an Intro.

Ah, this truly beautiful young woman, probably in TMLP, did the exercise with me. It involves a total mind connection in a narrow process. In a way, it is deeply intimate. Ah, I was in love! And then she asked me if I wanted to register. Oops! I was thoroughly offended. Just my reaction, by the way, I know and appreciate what she was doing, as to her intention. I later did Colors in a seminar. It is really fun. I'm not going to reveal what happens, it's like revealing a spoiler.

I knew about that process from many years before, i.e., what allows it to work. But someone who doesn't know about that might be, ah, shall we say, really impressed. The goal, though, I think, is to show that the mind is capable of things that we ordinarily don't think possible.

Some people lose jobs, friendships, significant others. People around them don’t understand them anymore because all they do is talk jargon and try to get them to enroll and register in the Forum. I’ve seen divorces, affairs, and estrangement from family. There are also emotional breakdowns and hospitalizations because of the mental impact on more sensitive people.

"Some people." Landmark is training, what, 100,000 people per year in the Forum? Only a few go through what is described. There is no comparison here with the general population, how common are job loss, lost friends, obsession with a new interest, divorce and affairs in the general population? Landmark warns that the training is for emotionally healthy people. The blogger was not that, not actually, he'd adapted sufficiently to be able to hide it. I saw the clues in his first account, with his very strong reaction to what was only a participant revealing he had been molested, and then, asked for details, that he'd been touched. This is a very common story, many people have been molested, in one way or another. He was very upset that the topic was even discussed, that questions were asked which were, as reported, minor and normal, and, then, that there was no outrage, no call to burn the witch arrest the molester, something that would not be the business of the Forum at all. The participant completely failed to understand the involved distinctions, because the blogger lives (or lived) in a world of good and bad, right and wrong, and those are absolutes and truths, and coupled with this is a hatred of evil.

All of which will keep his life from blossoming. Now, he needed to leave, that's clear, and I commend him for leaving. However, he has also developed a story about it, and a whole set of judgments.

To be fair, this stuff happens in ALL KINDS of organizations – professional, philosophical, religious, spiritual, all of them. None are exempt. Even a Tibetan monastery will have a monk or two that react badly and fly off the deep end.
The point is, not every program or philosophy works for everyone.

Which is totally obvious. He thinks that Landmark Leaders don't know this. What I've seen is that Landmark works for more people than any alternative I'm aware of. But, absolutely, not for everyone. As well, there is an idea that, hey, Forum Done, Life Transformed, Now I Never Have to Say I'm Sorry Again.

They certainly never told us this. And they actually talk about continued training, in the Forum. The Advanced Course is more expensive than the Forum. Why? It is fundamentally the same time, the same kind of Leader, making the same money, the same Center space and staff time, etc. I have an idea. The Forum is a loss leader, slightly. The loss is made up by continued participation in other programs. But I don't know that.

But LE people don’t get this. Or, they just don’t say it. Only once did I hear a program leader say, “Some people need therapy; the Landmark Forum is not for them.” But this came in the midst of a broader conversation on how to get everyone in your life to enroll and register. Because that’s how transformation is supposed to happen in Landmark. If you offer the Forum to someone in your life, and that person chooses to transform his life with therapy or yoga instead, it’s not transformation.

One of the things we learn is that what we hear is conditioned by what we expect. The blogger is describing what he thought. Some in Landmark might think like that, I'll say that some do. My SELP leader said, "I'm an unabashed advocate for everyone taking the Landmark Forum." But she is incredibly sophisticated. She knows that is not a truth. It's a *stand*, and stands need not be "always true" to be powerful. She was also totally respectful when someone in her life said No. She would say things like, "This wasn't for them, now." She showed no disapproval. She talked to us about many common mistakes in inviting people to the Forum. For example, enrolling someone in order to then "get them" to register into the Forum. She called it "slimy."

She had been doing the SELP for many years. Landmark has an initiative called the New Enterprise. It grew out of graduate criticism. Landmark proceeded to invite criticism, and created a whole process to recommend changes. The New Enterprise affected the SELP, the statement made in a training video that "The business of Landmark is not registering people into courses" was part of that. I was named Brand Champion for our center because I was familiar with the New Enterprise. In the New York ILP sessions, the analogy was made of trying to improve, modernize and airplane while it is in flight. The organization has thousands of people doing what they have always done.

The first time I put on the orange badge of an Assistant was doing SELP registration at the Advanced Course. But since I was there, I offered to help with other tasks, and I was given greeting people at the door. I did it enthusiastically, smiling at people, guiding them to where they were going, welcoming them, and telling them what a treat they were in for. (Which will become true for most of them). So the Resident Curmudgeon, and old-timer, came up to me and told me I was doing it wrong. Okay, I'm new, I think she's nuts, but ... I'm coachable! I'll do what she says. And I did, for a bit, until I had a chance to consult with my supervisor, who told me, aw, that's Old Enterprise, we want you doing what you were doing! I later ran into the RC a number of times. Let's say that learning to love her, with all her foibles, was part of my training. She really was out to help people. In theory, we had some common ground, she was an obstetrician and I was a midwife, and trained midwives, but sometimes there is a current of disapproval there! In any case, it was good practice for me, to let go of being right, but not let go of my stand. In this case ... I was right! Yay! Yippee! I better watch out for that!

I’ve heard leaders say that yes, you can get enlightenment by meditating for years like a Buddhist, but who wants to wait years when you can get it for a weekend and just under four hundred dollars?

The argument makes a point but if taken literally is defective. First of all, you don't "get" enlightenment by meditating for years. Meditating for years might prepare one. Or not. You also don't "get" it from a weekend and $400. The prices is now over $500, by the way. What one gets is enough of a taste of enlightenment that one knows it is possible. In tasawwuf (Sufism) this is called "hal," or state. To reach the station, the maqaam, can take many years of practice, it is mastery. You don't become a master in that weekend, though I have seen a few people go very far very quickly. That's rare.

What one can get in the free Introduction can be similar. There are stories of people showing up at the Forum, years after taking an Introduction that changed their life. Not a weekend. 2.5 hours. But, we must suggest, the person was ready to transform. Then, years later, they decided that further training could be useful. So they then knew where to go.

Introduction Leaders, by the structure, are looking at immediate measures. Numbers of registrations, at the event or within X days. They may come to think of low registrations as high failures. That's an error. It forgets the goal of a registration conversation. Then, those that remember the goal (that the participant makes a choice), forget or don't believe that "later" is a choice. I heard ILs say, "they never register." I provided a counterexample, very consciously created it, from a participant who was saying "I'd like to but I can't, I don't have the money." This is the seamy underbelly of this animal: ILs said to me, "They are lying. They could register if they chose to." The second part might be true, but neglects the full choice of the participant. They have many values, and one might be, for example, not borrowing money for an activity like this (until it is clearly established that it will return value, i.e., pay for itself). So I created at least two registrations by pointing out that money was just a logistical issue; if they didn't want to do the Forum, the money was irrelevant. Was it their choice to do the Forum if means appeared?

And they said "Yes." So I then said, "do you want support?" They said, "Yes." The first time I did this, a friend of the person asked, "how much do you need? The woman said, I don't want you to pay for me!:" Her friend said,"How much to you want to pay? The woman said "Half." The reply was "Done!"

Then in the other case, I was on the phone with that person for six months, talking about "can't" in his life. They say that whatever stops you from doing the Forum is stopping you all over your life. While that's a great sales pitch -- don't you think? -- it also seems to be true. After all, if one is "stopped" by a condition, and if the condition is lack of money, that's likely to be all over. However, "can't" is bigger than just money, and I found that "can't" was a routine word for this fellow. And I started to confront it, to ask him how he knew he couldn't. In fact, he didn't know that, it was all story and expectation and belief, etc. He took some steps I suggested to make the Forum more of a reality, he went with us to Boston for a Special Evening, so he saw an actual Forum Leader in action. And then the call came and a miracle happened. He did the Forum. He was fully ready for it. Imagine six months of anticipation! He then put the Advanced Course on a credit card! And the day after the Advanced Course, went for a job interview and got a job paying a lot more than he had ever made before. So his borrowing paid off! What had changed? He had been jobless, broke, struggling, nothing working, and one problem after another. Now, nearly everything in his life is working, I won't give more details. This is, for someone who becomes a coach, not surprising, ordinary.

Well, I say who wants to spend four hundred dollars and a weekend of sleepless nights and 19-hour days of emotional breakdown, sales pitches and bullying for your enlightenment when you can save all that sanity and go meditate?

Interesting. Sleepless nights. Why? Emotional breakdown? Why? The blogger is describing their own experience, and generalizing from it. Sales pitches? Yeah, the conversations about invitations are probably the standard least-favorite thing done in Landmark. However, the frequency and duration of this is being exaggerated. It is a small part of the time, normally. And it's important, and part of the training, for many reasons. There is no other particular sales effort in Landmark. Landmark did recently sponsor the Olympics with a name-recognition ad. That's totally unusual. As well, we were told, in the ILP, that if they needed us as salespeople, we were lousy at it.

Now, was that bullying? Not really. We were lousy at it. What they were saying was that the purpose here wasn't sales, it was transformation, for us first and foremost, and for friends and family along the way. In the ILP, one commits to a totally insane number of invitations. I went through my phone list the first day. What I realized was that I really didn't have that many friends. Shockingly few, in fact. So I needed to make friends. I decided to go out onto the streets of my small town, which is possibly the nicest small town in North American, and talk with people. At first, I still thought I was trying to enroll and register people into the Forum. I was lousy, I couldn't get eye contact, my God, people are all isolated nowadays! But I didn't buy my own story, I just kept going out on the street. And I learned how to interact with people, how to create conversations and relatedness. I made business cards with the local introductions that I'd set up shown on them. I found that just handing people cards didn't work very well. So on one card I wrote "This card is worth whatever you say it is," on the back. I dropped it in the bucket of a harpist playing on the street. He smiled, and, of course, didn't look at it right away. Next day, I walked by him and he said, you left that card in my bucket, what did that mean? I told him. He was very interested, and he actually came to an introduction. Then I got flak from an IL for inviting people without money. I kept up my stand and the ILP supervision confirmed that we don't judge people as to how much money they have. We just communicate the opportunity. So that was a victory. Many people do the Forum who don't have money. Landmark has no scholarship or sliding-scale program. But people pay for other people, it happens all the time. So, one step at a time?

Do you want to do this work? If not, great, thanks for coming, I hope this was useful for you. Your possibility was inspiring!

If so, do you want support? The technology is self-enabling, if it's really what is claims to be. They say that the Forum begins when you register in it. I say that it begins when one commits to it; that is the true registration, the acceptance of the offered opportunity, and that payment is something that follows, then, sometimes quickly, sometimes not.

There is this whole story about "bullying." This is a common complaint. It's in the eye of the beholder, almost always. I have seen very little that could objectively be called bullying. The blogger reports something that strays close, when he is old that he "lied." (I've now read a little ahead.) That was utterly, shockingly inappropriate. But I also am not certain that he remembers the incident accurately. I do not believe for a moment that he is or was lying.

Or go read a book like The Power of Now? Or anything by Byron Katie? ‘Cause guess what – IT’S THE SAME SHIT!

Or similar. How about w:Rhonda Britten? However, Landmark is big, and more available. I'm not about to compare it. How about w:Brad Blanton, the Radical Honesty fellow? He trained with Milton H. Erikson who trained the w:Neurolinguistic programming people, and which influenced Erhard's development, and as well, Blanton worked with Erhard supporting EST.

Landmark, as ongoing training, is cheap. I discovered how to kill seminars, how to extract every ounce of transformation from them. Simple. Volunteer to be a communicator. They way I did it, this meant going over the materal three times. Once in the session. The second time, listening to a recreation call by the Leader or Leader in training, and they use the Format for that, and this second time through I took copious notes, including process notes, and third time, actually taking a participant through the session. Old Dog. New Tricks! Participants, including several with far more experience of Landmark than I, said it was like being in the seminar. Of course it was! The first one I recreated for asked me if I wanted coaching. I accepted and he told me everything I was doing that was ineffective. And I listened. And, in spite of my errors, this is one that praised what I'd done.

Landmark Education claims to have a monopoly on transformation when it doesn’t.

Where is that claim? Who makes it? No, this is an implication that the blogger himself made, and we can see many examples where the blogger takes a statement, and generalizes it and attaches meaning to it that isn't there.

Now, the value of this conversation is to point out that, no, Landmark does not have a monopoly on transformation. Nor does it want one. When people believe that there is such a monopoly, they take actions that are ineffective or damaging. Part of the training is to deprecate "importance." If it is important"' that so-and-so register, if I think that, I'm caught in my own invented story, that is very likely to make me unhappy and that can also damage my relationship with the person. No. The training is to communicate possibilities, not to control people. Freedom is essential. Hey, I'll even call it "important." That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Freedom and tolerance are highly related. Tolerance requires trusting that other people can make choices for themselves, trusting that this is their right and is an aspect of them taking responsibility.

In my Advanced Course, they showed a few scenes from Gandhi, the amazing movie with Ben Kingsley. It was to show examples of what it looks like to live an extraordinary life, something that Landmark promises if you participate. Gandhi certainly was an extraordinary human being that transformed India and inspired the whole world, and the examples I saw of his courage, humility, and commitment were truly astonishing.

Those clips were not part of my Advanced Course, but Gandhi certainly was mentioned.

But he didn’t do the Landmark Forum. Explain that.
He did what he did, and the Landmark technology is about doing what he did, in part. You could say that Landmark is imitating Gandhi. The question is asked as a challenge to a position that nobody involved in Landmark with any sense would take.
It’s a lot like any religion claiming a monopoly on God or love or eternal life. It’s absurd.

Of course it is! But Landmark doesn't do this.

You don’t need to spend that kind of money. You don’t need a self-help guru yelling in your face in front of 100 people at once.

I never had anyone yelling in my face in this work. Oh, wait a minute. There was an IL coach who yelled. He was making a point. "The past has nothing at all to do with your future." It was about a section in the Introduction, and he was pointing to my wimpy statement of it. Now, I've seen leaders yell. Every time I've seen it, it has been effective. The person got it. But, then, others, who believe that yelling is Bad, criticize it. {I've had leaders yell in my Forum, Advanced Course, SELP and ILP. In two out of those four cases, it was directly at me.}

My hypothesis here is that the blogger created this, in two ways. First, by interpreting assertive coaching as "yelling." And second, by actually attracting, setting up conditions where someone coaching might yell. "Yelling" has a series of "happenings" and "interpretations." Yelling is loud, but it also is used to mean "blaming and shaming." Some people may create this in order to externalize how they feel about themselves, they are blaming and shaming themselves. But that's pop psychology, perhaps. Blogger felt terrible about her inauthenticity, her keeping quiet when she saw ... was it abuse when her friend called his mother a bitch? Or was it how he had learned to talk from her? I don't know. She felt terrible about herself when she kept quiet about what she saw as rationalization of abuse, with the participant who reported what may have been child sexual abuse. So what do you do if you feel terrible about yourself? Just suck it up? What occurs to me is that if I was really smart, I might set up conditions for someone to yell at me about it! Then I can get out of the situation that I feel so terrible about!
I do know that people do this in marriages, set it up for the other person to blame and reject them. It avoids guilt for rejecting the other person.

Forum Leaders are not gurus. They have a simple job: recreate the Format. They are highly trained and develop high skill in it. If they get upset -- angry, what we associate with yelling! -- they have lost it. It happens, apparently, I just never saw it, I've only read accounts, and it is never clear that the accounts are accurate, i.e., there are subtle judgments about intention and state being made, typically. By people who are upset, which leads to commonly unreliable memory. What they actually remember probably happened, usually. However, it is what they would not notice because they are upset that could make a huge difference.

I'm much more interested in reports of people that they, personally, were "yelled at." If they were upset by this, and stayed that way, the Leader failed. Isn't that obvious?

You don’t need to sit in a beige room with a chair for 19 hours with only a couple of bathroom breaks that are supposed to be spent crying on the phone and being “authentic” for how awful you’ve been.

Ah, what a story! The rooms are different colors, but normally the environment is designed for minimum distraction. That is very deliberate, I've interacted with Production supervision. Now, "you don't need." Don't need for what?

This is what Erhard discovered. Put a good number of people in a room under certain conditions, expose them to certain material and exercises, and a good number of them transform. The techniques were developed over a number of years. they work. They do not work perfectly. They could almost certainly be improved. Some aspects that are ... perhaps uncomfortable ... might be unnecessary. But how does one find out? Experimenting with the necessary group size is tricky and difficult and maybe even unethical. So the process becomes highly conservative. It was changing, but only a little at a time.

First of all, I was 66 years old when I took the Forum. I have often been the oldest person in the room. In my ILP, I think there was one man about my age. I can be uncomfortable sitting for long periods. But we were also told that if we have any problems, to inform the Course Supervisor. They make accommodations. There was a woman in my Advanced Course who was undergoing chemotherapy, and she needed to rest periodically. They set up a room in the center where she could be undisturbed. She was later in my SELP, she was an inspiration to everyone! 19 hours is an exaggeration. More like 13 hours by 2011. I'm told it used to be longer. Occasionally they go a little overtime, because parts of the program -- involving personal sharing -- can take up some time. There are no bathroom breaks, as such. Rather, there are half-hour breaks every 2.5 to 3 hours, and a 1.5 hour break for dinner.

My god this guy is a whiner! {completely bullshit story}

Especially since I wrote "guy" for her. This is an occurring, not a fact. It's about how the blog occurred to me in places. (Not in all places, I saw immediately there was real sharing in it, and a stand for honesty, etc.) The way I wrote it, as if it were fact, is story. However, "complete bullshit," No. It actually occurred to me that way, and blogger is then rejecting it, standing for herself. "Whiner" sounds really bad, doesn't it? However, characteristic of rackets is a whine. "Persistent complaint combined with a fixed way of being." And we all have rackets, so, when the rackets are being expressed, most of us are whiners, literally. Some learn to suppress that, to "look good," when complaining. "I'm not complaining, this is just a fact, you are an arrogant asshole!" The person pretends detachment. "Doesn't bother me, I don't care, blah, blah." Okay, if that's true, we'll see it in affect and many signs....

Crying on the phone? Look, it's a great blessing if that actually happens. {I have cried on the phone in every single program, sometimes with every coaching conversation, and in countless calls with my graduate friend trying to help; I cried fitfully the entire night after the second day of the Forum, I could barely hold myself up the third day. It was horrible. I was very hyper-sensitive and hyper-reactive, and nobody seemed to believe anything I said. I had nobody who would really listen to me in a human way. Or I was missing something that I could never figure out. I don't know. All they wanted to do was coach me, not help me.}

What makes crying "horrible" is shame. That is, we were taught not to be "crybabies." Suck it up! "Nobody seemed to believe anything I said." That's remarkable. I don't believe it. However, people did "smell a rat." Something was off. Here she was, saying all the right "transformed" words, but it wasn't inspiring. Blogger's experience was not normal, at least not the common situation. This is what I get: inside, she was hypersensitive and hyperreactive, she's nailed herself on that, but she suppressed it. She didn't start screaming, or crying on the stage. Or did she? She says that she "could barely hold herself up the third day." Really? Or was this how she felt, not how she acted.?
Behind blogger's state was a lifetime of habit, trapped in what she created in childhood. To her, though, stated that way, it might occur as blame, What a Bad Child She Had Been! However, that's normal, it's what people do. When people contact this, get the depth of it (and sometimes what they lost through it), crying is quite common. Most of us are heavily socialized not to cry, it "looks bad." Her crying, though, I interpret as the child breaking through, and then being shamed for it. (I.e., she internalized the blame, we do that.) So crying is Very Bad, Horrible. I would wish for her some experience of full-on crying without shame, just crying! It's freeing. If your friends blame you for crying, get new friends!
(But people are human. If all you ever do is cry, most will burn out. On behalf of the human race, I apologize.... When a child cries, they need love, not blame. Normally, if love is given, they then move on and do something else. It doesn't happen instantly, and parents sometimes expect it to. There can be manipulative crying, I think, but that's a very poor place to start. And the manipulation involved is generally just another form of wanting to be loved. We can be so blaming!)

However, the first order of business on breaks is to take care of basic needs. Breaks can be used for phone calls, and a lot of people do it, and it may be suggested, but ... go to the effing bathroom! And eat some lunch! (there really isn't time to go out for lunch, so most people pack something) And eat dinner! What happens is that people have very little personal integrity, don't take care of themselves, and then blame Landmark. Except most don't blame Landmark. Just some. So what happens if there is a breakdown, and you get involved on that phone call, and you then rush back into the room, late. In the Forum, not much. Later, in the AC, you will be confronted, but not by the Leaders, in the AC the community starts to take collective responsibility, that's part of the training. Imagine the task: getting 130 participants, say, back in their seats, ready to go, on time. No stragglers. How do they do that? The Leaders don't do it! The community does. People start to take responsibility for each other, start to remind stragglers, help them with this or that, if someone is unavoidably delayed, they know and communicate this with the group, etc. The Forum Leader turn the task over to the community, and it can be hilarious to watch. {it sure is}

What is especially hilarious is the pressure some obviously feel to "get this organizational nonsense over with so that we can get the real training." And, of course, the way that is natural for them to do that is to blame anyone who seems to be in the way, with some question or idea, thinking, "they are over-controlling," which is said by someone who wants things to go his or her way. "It doesn't matter, let's just agree and tell the Leaders they can start."
That formation of a group (with all its initial dysfunction) is the core of the Advanced Course. Basically, the AC is awakening community consciousness. And we are not accustomed to that. I remember one Leader saying, I think it was Saturday night, "This is the worst I've ever seen!" (Really? Seemed pretty normal to me!) For all I know, that's in the format. It would be inauthentic, though, wouldn't it? More likely -- I only heard this once --, it simply occurred to her to say it, so she did. Remember, it doesn't have to be true! I wouldn't say it that way, but this woman was as highly experienced as they come. In every AC, the group did get it together, accomplished the collective goal, at least the outward and easy to measure one: Everyone in their seat, on time, no stragglers. The first time that happens, the room bursts into applause! In a group that size, in American society, it's amazing. What it takes to do that is everyone being conscious of everyone else. Is there blame in that consciousness? For some, yes, but the point is not the defects, but the consciousness itself. Mostly participants learn to stand for each other without blame.
I watched people arrive at the Advanced Course. They walk in, each in his or her own world, for the most part, most of them serious, or flat in affect. No eye contact. That is not how they walk out, after three days! They are radiant. I want to dilute that with qualifiers like "for the most part," but that's not my occurring. It's the group. Their eyes are open, they see each other and me, there is a lot of smiling and connection. --Abd (discusscontribs) 23:49, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

See, I got to see the AC three times, from start to finish. I love the Advanced Course.

So there you are, and it's been two hours since the break, and you didn't go to the bathroom, and you are starting to be uncomfortable, what do you do? Pee in your pants? Let's hope not! It's amazingly simple. You stand up, quietly walk to the back. As you approach a door, an assistant opens the door for you (that's done so it is all quiet and minimally disturbing), you go to the bathroom, and when you come back, the person on the door on the outside opens it for you, you walk back in. And next time you remember to go to the bathroom! Big Effing Deal!

I imagine that once upon a time, in a land far away, some participant went to the door and explained why they wanted to leave. And the assistant then "explained back" that they had committed to being in the room. Which was the simple truth. There was a commitment to be in the room, and that is still there. So, thoroughly shamed -- they did that to themselves -- they went back to their seats and suffered. Stupid. Silly. {This actually happened years ago, in previous incarnations of the work. There were puddles below seats in EST. Go ahead and ask your old-timer friends.}

Well, I will ask. More likely it happened once and the story got told over and over. Or it was the telephone came. Someone felt like they were going to pee in their seat and then told the story as if they had. It's a dramatic story. I think about it like this: perhaps some people are so rule-bound that they will pee in their pants rather than face disapproval. The story I've heard was always "They would not let them leave." I'm suspicious. Rather, I told a story of what might happened. In common speech, to "not let someone do something" can mean "disapprove." And then, if someone reminds one of their commitment -- which is just a fact -- that is translated as disapproval. (And it might be, someone saying that might be actually thinking that the participant was wrong for not taking care, so should suffer. Remember, some of the assisting crew is raw, just out of the first training.)

If the person on the door actually refused to let me open the door and walk out, under those conditions, well, there would be a "bit of a disturbance." I might shout. Kidnapping happens to be illegal. I doubt that anyone was ever actually kidnapped! There have been lawsuits against Landmark for this and that, none for kidnapping that I know of.

I would assume that she knows the real bathroom situation. My guess is also that she suffered, at least a few times. Bad Choice. The reason they want you to stay in the room is so that you are present to the work, and even though the presentation is somewhat redundant, it's also very easy to miss significant parts. If your mind is on your bladder, you are not present to the work. The breakdown already happened. So fix it.

I sometimes stayed in the room when I had the urge to pee. But not at an extreme. Normally, that urge will come and go for a few times before it becomes truly urgent (at least for me). When this was coming up with some urgency, it's highly distracting, so I would then just walk out. What some would do is to ask someone. In theory, the instructions say to ask the Course Supervisor if one needs something. However, I never considered that it was worth the Course Supervisor's time to give me an obvious answer: Go! Or, if the luck of the draw was sour that day, with a punk Course Supervisor, a stupid conversation about my commitment. Which I'm not going to hear because I need to pee, dammit! I'd just walk away. But then again, that's me. There are people for whom that kind of behavior is very difficult.

But once again, there is this desire to not look bad. The fear of being berated. I've mentioned what an SELP coach did when the Leader started to "make her wrong." She confronted it, simply and directly. Ah, what a beautiful woman! Getting to meet people like this was part of the joy of doing the work. Seeing what happened when people are authentic, when they stand for what is important to them, was, again, part of the joy.

This was about "invitations!" Of course. That's the number one gripe, we all know that. And there is a reason for this. We need training in it. We have many ideas backwards, set in ways that disempower us. They forbid us from doing what would make our life work.

Assisting is the answer to everything.[edit | edit source]

February 17, 2014

It's funny about these posts. They typically have titles that are blatantly contrary to Landmark ontology, but are claiming to be what Landmark teaches or believes. X is 'the answer' to Y is a highly limiting story, that would hide other possible answers. Assisting is a distinction of high value, in many ways, but "the answer to everything," No. Straw man.

Now, there may be individuals in Landmark who routinely recommend assisting as an answer to every problem, in actual practice. So lets see what the blogger comes up with.

One of the biggest criticisms that Landmark Education gets is that most of its workers are volunteers.
It’s called the Assisting Program, and during the time I spent at Landmark, the people there insisted that it was NOT volunteering.

One of the things we do in the ILP, my least favorite, was essentially memorizing the Corporate Questions, a set of the most boring texts I've ever seen in Landmark, with official positions on many things. This was one. I had a lot of trouble with regurgitating the Questions, for a number of causes I could assign. In some cases, I knew a great deal about the question, possibly more than whoever wrote those things, and that interfered with my ability to remember the official answer. I did agree that I should know the official answers. I would still be free to amplify or correct or whatever, faced with an actual inquiry. I'd have to make it clear that my answer wasn't "official."

In any case, there is this trope about assisting not being volunteering. It's not wrong, it's incomplete. In fact, if one reads through the full body of material published by Landmark, assistants are volunteers. The trope arises from the idea that people do the assisting program to gain something for themselves, so they aren't volunteers. But all volunteers have personal gain. They like doing it, or they gain satisfaction in some way or other. However, the reality in Landmark is that assisting creates necessity and opportunities for much more intense training.

So, in the SELP, you can take the program, if you have completed the Advanced Course. However, you can go further, much further. If you have done the SELP, you are likely to be invited to assist as a coach. They are always looking for people to do that. I *highly* recommend it, and the reason is that whatever one gets in the SELP, one gets multiplied, in spades, coaching the SELP. As a coach, one wears the orange assisting badge. It is required to do the basic assisting training, which is a video. Pretty simple. However, it is more time commitment. A participant is committed to coming to 12 classrooms and 3 Saturday workdays, and to participating in one coaching call per week, with their coach. For someone just out of the Advanced Course, that is more personal attention than they have received before. One can miss I think it is up to three classrooms, I forget the number. Missing the Saturday workdays is not allowed, but one can arrange to go to another center for the equivalent workday. Coaches are expected to be at every class and every Saturday session, and to arrive an hour earlier and leave an hour later each day. So it's an extra 30 hours. Coaches do not pay for the course, but do all the work, the same as participants, coaches declare a community project, and have a coach. In my last SELP there were something like eight coaches, there were two head coaches. Head coaches are somewhat more experienced coaches. I was asked to be head coach once, after I'd coached once. I wasn't available, I was in the ILP. So as a coach, you also have initially about six participants to monitor, to coach in a call once a week, plus a call with one's own coach. The two head coaches are coached directly by the SELP Leader. However, those coaching meetings are the coaches and the Leader, two hours a day, and there is a lot of coaching in that.

Coaching participants can be frustrating, if one has control issues left, and it can be highly rewarding. So ... is this volunteering? Not really for me. If I lived close to the center and could just drop by, and I was asked to assist at a Forum, say, on the production team, that would be volunteering, more. But I would also have a motive to see the Forum again. I know how valuable it was for me to watch two Advanced Courses after my own. In many ways, it is better than being a participant! At least for me.

But if you screw up, someone might yell at you! Basically, that fear keeps people from doing many things that would be of high value. Learning to be independent of conditions, how to handle what might otherwise occur as abuse, all that, is part of the training, and in particular, is part of the assisting training. Production Supervisors -- who are also volunteers -- are under high pressure, it might seem. When people are under pressure, when conditions occur to them that way, survival mechanisms take over. People will yell!

And the people who have been trained at this, whose lives are transformed, move on and do other things. So it can be like a collection of Keystone Cops. The blogger notes high turnover. That's part of the system design. The training of participants -- and assistants are participants and are specially valued as such in the Originating Document -- is the goal, not perfect performance, maximum sales, etc.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: When you become an assistant, you commit to your task by stating what you want to create in your life outside Landmark as a result of your assisting. It could be a home or work project, a reconciliation with a family member, running a marathon, or whatever. Because you’re getting something out of your assisting in this way, they don’t call it volunteering.

Well, that's mistaking a correlation for a cause. I really don't know why they don't call it volunteering. I have some suspicions.

I will tell a story. I was in the Forum, and I already knew the value of acknowledging people. So there was a fellow taking badges as we walked out of the room. I thanked him for volunteering, that all these jobs were what made the Forum work. He was stiff and said, "I'm not a volunteer. I'm in the assisting program, and we aren't volunteers." He wasn't smiling. He was dead, making me wrong.

I can sometimes be outrageous, but I wasn't. I didn't want to offend the poor guy and I now know that he might have been just out of the Forum, no experience, very little training. But I could imagine yelling at him, "Asshole! I just acknowledged you and instead of saying Thank You like a normal human being, you give me an intellectual reason why I'm wrong! People like you give Landmark a bad name!" Whaddaya think? Should I have torn him one like that?

Nah. The poor guy was new, and had no presence. Probably has not done the Advanced Course. Maybe he can't afford it yet. He was told to assist, it doesn't cost anything, and you will get trained. He would. At some point someone would show him, gently or otherwise, what was missing. Hey, smile! What are you, a piece of wood? They just handed you a badge, thank them! Or at least smile, these are human beings, our guests!

My first SELP coach was amazing. I talked with him about the whole invitation thing. He said, this is a bunch of imperfect people, being trained. We are all learning how to do this. He was literally grizzled, he was a retired hospital administrator, he was black (Landmark has high diversity in diverse areas), and he'd seen it all. He'd coached the SELP more times than he could remember. What a privilege to spend time with this man!

People love assisting because it gives Landmark people a chance to be together and work toward the transformation of others. Ideally, you get to keep working on your own transformation – it’s like taking a LE course for free, basically. That, I think, is the greatest allure. If you want to have the Landmark Education experience every day of your life, the place to do it is in the Assisting Program.

Well, hardly anyone does this "every day of their life." However, I think this blogger found Landmark to be an excellent distraction from the pain of his life. So he used it as an addiction. That is very easy to understand. I've certainly done the same thing to some degree. Writing this can be considered that, I'm avoiding cleanup up certain messes. However, it is not pure addiction. There is also value. Both. I find it rather obvious that this blogger got high value from Landmark, and his life fell apart, because he was radically out of balance. So far, he has actually revealed very little about himself, I'm able to make certain inferences, but he is still very private, I'd say. Mostly he is talking about other people, projecting his own situation onto them, in at least some of these situations he describes.

Most people make much more modest assisting agreements. There is a seminar in Connecticut. There are people who assist there regularly. The commmitment is once a week for ten weeks. They need to be there about an hour early, and leave about an hour late. I got to know these people, beautiful people, kind, gentle, smiling, affirming. I never saw anything different from them. They become, over the years, very familiar with the seminar material. It's fee, except for their time. The seminars are not must about the material. They are about the participants, and every story is new, though, of course, certain stories are common in part. One sees people develop, shift, transform.

I used to go to open Alcoholics Meetings to see this. It's better "entertainment" than practically anything I can imagine. The bank robber who had a terrible childhood, he saw his father shoot his mother, a life of crime, got sober and now talks regularly at meetings, he's surrounded by friends who love him, he has no temptation to return. In another program, I had a sponsee whose father had shot his mother, also in his presence. I took him to a meeting where this fellow was speaking....

But there’s also a strange logic to assisting. I discovered this when I reached out to one of my Landmark friends for coaching on money. I told her I was under a lot of debt and having a hard time keeping up with my daily expenses. I didn’t have a full-time job. I wanted help creating more structure around money.

Well, he reached out. To whom did he reach out? Notice! He knew he needed a full-time job. So what did he ask for, say he needed? "Structure around money." This guy was really lost! He was the poster boy for Landmark-jargon-spouting believer. No concept of authentic communication. If he'd have asked me, he might have heard something! I'd have confronted what was right in front of me, who he was being.

Guess what the answer was? Assisting. In addition to the coaching I was already doing for the Self-Expression and Leadership Program, I could assist in the finance department of my local LE center and gain some power around money that way. It sounded interesting and logical. I said yes.

Unbelievably naive. {I'm not making this up; that was the answer given to me.} One would get no experience with what he needed in that job, which would not entail real choice, and real responsibility. "Interesting and logical." He knows what he needed, a *job.* He was an SELP coach. I wonder. How successful were his projects and those of his participants? That's a question, I really am wondering. {And I thought the projects didn't really matter?} Lack of authenticity and integrity in one area will bleed into others. SELP coach is a major commitment. Two commitments? Was anyone paying attention? {apparently not} People do fall through the cracks.

But that was the worst thing I could have done. I wasn’t making any money, and I was further wasting my time. I did a lot of good for Landmark and they appreciated me for that, but my life outside was starting to get bleak. What I really needed was a job, and no one had the heart to tell me that.

If he's not sharing his situation openly, there are people in Landmark who will be able to see through it and they will ask questions. However, I have a strong feeling that this blogger avoided such people. {how would I know? I'm going to my coaches, other graduates I trust} Consider his response to the Forum Leader who asked nosy questions about what appears to have been child molestation. He was furious. That should be private! Well, most people also think of money and financial difficulties the same way!

Most of the people I worked with in Landmark were employed, had good jobs, or were self-employed, consultants, etc. It is an relatively affluent community, overall. Someone having financial difficulties may hide it, in those circles.

I only brought up money when lack of money interfered with my ability to fulfil commitments. However, ultimately, the training has paid off. My income is still limited, but it's not at all difficult getting by. I have my daughter living with me, and she is essentially self-supporting out of the social security she gets because I retired. I have enough to do what I choose to do. And so does she.

If I had not been doing the Landmark work, I would not have been out there making money. I'd have been doing something else. The world is full of things to do. Some of them are highly engaging, some of them may be contributing to the transformation of the planet, and some maybe ... ways to spend time. Sometimes I'm a lizard on a rock, appreciating the sun. It's enough.

And did I mention that I racked up all my debt paying for Landmark courses?

Not surprising. However, this is what he paid: Forum, $400. AC, I'm going to guess, $600. Communications, if he did the full curriculum, about $1000 maybe. (I haven't done any of it). He might have done a seminar, figure $100. The rest was assisting. He did the ILP, and may have paid for the weekend workdays, that would have been under $400, I think.

$2500 total or so. Over two years. A bit more than $100 per month. Landmark was not the cause of his debt. His abandonment of his own life was.

He actually knows this, but he keeps mixing it with Landmark. There is a trick we play with responsibility, and taking responsibility, and "being at cause." We say, "Well, I accept partial responsibility." That is not responsibility. Genuine responsibility is total. We have it all wrapped up and confused with ideas of causality. Responsibility is entire, whole. While it can be shared, it is shared totally, each person taking total responsibility, and then simply dividing tasks. But whatever one doesn't do, the other will do, not say, "well, not my job, her job!" When two people take responsibility like that, they are practically unstoppable. One person doing that is generally unstoppable as well.

I can easily come up with what is missing in Landmark, the presence of which would make a difference for people like our blogger.

This, however, is what sane people do: They take the skills they develop in the courses, and go out and get a job with them. {I actually quit my job as a result of getting a possibility in the SELP. Not a single person at the center thought this was cause for concern. Everyone thought it was cool. But I left a job that was working; I just Landmark-jargoned myself out of it with full support of everyone around me in the SELP.} The technology was largely designed for that. He didn't want to do that, I'm pretty sure, or he'd have done it. I'll have more to say about this, when I review this. There were parts of the ILP that would have quickly addressed this, unless he avoided them, and he probably avoided them.

Nine months later, at the end of it all, I was thousands of dollars in the hole with no job and clinically depressed. Now what? Do I go back and assist some more? Is that supposed to be the answer?

It never was the answer, and Landmark did not teach that it was the answer. He made that up, because it was easier for him, I'd bet, than doing what it would take to turn the situation around. Now, it may well be that some graduate told him that. What I'll notice is that he picked whom to ask. He had hundreds of possible choices. If I assume that he had some skills, and even if he didn't, there would be people around whom, if he asked for coaching about this, might have said, "I have a job, come over next Tuesday." Or, "I know someone with a job, here is a phone number, should I let them know you will be calling?" But he wouldn't ask those people. {You don't ask for jobs at a Landmark Center. You ask for coaching. That's what I asked for. I believed that's what I needed.} This is identity: he doesn't do that kind of thing. There is no sign that he made any serious effort to handle his personal situation, until he totally broke down.

Absolutely, he might have needed to leave his Landmark commitments. {I did need that. But every time I turned around, someone else expressing that same need got coached back into whatever program they were in, and their reluctant spouse came along too.} I chose to leave all Landmark activity when my daughter, 12 and with certain behavioral issues, came to live with me. She needed my full attention. I was able to complete my commitments with a little compromise. He might have been able to do the same. But he had drastically overcommitted, given his position. The idea of working in finance might have been sound, in a way, but not in his context. If that were job training, for example. There is, so far, not one story or indication of actual job search. Instead of a job, he still wants "answers." He wanted process. He wanted magic.

Every time I entered a credit card number into the machine during that assisting period, I was supposed to imagine that the money was going into my bank account.
It wasn’t.

That is downright weird. If someone in Landmark had told me that {THE OTHER ASSISTANT IN FINANCE SAID THOSE EXACT WORDS; I'm not making that up}, I'd have told them just how weird that was. However, I wonder. Did he actually imagine this? He doesn't say that he did. He said that he was "supposed to" do it. I'd guess that he didn't, because he thought that was preposterous. If I was going to do that job, and someone told me to imagine that, it's harmless at worst. So, even if I told them how weird it was, I'd do it. And then I'd go out and make the imagination a reality. He did not understand that part. The distinctions are not magic, except in a way. Words have power. What we declare has power. However, that power is exercised through our actions, as correlated with what we declare. No action, no "reliable result."

What he believed Landmark was telling him was BS. So, if he believes obvious BS, who is responsible for what ensues?

I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH YOU!![edit | edit source]

February 19. 2014

..One of my closest friends in Landmark was a program junkie who could never turn himself off.
He would speak in Landmark terms all day, every day, to everyone – whether they understood him or not. He would tell people, “You’re out of integrity! There’s no community here! You need to get off it! I need to share an inauthenticity with you! I have an unreasonable request to make! You’re being un-coachable! It’s all a lie!”
His fire and brimstone caught the attention of many people, including myself. I was so bowled-over by him that I quietly accepted and submitted to his style.
Because Landmark!

No. Because Blogger. This person was doing what Blogger could not do: confront people. What I notice is that nearly everything he quotes is a blame or judgment of others. Telling others that they are out of integrity is blame and judgment, unless done with high skill, which is not easy to come by. Telling others that they "need" to get off it is likely to encourage them to be more "on it." It's ontologically weird. Really, this would most often be based on "I don't like your attitude so you need to change." The need, actually personal, is displaced to the other. {You completely nailed him. And because he was my first example of the training, I erroneously thought that he was the best example of the training, precisely because he couldn't turn himself off.} "I need to share an inauthenticity with you" is something that a graduate might say to another, or possibly to a nongraduate, but that's a a weird way to say it. Rather, one would say, "I have been inauthentic. I've been pretending X, but actually, that's not real. I want Y, in fact."

One does not say, "I have an unreasonable request to make," it is setting up for rejection. Rather, one makes a request that is unreasonable, but doesn't label it so. One may readily admit unreasonability if it is asserted by the other. "You are being uncoachable," is something a coach says to a coachee, and it's just a fact, when said properly. I'd usually raise this as a question. "Do you want to be coachable here?" And that is only already in a coaching context.

"It's all a lie!" is a high-level abstract interpretation and mass generalization. {He seriously put this as his voice mail greeting one time} I can imagine contexts in which a sane graduate would say that, but this collection of statements is leading to an occurrence to me of someone with a severe neurosis. {thank you} He calls this "one of his closest friends." They say, "hang with the winners." He thought this way of talking was cool! {Well, what do you do when you see transformation for the first time? Isn't it natural to want to emulate people you admire? He got me in the Forum; that's a victory, isn't it??}

But I remember vividly the first time I ever coached him, when he was wondering why a mutual (non-Landmark) friend of ours was late to meetings with us all the time. He tried to drill the concept of integrity into him but only ended up making him mad.
I said, “Look. He’s not in our conversation. He lives in a world that doesn’t talk about integrity like we do. We use integrity a certain way because we registered in Landmark and that’s what they talk about. Why are we holding him up to this standard when he doesn’t hold it up for himself?”

One of the most sane things the blogger has said. {Do you think I'm largely insane?} I do notice the abstraction. Landmark is "they" not "us." But that may be accidental language. My training is to notice language. Sometimes it tells me things.

He listened and understood.

Because it was clear, and may have come from the Self. "That was "Self-expression."

The guy was free with his words, that may be what was attractive. The blogger was not free, was quite inhibited.

Our mutual friend didn’t stay a friend for very long, probably because he couldn’t endure the beat-downs from my jargon-slinger friend, who also tried and failed to get him to register in the Forum.

The friend was unpleasant, bottom line. Further, the training about registration into the Forum is that to be reliable, it must be preceded by relatedness and an enrollment conversation that is actually inspiring, and this is not to be done to "try to get the person to register." The entire concept is world-of-survival, backwards. People who have gotten the work, deeply, simply share their life and people ask them how to get what they have.

The friend had certain personality habits that probably preceded Landmark, he merely adopted Landmark jargon. After all, it worked with Blogger!

The lesson it taught me also didn’t last very long, and I wish it did. I missed the boat when, not even 4 months later, I yelled at my own boyfriend, “GET OFF IT! WHY DON’T YOU JUST GET OFF IT!”

But that is an ordinary human comment. It can be ineffective, yes, but it's an emotional outburst. In that context, it is not actually jargon. "Get off it" is ordinary speech. {I can't tell you how many times this was said in the programs I was in.}

The lesson was, don’t pretend to know the world of the person you’re talking to. Don’t talk to someone like a Landmark participant when they aren’t one.
Besides which, the reason you decided to do Landmark was for your transformation, not someone else’s. Who’s the one sitting in the chair – you or them?

Yes. Now, I have the feeling that the blogger wanted to say all this when active in the work. But felt it was impossible, it would be rejected or something.

The training is to "get into the world" of others, to communicate with them. I can write more about this.

This shit is nothing new[edit | edit source]

February 20, 2014

Personal transformation is as old as civilization itself.

Older, probably.

Landmark Education gave me the impression that before there was Landmark, there was nothing. Just a vast desert of no possibility, looking good, and broken integrity. And then in the 1970’s there was est, and then the Forum, and then the Landmark Forum. And as a result of that evolution, the technology of transformation created a new dawn of human potential for the coming millennium.

Once again, Landmark did not "give [the blogger] the impression." Where. By saying what? Did they even mention est? (it is not mentioned at all in recent programs, but this was early 2000s.

The Forum format includes no history of the Forum. That's not what it is about. It is a process, designed to create certain results. It is not a course on the history of transformation. It is not explained how it works. The ontology is explained, to a degree. The Forum is far more like what they say, it is like learning to ride a bicycle. Once one knows how to do that, and the knowing is not in words, the skill is generally available for life.

But that's an analogy, not the thing itself.

The blogger is presenting as a criticism of Landmark what Landmark did not do, the blogger did. That vast desert is the life of someone before they find water. Landmark, then, is like an oasis. Does the oasis claim to be all water on earth? Look, if you have been crossing the desert and you come to an oasis, you don't even think about that. You drink.

If you come to Landmark, you can drink or not. Lots of people are not thirsty, or are thirsty but don't recognize it. They call the thirst something else and imagine that they need something else.

I hate to break it to you this way, but this Landmark shit is nothing new.

Liar! (see, I can say it!) The blogger does not "hate to break" it to us, but is enjoying this. However, this simply is not news. It's yet another straw man.

He tells the history. It's a decent telling, except that the technology is not as non-Christian as he thinks. Transformational technology was also alive in Christianity. Here is a nice one from him:

There’s a bunch more. One can even say the central story of Christianity – Christ’s death and resurrection – is the story of the death of the human ego, which makes a new life possible. One can ask, “What in me has to die for me to step into a new life?”

Indeed. One might ask that. The question is, are we ready to die before we die? The "human ego" is the identity, the story we invented of who we are. That story covers over, makes invisible, who or what we actually are.

The thing is, paths of transformation have always been around – and will always be around – for people looking to make a difference in their world. We’re lucky right now that there’s such a huge spectrum to look at, so that each person can find his or her own path.

Perhaps. There is also information overload.

So feel free. Just be aware that some people will want to steer you in only one direction and charge you a small fortune to do it…

Yup. My early training included "Follow those who ask of you no fee." So for me to do the Landmark Forum took a little revision of my rules, so to speak. Fortunately, they did not ask me to follow them. They were offering a training, not governance of my life.

There are lots of people looking for someone to tell them what to do. That way, they don't have to be responsible for the outcomes, as one possible "benefit." Blogger, it seems, wanted that. And, damn it! They didn't tell him how to get a job, or even that he needed to get a job. They didn't tell him that he shouldn't put courses on a credit card with no workable plan to repay the debt. Look at all the things those assholes did not tell him! Basically, they treated him as a responsible adult. Landmark does not solicit information on financial status. They do not offer credit, i.e, you cannot pay for a course over time, the limit is a "non-refundable" deposit and then full payment. They assume that if someone has a credit card, they have good credit. The marketing is sometimes easily seen as aggressive. What is remarkable is that this is not done by Landmark itself. Essentially, the "pushy" marketing is done by Landmark customers, generally. There is some guidance from Leaders, but the actual training in invitation and introduction, the Introduction Leader Program, presents cautions. People are pushy anyway. It's a people thing. Landmark presents opportunities for transformation, and there is a balance between being pushy and being uncaring.

My guest, the one that eventually registered, went to an Introduction I'd set up. I've told the story, but, again: when the invitation to register came, he said, "I'd like to, but I can't. I don't have the money." (and he literally didn't have it, I knew him well. He didn't have an uncommitted $150 for the deposit.) With very little ado, along the lines of "this is a fantastic opportunity for you!" the Introduction Leader gave up. I persisted, and clarified that if he actually did want to do it, that money was just logistics, like where to do the Forum and when. He affirmed that his choice was to do the Forum, he was simply not registering that night. So I asked him if he wanted support. He said Yes, so I called him later, and we talked on the phone about once a week for the next maybe six months, and occasionally met in person.

In the clearing after, the Introduction Leader said, "You made it okay for him not to register." In this and later conversations, it was said, "They lie. Then could, if they considered it important enough," and "When they don't register immediately, they never register." At a later introduction, it was brought up that I was "bringing the conversation on pressure into the space." Which is allegedly damaging, and it certainly could be. This leader said, "My participants never feel pressured." I said, "Sorry, but I know one who did feel that." My friend had told me that he felt pressured by her. I'd bet that this wasn't uncommon. Most people won't say. She was, by the way, an excellent Introduction Leader. She was authentic, she told great stories about her own life, and her manner was generally low-key. As to "pressure," she was far from the worst! However, when I told her that, her response was "I will not lead any Introduction where Abd is present." She did not stick to that. She was the supervising Introduction Leader at the candidatable lead for my friend, and the guests that night, all but one, were brought by me. My guests did not register (as usual, money) -- but were inspired, or so it seemed. Two of them disappeared, the phone didn't work when I attempted to follow up. One later said, "Don't call me, I'll let you know when I'm ready," even though he had said he wanted support. I've seen him again. He is still very friendly. I think that his financial incapacity is embarrassing to him. I also think this is common. The candidatable lead was successful because the trainee invited someone who did register, so 1/4 is "success," as would be 1/3. A minimum of three guests are required for success.

This was all taken (by me) to ILP supervision, and my stand for my guest was confirmed. The "conversation over pressure" is a long-term concern of many; in my opinion, it has been inadequately addressed. ILs are volunteers, if the IL has a negative reaction to a graduate, they are not required to submit themselves to it. I saw her reaction as a sign of burnout. ILs burn out.

What is said is true: "Pressure" is a story. It doesn't exist will be said. That's misleading. Yes, pressure is a story, an occurring. Now, are we responsible for how we occur to others? That question asks for an intepretation, another story, but the ILP training is clear: Yes, we take responsibility for how we occur to others. So the rejection of the "conversation over pressure" is simply one more sign that we are human, we exhibit survival responses, and react out of survival instincts, the same as everyone else. The difference is only that we have the possibility of something much more powerful than that. And, ideally, with training, we gain velocity in recognizing this.

Introduction Leader is a Leader distinction, the first one, the prerequisite for all the others. Introduction Leaders are on the front lines, their job is more difficult than that of Program Leaders, because they are dealing with those who have not registered, have not committed to transformation in some way, they have only agreed to come to an Introduction, and they have a world of preconceptions they bring with them. I've talked with Forum Leaders about what it's like to be a Forum Leader. One said, "Well, it's Friday. -- this was Friday night after the session, a common time when Forum Leaders would come into our classroom and chat with us, saying, "Any questions? Anything?" and then they were authentic and open. And when needed, clear as a hammer right on the head of a nail. The nail goes in as designed, and the transformation takes place immediately, it is visible, and it sticks together.

(My experience is obviously anecdotal, but it covers at least three Forum Leaders, and matches the reported experience of others.)

So we will work on the training of ILs. The "conversation over pressure" is damaging Landmark outreach, and that is obvious, and no amount of denial will change this. It will change, as with everything else, when we *personally* take responsibility for it.

So ... I was having regular conversations with my friend, mostly about this word that kept cropping up in conversations about his life. "Can't." In every instance, there was no law of the universe being violated, and even laws of the universe can be "violated." I.e., we apply them to make predictions and those predictions can fail. Basically, we didn't understand the situation and our application was, then, defective.

So, one day, he said, "I'm feeling pressured." Having had a series of deeper and deeper conversations about pressure, I was thrilled. This is why.

There is a continuum between intense caring (which can be experienced as pressure) and not caring (which easily is "no pressure.") Introduction Leaders come to care, and they care very much. They see the participants with issues that they know can readily be resolved with a little training. So they easily form an opinion that the guest should register. Because it will run miracles in their life! Or so they think, at least. And usually, from what I've seen, they are right. However, there is another side. If the participant is not ready to transform, or is disabled from benefiting from the Forum for some reason, registering prematurely can be harmful.

The official stand is that the goal of registration conversations is not registration, it is called a "registration conversation" because the person is invited to make a choice, to "register," and "registration" in Landmartian means to take action. The training on enrollment and registration conversations begins with intensity in the SELP. Whatever is done before that is ad hoc, and not necessarily deep. However, IL performance is measured by registration statistics. It is, in fact, the only available objective measure. To really understand the situation with "pressure," one must understand the entire context. There are reasons for all of the common behavior. However, again, our training is to move beyond "reasons" into the world of unlimited possibility. The New Enterprise initiative grew out of conversations started by graduates, and one of the persistent issues raised was the use of registration as a measure, because this can then lead to "pressure" to "get people to register." In the more subtle version, the pressure is to make a choice that night. Yes, or No, and "not now" is not a clear yes or no answer, and the training is to get answers. Hence ... pressure!

So why was I happy when my friend said he felt pressured? I had, with most people, an Already Always Listening that "pressure is bad." The idea that they will be subjected to "high pressure sales" is possibly the number one reason people have for avoiding Landmark events. Even graduates have this occurring. It is truly common. But, remember that continuum. That he felt pressured was a sign that I was erring on the side of "caring"! That my behavior had come closer to balance. I apologized immediately, made it clear that I had no intention of pressuring him into anything, but that I was standing for him becoming clear about his own life and what had been stopping him. This, by the way, wasn't about registering into the Forum.

When he repeated "I can't," about Forum registration, "I don't have the money," I asked, "can you spare a quarter?" Yes, he said. "Then if you are committed to registering, toss a quarter in a jar!" He did.

Was that "high pressure sales"? It was certainly assertive! It simply did not buy his story of "can't." He could, and I was showing him how to take a stand, take action toward it, and, ultimately, make it happen. It happened. The quarter in the jar was an element, there were others, all related to him taking actions consistent with his stand. The actual event that allowed registration was unpredictable. I got the phone call and told him that he could do the Forum for $X. A lot less than the regular registration! He was excited. Then he said that "I don't have $X." I asked him how much he could pay. "$50" -- which wasn't enough.

(My suspicion is that this happens from time to time. I have not heard of any other incident when it happened through Center staff, though. Individuals often decide to pay registration fees for others. It is actually routine that Advanced Course participants pay for others to take the SELP. Landmark officially stays out of it, I saw Center Staff refuse to handle the money when it was offered. "Give it directly, if you want, or come to the reg table and pay. We don't care whose credit card is used, as long as it isn't fraudulent!" It does not have a scholarship fund, probably because it wants to stay far away from making those decisions. The only free ride has been, since 2001, that full-time fire, police, and clergy have a full scholarship for the Forum, if they let it be known they are that. This was in honor of all the personnel who died at the WTC in 9-11. The Landmark New York Center came down in that incident. I think the Center Manager was in the Center when it was hit, but she got out. Landmark carried on with scheduled programs at alternate venues. Registration data was kept elsewhere, probably at corporate. Landmark demonstrated "independence from conditions," they practiced what they teach.)

Now, more of the fact: he could have registered at any time. But he had locked himself up. He wasn't "lying," he simply was not telling the whole truth. By this time, he had inherited his house, which he owned free and clear. He had credit, and, in fact, he could have obtained, if he wanted to, enormous credit (compared to me!). However, I was also committed to supporting him. That included supporting his stand against going into debt without a repayment plan. He was out of work, having trouble with expenses, etc. His "no" was coming out of survival fear, long story. Never push someone against their survival fear without preparation! The amygdala will defend, period. The choice to move ahead against survival fear must be voluntary, and it's hard enough when it's voluntary!

So I said, "I have some work I need done. I cannot afford to pay much, but I would pay you $8 per hour -- minimum wage -- to help me. If I register you, you can work 12.5 hours for me to pay it off. He consented, so I registered him. I called the Center and put it on my credit card. Hah! Look how Landmark suckered me into paying them! That modest borrowing -- which was quickly paid off -- produced enormous value for me.

He had been thinking about doing the Forum for six months. He walked into that Forum thoroughly prepared for transformation, eager for it! As I say in many places, the participant creates the transformation. I was a midwife. It could be thought that I delivered babies. My first mentor, an obstetrician, said, "God delivers babies, women get out of the way, and the obstetrician is the Messiah!" I think he was Jewish, so "Messiah" was sarcastic. I remembered my first-born, delivered in San Francisco General Hospital. Honestly, the obstetrician made egregious errors, as I later learned and understood. But the baby turned out alive, and I really could have kissed him! I was incredibly grateful. The world was full of joy, the sunrise was joyful, the light in the room was joyful, etc.

Aligning this with our blogger's experience, agreeing with some of his conclusions, God (Reality) creates transformation, the participant gets out of the way, and Landmark gets credit!" However, I'm a Muslim. We have high respect, very high respect, for Jesus and the Qur'an affirst that he was, indeed, the Messiah, he is called that in the Qur'an. But God still delivers the baby and the transformation. And "Oh, w:What a Friend We have in Jesus."

My friend worked for me for some, but immediately after taking the Forum, he got work. Basically, he had to get into action, ask for it! Eventually, I asked him to pay off the rest with cash, because I needed cash more than the work. He did. And he put the Advanced Course on a credit card, he now had seen enough results that his fears were quieted. Immediately after the Advanced Course, he went for a job interview, and got a job paying more money than he'd ever seen. He still has the job. I could go on and say many more examples of how his life has transformed. It's not just about money! That is merely the clearest and most universally understood effect. He did and completed the SELP. He did the ILP, and completed. He really wasn't ready for it, had a pile of ungrounded expectations, but ... he completed it anyway. He signed up for the Communications Course, so he's headed for the same set as the blogger. He tried assisting, and had a horrible time. He still is stuck in certain ways, plus he lives well over an hour from the Center. But he is coachable, and he's learning and practicing. All his old stories showed up during the ILP, it does that. He carried on anyway.

So ... he didn't register at his first Introduction (nor at the Special Evening I took him to in Boston). Did they fail? What a limited idea!!!

Your results are never good enough.[edit | edit source]

February 21, 2014

If you participate in Landmark, the number of people you register into the Landmark Forum correlates to how well your transformation lives in the world around you, and how successful you are in any LE course.

Correlation is not causation. {I didn't say anything caused anything.} This claim relies on a series of judgments and assumptions. For example, the "number of people you register" can be an objective measure. However, "how well your transformation lives in the world around you," is not objective. Nor is "how successful" you are in any course. One may register a ton of people, and ultimately "fail." {Who has done that? I've seen no example, no discussion of that anywhere, with anybody.} There is at least one other story on the Internet of a person who became an Introduction Leader and who registered many, and who later became an anti-Landmark crusader, believing it to be a destructive cult. So how "successful" was he?

Landmark technology developed out of sales technology. The blogger was incredibly naive and obviously did not research the history. On the one side, there is the authorized biography of Werner Erhard, an excellent book that actually tells very much a full story, up to the 1970s. Then there is Pressman, a yellow journalism hit job, full of rumor, and much of it based on the biography, presented with the most negative of interpretations. Both books are useful if one wants to understand the context.

Techniques taught are studied by sales people in other contexts. So a skill readily developed in Landmark, for better and for worse, is skill at sales. Insincere sales may meet measures, but .. it also can backfire. Truly successful sales people could sell a pig in a poke, but won't, because it creates long term dissatisfaction.

I have, from what I've studied so far, concluded that the blogger was heavily influenced by avoiding looking bad. That is, of course, very common. He experienced the training in outreach as pressure, because he was afraid to say "No, I'm not going to do that," He experienced recommendations as commands, fearing that if he didn't follow them, he would be considered "uncoachable." {Yes.}

I've told the story of an SELP coach who confronted the SELP leader. This was over "pressuring" her participants to invite people as guests to our Saturday workday. That ought to be familiar to the blogger!

She didn't want to "pressure" anybody to do anything. Good for her! However, was training in invitation, "pressure"?

The SELP leader started to argue with her. She immediately nailed it.

"I feel that you are making me wrong."

Now, this could have become, in the ordinary world, two women screaming at each other! Both were passionate. Instead, the SELP leader stopped in her tracks, took a deep breath, and said, "You're right. I'm afraid you will screw up my participants."

I.e., her conversation with the coach was coming out of her own fear, and, once reminded, she got it! That is "coachability," she was demonstrating it for us. I was cheering them both!

She was authentic, she acknowledged her fear. The coach was afraid of pressuring people. She had already acknowledged that.

So then they had a conversation. What I remember clearly is that they were both satisfied. And then that coach, her next step, registered into the Introduction Leader Program. From the frying pan into the fire!

I love these people. The blogger has a set of stories about asshole graduates, his "best Landmark friends." What does that tell us?

w:Buckaroo Banzai: "Wherever you go, there you are!" {are you calling me an asshole?}

.Landmark doesn’t advertise – they rely entirely on word-of-mouth from participants. As a marketing strategy, that actually has a lot of merit. If you truly have a great product or service, it should sell itself. People will naturally want to share about it and invite other people to check it out.

Yup. I've never seen an official explanation of this. A related question would be why Landmark is a for-profit corporation rather than a nonprofit. I actually think that some nonprofits should be set up. It would solve the "France problem." If incorporated in France as a nonprofit educational institution, that institution could license the technology from Landmark, and, as well, could retain Landmark Forum Leaders. Schools can do all that! It is merely a different model.

I suspect that the for-profit model continued because it keeps Landmark honest, in a certain way. I know what can happen with nonprofits. First of all, executives can make enormous salaries in nonprofits. Landmark has to justify its existence, through customer satisfaction. The corporation has never paid a dividend. So while it is organized for-profit, it is actually functioning very much like a nonprofit. The owners are the staff, it is 100% owned by an ESOP. Another way of describing it, then, would be as a w:Worker collective, but the Landmark community has generally been "button down." That, in fact, kept me away from Landmark. People waring suits? Not my kind of people! I was told that if I took the ILP, they would "make me" cut my hair.

This whole concept of people being "made" to do things interests me. It's like the story about alledly "not allowing people to go to the bathroom." The reality: they reminded people of their commitment, and people then made their own choices! I had no commitment to cutting my hair in the ILP, nor was one ever asked of me. I was welcome with long hair and a full beard. However, at one point, when my grooming was seen as deficient, it was pointed out (I agreed). Eventually, I made the choice to get a haircut! For me, it was more about breaking up my identity as this fixed thing. It was fun. The hair is back, this is me, not long after I completed the ILP. this is recent.

People who are terrified of criticism are seriously stuck. This typically goes back to childhood experiences, being shamed, very common. If you are terrified of criticism, don't take the ILP until you are ready to confront that fear.

The thing is, in Landmark, if you participate in any of the courses, you are expected and required to be the sales force. You can get insights and learn valuable lessons, but then you are supposed to share them all with your family and friends such that they want to register. That’s how the machine works. Every conversation where you announce that you’re letting go of your ego or forgiving someone is considered an opportunity to register someone in the Forum. And woe be to anyone who doesn’t take it.

"Expected" could simply mean "it's suggested." "Required"? Really? "Supposed to." "Woe to someone who doesn't [take] the opportunity." Woe? Isn't that a tad, dramatic? Now, this was almost fifteen years ago. As to my personal testimony perhaps they fed people who failed to invite someone to the pigs out back. Who knows what happened in the Bad Old Days? Perhaps they were awfully good at covering it up! What ever happened to Fred? You know, the guy who didn't want to invite anyone? Well, his life was so transformed that he took a trip to Darkest Africa, and we think he married someone there. Maybe you can find a way to talk to him. But rumor is he is living in a village that is four hour's walk by donkey trail from the nearest mud road. They have no electricity or cell service. Good luck! Have some bacon!

(The village is a description of where my other young daughter is from. The world is vast.)

This blogger takes invitation as pressure, as demand, fearing that if he does not comply, It Will Be Horrible. They might call him "uncoachable." What is very clearly optional -- lots of graduates never invite anyone, or, if they do, it is very, very low-key -- is seen as a "requirement."

I can say this: I wish my family were graduates. I've invited, enough. My Chinese daughter has been to a Teen Forum Introduction. She came away from that full of enthusiasm. How can we get her older brothers and sisters to do the Forum?

Then, later, as she learned more, she took more of her mother's position, "It's a cult! Dad, don't deny it, look, they use this weird language." Then she actually uses the distinctions, she knows quite a bit. The fact: she is a teenager! What I know: I had lots of experience with teenagers with my first family. However, I rather doubt I could have handled the situation with this daughter without the training. I was far too controlling. And she is fierce about her independence, highly self-expressed and unafraid, part of the time, part of the time like a little girl. I love her, and am standing for her future, and she knows it. Usually. That amygdala! It takes over whenever survival instincts are threatened. I knew a great deal, but the training is about practice, not "knowing."

What I know is that communication with graduates is far easier than with "normies." ("Normies" is an ADHD distinction, but I think it's useful here. In dealing with ADHD, my stand has been that normal is not bad, just different! I takes all kinds. See w:How to speak hip which influenced me before I was twenty. Normies run the subways. More to the point with ADHD, they are farmers, as distinct from hunter-gatherers, who need differing skills.)

I see my ex, frequently, with issues that seriously upset her, and I think it doesn't have to be that way. However, it's very obvious, and this is what coaches have confirmed: my job is to demonstrate transformation, thoroughly and deeply, not to "get her" to transform. And I agree. I do present opportunities, on occasion, carefully avoiding expectations.

I have seen many sharings, starting with my Forum Tuesday session, where someone shared a family healing coming out of the communication that is generally assigned in the Forum. I have seen these shares not mention any sort of invitation. And it wasn't noted, there was no conversation like the blogger claims is routine. It is occasionally brought up, as a question, "Did you invite them?"

If that was done with a blaming tone, it would stand out like a sore thumb. I haven't seen it. People are not "shamed" for not inviting. Rather, they are invited, themselves, to look at what might be stopping them. What is actually going on? And someone who does not want to face reality, the reality of their relationship with these people, may well experience that as pressure, as an attempt to shame, because they feel shame. And then they react to shame by blaming the one asking the question. Very simple, very common interactional psychology. They attribute their own creation ("shame") to the other. Highly disempowering. If the shame is caused by the other, the participant has no power!

It’s never enough just to reconcile with someone. It does no good unless that person registers for the Landmark Forum. And you will be bullied and intimidated by LE leaders and assistants until that happens.

This person obviously is so sensitive to shame and blame that they caved, probably avoided any occasion for shame and blame by rushing to comply. This would be the blogger's impression about others, most likely. That one could tell someone "bullying and intimating" to fuck off is completely outside the world of possibility. It could be fun. That is not on the radar of this blogger. Now, it's not on most people's radar. Graduates, however, are far more likely to be free to do this, but this blogger, never "got it." They did not become free, it's obvious. Landmark claims something north of 90% that report the Forum as having been highly successful for them. For those who do advanced training, that percentage would be higher. I called every graduate in the Western Massachusetts database, having been given those phone numbers by the Registration Manager -- who was bending the rules. However, what I was doing was not soliciting registration, I was attempting to set up direct graduate communication in our area, so these were not calls that would be covered by FTC rules (which Landmark takes great pains to satisfy). I was simply inviting people to communicate, to join a mailing list for local events.

So I talked to a lot of graduates, about a hundred. The voice of a graduate is recognizable. I've discovered this later, talking with women on a dating site. It is just not surprising when certain women say, "oh, I did that!"

People report that it changed their lives, and report gratitude for that. And then some say, "But I didn't like the sales pressure." So this issue is well worth looking at.

From what I've described, so far, some "legitimate reasons" for what appears as "sales pressure" have been explored. But the training is that we are not limited by "good reasons." Is there a way to take a strong stand for transformation, for empowering people, without commonly creating the occurring of pressure? There is, because I say so.

Can you imagine if the AA did that? If, whenever you shared with someone that you were an alcoholic and committed to living a sober life, you were required to bring that person to AA and have them join? And the number of people you convinced to join was a measure of your sobriety?

This is an intelligent person, a thinker. However, he does not go all the way with the analogy. AA is for alcoholics. It is not for everyone, and the general public is not allowed to go to most meetings, the requirement is that one have "a desire to stop drinking." So to make the analogy with AA, the "target population" must be alcoholics, and especially those who take the first step, "Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our wives had become unmanageable."

Sorry. I heard that at an open AA meeting. Everyone laughed. It's "lives," of course. However, suppose an alcoholic in recovery meets an alcoholic, who might be in denial. Do they invite the person. Damn straight they do! They will to to great lengths to get that person to a meeting, where they might hear their story, and open up to a possibility. Before that, they will have lots of reasons not to go, starting with "I don't have a problem. Other people have a problem. Me? No problem!"

Reminds me of the person who said, about smoking, "I'm not addicted to smoking, I can stop whenever I want. In fact, I have, many times!"

In AA, the "number of people you have convinced to join" is not a measure of sobriety, but it is correlated with it. That is, those active in supporting alcholics are the ones who are most reliably successful. This was Bill W.' realization, that led to the founding of AA. When he was helping alcoholics, he stayed sober. When he wasn't, he was at risk.

So, take this analogy and apply it to Landmark. It would lead you to conclude, I'm suggesting, that a relatively reliable way to support and maintain one's own transformation -- out of the addiction of untransformed habit -- is to support others in transformation. Success at one correlates with success at the other. Further, how we fail at one can point to how we fail with the other.

The blogger burned out in the ILP. This is my guess, so far: he was having a lot of difficulty inviting people, such that they were actually registering. As this became obvious, the coaches started to examine why. What was happening? And they discovered much, and brought it to his attention. ILP coaches do that! And this touched nerves that he absolutely was not ready to handle. I don't know what they were. He would.

There is no blame in this. He was not ready to handle those issues, and we protect ourselves until we are ready. This is basic survival psychology. It is functional, merely limiting. What I'm confronting here is his generalizations from his experience to that of everyone, and his framing of the behavior of a few as the behavior of all.

I spent countless hours groveling to my family, friends and coworkers, saying that I was getting a lot of great insights and committed to leading a more powerful life because I finally realized how inauthentic I was. No one cared, responded, or understood.

Now, if I was his coach, and he said he was "groveling," I'd go right for the gold. Groveling? Why? I would point out that he was being inauthentic, and that "I finally realized how inathentic I was" wasn't true. He hadn't gotten to the depth of it, at all. He was pretending that his life had transformed, when, as to what people will immediately see, it hadn't. He didn't have the effing job he needed! He was falling into major depression. His life was "fucked." And the Landmark training wasn't making it better. So he was still pretending to them.

My guess: he didn't share his occurring with his coach. He pretended with the coach as well. And it is SOP that this would come out in the ILP. It's an entire room full of coaches. Later in the program, typically, there are more coaches than participants. All highly trained. I took the ILP because I wanted this. I was very smart, and could easily hide. I got it immediately in the Forum, that, while I was top 0.1% by intelligence measures, this guy had led the Forum for over 100,000 people, and he'd be able to see right through me and my act. Hence I went to the mike. I knew what would happen. It was actually very simple. I told my story and he said one word, very flat: "Racket."

He didn't need to say anything more. In a way, he didn't need to say that. I could hear my own tone of voice. Damn! Racket! But, wait, I was Right! Damn! Rackets always look right to the one afflicted. However, it took me a long time to get the Payoff, why I would do this radically disempowering thing. I'm still getting it. They say that Forum Leaders run rackets. It is very human, it's clearly a survival mechanism.

But someone who is shame-afflicted could hear that word "racket" -- which, as a Landmark distinction is objectively described -- and shrink in shame. And someone else with similar issues could look at my interaction and think, "Look how the Forum leader tried to shame him!"

But it seemed that Landmark people were listening to me – every time I groveled to one of them, they “got it.”
Not so with non-participants.

Ah! So, with graduates, he said, "I've been highly inauthentic," and they got it. Of course, he was highly inauthentic, and routinely. So they affirmed his statement, and acknowledged him, and he felt good because he was acknowledge. But he was playing a game, saying the words that he knew would create this, and it worked because he actually was inauthentic. But he did not get how deep this was, and only in the ILP would it be likely that coaches would see through it. Some of them. And, as a collective, it would come out. Let's call him Norman.

"Norman! Yes, you have been inauthentic! You still are! Your being is a sham! I'm not seeing a shred of authenticity here! Your admission of inauthenticity is insincere! What is your life like? Is it working! What I see is someone who id depressed, and ashamed of it. What is your possibility?

And then in the ILP, that possibility would be turned inside out and upside down, if it is not actually inspiring. Inauthenticity is anti-inspiring. So of course people weren't registering! It's like clockwork.

The hell with measures. This participant was in the ILP, and there are promises, for his transformation, but they all assume he wants it. He didn't want it. He wanted miracles to happen that would allow him to remain the same. And that was not going to happen. What actually happened, I'll suggest, was perfect. We'll get to that later.

Whenever I came up empty and shared about it in an LE course, I didn’t get advice or support. Instead, I got yelled at and berated. In the Introduction Leaders Program, the leader yelled at me to sit back down because I had only shared the Forum with eight people and no one was registering. And because of that I must not have been committed to the work. She yelled at me all the way to my seat like I was a misbehaving dog.

Yup. Now, this is his story about himself. He's revealed nothing about his childhood, why he creates this story, and he does create it. {Seriously, what do you want me to say?} A normal person, "yelled at and berated," would say "Fuck this," and leave. Or confront it. Make a fuss, don't tolerate abuse. Remember his first story. He believed that Landmark tolerated abuse. That was about him. He tolerated abuse. Was it really abuse? Remember, abuse is a story. It is neither true nor false. But humans, normally, don't tolerate that story, if behavior occurs to them as abuse, they will resist it or confront it. The simplest resistance is just going away.

Sometimes coaches are very direct. There can be an assumption that participants in the ILP have ego-strength. That they can take criticism. It can be intense. What I notice is now critical Blogger is of others. He has very strong moral judgments. In the ILP, generally, the criticism is only a pointing out -- usually -- of fact and occurring, and not moral.

My grooming was inattentive, at one point. It was pointed out. Nobody told me I was a bad person or I should be ashamed. There was no implication of moral failing.

Was Blogger actually "yelled at and berated"? Maybe. But people use "yelled at," often, to mean "criticized." However, given the level of inauthenticity, I can imagine someone losing patience. Coaches are human. {The ILP weekend leader, after I shared at the mic, said, "Ok, SIT DOWN." What was I going to do? I was told to sit down in the Forum too. I barely said two sentences. I actually started to think that shutting up and just taking it was a possibility.}

But I was listening to my coaches! None of the coaching was working! What am I doing wrong? No one would help me.

This coach responds. You are not doing anything wrong. Go back and do the Forum, you never got "Nothing is wrong here." Mostly, to progress, you need to stop certain things. One of them is your routine, habitual inauthenticity. There are levels of listening. Coaches tell you are inauthentic and to begin an enrollment conversation by disclosing your inauthenticity. So you said the words. You did not actually disclose your inauthenticity. You said to people you wanted to invite, "I've been inauthentic." Remember, you ascribed that one to your ineffective friend, you knew there was something off. "I have been inauthentic" is not a disclosure of inauthenticity. Actual disclosure can be ... very unreasonable. Even ugly. Yet, against all expectation, it can turn situations around. This is actually SELP technology, you, supposedly, coached others. How did they do?

It’s not that Landmark’s work is without value. It’s just not worth the price, in money or sanity.

The blogger does not apparently realize that he creates the price he pays. Yeah, there are program fees, but compared to the investment of time and other participation costs, fees are small. It cost me $500 to do my "free seminar." Did Landmark create that cost? No. I could have done another seminar for about $50. I made the choice, and it was an knee-jerk choice, my "intuition." I'm not going to conclude that my intuition was wrong. That would be dumb. But I created the cost.

That was the Forum in Action seminar, which reviews all the distinctions covered in the Forum. It's ideal to follow the Forum. The cheap seminar (i.e., far more easily accessible to me) would have been another seminar, not so on-point. As well, I got to spend time with the Seminar Leader, and that was the driving force, on the surface, for my choice. Leaders, typically, really are amazing people. Psychiatrist. Assistant head of outpatient psychiatry at a major hospital, and there were other reasons I had. Ethnic origin, for one example. His affect (cheerful and funny). As far as everything I saw from him, over the years, not a mean bone in his body. Including dealing with a participant who, by ethnic origin and declared politics, should have been an enemy. Instead he made peace in her life, without her abandoning her stand for her people. She is likely still an activist, but much more likely to be effective. Hatred disempowers us, it only powers us under narrow conditions, emergencies.

Blogger was, in a way, literally insane. (Technically, neurotic, I'd think.). {bullshit story - are you a psychologist? If you are, did I hire you? And if you say I'm being inauthentic, what makes you think I'm going to trust you enough to open that up with you? Maybe I'm tired of rehashing my life to people. That's why I left. Sometimes the way to put the past down is to simply put it down. Do I have to share all my dark secrets for that to work? No.} Landmark did not create that. As we will see, he did not disclose his prior hospitalization. Nowadays, that would not prevent participation, but the warnings would still have been underscored. His non-disclosure was not a "lie." It was a denial. I'm sure he believed he was being honest in signing that form, though, in fact, many people don't read it.

I would love to see a Landmark Forum without the bullying, where all conversations about participants registering people are eliminated. It would just be about sharing new possibilities and nothing more.
Reconciliation with no strings attached. No Tuesday night “graduations” where you are required to invite your friends and family to a sales pitch. I would love a Landmark Forum that lets participants decide for themselves if the program is worth sharing, because if it is, they will share it and no one would have to be pressured into it. No one would be berated for not registering someone.

Notice the collapse of different situations: Tuesday night invitations for friends and family, Presentation of the possibility of doing the Forum ("sales pitch"), and then berating. When does that berating take place? Tuesday night. That must really inspire a lot of people to register. Yeah, I'll register so that I, too, can be berated. How would that work. No, it must be Sunday, say. {it was Sunday, actually} First of all, nobody is specifically asked to share, they come to the mike voluntarily. So then what is "berated." Frankly, I can't remember anyone being berated at any program, and I've seen a lot of these sessions where invitations were discussed. It is considered out of balance by many.

In fact, when I got into "trouble" in the ILP, I wasn't berated, but I was yanked from the team for that night. What had I done. I made a joke. It was a Special Evening. I was on the welcome table. A graduate came in and took and made a name tag for himself. Only he used a white label, not one with a blue border, indicating a graduate guest. I said to him, "Bring that back, I'll make you a graduate badge, or else they will be on you like ants on honey." That was a reference to a known problem, guests being surrounded by people "supporting them registering." Guests hate being surrounded! It's really dumb, and we were told -- trained -- to notice and avoid it. But, still, I'd seen it happen. In all innocence, I'm sure.

The man, taking the badge, yelled back, referring to the woman sitting next to me, who had come up and was chatting with someone else there. She was a Seminar Leader, she had the black Leader badge. I was not familiar with her. He said, "Yeah, that's why I don't come around."

Now, I'd studied this whole topic by this time. His complaint is common. There was something real here. But the Seminar Leader was outraged. I was not supposed to be making jokes at the welcome table. I knew that, and I immediately apologized, said it was inappropriate. Even though there were no guests around. It was outside my job.

That was not enough for her. She went to the acting Center Manager and complained. The Registration Manager, who was new, really, was in that position for this huge evening. She was overwhelmed, I'd say. She called me in, asked for an explanation. I told her what happened. She wasn't satisfied and acted quickly. Out. You can make phone calls. Later, I really got what was missing in my behavior, but that's another story. My point here is the damage done by the "conversation about pressure," and attempting to dismiss it with distinguishing pressure as a story is completely inadequate. That guy actually likes Landmark and the training, but "doesn't come around" because of how "sales" occurs to him. That it even occurs as sales indicates that something is drastically off.

However, back to Blogger:

Notice: Blogger considers "conversations about registering people" as "bullying," intrinsically. Really? First of all, the Forum doesn't go much into "registration conversations." People are not expected to be skillful, they have not been trained (unless they are graduates. It may not have occurred to Blogger that someone at the mike might be a graduate, and might be treated a bit differently than a non-grad. I saw my friend, who was doing the Forum for the Nth time (4? I forget. At least 3), interacting with Charlene Afremow, who is kind to the core ... and tough as nails. She was Werner's coach, and I doubt she treated him with kid gloves. Charlene confronted her. Isn't it about time you dropped that racket? I don't think she yelled, but some people will react to any assertive interaction as "yelling." Definitely, my friend didn't like it. It was a racket, it had been going on for more than twenty years, and with the same "reasons." Hey, I'm just being authentic! I actually feel this way. What do you want me to do, pretend, be a doormat? That's how rackets work. We believe they are justified. And they keep us locked tight in no-win games.

The stand for authenticity was great. The racket wasn't. It continually created pain for her, I'd call it misery. Why was life always treating her this way? .... Or at least men! (But, in fact, the story extended to women.)

If you want to see a Forum without bullying, go to one. If you see "bullying," notice that this is your interpretation. Look more closely. Ask the supposedly bullied participant. (Note, Landmark critics will say "w:Stockholm syndrome" the bullied one identifies with the abuser, so what they say can't be trusted. But look more deeply. Did the participant actually benefit? These things can be seen if you look. If you have a knee-jerk "bullying" reaction, with all the attached and very personal emotional response, you will have to make a serious effort to see something else. But it can be done. Seeing something else does not "excuse abuse." You can still take your stands. But they will now be more informed. Unfortunately, perhaps, life becomes less black and white, right and wrong. There are actually difficult decisions that people make, and judging them without walking in their shoes has long been known as dangerous. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Because if you judge others, you will be judged, by yourself, only you may then project this judgment onto others.

I would love to see Landmark Education work on the same playing field with other self-transformation programs and philosophies in terms of marketing. Do word-of-mouth advertising the way it’s supposed to be done – freely, and from the heart. Without force, intimidation, or pressure. Have it be the icing on the cake for the marketing program, not the substance of the cake itself.
I’m willing to bet that Landmark Education would experience a spike in registrations as a result of that. But I’m not getting my hopes up.

What blogger wants to see is actually how the training is done. The process is not perfect, for sure. Blogger came in with a world-view, a way of playing the game of life, that led him to see the training in a particular way. There is no "force" or "intimidation." Those are very strong words! They are keys to how all this was occurring to blogger. He was truly freaked out, suffering from "abuse," and at the same time, desperately trying to figure out what he was doing wrong, so he could comply. "I asked, and they aren't helping!" Very typical of this state, actually, this case is just more extreme than most.

The participant at the mike will often say "I don't know what to do!" I can't...." The Forum Leader refuses to tell them what to do. What the Leader is looking for is awakening, where they actually know what to do, and it's not coming from compliance. It is not coming from "trying." {Well it never worked for me.}

There is a great exercise. Someone says, "I just can't stop hating my ex. He abused me. I know it's a racket, but I can't drop it, no matter how hard I try."

The Leader hands the participant a Kleenex box. They are always handy! And says, Hold the box up.

Okay, the participant holds the box.

"Now, "try hard to drop the box."

It's funny to watch. I've never seen a participant drop the box at this point. It's impossible to both drop the box and "try" to drop the box, apparently.

"Now, drop the box."

The participant drops the box.

"That's how hard it is to drop a racket."

I've have often seen major transformation at that point. The participant is suddenly free of the racket. It's obvious.

It may reassert itself, these things, persistent little buggers, may have years of habit behind them. But ... it is now a different game. The participant now has a clear experience of freedom. Freedom feels a lot better than being caught in a racket! It's not even comparable. So if they want to feel bad, hey, pull up that racket! Works like a charm. Look above, my story about the evening I was pulled. I was right, dammit! I can go back there in a flash. All I have to do is bring up the memories. But I made a choice and took a stand that I was responsible for what happened, and that had amazing results for me, and continues to do so. So what if an old-timer, Old Enterprise Seminar Leader violates procedures, complaining about me to others instead of taking it up with me. I'm not her coach. Trival for me to believe I'm right, you can tell, I still think I was right.

That's deadly. We have it all backwards. Anyway, it took me a couple of days of bouncing before I came to the stand. When I communicated it, I had several coaches cheering. And I called up that Reigstration Manager and apologized for not considering what she needed. That's what I had actually failed to to. All I had to say was "That was a mistake and it will not happen again." And answer any questions without self-defense. I think she would not have asked any questions, in fact. She just would have gone back to managing the evening! Without losing a member of the team who was actually effective with people.

That dropping of a racket, by the way, allows genuine forgiveness as well. It does not make "abuse" into "non-abuse." Sometimes a person will look back and reassess what happened, but that is up to them. The training is not concerned with the past. It's about present, which then creates the future.

Now, there are certain proposals that may come out of this conversation. They may involve some leaders taking some risks, but ... indeed, the result could easily be increased registrations and less damage from the "conversation over pressure." It may take years to move the organization. This is thousands of people with well-established habits.

Estrangement[edit | edit source]

February 25, 2014

I witnessed the disintegration of a marriage at Landmark, and it was painful to watch.

I notice language, and often point it out. This can seriously irritate some people, who think I'm "correcting" their language. Or, alternatively, that I'm deliberately misinterpreting it. In fact, I simply notice what people say, and often start by taking it literally. Sure, that might not be what the person thinks they "meant." However, we all have emotional and other process going on, and often it is not conscious. I'm not claiming that my interpretations are "right." They might be out in left field. But they are based, often, on what people say, and, when it is in person or on the phone, on affect, body language, tone of voice, like that. We are, in person, broadcasting our inner states for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. It is not exactly "reading minds." There can be activity that is hidden. But we helplessly show, in many signals, much of how we are thinking, sometimes much more than we are aware of. Some psychics, in fact, are reading these signals.

So ... what was witnessed was not exactly the disintegration of a marriage, but signs and symptoms of that. There was at least one distressed individual, upset. So ... what was "painful"? Watching this was painful, to whom and why? What if those people had not revealed what they were going through? That might have resolved the pain, eh? In fact, we know that blogger was extremely uncomfortable about private details being revealed "publicly," though the Forum is a private venue, there are expectations of confidentiality. To some extent, Blogger is violating that confidentiality, though I have not seen personally identifiable details. My opinion is that this level of violation should be tolerated, because Blogger needs to be able to talk about his experience.

Graduates get divorced sometimes. I know, shocking! They have affairs, sometimes. One Communications Course Leader murdered his wife, who was an even more prominent Leader. Famous case. What we wonder about this case was how such a person could become a Leader, but it doesn't terribly surprise me. Some people are very good at hiding psychosis, the fellow had a lot of money, and his wife probably helped him a lot, until their relationship fell apart.

The old saw: Nothing succeeds like sincerity, and if you can fake that, you've got it made!

I first met the husband in the Advanced Course, and he was a very brutish, bullish sort of guy until he finally “got off it” and relaxed. That was a neat thing to see.

Okay, but I notice the summary judgment. So ... the training helped this guy "get off it." That's normal. However, what then? Sometimes, then, when one person in a relationship stops being the identified patient, the other one takes up the role. Relationships are complicated and judging them from outside is difficult. Skilled relationship therapists avoid that judgment.

'Then he became a Landmark junkie. He completed the Curriculum for Living and registered his wife and son in the program. And then all three of them showed up in the Communication Course together.

So they all did the Forum. And here comes Communication.

By that time, though, he had filed for divorce.

Why? We have only one clue that I can see.

There are friendly divorces that go swimmingly between Landmark people, but this one was a real cause for concern, because it seemed like the wife registered for Landmark primarily to try to get her husband back.

Why is that a "cause for concern"? He's talking about Communications, which is after the Forum. He is contrasting this with "friendly divorces." Sure. However, was this a "terrible divorce"? How?

How do I know this? At one point she got on the mic and started pointing at her husband and yelling:
“He needs to bring transformation home to his family! All he does is do Landmark and sit up in his bedroom and read books by himself! He hasn’t made a difference for his FAMILY!!”

Okay, she's freaked out. She has no clue how to engage with her husband. I would call that an attempt to humiliate him in front of his friends. She might be right, but she is highly judgmental and blaming. And he wants out. He doesn't want to live with someone like that! I'll have to confess, I've been through something similar.

If she really wanted to save the marriage, this is not the way to do it! She'd need training, and probably therapy, and there can be couples therapy. Is there love there, merely buried by accumulated stories? It's clear: she does not know how to handle her husband, to inspire him to "make a difference for his family." Instead, she tries to guilt him into it, which typically fails. If he really is worthless to the family, then what is the tragedy of this divorce? She'll be better off without him!

There is a child, but the child is not young, is old enough to be in a Communications Course. I'm not sure. The Forum is the prerequisite, and the minimum age for the Forum is, I think, 18. Someone younger than that would do the Forum for Teens.

It was a clear case of one spouse getting absorbed in the Landmark machine and leaving everyone else in his life behind.

No, that's his occurring. Not a "clear case" from what he's reported. A desperate wife, wanting something to blame for the breakdown of the marriage, might well focus on his interest in Landmark, but, notice: "All he does is do Landmark and sit up in his bedroom and read books by himself." This is entirely about someone involved, heavily, in not-her. If it wasn't Landmark it would be something else. Landmark, in fact, will coach him, generally, to reconcile with his wife. But it also does not take over and control people's lives. This much is definite from my experience: he will not be encouraged to maintain some negative story about his wife. I've been through this. I've told coaches about difficulties with relationships. Always, I was encouraged to take responsibility for whatever I didn't like about my partner. A persistent complaint about another person, is, first-pass, a racket. I was never "validated" in my complaints. That is called "conspiracy." You tell someone about what "she" did and the person says, "Yeah, that's terrible!" Maybe adds, "Women are like that!" Etc. We did an exercise on conspiracy, as I recall, in the SELP.

He might have uncovered an inauthenticity and told his wife, “I never really loved you. But hey, I got this new possibility of FREEDOM in my life, and I’d love to share it with you!”

Okay. New grad, doesn't understand inauthenticity, and substitutes one inauthenticity for another. "I never loved you" is a story and probably bullshit. He might realize that there was something missing, that was never there, but the training is to then create the possibility and supply it. Telling a woman "I never loved you," you might as well slap them in the face. That is not a "what happened." It is not authentic, except perhaps as a disclosure of the mish-mosh in his head in the present. And, then, far more authentic would be: "I'm confused." In context, "possibility of freedom" is not going to be inspiring to her, because it will mean, "Freedom from you, bitch!" If he really wants to enroll her, he will need to start listening, as they say, "with loud ears." The foundation for an enrollment conversation includes authenticity, but also a background of relatedness, and genuine listening is part of that. Concern for her, caring about her, and taking the time to discover what she really wants, what she is standing for, what is important to her, all that. And then recreating it, so that she knows she has been heard.

But, remember, this is the blogger's fantasy or interpretation, a speculation. He is expecting the same kind of inauthentic conversations that were normal for him, and that he criticized in his "closest Landmark friend." So maybe, and maybe not.

Yeah, that’s gonna go over well.

Of course it wouldn't. If I said that to a woman, I'd think I might have to duck, there could be dishes flying through the air at me. And I'd have to find another place to stay, immediately. Women can get restraining orders, etc.

Who can say?

I can. It wouldn't go over well! Duh! This blogger is astonishingly clueless about people. {story}

But the next thing that happened in the course was just as wild. The course leader allowed husband, wife and son to excuse themselves for a little family summit, so they could sort things out.

That's "wild"? Why? Sounds completely sensible to me, from two perspectives. Most practically, the leader was there to lead a course, not conduct a marriage counselling session. We don't know if anyone went with them, to facilitate. There are more therapists per square foot in Landmark programs than anywhere else I've seen. So there might have been been a volunteer expert. Not said. Blogger is not actually concerned about what happened, but about his own occurring.

Then the course leader told the rest of us, “She’s grieving.”

Of course she was. In fact, when I ran into something similar, and the Leader had a private phone call with my partner, she told me -- and the coaches meeting, this was SELP -- that the formal complaint was resolved -- this had been a huge misunderstanding, accusations of violating policies, etc., -- "but you have to understand. She's in love with you." I.e., grieving the loss she feared.

So what is "wild" about the leader saying that? It is obvious. It's merely looking at the situation from a different perspective than that of the blogger. The blogger clearly has a strong judgment of the husband, he's Bad. So what he wanted to hear would be what is "obvious" to him, that the husband was to blame, and this poor woman, etc. The Leader did not excuse the husband, nor did he support the husband against his wife. Instead, he explained why that so obviously inappropriate outburst occurred in the course. The woman was under emotional stress, and she was. There is no blame in that, nor is it patronizing. She might be "justified" or not. (But the training, and she's a graduate, would be that it doesn't matter, the complaint, if not handled, is a racket, and rackets aren't bad or wrong, they are "disempowering." What does she want? There is a saying of high probity: "Would you rather be right, or be married?"

So the marriage is really over, and it’s the wife who’s on the racket.

The blogger did not report the Leader as saying that. The Leader did not call her outburst a "racket." It might be a racket, if it's persistent, combined with a fixed way of being, but that cannot be assessed from an outburst like that. My guess is that there would be people in the room thinking "racket," but that is only because Landmark people are human and do run Already Always Listening like everyone else. A great deal would depend on her affect and tone of voice in that outburst. The outburst could also be considered a breakthrough in authenticity. She is actually unhappy with him, and perhaps stopped pretending. This does *not* mean the marriage is over, and it could, in fact, be the beginning of a marriage on an entirely new level.

Or not. This much is clear to me. The blogger has no clue about what these people need and would be utterly incapable of coaching them, helping to reconcile them, because he is so judgmental of the husband. Definitely, to the blogger, the husband is Wrong and she is the Victim. He is conspiring with that view, which isn't what she needs. She needs power. "Communications, Access to Power" is the name of the course. The blogger has no clue what he's there for.

In the Forum, Already Always Listening is introduced with a little demonstration, it appears ad-hoc, and probably is, but based on something that always happens. Someone gets up to the mike, say it's a woman, and complains about her husband. The Leader says "You hve an Already Always Listening of your husband." I.e., ready judgment, based on the past, it comes up immediately. And then the Leader turns to the entire room and says, "And you have an Already Always Listening of her." I.e., "what a bitch!" "I'd divorce her!" Or -- "Poor thing, she should divorce him!" "Yeah, my husband was like that!" ... etc.

Many people report that this was the moment when the Forum really grabbed their attention! Day 1.

Not the self-absorbed husband, who meanwhile in his Introduction Leaders Program (he had started training to become a course leader) was getting pretty huggy-kissy with his coach and everyone knew it…

He didn't demonstrate a racket at all. He might, if asked what was going on with his wife. Probably would. It's human.

The blogger is dripping with judgement and blame. "Self-absorption" tends to be a male trait, I'd say it's common. I am certainly that way at times, and it is part of my work on myself to notice it as quickly as possible. Sane women know this about men (and also appreciate when men are something else). A woman who is intolerant of her husband's nature (and self-absorption is natural for children, and especially boys, and so this is an aspect of nature) is in trouble. The marriage is unstable. If she blames him, she is likely to drive him away. If she accepts his self-absorption and works with it, showing him how to love her, being authentic about what she wants and needs, the marriage can be excellent. Make-wrong simply doesn't work in relationship.

And again, there is what will be seen in another blog post, sexual prudery. He's getting huggy-kissy with his coach? And everyone knows it? Landmark instituted a sexual harassment policy some time after the time of this blogger's activity. {It was active at this time.} I can't say what was tolerated then, but there are claims on the internet that the ILP was a fantastic place to get laid. I can believe it. People are open, raw, authentic, and you know what happens with men and women when they are open? It's natural. And dangerous.

When I became an SELP coach in 2011, we had to review sexual harassment policies and agree to them. It is a violation of policy for any leader or coach or supervisor (i.e., production supervisor) to date or have a sexual relationship with a participant or anyone supervised or coached. Violations are to be reported to corporate. I saw one case on the edge. A Seminar Leader had just gotten divorced. And he was attracted to a woman who was enrolled in his course, and she to him. (And he was one charismatic guy, an amazing person, and successful -- and she was beautiful, and sweet, and I don't know much more about her, she didn't talk a lot and she was fairly new, I think.) He talked about it. He consulted with his supervision, and did not date her until after the required delay. He left to go for his dream job in another country, and I think she went with him. We were cheering.

Now, the narcissist's coach. She is going to tolerate self-absorption? What would we expect? Introduction Leader, fully self-expressed, able to communicate with clarity and power, and not about to be anyone's doormat. We do not in fact know anything about that relationship other than an appearance reported by someone with a huge axe to grind.

As well, let me put it this way: He's not getting it at home. He's human. He will get love where he can. That does not excuse adultery. He's got obligations, but we know little about this situation. "Huggy-kissy" is not adultery. And have they filed for divorce? How long has it been? Etc. My personal morality is one thing, but this society completely tolerates what would be adultery in other societies, i.e., separated people, getting divorced, having relationships before the divorce is complete. I'll call it a Bad Idea, but that's my own occurring, which is, in part, religiously based, partly on 12-step experience.

He had clearly transformed, no question about it. He came to Landmark as a self-described “hard-ass” and transformed into a paragon of integrity with a big, warm smile. His wife followed, but she saw Landmark as a threat to their marriage the more he participated. The threat became real when he filed for divorce in the midst of landing a new girlfriend at the center.
This happens more often than people care to admit.

How often? I'm sure it happens! But what happened? I'm seeing a lot of vague implications, combined with gossip. And the claim of involvement with a coach "that everyone knew" was long obsolete by the time this blog was written, but the blog is in present tense.

Who is the "new girlfriend at the center?" These are adults, they have an 18-year old (at least) child. I think blogger was much younger....

The marriage broke down, from the little we know. The threat existed before that. It was not his Landmark participation that was a threat, unless she abstracted herself and disapproved out of fear that he would meet someone else. And that would be attempting to control her husband by keeping his life constrained. Not free. No trust. And men want to be trusted. Not going to work, unless someone wakes up.

There is a great story of Lois and Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA saved his life, literally. He was headed down, fast, when a series of miracles showed him a path, and that path involved high participation with other alcoholics, he realized that when he was helping others get and stay sober, he stayed sober. However, all that time meant time away from Lois, some of it, at least. So one day she threw a shoe at him, yelling "You and your damn meetings!" And then she realized that she had a problem. Her husband's problem was alcohol, hers was different. And out of that Al-Anon was founded, where those in relationship with alcoholics worked the same steps of recovery, aimed at a "return to sanity." I think the shoe that started Al-Anon is preserved....

Landmark had created the possibility of the marriage being saved. But he might need to work a lot before the full impact of the training was fully manifest. He was a self-absorbed asshole when he started, he'd still be, to some extent, a self-absorbed asshole, simply one with some new possibilities. But ... when he began to change, so did she.

We don't know the end of this story.

Now, there are many cases where people NEED to leave abusive marriages, or throw their adult kids out of the house, or fire somebody, and it often takes a self-transformation program like Landmark to help get the ball rolling.

NEED is a story. Especially in caps. "Abusive" is a story. Yes, sometimes it takes transformation, and sometimes a program, for people to begin to take responsibility for their lives, which includes making choices, instead of actually tolerating unsatisfactory circumstances while complaining about them.

Blogger presumably knows -- or knew -- the standard Introduction. After the person chooses an area of their life they want to work on, and describes what is missing, participants are asked, "Can you get that you'd be okay if this never changed?" It is obvious. If we really wanted the change, we would make it happen. But we have never distinguished the change and we have never taken a stand, made a choice and a commitment, sharing it, instead, we careen from condition to condition, automatic reaction to automatic reaction, always finding excuses as to why conditions make change impossible.

The inauthenticity about this, that we are essentially lying about our lives, is what Werner meant by "asshole." We blame others for our own choices. Of course, we deny that they are choices. They are "just the way I am," etc.

But there are a number of cases where a happily married person registers for Landmark and then decides that his marriage is a lie, when there was never any problem before. Siblings and parents and kids can split apart too, when someone decides that all of a sudden everything is a lie and the only truth can be found at Landmark.

"Happily married" people don't do that! "There was never any problem before." This is what I know: it is possible to hold your breath for a long time, to go without breathing. But it becomes more and more uncomfortable. One might say "I'm fine!" for years, and not be fine, be dying inside, starving for air. Now this declaration "My marriage is a lie," or "everything is a lie," that is not coming from Landmark. That language would be explicitly exposed as a highly reactive racket, quickly. If someone was getting coaching about the marriage situation and said that, a skilled coach would confront it as the obvious story that it is. There is no "what happened" there.

What really happened? A coach would explore this to the roots. "What do you mean, "lie"? "What did you say or do that was knowingly false?" Bottom line, people marry commonly in a daze, they are often mostly unconscious, from my perspective. It is not that they are lying, it is that they are mostly asleep! Wandering from dream to dream. So then they start to wake up. It can be shocking. But "lie" is not what comes up when one wakes up. Rather, one opens ones eyes and starts to see. What is seen? The kind of awakening that Landmark encourages is to presence, light, love, hope, clarity, and a long list of things that people call out to be written on the whiteboard under Realm of Enrollment in the Advanced Course. "Lies" would be on the other board, the Realm of Survival.

Now, consider this. One gets a taste of freedom from the Forum. And then goes back into the marriage and it's missing. Easy response: blame it on the partner. In any program with advanced coaching (i.e., SELP, ILP, TMLP I assume), this will come out and be confronted. More sophisticated response, still not inspiring: No blame, she's just not the woman for me!

Okay, maybe. But ... you've been married, what would it take for this marriage to work for you? What is missing, the presence of which would make a difference? That is language right out of the standard Introduction. Did blogger ever understand the Introduction? Did he ever lead one? (No, but he might have done mocks and practice introductions. I actually led one without authorization. One participant who was ready to register, but ... then realized, This might actually work! And I like my life the way it is! Really, she was looking at dates, etc. And then it hit her: this was the real thing, not just another entertaining seminar.

Nothing wrong with her choice. If she didn't want transformation, waste of time and money for her to register. How it happened that I led an intro without approval was a story of its own, showing how I took responsibility for everything I did in that program. We had invited guests, and then the IL cancelled because there weren't enough guests. So my partner and I -- and she was a former Guest Seminar Leader -- decided we would do a "practice for friends and family" introduction. With her guest. We shared the intro, I did the first half and she did the second. I'd say I did better in that one than I did in later mocks, which I never passed. It was real.

And it’s strange how consistently Landmark leaders and assistants will side with the Landmark junkie and support their transformation, rather than offer coaching on how to truly bring transformation home to the people they love.

In fact, the coaching I've seen is the latter. However, why is it one or the other? I'd suggest that it's because the blogger doesn't want to abandon the judgment. The husband in the case described is Wrong. He shouldn't be self-absorbed. Now, blogger apparently did not get this coaching. And why is obvious. To get coaching, one must ordinarily be authentic. Rather, he would adopt the language, the words of authenticity, but not the reality of it. He was fake, through and through, so, of course, he never got the coaching! But when he did get coaching, finally, some of the truth having come out, he bailed, I think. He couldn't stand it.

Just what happened. I think his bailing was a powerful decision for him. However, there is the issue of all the judgments he reports on the blog, some of which can harm some people. Some of it can be taken as sound warning, but that could be mostly experienced graduates who will be able to process it that way. Instead, non-grads will read this and go "Yeah! Cult! I thought so! Look at this guy who escaped!"

I'd call that harm, though I could also come up with another possibility: those people aren't ready anyway. No harm done. Who cares if Landmark is called a "cult"? {I never say Landmark is a cult. I don't make that accusation.}

Well, my ex-wife, the mother of the girl who lives with me. She cares, she believes what she reads on the internet, and it had an impact, and that impact led to her estrangement from her daughter. Long story. Still, my job is to demonstrate the reality. Little by little, it's working.

If one wants the coaching that Blogger describes, it is readily available in Landmark. If one doesn't, you can lead a horse to water .... and it occurs to me to add, or a goat to shoe leather.

Whose transformation is it, anyway?[edit | edit source]

February 27, 2014

No one registers for the Landmark Forum without someone else taking a gold-encrusted mountain of credit for it, and reaping the rewards of transformation for themselves.

Well, setting aside the hyperbole, especially "gold-encrusted," and, as well, the implication that "getting credit" is a big deal, yes. Especially the transformation part. But transformation is not about rewards. Things happen.

Blogger was very concerned with "looking good," and especially avoiding "looking bad." Very common.

There are measures for Introduction Leaders, there are measures to meet to be candidated, and measures to meet to maintain the position. Other Leaders also have measures to meet. However: if they are doing their job well, meeting these measures is almost automatic. So, what does "taking credit" mean? I sense it is boasting, basking in looking good, for the blogger. Yet he was left out. He wasn't meeting measures, he was looking bad, he thought. He confused a means, something used in the Introduction Leader Program, with the goal, which is not registering people into courses -- that was explicit from leadership in my ILP -- it is "listening for and reliably delivering that which makes a difference in the lives of people as to what they are actually dealing with and really care about. Courses are one means, and by no means the only one.

To blogger, however, it was all about looking (and feeling) good.

I was registered by a friend in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program who made me feel more important and admired than anyone else ever did. He was launching a community project that was really cool and inspiring, something I really wanted to be a part of. Not only did he invite me on board to help him with it, but he was so generous and thought so highly of me that he wanted to make me the leader of the project.

This was offering candy to a baby. Of course, blogger finds out that turning over leadership is an SELP distinction. It is routine, and a very powerful technique. I never thought of it, though, as "admiration" or "generosity." It was simply good sense. The practice, however, had a huge impact on blogger. And then, to some extent, finding out the truth, that this was not necessarily so "personal," the blogger probably felt a level of betrayal, of having been fooled. However, "fooling" was not the intention of the project creator. We don't know much about that intention, but the creator was following instructions. As an SELP participant, I looked for leaders who would further the project, who were inspired by it, and who, so inspired, would work for it. Blogger seems to have qualified, and we could call that an acknowledgement that blogger had something. Or looked like he had something. What happened with the project?

I was floored by this. No one had ever asked me to step into my leadership in that way. I didn’t have to win an election or a popularity contest. A man of incredible charisma saw my potential and wanted to make me a leader. I said yes.

Yes, indeed. Now, how did this man have "incredible charisma"? What was that about. He was a graduate, and graduates often develop that, if they don't already have it. He saw blogger's potential. I think that was genuine. He did not know about blogger's psychology, probably. This was not manipulative.

One big part of his passing of the torch to me was for me to accompany him to the local Landmark center on a Saturday morning where guests were welcome to check out where this and other amazing community projects were coming from.

Saturday workday, Guest Opportunity. If it was done then as now, guests are in the room the entire morning. He was told that the other projects were "amazing." They often are. Some are quite humble. One of my participants declared a project setting up a family gathering for a large extended family that had become factionalized and estranged. Great project, actually. It transformed her life, at least!

In that room, one hears a lot of talk about how the training has affected people. Graduates are not told what to say. This is mostly spontaneous. At this point, graduates have some real training, they have done the Advanced Course, and they have some coaching. Transformation is becoming evident. Part of the morning is an explanation of what the Forum is and a registration opportunity.

Now, from my conversations with him, I thought he worked there, and this was a sort of job. I had no idea what I was walking into.

What strikes me is how disconnected he was. He was so overwhelmed by being appreciated and invited to lead, that he didn't ask questions, and he certainly didn't google Landmark. {I didn't have computer access. I barely heard the name "Landmark" in our conversations. He just said, "I want to show you where this all comes from," and I said yes to that.} He was just stumbling from one experience and condition to another. I don't know how common this is, probably common. I've certainly heard stories of people invited to guests events who made piles of assumptions about what it was, and who were offended when it wasn't that. A mother invited her son to her Advanced Course "graduation." She started to explain what would happen (in those days, guests were in the room for a time, then were shuffled off into an Introduction. That's changed, I think.) He said, "Mom, I don't need to know, I'll be there to support you." She was naive, and did not insist. After all, he said it was okay! When he was taken off into the Intro, and told what he was told, he was incredibly offended, and said he would never come to another Landmark event. Really good example of how little training there is in invitation, and people already complain about there being too much!

We meet up with his peers at the center over donuts and coffee and do all the handshakes and introductions. They seem like cool people. Then we settle into the seminar room and a powerful-looking, colorful woman takes the stage and starts sharing about Landmark

Donuts and coffee? They were stylin'! {Oh, they were}

Especially if someone has read the "cult" stuff, and all the claims that Landmark participants are bullied losers, the reality of the community can be mind-blowing. This is not your ordinary group of people. There was a man in my SELP, born in Africa, and an incredible academic career, and a major position in the insurance industry, and who had the ear of Obama. In the programs were professionals of all stripes, highly successful people already. And there were addicts in recovery and people of all ages (18 and up). There were baggy-pants rappers, people from the 'hood, people from all over the world.

I remember in my ILP, there was a New York participant, African descent, street-wise, and something came and he missed a working weekend. The rules are strict. If you miss a weekend, you make it up in another center, or you are out of the program until next time. As the schedules happened, the only possibility was in Bombay, India. Out of the question, right? He was encouraged to check it out. He was told to check with a certain travel agency. He found a flight that he could manage. He jumped through hoops to get a passport and visa, made the flight, and participated in Bombay. He said it was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. He was welcomed, of course. Loved, might be a more accurate description. What did that do for him? It gave him the planet, he lives on Earth now, not just in New York.

Yeah, it can be intoxicating. I have no doubt as to the reasonableness of "Landmark addiction." But that is so for any high-energy activity.

And as she was speaking, I slowly came to realize that this place was not my friend’s workplace. He was a student in a seminar…and it’s looking more and more like one of those New-Age, self-help encounters I used to read about when I was much younger and steeling myself against the coming of the Antichrist

Yeah. He just revealed more of his psychology and origins. Landmark is a "New Age" movement, reasonably, though that description is far from complete. So he had a background that expected Evil.

He certainly did not know his friend well. He was living in a fog. In that fog, someone appears and is more real than anything he has ever seen. Of course he was attracted! This was, in fact, Reality intruding on his shut-down life. It does that, sometimes, providing opportunities.

Then people got up to share, and I was impressed. One woman was even announcing plans to run for state congress. There was a lot of leadership in the room. There were people doing a lot of good for their church communities too, assuring me that maybe this wasn’t some sort of devil-spawned organization.

My God, naive. >{story}</span The Devil will come cloaked in robes of righteousness. Easy go, easy come. He gave up the story of Evil very easily, without giving up the underlying mythos. It's obvious why! He wanted more candy!

My coach in one program had w:Tourette Syndrome. And ran for office and was elected.

A few conversations later, I registered for the Landmark Forum. I saw it as something that would help my career, and also give me an edge in this leadership role I was taking on with my friend’s project.

The training can do all those things, he was not misled, except for one thing. Was he ready for it? Before Landmark, when I was calling people to Islam, if they seemed to want it, I would try to talk them out of it. Are they sure? It's a life commitment. What does it mean, those words of the kalima, the declaration of faith in Islam? Or were they just joining a club, putting on a special hat, repeating a magic phrase?

Because the lowest pit in Hell is reserved for the hypocrites. An honest "Unbeliever" is much better off!

But I was to find out that leading my friend’s project was a more complex matter than it originally seemed. When I registered in Landmark, I was to discover that the SELP requires its participants to give their project away to the leadership of another person. My friend wasn’t giving me his project because he deeply wanted to, or felt I was worthy of it; he was doing it according to a predetermined program.

Blogger is heavily infected with black and white thinking. It is one thing, or it is another. That it might be both and neither is not on his radar.

First of all, SELP has very few actual requirements. What is a "requirement"? A suggestion with no consequences for not following it, other than natural consequences, is not a "requirement." There are a series of agreements. Everyone breaks them at some point or other, and then there is "restoral of integrity," which can mean everything from recommitment to abandonment of the commitment. That is all within restoral of integrity.

There is no commitment to giving away leadership. Some never do it, and nobody thrashes them. {In my SELP, there was heavy criticism of people who didn't give their project away. When I went on to coach SELP, however, I got to see a participant take the reins of his own project the whole way through, and there was no criticism. I was thinking, "How did he get a pass, and I never did"} However, they lose some level of possible power. That's a natural consequence. Now, maybe the friend was "being a good boy" and just following instructions, without regard for the reality of the person in front of him. I suspect, though, that he wasn't just being a robot. He actually saw possibility. He did not see everything, but who does?

It was actually "simpler" than it seemed. To blogger, that leadership offer was a Big Deal. Very Important. It was still an opportunity, and the acknowledgement of his possibilities was still real. He created, himself, the Big Deal. Then it got "complicated." Only in the context of his Big Deal was that a complication. Otherwise, it was simply the friend practicing community transformational technology, as he was being trained to do.

Theoretically, SELP participants who successfully give their projects away demonstrate a high ability to release enough of their ego to be of service to the community, because they are not hoarding all of the leadership for themselves.

This is a worm's-eye view of it. Basically, what stops or limits projects could be called "ego." Blogger thinks of Leadership as a perk, a benefit, being in the limelight, shining, Very Important. Much more realistically, leadership is a burden, a nuisance, and lonely. What happens when one turns it over is that a wind in the sails of the project is created and it all becomes far easier. This is a shift from personal power to community power, and communities are vastly more powerful than individuals. "Leaders" who are controllers are highly limited. Those who turn over leadership are creating something that may outlast them, may accomplish far more than they could ever accomplish by themselves, or as a "charismatic leader," who is expected to originate and maintain everything.

There is a reason why strong-leader societies are failing everywhere, being replaced by more communal or "democratic" systems. Strong-leader beat out tribal collective systems because of efficiency in war, largely taking over the planet, because tribal systems took too long to make decisions. But, then, what happens when the leader dies? There are solutions to the problem, and we are creating them. It may take centuries, but it's happening. It might happen more thoroughly and more quickly than I imply.

Ultimately, the participant is seen by his community as the face of possibility, and not the face of a project.

Well, yes. That is how people relate to each other in the community. Does he really know what that means?

It’s like he becomes the superhero who saves one subway train of people, and then flies off to save another, once he hands things over to the Chief of Police.

We can see how infected his thinking is with the concept of "superhero," of Looking Really, Really Good. What he describes is a possibility, though heavily storied. Yes, which is more powerful, saving one train, or training people to save trains, so that many are saved? It is a variation on feeding someone a fish, vs. showing them how to fish.

But did blogger save any trains? I think he was looking for "superpowers" so that it would be easy to save a train. No big job for Superman. And if he's not Superman, he's screwed. They will yell at him!

This is the world he was living in, a huge trap, guaranteed to keep him unhappy, unfulfilled, and, yes, broke and depressed and more.

So when this began to become obvious, what did he do? I'll come back to this question, after completing the detailed review.

And here’s the kicker: It’s especially huge when the SELP participant gives their project over to someone who eventually registers for the Landmark Forum. Because why be the Police Chief when you can be the superhero? That’s a real sign that the participant is transforming the world around him and living a life of possibility. Because if you launch a project that everyone just loves, and at least one person in your community feels so honored to lead it for you, your hands are now free to lead everybody to the Promised Land.

Someone has to be the Police Chief, and, indeed, someone must be supervised by the chief and there must be people to be protected.

Look, suppose this project is actually serving the Self. That is, is creating the full potential of humanity. What does this have to do with "feeling honored"? Do people successfully lead projects because they "feel honored" to be invited to lead? While that feeling may arise, people are actually successful when they are inspired by the project, and when they bring commitment to it, because it inspires them, not because they "feel honored." That is shallow and will not carry the day, when the going gets tough. The blogger is projecting his own psychology onto everyone in Landmark, and mostly missing the distinctions, of which he has on a foggy idea.

And then you get to stand in front of the rest of your SELP class and brag about how many people you registered into the Landmark Forum. From that standpoint, nobody cares how the community project actually turns out. It was never about that.

Perhaps some did that in his experience. "Brag" is a very loaded, judgmental term, implying high ego. I actually do not recall anyone bragging about registrations. People mention them, sometimes. {My friend did announce heartily to his whole SELP that his project leader (me) had registered for the Forum, and there was a standing ovation. I kind of resented that.}

He is correct that "how the [specific] project turns out." The Promises of the SELP do not mention the project. They mention the development of the capacity for creation. So, for the training, the goal is not projects, it is, duh, training! It is not true, however, that "nobody cares how the community project turns out." This would be like a basketball coach who "doesn't care if you throw the ball through the hoop or not." That would be true as to any specific throw, but if the ball doesn't go through the hoops more often, something is missing!

And people care about the projects. When they are successful, people cheer, and I've never seen registration numbers be mentioned in this context. I really can't think of anyone ever saying what blogger thinks of as routine "bragging." And I sat through three SELPs.

If one sits down and talks with an old-timer, some of them, and ask them how many people they have registered, in my experience, they say they lost count long ago. It's routine. People meet them and go, "OMG, you are different! What is this about?" And then they say, "well, I've been trained. If you want to find out about it, give me your phone number and I'll call you the next time there is a free introduction."

Co-workers notice how they handle difficult situations and stress. So they ask. People who have mastered this simply stand for transformation. The are not "trying," they are doing.

And they don't brag. Really. It's all matter-of-fact for them. It's a joy that people are transformed. Many of them do this without regularly showing up at programs. Some become, for a time, Leaders. Most continue the conversation in some way, but they are living their lives.

At Landmark, transforming a community doesn’t mean launching a project and getting everyone involved in it for the common good. Not at all. It’s about how many people you can register into the Landmark Forum.

It is about how to do the former, and the latter is something that occurs, with some coaching, and some encouragement, but is not the focus. The focus is on personal transformation; in the SELP, it's given in the Promises. In the ILP, there is also a set of Promises. Again, it does not mention measures and registration. It does mention becoming a Bold Leader for Landmark Education. What does that mean? It would mean two things: taking up as a personal commitment the commitment of Landmark, which I've mentioned, and it would mean representing Landmark. That is either done officially, with a black plastic engraved nametag, --- ooohhh! so much nicer than my orange paper thing! -- or unofficially, and the bulk of representation, on the front lines, is unofficial, something we are personally responsible for. If we accept the commitment. This was never in blogger's mind, not like that. He wanted glory and looking good, and that usually fails in Landmark, it is actually a disaster when it doesn't fail. Consider w:Darren Mack!

The project can tank, for all they care. And many projects do. Oh, there are lots of very successful ones that keep going year after year and turn into careers and nonprofits and such. But whether the project flies or not, it’s all just a means to an end that you don’t see coming until you’re led to the room full of people with name tags. And the next one to get a name tag is you.

If that's what you want! Blogger never understood the distinctions of enrollment and registration conversations. The goal of an enrollment conversation is not Forum registration, my SELP Leader called that "slimy." The goal of an enrollment conversation is a communication or creation of joy, relatedness, all the truly inspiring stuff. The goal of a registration conversation conversation is to present a choice, such that the person makes a choice. If the choice is coerced, manipulated, based on misrepresentation, it is, again, slimy. Unless a manipulator has very high skill -- some do! -- the effort to "get people to register" usually fails. That's the good news! It allows us to see our own habits, what creates failure, and then, distinguishing them, possibilities open up outside of our habitual world.

As part of my ILP, I realized I mostly had no community, at least no face-to-face community. I was spending most of my time writing on the internet (and that is still largely true, but there is more, now). So ... I set out to create community. I made lots of mistakes, and there were even coaches who thought some of what I was doing was weird. I printed up cards with Introduction in formation and handed them out on the street. Very cultish, eh? But I was experimenting, finding out what worked and what did not work. Handing out cards was low-commitment, low-involvement, I abandoned it quickly, but kept cards for people who expressed interest. I was eventually told to forget about inviting people, just develop connections. Listen to them. What is important to them? Be present.

This, of course, was the first part of the purpose of Landmark, to "listen for ..." We find the possibilities in people, we don't tell them what is important for them. Easily, it is very human for us to think we know better, but we don't. Yet, like my SELP Leader, we may take stands. A stand is not "truth." A stand that "everyone would benefit from taking the Forum" is not "truth." It's a stand that leads to certain actions, if managed in proper perspective and without "belief" in the supposed "truth" of it. Like many empowering stands, if taken as truth, it can often be "wrong."

Yet it is of benefit. It works, in other words. That SELP Leader lives a life full of joy and fulfillment. She is, by profession, a business consultant, and lives very well, I stayed at her house once. She was getting married, last I knew, and I got to know her fiance fairly well. Simple guy, it seemed to me fun, gregarious, great to be around.

Landmark, like all sustainable human activities, sustains itself. There are old movements that didn't do that, and they die. What sustains a movement is survival mechanisms, generally, and the world of survival is, shall we say, dangerous. Much of what is cogent from Blogger is about people in Landmark operating out of survival. Landmark has never pretended that graduates are perfect examples of transformation, but ... nearly all graduates are still examples, demonstrations that something exists outside of ordinary thinking.

“They have mistresses in every city…”[edit | edit source]

March 1, 2014

Landmark Forum Leaders are celebrities in the organization. They have enviable lives by pure design. They have the best relationships, the healthiest outlook on life, near-super-human powers to manifest anything they want, and the ability to transform the lives of thousands of people worldwide.

One of the basic distinctions, the distinction of story, practiced, leads to the recognition of "story words," I'll call them. "Best" is one of these. This statement bristles with story. I never looked at Forum Leaders like this, and I think most don't. Having said that, I know the process to become a Forum Leader. In fact, Blogger, having done most of the ILP, should know it.

It's rigorous. There are some people who do it in a few years. I find that mind-boggling. But I also know how to do it. It's just a matter of doing it.

Forum Leaders are full-time employees of Landmark Education. They are constantly travelling, most of them. Many are Leaders only for a few years, then they move on, often becoming business consultants, where they can probably make four times as much money. Or work not so hard.

The vision of Forum Leader here is obviously a worshipful one. To think this way about the Leaders, I'd have to deny what the Leaders themselves say, and my own experience of them. Blogger was in a fog. He couldn't see most of what was in front of him, because of his massive internal conversation, his Already Always Listening.

So: Celebrities within the organization. Yes. Living by design, Yes. Power to manifest what they want. Yes, without making it magic. The ability to transform the lives of thousands. Yes. That is their job! They spent years of training to develop mastery of this, and work at it full-time. My Forum Leader had led the Forum for about 100,000 people in 2011. If the statistics are not far off, that is maybe 90,000 people with a strong experience of transformation.

As to "enviable lives," really? One envies someone who travels all the time, is away from their families, their children, and sits through the same old stories, over and over, because people are much more alike than we are different? Yes. That work is inspiring, but not exactly enviable, except to one who is thirsty for glory, for "being a celebrity," who is not satisfied with just being alive and living that life fully, in its context.


Blogger does this again and again: sets up a straw man, then ridicules it.

They can manifest anything they want – as long as all they want is to further Landmark Education in the transformation of the planet according to their system alone.

No, that's totally silly. Forum Leaders know transformational technology, and if they want to work for Landmark, they have that option. If they want money, they will have no trouble generating it. If they want good relationships, they will know what to do to create them. Let's suppose that something is true about this statement. I.e., if the Landmark Leader wants something other than "furthering Landmark Education," what will happen? In the view of the blogger, they will be kicked out. But so what? Only if what they want is the glory, being the Center at the Center, sitting in that director's chair in the front of the room, being the focus of attention, then there would be a conflict. And the Self will smell a rat. Their Forums will start to fall apart. I've seen signs of this (look at my other essays here), but Forum Leaders are generally coachable. Ego can start to take over, that's what it does, and it has high practice and heavy socialization pushing for this.

The blogger has something specific in mind, telegraphed by the day's blog title.

They have the best relationships with their significant others – as long as these others are also LE devotees and conditioned to be perfectly OK with their Forum Leader sweeties travelling the globe, being constantly away, and, according to an old LE friend – having “mistresses in every city.”
Already Always Listening: "Mistresses in every city, BAD!!!"

{That is an actual quote from a highly respected TMLP leader, spoken directly to me.}

So, what, Charlene Afremow had a mistress in every city? I don't think she's gay, but maybe. I just went to the Faculty page at Landmark.[] I counted 22 women out of 58 Forum Leaders. I don't think this is true at all, but may have been true -- or even might be true -- for a Forum Leader, but I would not find this "enviable." Committed relationships, children, etc., is much more attractive to me!

And apparently to Forum Leaders as well. There is a Forum leader who had an affair. I don't want to reveal details, this is truly confidential. But the upshot is that, as a Forum Leader, he realized he could not hide it and continue as a Forum Leader. He was "out of integrity." He did not just blurt it out. He knew that if he told his wife, she would divorce him, and he was right. He told her, and she divorced him, and his name was mud in that family for years. And what happened in the end demonstrated that he had made a powerful choice.

And adultery was not "okay." At all. It is, by definition, out of integrity, if secret.

Suppose, then, that there is a Leader who has no family, is not married. Could the Leader "have a mistress in every city"? I doubt that blogger has thought this through. Maybe he could have mistresses, it's not impossible. However, a Forum Leader is nothing but a highly trained stand for the transformation of others. Is this condition a benefit to the mistresses? If so, what's wrong with it?

But, likely, it would not be so. Humans generally seek commitment and stable relationships. The idea of "mistress in every city" being appealing shows us more of the psychology of the blogger. He is highly judgmental of human behavior. And at the same time, is human and has desires. So, in the end, he's judgmental of himself, the human. And high judgment and blame and contempt for the human is the quality of Satan, that old enemy that he wanted to forget about. Might be time to study some theology....

They can transform the lives of thousands of people – if those people just repeat canned phrases over and over again in unison and agree that Landmark Education is the answer to everything.

Blogger is showing that he never understood Landmark Education. That he got as far as he did without this becoming obvious to him and others (it may have been obvious to others, would he have heard it if they told him? No, I think he would have experienced it as "yelling at him," as if not getting it was morally reprehensible. No, this is a frightened child, desperately trying to survive, as are most of us.)

The ability to repeat canned phrases is not a "measure" in Landmark. An Introduction Leader in training who does that may find themselves shouted down. That's where some shouting takes place!

I was practicing an Introduction, a mock in front of the entire class. And, then, came the critique. A coach made a comment. I agreed. "Yes! I know that"

I was told, "Shut up and listen!"

As a coach, when someone would describe their experience using Landmartian, if the meaning was not crystal clear, I'd ask for explanation. What did this mean in ordinary speech? Landmartian is a collection of distinctions, which are stories, interpretations. They are not "real" (generally). What happened is real. People will use the speech to avoid describing the reality, and my habit as a coach was to confront that. It was effective. People got real.

Forum Leaders had this training in spades. They would not be fooled for one minute by Landmartian-spouting participants. Nor would most experienced graduates or coaches. Some, maybe. Some have not completed the work on this. Nobody completes it completely.

Coaches will look for objective measures. That's done in the SELP (and ILP). The measure is not stated in Landmartian. It is not, "I realized my possibility!" It is, "I raised $10,000 for my project." In the ILP, "I had fifty conversations this week, had five accepted invitations to Introductions, two confirmed, and one person actually showed up."

(So, I might be told, since about one out of three register, if you want registrations, you will, then, need to have 150 conversations for each. What's your commitment? By when?")

This is, as I've mentioned, sales technology, but it applies to a great deal of life. Sales people watch these numbers. How many cold calls for how many actual connections, and out of a certain number of connections, how many actual sales will be created? In some businesses, it may take a hundred "failures" to make one sale. They are not failures. They are simply part of the process. And one does learn to increase results, by practice.

We think of failures as "bad." No, that's story, and disempowering. Cue talk about Edison, etc.

In other words, it’s best to stay out of their way.

Huh? What are they, dangerous? You are a woman, Forum Leader comes to town, and is Mr. Full-Blown Charisma. What do you do? Throw yourself at his feet? Why? What's in it for you? These would be, generally, graduates, they know how to stand for and get what they want, if it's an inspiring goal. Is being Ms. Denver an inspiring goal? You get to see him once every few years, perhaps, unless you travel, but then he's with Ms. Boston. Bummer! I don't think it works. A woman who does not want any commitment, maybe. But these are not the most appealing women, at least not to me.

This post had comment. He allowed it (good for him!).

As someone who did a lot of Landmark programs and had my own things I liked and didnt like about them, I can empathize with a lot of what you’re saying, but I think this one goes too far. Your personal observations and criticisms are insightful, but this post just seems to be repeating a baseless rumor. I never heard anything about mistresses in all my time in Landmark, and I knew a lot of people. Sounds like your friend was just talking crap.

I'll confirm this. The only "Forum Leader Affair" thing I heard was one instance, she wasn't a mistress. There is are advanced definitions of integrity that are developed in the SELP and especially the ILP. The red flag would be secrecy. If it has to be kept secret, it's out of integrity, at least to that degree. There would be an issue of need-to-know. So, at a minimum, if there were all these mistresses, they would know about each other. (For sexual relationships, that is a widespread norm. There can be multiple relationships, but secrecy is beyond the pale, generally. I've heard some different things about some societies and I'm suspicious. Maybe. But maybe not.)

I've mentioned that the ILP had a reputation as a place to get laid. Who had the effing time? I think that this, if it existed, got whacked by the sexual harassment policy. Drat! I missed out!

The world moves on. Individuals get stuck. I wonder, in his ILP, did they have him memorize the little poem about mosquitos on flypaper?

It was obvious what that poem was about. "Stuck is stuck." When one is stuck, what can one do?

  • Nothing.* That's the point.

Does blogger remember the "nothing" of the Forum, that had the room ROTFL?

What did you get for your $500?

And why is the answer so incredibly funny?

There was one more comment:

But it’s all a lie; isn’t that the point? It’s all just interpretation; empty and meaningless. That’s the beauty of Landmark; nothing is true. And I don’t say that to be facetious; that’s exactly what they want you to believe. No matter what you say to them – or about them – it’s all just your personal judgment, and completely irrelevant. The person who shared that information with me was a highly respected TMLP leader, not some random participant. And he himself said that TMLP weekends were ideal for trolling for women.

But of course, none of that is true.

No, the commenter has misinterpreted, a common misinterpretatino. They do not say "This is all a lie." They say, "What we are telling you is not the truth." If one doesn't see the distinction between those two statements, one has obviously missed the point.

They do not say "It's all just interpretation." (What is "it"). They say that interpretation is interpretation, and very much of what we think and say is interpretation. Interpretation is not truth. Look, this is ontologically obvious.

There are boundary cases where the distinction between interpretation (judgment, assessment, analysis) and report (what happened, accurate testimony) can be unclear. There is a sense where "every word" is an interpretation. However, Landmark doesn't go there. If I say, I got up at 8:00 this morning, that is taken as a "what happened," even though there are piles of interpretations and assumptions involved, in a technical sense.

Landmark training is nothing if not practical. Again, they do not say that "nothing is true." That's a philosophical stand that Landmark does not take. {That's the first thing my Forum leader said: "Nothing I say is true."} Rather, they provide a distinction, which is, remember, not the truth. "Life is empty and meaningless, and it is empty and meaningless that life is empty and meaningless."

Now, what we see here is that meaning is being asserted for the statement, contradicting the second half. What is this actually about? Why is this distinction conveyed?

Once again, "TMLP weekends are ideal for trolling for women." Because one person said so. Maybe. Come to think of it, I have a certain TMLP member in mind, ah, she was beautiful! Wow! Maybe I should do TMLP!

But it is a huge commitment, I'd only do it if I saw value in the training. I do see the value, but I also am not available for it.

This was obviously a man, reporting the alleged opportunity. The way I'd put it, positively, is that one can meet women in Landmark. These women are not generally pushovers! But if you want to meet some spectacular women -- or men -- they are there! Men will make comments like what was reported, out of pure fluff. It's a male thing in American society, at least. {story}

The point here is that it is tricky to nail Landmark down. And people want to do that, they want to know what is "wrong" with Landmark "teachings." And Landmark refuses to cooperate by creating fixed teachings. So people take what is not fixed and fix it anyway. They are setting up straw man arguments.

This is a post on empty and meaningless: [5]

This is a new graduate, apparently. He states it as a truth. "The truth is, nothing in life has any meaning but the meaning that we give it." That makes the statement into an opposition to meaning. That's an error, Landmark avoids that. It is not denying that there is any absolute Meaning to Life. However, what is "meaning"? Landmark is highly experiential, not abstract philosophical. I explain Landmark stuff, it's something I did from the beginning, partly because I knew the historical antecedents (about which blogger was, at least initially, clueless), partly because it is my strong suit to see connections that others miss. But Erhard said, "understanding is the booby prize," and he was right. The proof is in the pudding and its eating.

Landmark is pointing, not to "absolute meaning," whatever that is, but the meaning that we quite routinely create, and once we take the stand that "life is empty and meaningless" -- it is a stand to take, a way of looking at life that opens up possibilities -- we start to see exactly how we created and create meaning. And then we believe that the meanings we create are "true." We tie ourselves up in knots with all these meanings that accumulate over years and years of undistinguished process. Landmark cuts that Gordian knot. It does not deny meaning itself. It points to the emptiness, the realm of possibility, unbound by that net of meaning we created, free. And that experience blows people's minds.

And many of these people then assign meaning to that. It's a stage in the training, a newbie error. The writer I just linked to, though, repeats the relevant distinction: "The human being is a meaning-creating machine." It's what we do, it appears to be instinctive for us. But because it is undistinguished, we can be trapped by it. In fact, the ability to create meaning I will call a "superpower," even though we all can do it. Most of us, quite simply, don't even think it is possible.

I declared that I would go to the International Conference on Cold Fusion in Missouri, 2013. I had little money. How was I going to do this? At that point, I had not started to raise money for funding my cold fusion activities. I did ask for money, but not powerfully. (I did receive enough money to help, to avoid serious problems of running out of money). How would I get there? I looked at all kinds of possibilities, but the reliable one was taking the bus. It was affordable. But a forty hour bus ride. You have to be kidding! Why, that will be "miserable!" Besides, I'm getting Old! (I had just turned 69 then). I have trouble sleeping, neuropathy, blah, blah. All the reasons to expect a miserable experience! But I knew the technology. This is what I declared: "I'm going to have a blast!"

And I did. *And* there were parts of the trip that I could call "difficult." But, again, how this occurred to me was as a victory over conditions. It's like someone says you can't climb a mountain, it's too hard. So you do it. And it's hard but you do it. In fact, the greatest difficulty was one that I did not anticipate. The bus stations are air-conditioned, and the weather was hot, but inside the station, the temperature was such that if I went to sleep, I developed hyopthermia. Actually very dangerous at my age. Next time, I take a blanket! (I later ended up in South Station Boston late at night, no bus leaving for home till the next morning. No blanket. Too cold. So I simply didn't go to sleep! And I had some amazing adventures, possibly saved a man's life, etc.

This is all story, not exactly objective measures of transformation, but to me, this is all quite real. The grant that appeared without apparent effort was real, and I know what I did to create that. Not predictable, but still clockwork. And I neglected to watch my iPhone in Columbus, Ohio, and it was stolen. I got it back, and actually made money on the sequence. How did that happen? Here is the story. If you know Landmark technology, you will recognize what I did.

"Bummer," "I'll be miserable," "This is terrible," all those are invented meanings. Good, Bad, all invented meanings. As long as I was reacting to my occurring of Bad, I was powerless. In order to move on from that, I simply dropped it. We learn to do that. When I dropped it, I knew what to do. Not "to get my phone back," but just what to do. And I did it, got into action. And then each event that came was an opportunity, and was taken. I needed to enroll and register the thief into taking the risk of meeting me. I did it simply and very effectively. I did not ask him. I did not behave as a victim. When I got my phone back, there were more opportunities, and I took them, etc.

At a Seminar, later, I told a relatively new participant about the phone story. He said, "You actually met the low-life?" If I'd been thinking of him as a "low-life," I doubt I would have gotten the phone back! What I remember most about this sequence was his "thank you" when I handed him the $100. And, of course, being a graduate, I acknowledged him for having the courage to show up. This was clean. Everyone involved won. Had I not gotten the money back, I'd still have framed this as a small cost to pay for recognizing that something was missing from my behavior, i..e, I wasn't watching my phone!

So what is the "real meaning" of this? One person said, this was terrible, you encouraged theft! Well, sorry, but the problem in Columbus is that the police don't care about stolen phones, even if they are worth $700. They would do nothing. If the police had been active (as they became in New York after years of do-nothing-about-crime it's-your-own-damn-fault don't-leave-anything-in-your-car), phone theft would be far more riskier for thieves. Not my job to support anti-theft in Columbus, not at this point. I did call them, reported the phone stolen, etc., and it was a useless waste of time. I have other fish to fry. That thief was going to get at least $50 for the phone anyway. Maybe more. And something else happened, a moment of eye contact, a small point of entry of another realm, the "thank you" was genuine. I've seen this contact radically change people (years ago, this was before est was invented). He saw something different from his ordinary -- and dangerous and difficult -- life. I don't know the end of it. He could be dead. Or he could be thriving. I didn't keep contact information, I could have (he'd called his mother!). But I'd committed to not getting him into trouble.

Standing for your life[edit | edit source]

March 3, 2014

Yes, it does happen: They will call you, they will follow you, they will even drive to your house and knock repeatedly to get you to come back to Landmark.
They do it because they’re standing for your life.

Really? Who does this? I never heard of anything like it. There are three claims here, and two contexts.

First context: you have noisily left Landmark, in the middle of a program. You have not declared "don't call me," you have not made a clear choice on that. I know most closely about procedure when dropping out of the SELP, which is common, maybe one-fourth?

1. Calling. {happened to participants in my Forum and Advanced Course} As a coach, if a participant talked about leaving the program, my instructions were to turn this over to the Leader, who then personally would handle it. My role was reduced to setting up a phone call with the Leader, basically asking for that contact to be made. As I recall it, I'm not sure, it was to set up a time for the Leader to call. (If you think about it, it has to be that way.) I never encountered a refusal. I highly doubt that any Leader ever called again without permission. But, remember, Landmark is huge. Almost anything can happen on occasion.

2. Following. That's stalking, and is illegal. Who would do this? What I can imagine is some crazed friend of the participant, this would definitely be disapproved if disclosed, who decides to try to rescue his friend. So what blogger does is a common trope among story-tellers: what might have happened once, or back then, becomes an ongoing condition, "they will."

3. Driving to one's house requires knowing where the person lives. {Happened to participants in my Advanced Course and ILP} That information is generally private. But if the participant has been friends with someone, they might know, and, so, again, if this happened in blogger's experience (I can easily imagine it, he had people he called "best friends"), it could happen. And someone might even "knock repeatedly." You think your friend is home and he's not answering the knock. What do you do? A lot of people would not assume that you want them to go away, and if they do assume that, they will be offended, maybe even angry. Leaving Landmark, fine! Slamming the door in my face, no, asshole, after all we went through together!

Remember the narcissist friend? Blogger only thinks about himself. Now, he probably needed to do that, because he really did need to get help for depression, and his Landmark friends, the circle he had created, weren't helping, apparently.

Someone who does know the context will read this report and imagine some kind of organized effort to harass a departing graduate to "come back." There is no such effort, {participants do it, not leaders} there are very limited contact rules. And the graduate list for my area, I saw. This was not the corporate database, it was extracted from it, by zip code and last participation, which had to be within 18 months, because of the federal rules. There were some of these that said "DNC."

"Do Not Call." That indicates that the person said Do Not Call me. And the phone numbers were missing from that list. Corporate could find them, sure, but, of course, if they violated DNC rules, they'd be in serious hot water, legally, and they have deep pockets. This is, then, another Landmark Myth.

But regular calls are made, I know, within limits. I get them. Invitations to special events. Invitations to coach the SELP. There was an invitation to be assistant production manager for an upcoming Forum. That one was tempting, I've not assisted at a Forum except as registration team on the Tuesday closing session (where one sees little of the Forum itself). However, logistics for me, at this point, suck. I'm committed to being here for my daughter, that would be a whole weekend.

However, this is what I do with all the calls: I engage with the caller, I acknowledge them for the work that they do, and I watch them light up. It's fun. The same situation, that occurs to some as harassment, I take as an opportunity. And it works that way. I've had these callers say to me, "OMG, I am so glad I called you. I was feeling down, bored, blah blah. You made my day." So I get acknowledged, too.

I know that if I ever don't want calls, I can stop them in a flash. Nobody will harass me. However, under some circumstances, I can also image that there might indeed be some extended stand for the participant. It's human. This is the weird thing. The blogger was totally thrilled that someone considered him important. So, now, someone considers him important. This is harassment!

he did not learn how to let go of these occurrings, to allow something deeper to happen. I think he became terrified that they would convince him to come back. He doesn't trust himself. In a condition of high vulnerability, as he was, he was right, that is why he needed to slam the door. Well, the door did not break. He can change his mind if he chooses to, or not if not. I personally don't like to bind my future like that, even though there are surely things that I will never do again. Freedom is important to me.

Something else is more important to the blogger. Let's call it safety.

Okay, the other condition: Participant has drifted away. I've been highly active for periods and then quite inactive for periods. I don't think I've noticed a difference in the number of calls. I'm on certain lists. For example, coached SELP. So I'll get calls about coaching opportunities. I've assisted, so, likewise, occasionally. I have inquired about the Teen Forum, so New York calls me every couple of months. It is really about what would be expected from any functional business. It's more fun, though -- for me -- because if someone wants to stand for my transformation, I take that as a great thing, even if they don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. I appreciate the stand. I return it, hence the way I conduct those calls. My goal is to leave them empowered, and not by giving them a credit card number! I'll do that when I choose to.

Stalking, banging on doors? Really? The blogger does not actually say that he experienced this {well, I am now}, and has reported other rumors as fact. But he might have. How many people did this? For how long? I want to know so I can decide quite how deluded he is! One person doing it once, believable. But, notice, that is not the story he tells, he tells what "they" will do. He does preface this with "it can happen." But good chance, what the then implies never happens. Or once in a million occasions. Some crazy graduate.

There’s a stifling urgency in the atmosphere of Landmark Education. Everything is urgent and immediate, and the stakes are through the roof. Taking the Forum is a matter of life and death, so if you want to register, it’s gotta be now. And there’s at least a couple of follow-up calls afterward to make sure you’re going.

There is truth here, mixed with weird interpretation. I remember my Advanced Course Leader pointing to something I'd just done and saying to the group, "Notice this. It's important." He did not explain, but I was practically knocked over. A Forum Leader says that something is "important." It's unheard of! I will put it this way: it was crucial for my transformation, which I didn't understand until later in the day. My Act had come up, which had been predicted. When I got what had happened, I went from trying to figure out how to get my SELP registration fee back, being sure I wasn't going to come any more, to being fully grateful to my Act for showing up, instead of hiding out, playing it safe. And I knew the goal of the Advanced Course, and could communicate it without words. Okay, I use words, but not to communicate the goal, rather to frame it.

Introduction Leaders can get "pushy," this is a famous complaint. They know this: if people don't register then and there, they usually don't register at all. Life intervenes, an intention to register "later" gets lost in the landslide of life. So, yes, they can insist on now. Mine did. I lied to him. I said, "I never make decisions like this on the spur of the moment, I want to think about this." He surrendered, my goal. And I probably never would have registered, if not for what happened later, where I refused to sit through an offered introduction as a guest at a seminar, but I said, if someone wants to sit down and talk with me, I'll do it. A woman volunteered. I later found out, Seminar Leader. She was amazing. Fantastic listener, open, acknowledging, inspiring. I thought, I want this. And that is how, a bit later, I came to register. Not through pressure in an introduction.

I was totally unimpressed by pressure. But, in fact, there was very little pressure, if any. I was clear and the IL gave up, which is normal. It is people who are mealy-mouthed, who don't want to make a clear choice, that experience those introductions as pressure. They will argue with the Leader, etc. I just said No, not tonight.

Taking the Forum is indeed a matter of life and death, in certain ways. But life is empty and meaningless, remember? Fevered importance makes for poor decisions. That's obvious, and is a major part of the training. But people do this, fall into "importance."

So, you have registered. It is now part of the standard registration procedure to inform people that they will receive certain phone calls. The blogger frames this as "making sure you are going." The calls are about logistics, for example, completion of payment if only a deposit was paid. They offer to answer any questions. Yes, at this point, sometimes, someone will say they have decided not to come, and there will be a conversation about that if the customer is willing. I recall there being a request for permission to talk about it.

Now, a lot of people have no clue about how to say No. They consider it impolite. So they will deflect it, into "Well, maybe." And then the person on the phone takes the Maybe as "Maybe Yes" and continues the conversation, while the now reluctant possible participant is thinking, "Doesn't he get it? I don't want to go!" This is the paradox: that poor communication is likely all through the person's life, and likely causes a great deal of mischief. If the assistant detects this, the assistant now know that -- as he or she will think -- this person really needs the Forum. They will not give up easily, and, yes, it is about taking a stand for the life of the participant. Nobody gets paid from registrations. The payoff is all in transformation seen.

This work started without a manual. People learned to do it, and lots of mistakes were made, and lots of mistakes continue to be made. Making mistakes is part of learning. So .... what is happening here is that blogger expects people to be perfect, while he has no clue what perfection would actually look like. Would it be, ho hum, you don't want to register even though this would make your life incredibly better? Fine, congratulations on making your choice, thank you for considering doing business with Landmark. Click.

No, if whoever is handling this call actually cares about people, they will deepen the conversation, if the person will allow it. They will also get off the phone quickly if the person asks for that.

If I imagine that this is the Registration Manager on the phone, one is dealing with an expert at reaching through resistance. Frankly, a sane response to this is to become curious! The survival response is to slam the door, ixnay, get away!

The man who became my favorite Reg Manager, at first, I didn't like him. He was effing pushy! Then I saw, better, who he was, what he was being, his stand, and, as well, his compassion, his thoughfulness, his flexibility, his willingness to bend the rules whenever the welfare of one of us (customer, graduate, assistant, whatever) needed it.

If you’re late getting back to the room after a break, you can’t go back in unless you own up to being late and acknowledge how careless you are with time. Because time is urgent.

Hogwash. Once again, there is a reality under this, so heavily interpreted as to be nearly invisible. In certain courses at certain times, when the topic is integrity, something like this happens, though the acknowledgement is not "how careless one is with time." That is a possible acknowledgement, if one is careless with time! Good to find that out, wouldn't you think? {This happened to me twice; once in Forum, and also in ILP. They would not let me into the room unless I completed. the Forum incident, I was new, so it was confronting. ILP, not so much.}

No, this is the integrity conversation. First of all, the context: all participants have agreed to be on time, in their seat, at the scheduled beginning time. At that point, the Leader comes sailing down the aisle, perhaps being cheered, it's common. It is explained about the on-time agreement: being late creates a conflict: do they go ahead, or do they wait for you? If they go ahead, you might miss some part of the training that is important. Our blogger missed a lot, but I think it's because he was out to lunch in another way, busy in his mind, not out in the world.

They say, 'We can't guarantee results if you aren't here!" However, this is, I'm sure, not the whole story. Most of us go through life routinely not keeping promises, and this is highly disempowering. So there is some training in integrity, and there are always breakdowns in integrity, i.e., we say we are going to do something, and we don't.

So, then, there is restoration of integrity. The technique is, when appropriate to acknowledge the failure (which is without blame. It does not matter why I was late, in itself, and, in a way, there is no excuse. Certainly the leaders and the room do not want to hear excuses. This isn't school, where excuses matter. This is the real world, where a failure is a failure, something is damaged, though it may be small. No matter whose fault it is, the bus driver was late, I couldn't find my keys, blah, blah, nobody cares about that.

So a restoration conversation: "I was late because I missed the bus. I am committed to being here on time, and next time I will aim to take the earlier bus." Done. Over. It is theoretically possible, and I actually did this as an SELP coach, to change the commitment. "I was late because my ride was late, and I am aware of no workable alternative. I commit to being in communication as soon as I know I will be late."

After the short period of asking everyone who is late to restore their integrity, it comes optional. A Leader will allow someone coming in to restore their integrity, but will normally not demand or even invite it. Consider the framing. Blogger frames all of this as a requirement. "You can't go back until ...." The image is of someone being stopped at the door, by some door-keeper who demands a confession. Sounds awful to me. That is never what happens. If there is restoral of integrity, it happens after the person has come into the room, and it is a restoral to the entire group, because the entire group is impacted by lateness. That sense of community responsibility and caring is missing in what blogger writes. This is simply a common training example, routine because lateness is common, at least at first, the full integrity conversation is much deeper, and there is an entire seminar on it.

Most people hear "integrity" as a moral issue. {I did for the longest time; happy I've dislodged it mostly} Landmark does not treat it that way. It is treated as a simple breakdown, something not working as planned. It is trivial to avoid all integrity failures. Promise nothing! And a lot of people play it that way, one notices when it becomes part of the training to set up specific schedules. This is obviously disempowering, long term, even though it seems to be protecting freedom. It doesn't work that way.

If you’re sharing in front of the room and the leader has you realize that you have to reconcile with your wife over something, you gotta get her on the phone now and do it. Don’t wait for the next break; don’t settle for just leaving a voice mail. Talk to her now.
Because people can die suddenly! There can be a disaster!

Eh? My reaction to this was, first, I never saw anything like this. {There was a story shared about a guy who waited a minute too long to have his prescribed enrollment conversation in a Forum, and the person he was to address died. This was held up as a teaching moment in our Forum.} However, consider the situation that someone has had a fight with their wife. The love of their life. The wife is suffering, believing that the marriage is over. Now, suppose the person has the attitude of, "No big deal. We can talk later." Ever see Romeo and Juliet? Yeah, drama. But it's a fact that later sometimes doesn't come. Sometimes it really is too late.

Is the participant committed to the marriage, or is it just something sort-of convenient for now?

First of all, there is no "has to." What the participant has come up with is an inspiring possibility. Now, what is more important, that possibility or the training?

The question assumes that it is one or the other. How about both? So the leader says, "Go out and call her now. Don't put it off. Show her that you care, that she is important to you. Demonstrate this by your actions. If you care. Otherwise, sit down and we can go on with what we were working on and your and your wife can divorce if you want to, no big deal.

Except I doubt that the Leader would say the latter, though he or she might think it. And might think that if the participant doesn't call immediately, that the wife will be better off without the asshole. And, of course, being a Forum Leader, they would drop that entire conversation and move on to what is in front of them, leaving the participant to work it out....

The Leader might say, "When you come back, tell us what happened." They use these incidents as fodder for the training. They do not know, specifically, what will happen. They are operating by the format, in part, and partly by highly trained intuition. Another way to say this is that they expect miracles, without knowing what they will be.

If you try to sneak out and leave the course, oh boy. They will track you down. They will dispatch your friends to call you, over and over again. Or they will drive to your house.

Once again, this is a completely nutty idea. {Again, it happened.} This isn't going to happen in the Forum, period. The Leader is far too busy. It's trivial to "sneak out." Just walk out the door and don't tell anyone. I saw a woman walk out in the Advanced Course, I was on the door. The people on the door do not engage people walking in and out in conversation. The woman walked out the front door of the center. Nobody chased her. A few minutes later, she walked back in. I've called what happened my peak Landmark experience. She was standing in the hall opposite the door, obviously unsure what to do. So I asked her, "can I help you?" She said, breaking down, "I can't do this, I'm not Mahatma Gandhi."

For non-grads, there is talk about Gandhi in the Advanced Course.

I engaged the woman with eye contact and presence (it's easier done than said), and said, affirmatively and simply, "You are doing this. You are here." She went back in the room, and, Sunday night, I saw her in the front row, when I and the rest of the team were called to the stage to be acknowledged. She was beaming. She did it.

Because they’re standing for your life. They’re standing for your transformation. That’s how important it is. For you to break a rule or leave the course would be devastating, it means you will die without being transformed. You will die without living an extraordinary life. You will die without making a difference.

The blogger has created an entire fantasy of how Landmark people think. It is based on his own experience, which is heavily biased toward reading into others what he already thinks. If there is this obsession, it's rare, and it's obvious what it would lead to. Burnout. Insanity. Really, this is a heavy story, and the training is to move outside of story, entirely, beyond using story to empower.

As a coach, if someone came to me and revealed this attitude, I'd break it, with whatever skill I could muster, because this could be fatal. It certainly is not freedom and it definitely is not inspiring.

Doing the work, we have a sense of importance, that's normal. I.e., we are making a difference for life on this planet. But if we don't, someone else will. We are legion. We are not isolated, in a desperate race against death, that is the world of survival, the game were are reminded that we cannot win.

We take stands. Someone might consider, say, that nuclear war risks all life on this planet. However, those that become obsessed by causes become largely ineffective, compared to what action with more detachment can accomplish. So take a stand against nuclear weapons and proliferation, etc. Take a stand against global warming, if that's your cause. or for democracy, or whatever. But the purpose of life is here, now. Don't throw away Now for a fantasy world of causes and abstractions. I.e, suppose we save life on the planet, but never live it.

Blooger is suggesting that people leave Landmark, and instead live life. Great idea, living life. What does that have to do with leaving Landmark? Blogger's condition made, for him, leaving a constrained choice. He had to.

However, he is making the same error that he accuses Landmark of making, the belief that one size fits all. It doesn't fit all.

He generalizes from relatively narrow experience, as far as I've seen, to universals, creating a Big Story.

Is it an empowering story? Maybe it is, for him.

I remember storming out of the Landmark center once while one of my friends was yelling at me across the parking lot: “I’M STANDING FOR YOUR LIFE!!!”

I'm touched by the story. That's a passionate outcry. The person clearly believes it. Frankly, isn't it a good thing to stand for someone's life? Obviously, if this is accompanied by oppressive action {he followed me out the door, unsolicited}, there is a contradiction. It can happen. The training would be to listen to him, to hear what he is standing for, and to affirm it. I could think, at this point, he is standing for independence, for taking a risk and finally expressing himself. Did they hear that. I think that at least one did. He also missed much of the training. He fell through the cracks. I'll say this, he could have died. So now what?

There are ways of getting people to understand that yes, the present moment is precious and it is all we have without resorting to harassment and stalking.

There certainly are! However, is there "harassment and stalking"? That is, more than some transient or isolated idiosycratic behavior. From some of the descriptions here, I'm doubtful that an objective observer would consider what happened "harassment and stalking," but it could have been. And I don't need to know. I know that harassment and stalking are heavily disapproved in Landmark training. Standing for people is approved and acknowledged, but not "standing" that involves harassment or stalking.

Besides which, do you really love me that much? Or are you just trying to demonstrate how transformed you are, how much of a stand you are, in front of your Landmark peers?

One suspicious asshole. I consider it unlikely that the parking lot exclamation was simply a show, for some other audience. If we want to go below the surface, human psychology can be complex. I'd think that the would-be friend thought it was a good thing. I don't think it was for external show. It may or may not have been deep. The blogger is very judgmental of show, of people wanting to look good, when, in fact, this is his prime motivator, or was.

(In the Invented Life seminar, it is pointed out that looking good is a survival trait, it can, under some circumstances in nature, be life or death.)

Would you stand for my life if it meant nothing to you? Would you stand for my life if I left the Landmark conversation altogether and put my number on their “do-not-call” list?

I have zero doubt about that as to myself. If I have declared a stand for your life, it is unconditional That's the declaration. The reality? I'm human, and fall short of what I declare at times. But then I can restore my integrity, when I notice the breakdown.

The statement is weird. Would you stand for my life if it meant nothing to you? The blogger must mean, "If the standing was of no personal benefit to you." However, to me, this is like saying, "Would you add two and two if the answer were four." Unconditional standing for others is a personal benefit. Period. By standing for others, we are reflecting a universe that stands for us. We are actually creating that universe, I could say.

If I take a stand for you when really, I'm trying to get you to register into a course, that's what the SELP leader called "slimy." It is not an unconditional stand.

This person did not "leave the Landmark conversation altogether." It is still being carried on, or was when this was written. At the same time, the blogger wants to control the conversation, and I don't know the extent of that. I will probably link to this resource, there, welcoming comment but making it clear that there is no expectation or requirement. I will not take lack of comment as an insult or admission of error or any of that crap.

I've kept up contact, with permission, with people who left courses. Why not? People have the right to put their names on the DNC list. They can always reverse that if they choose. This is no crime against humanity!

I can name two specific people in Landmark who absolutely do stand for my life, and I feel it, and I know it, because they got the hint when I told them I was never coming back. And they knew why, and didn’t have to ask. They knew better than anyone else that the way to stand for my transformation was to just let me be.
And they still respect my choice.

Sure. I wonder, though, what "hint"?

Consider this: the training covers the Genesis of Identity. Our identity was formed, this story goes, when we made certain choices, typically when we were very young. They often take the form of "I will never again...."

Now, when a child says, "I will never again...." what does that mean? Does it mean that they will never again ... do whatever was so painful for them, then? But conditions change. A common "never again" is "speak up when I'm not absolutely sure I'm right." That, if maintained, largely paralyzes the ability to learn, or heavily constrains it.

It turns out that there is a universe of possible responses to that original painful situation. The child did not have that full universe available.

So, I see here someone "binding their future," as I've called it. And I know that this is limiting. I do not know that it is "wrong." It is, in fact, the right and responsibility of the person, it is their life that they are creating. It is one thing to add one's name to a DNC list. That's transient, changeable, at will. It is another to declare a negative for the future.

"Never Going Back to the Promised Land."

He never was in the Promised Land. He was in an idea of the promised land, a dim reflection of it, but what he is rejection, with his language, is the real thing. This is what I say when I'm coaching and someone says something like that:

"I'm not inspired by this."

Rejecting the fake, great! Blogger had a belly full of fake. {story} No wonder he got sick. But this is like making a decision to never love again, because one was hurt. People do that. It's their right. But the loss!

Taking a break[edit | edit source]

March 5, 2014

No comment on this for the moment. It's some decent advice. I may come back to it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:54, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

The power of “NO.”[edit | edit source]

March 6, 2014

Never underestimate the power of “no.” One must understand that giving it well means taking it well, too.
At Landmark, I’ve seen people take “no” pretty badly.

People take No badly in life, commonly. This is far from unique to Landmark! I would say that negative reaction to No is much more rare among graduates than in the general population. Blogger is extrapolating from personal experience, projecting them on others, and overgeneralizing.

I’ve seen a disastrous guest event at Landmark where a course participant cried in front of everybody – participants and guests alike – when the family members they invited didn’t show up.

I've seen people break down and cry. It is not a "disaster." To Blogger, such a public disply of emotion is:

It was embarrassing.

So if Blogger has children, will he be embarrassed if they cry? The family members showing up was important to this participant, obviously. "Important" does not equal "disaster." That someone cries does not equate to "disaster." {in the context of that particular SELP, it was, if you were there to see it.}

She cried because she knew what the stakes were.

Blooger, in fact, has shown many times in these posts, has little understanding of people. {story} She cried because she cried, I would start with. Some people cry readily, others not. For some people, crying, especially in public, is a major breakthrough. For others, it is SOP. What were the stakes?

We don't actually know. The Life and Death urgency that Blogger seems to think prevails is practically invisible in Landmark, if it exists at all. People are generally far more laid back. Even if they believe it's important. I've seen absolutely passionate Introduction Leaders declare high registration goals. They did not break down when the goal were not meant. They were taking their stand, and that was enough. As they are all in training (forever), they might look for something missing to supply next time. "Disaster" paralyzes the mind. It's a really Bad Idea to carry that one around.

If she truly believed in her transformation, then her family was rejecting their own transformation – disaster.

If she is a graduate, and she was, right?, she's not going to believe that story readily. This concept of a "beleiver" who is crushed by rejection is not of a believer, but of one who is dependent on others for affirmation. I have no idea if this was the case with her, nor does blogger report what might indicate the truth, he is so busy interpreting things his way. He didn't see the actual woman. He saw his fantasy. All part of believing that for her to cry was a 'disaster."

If, however, she was just trying to please the course leader, then she was deathly afraid of a painful, embarrassing reprisal from same – also disaster.

This is so convoluted... "Deathly" afraid. That is a description of how Blogger thinks. He was terrified of critique, saw it as "reprisal," and a hoist of signs of his condition.

The idea that she cried because she was "just trying to please the course leader" is correctly presented as a possibility, except that it's a preposterous one. She would not cry for that cause.

No, this is a straightforward explanation: her family meant a lot to her, they had promised to come, and they did not come. She was greatly disappointed, perhaps puzzled, and perhaps worried that she had offended her family. Those conditions could lead many people, and especially women in contemporary culture, to cry. I can imagine the thoughts running through her head. They are confusing, contradictory, etc. And under those conditions, tears flow.

(Happens with men, too, but men have largely been trained to not display this, it has been more tolerated among women. Those are sexual stereotypes, society is changing, they are not fixed ... but common. Some aspects of this might be instinctive male-female differences, possibly hormonally mediated. Women taking testosterone in prep for sex change surgery report behavioral changes that sometimes shock them!)

What stands out here for me is the description of the guest event as a disaster because the woman cried. What were the registration numbers? My guess, the blogger has no clue. What is the disaster?

If people are going to be driven away by someone crying, well, people cry in the Forum. Maybe it's better than they see it now. Landmark doesn't need them! They need, or don't need, Landmark.

I remember one woman who started crying in a share, for no apparent reason. She just started weeping, apologizing, weeping more, etc. Nobody treated her as if anything was wrong. She just cried her eyes out!

Now, she was new. She was in the ILP straight out of the Forum. That was unusual. Now, in the entire NorthEast, who was first candidated in that tranche, out of over 300 participants to start?

You can guess.

It’s funny, because one of the things that Landmark teaches is how to take “no” for an answer gracefully.

Yes. So who didn't. Indeed, in the situation described, was told "No"? The blogger has not mentioned it. And crying does not show lack of grace. It shows humanity and emotional response. The ability to cry is actually empowering, or can be.

The thing is, “no” is just considered a stopping point on the way to “yes,” especially when it comes to registering people in the Landmark Forum.

Yes. More accurately, No is usually take as "not now." That's all. It is an overstatement to call it "just a stopping point on the way to Yes," as if the only acceptable answer, ultimately, is Yes. What we learn to do is to break things down to what actually happens, so No is about what happened at one time. It does not control the future. People have the power, with their No, if they want to, to say, "No, and don't ever ask me again." Sometimes I check this out. I've invited people to an introduction and they say, "No, can't be there that night." So I might ask, "would you like to know if another opportunity appears?" I get different answers, the most common one is Yes. That's because it leaves them free. If I wanted to be pushier, I could ask them to commit to coming to an Introduction, and they would accept or not.

Mostly, I'm not that pushy, I just recognize it as a possibility. "Pushy" means confronting the inauthenticity behind common answers, because "No" can mean, in fact, "I don't ever want to hear about this again, but don't want to be impolite." Consider how inconsiderate that answer is! The supposed politeness is formal, does not consider me at all. If it will be a waste of time to invite the person, I'd actually like to know that! There is nothing wrong with No. It is their right, and I am, among other things, a stand for their freedom.

(Yes, also, can mean, I'm tired of talking about this so I'm telling you Yes to end the question for now. I won't show up, but I won't tell you, because that would be impolite. Sometimes our common social morays make me feel like screaming! Supposedly "polite" means consideration of others, but when practiced this way, it isn't. So I might push on it a little. With care. When I was younger, I'd push on it a lot. I didn't care if I offended you, I was right, dammit! Etc.)

“‘No’ isn’t ‘no’ forever,” I’ve heard it said. It’s true. “No” need never be final. But there are Landmark participants who flog that truth to death, so that eventually that “no” will turn into a “yes” and someone registers for the Forum.

Blogger did learn something. But there is a question of ethics here, and Blogger only seeing one side of the issue is common. Suppose that someone is pushy, as described. And eventually "gets" the person to register. And they take the Forum. What are the statistics, and, specifically, how does this affect the numbers who "get it," who actually benefit? One of the missings in Landmark, as far as I can tell, is any method of reliably measuring success in participation. {thank you} Does Landmark have any live measures? Now, to make the ethical issue clear, Blogger hasn't been explicit, but most of us would recognize a problem in ethics in being "pushy." However, the proof is in the pudding, again. What are the actual results? Person registers. Are they satisfied? Let's assume they are, because that's the likely case. Lots of people report being very reluctant to register, and then, they report gratitude over the graduate who persisted, who did not "take No for an answer."

Thinking back to my first Introduction, I'm a bit irritated that the guy wasn't more pushy! I was inauthentic, lying to him. Ah, I didn't say how I was lying. I said I never made important decisions on the spot like that. BS! I got married based on first conversations with a woman, more than once. The first one of those marriages lasted ten years and we had five kids. Not shabby. I made quick decisions all the time, and big ones. It was a handy excuse, a way to indulge my reluctance to spend money on training, something I'd never done, or certainly not at this level. It was a device for shutting him up, because I was uncomfortable with the thought. The IL didn't engage me in a deep conversation. Okay. That often doesn't happen. I got to know him a bit, later, great guy, I was much more impressed with him on a closer examination, so to speak.

Case in point: One of my fellow Advanced Course participants shared with the group how she registered for the Forum. Her friend, who had taken the course, made a couple of attempts to register her to no avail. Then, the friend made a strange offer: She would call her every day until she registered. She could say “no” in response every single time, and that was okay. She could say “no” to infinity, but she would keep calling.

People take stands like that. This is obvious: it charmed the woman. What was wrong with this? Well it's Just Wrong. This is not Right. It is Unreasonable.

"Hi! How's your day? Really. Great! How is Fred? Oh, sorry to hear that. Okay, you know what I'm committed to. How about registering today? No? Thanks! Call me any time. I'll call you tomorrow, same time."

What is wrong with this? If the woman consents, and if she does not consent, she can easily stop it. In fact, though, that daily call, even if she never registers, is a demonstration that someone cares about her, and in fact, as I described the call, shows genuine interest. If this caller is a graduate, she creates cheerfulness and inspiration. Every time she calls, the one called feels better. What do you think will eventually happen?

And is that a problem?

Now, if she's being a pest, but the one called is too polite to tell her, well, there is another possibility. The too-polite one learns to stand up for herself, by standing up for herself. How else would one learn that? She will say, one day, "Please don't call me any more." And the one calling also learns something, that she hadn't been reading this person well. I would not call someone every day for a long time unless they were showing that they appreciated it.

By having Rules about What's Right, the blogger limited himself, and no wonder he wasn't enrolling and registering people. He was staying with what was safe. Which won't work. The ILP is designed to confront this. And we break through, or we don't. Some don't. Nothing always works. And that's life, isn't it?

My companion agreed to this craziness, and eventually, she broke down and registered for the Forum. Yay! Transformation wins out!

Yes. Yay! It was "craziness." Definitely not "reasonable." Blogger knows about "unreasonable requests."

What was "crazy" about the offer to call and the acceptance of it? What I say is that it violated the unwritten rules that Blogger was living by. Which Blogger invented, with some level of social conspiracy.

I had a friend I invited to my Forum closing session. He was actually a pre-Landmark Forum graduate, I found. Any way, he was asked why he came, by the Leader. "Because he made it impossible to say No."

I didn't quite do that. I made a polite No impossible. That is, he said, can't because blah, blah. Okay, we will pick you up. He said, I'm going to need blah, blah. I said, no problem. We drove about four hours to make it work for him to be there. Completely unreasonable, and that was, for me, the point. So glad I did it.

This is how those calls occur to me: they were fun. Making the commitment was fun. Making the calls was fun. And when the woman registered, this went way beyond fun, into realms of joy that most people experienced rarely, if ever.

Key was consent. This wasn't harassment. The woman obtained consent, and that's what I did when I did something similar. Six months, it took. By the end of that, the fellow was totally eager, ready to rock. What he had thought he couldn't do, he did.

Lots of people register this way, as a result of someone nagging them. Just to get the asshole off one’s back. And some people are delightfully surprised by what Landmark has to offer.

Yes. However, if they have talked with a graduate who got it, and is practicing it, for a long time, they won't be so surprised. Notice, "nagging." Were the calls experienced as nagging? If so, the caller was unskillful. And this probably would have failed. The Blogger made up "nagging." Because this worked, in infer that this was fun, or at least mostly that. There was immediate value in it, for both. If the caller thought that No was Bad, the caller would have burned out. If the one called thought that this was nagging, making her wrong for saying No, she would have burned out. Since that did not happen, apparently, this was win-win, and yet Blogger is using this as an example of crazy insistence.

There apparently is sales pressure at times, I've read too many accounts, and have experience it -- a little -- myself. That is, since "pressure" is a story, there is the occurring of "pressure." Which may be correlated with certain behaviors on the part of those inviting. This will not be transformed by calling it bad and blaming people for taking a stand for guests and friends. It will be transformed through recognition of what happens, and by transformed training.

Others aren’t.

That's right. So? Look, if I have a medicine that will cure 90% of people of a dangerous disease, but it has little effect on others, with a negative, harmful effect on very few, and I'm involved with public health, what will I do?

I might well attempt to give it to everyone. Only if I can tell in advance which ones it will help and which ones it won't, would this become inappropriate. It woudl also become inappropriate to force people to take the medicine. But I can offer it to everyone. Look, medicine is actually practiced this way. Now, this points up what is missing in Landmark, perhaps.

If it's not missing, I haven't seen it.

Active monitoring of Landmark participants for harmful side-effects.

There could be training in Landmark addiction, symptoms being

  • Overspending on programs, i.e., going substantially into debt to take courses. If one is using the Forum technology, and especially the Curriculum for Living technology, one should normally have enough money to take whatever courses one chooses without major debt. Blogger did this.
  • People taking on more than one major assisting commitment at a time, when their personal life is falling apart. Blogger did this.
  • Wow! This one is weird to come up with here. The above combined with low registration measures. This is not actually tracked for general participants, as far as I know. It does not have a fixed significance. But it could be a sign of social isolation. Someone who is practicing the technology, and who is not socially isolated, will likely show occasional registrations. And Blogger showed this symptom.

None of this should be treated as Bad. But making sure that real choices are being made, and that the participant is not out of integrity in their life, because of focus on Landmark, would be caring for the graduate community. {Thank you for this}

Still others manage the courage to say, “Please stop asking me!” and never register.

And then what happens?

The thing is, the person who so passionately wanted them to join their state of transformation suddenly disappears…or becomes estranged. All for the love of transformation.

Blogger has not considered the range of conditions. First of all, what is the nature of the relationship between inviter and invited? Are they family or close friends? Are they acquaintances?

As one who invited many, most of the people I invited were acquaintances whom I met in my town, deliberately walking around to meet people. The initial purpose was to share the work with my community. And for my own training. Now, some of those people I see from time to time. I still stop to chat with them. Really just as much as before. However, with close friends it becomes more complicated, and especially family and especially spouses. Let's call the latter situation a "mixed marriage." Mized marriages can be fine, but there is something off when one partner in such a marriage is highly interested and the other partner is stand-off. Something is not matched.

"Estranged." That's the real issue. Now, I know what the training is, on this. Participants are highly encouraged to take responsibility for the relationship, to avoid maintaining rackets. So if someone is walking the walk, here, they will be highly interested in maintaining clear communication with their partner. The training is, again, to take full responsibility, not to just "do one's part." That is a way of blaming breakdown on the other person. "Well, I did my part, but she didn't." (The definition of specific roles as "my part" and "her part" is story.) I've seen marriages end, where the participant was being coached (and I've been asked to coach on occasion.)

What causes this estrangement? Well, I know of two causes, at least. One is jealousy of the time the person is putting into Landmark and I told the analogous story of Al-Anon. Another, that I've experienced, is the "cult" reputation of Landmark. Some people are highly affected by that. They may believe that it is actually a cult, which, of course, is Very Bad, (without discriminating, cult did not have the seriously negative connotation many years ago that it does now. How about the Cult of Mary? The issue would be harmful traits, in themselves, but people take shortcuts and assess by labels, rather than by fact).

So, a partner may disassociate themselves from a Landmark participant "because it's a cult." A parent may try to inhibit the other parent from having contact with children.

People undergoing training go through transformations. Some of them are ugly, for a time. Marriages are often based on complimentary neuroses. When one person changes, it destabilizes the relationship. But Landmark always emphasizes the possibility of healing and communication and love. And it doesn't always work out that way.

Participants can become, for a time, highly judgmental of the "untransformed." That is an obvious transformation failure! But it can be self-healing, that is, if the person continues the training, they will come to an end of it. (Much of Blogger's judgment is of immature graduates). This, I'm sure, can be irritating as hell. It can manifest as "racketing," a word I made up, to mean "complaining about someone running rackets." It's an abuse of the distinction of racket, which is not useful when used as an accusation against others. Rackets are easy to identify, and a skilled graduate will simply recognize them, everyone runs rackets. Forum Leaders run rackets.

But, distinguished, rackets lose their power. They may persist, in some ways, but are no longer "believed."

All because Landmark Guy becomes tired of hearing “no.”

Color me confused. The situation proposed is that the invited one says No, a final No. So why would Landmark Guy get tired of hearing No, when No isn't being said? What can really happen is that if the relationship was created out of training, and invitation, and that purpose disappears, and no other foundation of relatedness appears, the conversations will stop. The context here is that Blogger imagines invitations as "passionate." There is short-term passionate and deep passionate. I was short-term passionate about inviting the people I met on the street. I'd go a long way out of my way for them. But most of them were not, outside of the possibility of transformation, normal friends for me. The people I'd want to hang out with anyway. I'd say that my general connections with people became much stronger. I can hang out with those people, and will, when the occasion arises. I.e., acquaintances. I still care about them. But I don't call them up. (though if there is an Introduction in my area, I might call those who have not asked me not to call. There was one fellow who asked me that, and then later took it back. I could and would call him.)

If one gets tired of hearing "No," the game is being played rather poorly. Consider that woman who made all those phone calls, every day. She did not get tired, I'm pretty sure. If she had, the calls would have gone sour. No, she was having fun. Basically, on the one hand, Blogger suggests that people have a life outside of Landmark, but doesn't understand that one involved in invitation "has a life outside of Landmark," and that this is integrated with invitation.

And then we see, once again, the shame and fear-based psychology of Blogger:

Well, that’s only part of it. He’s also dreading the conversation with his leader or coach on how well enrollments and registrations are going. Which is to say, not. Because he was once coached to squeeze the “yes” out by any means necessary – all within the context of love and freedom, of course! But no one was buying it.

This was Blogger. "Dreading the conversations with his leader or coach." Why? Shame! He is "doing it Wrong." The coaching was never as he portrays it. "By any means necessary."

"All within the context of love and freedom," is closer to the actual coaching. If that is lost, in favor of "getting someone to register," what happens? It's like clockwork: the registration numbers tank. People can smell inauthenticity. At one point, I was coached to forget about invitations, just get to know people. Listen to them. Be a friend, hear them.

I loved my coaches, looked forward to conversations with them. If I hadn't, I'd have gotten a different coach! I looked forward to conversations with Leaders, considered it an incredible opportunity. I had piles of integrity failures, things I said I do that I didn't do. They didn't yell at me. They simply asked me what my intention was, and, if it was to do, it, when? And would I call or text them when it was done?

This is support. It works. However, if Landmark Guy (Blogger!) is trembling in fear of looking bad, and he believes he will look bad because he didn't get any registrations, he is not going to enjoy the interactions, it is like clockwork. If someone is experiencing what he reports about Landmark Guy, they should stop! Get some real coaching, which requires being actually authentic. If you've got a cocaine habit, you are broke because it's going up your nose, the only way to get clean is to get clean, one way or another. In a 12-step program or in Landmark and preferably both. (That's easy, lots of people do that).

And if you are bloody terrified, fearful of criticism, experience it as shouting and blaming, get that you are this way, that this is who you are being, and admit it. That is where transformation starts, where you are, not in some fantasy land of supermen and magic.

Some people need professional help, sometimes hospitalization is in order. Landmark no longer excludes people because of psychiatric disabilities, but they strongly advise professional consultation.

Landmark Guy is back to square 1, with broken relationships and irresponsible communication. So then he signs up for the next course…

Maybe. He's not back to square 1, though. He has some experience that he can learn from, if he's willing. But if he's terrified of being coached, which is more or less what is reported, he will find ways to avoid it. Until someone tells him to do the ILP, where it cannot be avoided, as far as I can tell. That's why the ILP has such a high reputation among those who have taken it. What happened to Blogger? The training exposed him, to himself, most of all. That caused a crisis. He left.

Some people won't understand this and will believe that he should come back. I'd agree, except: before he comes back, he would need some preconditions, and among them would be a clarity that going back was his choice, an informed choice, no longer based on a fantasy of superman and adulation and looking good by following the rules. If that isn't present, coming back would be a disaster. And, fortunately, he's determined not to do that.

I've inferred a lot, here, some of this may simply be fantasy. If he ever reads this, and wants to correct anything, he can do it. He can register an account here with a real name, or with a pseudonym. He can also edit anonymously," but those edits will be recorded by IP address, which does reveal some personal information, like general location. He can email me. Etc.

Now I can FINALLY…[edit | edit source]

March 7, 2014

The Introduction Leaders Program is one of the most rigorous leadership training programs on the planet. It runs for about six months, and during that time, you have to attend weekly classes, weekly assisting projects, and four long weekends in a regional center.

I'm sensitive to language, as I've mentioned. When I see "have to" I know that story is involved. I'll assert that there is no "have to." There are commitments made. In the ILP, one commits to classes, it's about 30, as I recall, 3 hours, it was on Fridays, which meant that when there was a Forum, the Leader might come in and chat with us after the Forum. Then there is a commitment to assisting agreements, which was really training in the office, on phones, mostly, and that was two agreements per week. The classroom counted as one agreement. We could also assist at any special evenings or registration events, once we were trained for that, and that counted. And, of course, one gets registrations at those events. Blogger has presented a bit of a distorted picture, I'll get to that. I forget right now, but I think the assisting agreements in the Center office were for 2.5 hours

When the schedule is set up, participants are asked to schedule any classes that will be missed. There is a limit to the number that can be missed without consequence. As I've mentioned, missing a weekend is cause for dismissal from the program. If it happens, the remedy is to take that weekend in another Center, and I mentioned the New York hoodie who went to Bombay.

The ILP is ridiculous, it is commonly said. It was common wisdom that everyone would think about dropping it. I certainly did, and so did about everyone I knew in the program. Consider for me: In addition to the time in the Center, I also needed to drive or ride in to Boston, roughly 5 hours total each day. So my partner and I, ride-sharing, would typically schedule our office assisting on Friday, sometimes doing two agreements plus the evening, or we would come in, say, for two office agreements plus a Special Evening. I miss the Center. There were always people I knew there, always smiling faces, people clearly glad to see me.

It’s the boot camp Landmark participants take on their way to becoming course leaders and high-level assistants.
The Leader distinction begins with Introduction Leader, and one must be an Introduction Leader before taking the training for any other Leader position. I don't know what a "high level assistant" is. The ILP is not a prerequesite for Production Supervisors or Course Supervisors. Office Staff have often been Introduction Leaders, but I'm not sure that it's a prerequisite. Maybe.
So if you’re really dedicated to the work, and really committed to transforming the planet, get ready to hand yourself over to the machine completely and kiss the rest of your life goodbye.

It's like any "boot camp." For the time one is in it, it is close to a total commitment. That's not the whole story, it is not all that much time, but close. People do it with jobs, and family, so ... the idea is total commitment. To not completely fall apart requires organizing one's life around the schedule and what is needed to do. There is more than what was listed above. There is homework. There is a weekly coaching call. There is a spreadsheet with activities to be filled out. This isn't a specific commitment, but there are Introductions to set up, to assist at, and ... invitations!! Invitations!!! Invitations!!!! Until you can't figure out anyone else to call and then you need to do ten times as many, it dawns on you.

Impossible! But it isn't. And that is what the training demonstrates. Oh, and if there is any area of your life that is incomplete, you complete it. List everyone you have ever known. Incomplete? Make that phone call! Aw, really, do I have to? No, you don't have to, but you will be missing out on an incredible opportunity if you don't. You have coaches coming out of your ears. They are all Introduction Leaders. Toward the end of the program, when the supervising leaders are included, and the Statistician (also an Introduction Leader), and the Scheduler, there are about as many leaders in the room, sometimes, as participants. That must be an exaggeration. but the point is that this is the most intense coaching anywhere in Landmark, as far as I know.

It is essentially free, compared to the value. Yes, if you live in New York, you may pay $100 per weekend. Compare that with, say, a Communications Course weekend for $500 or more. There is, of course, a quid pro quo, TANSTAAFL. In the ILP, you will do a lot of work for the Center. But the critical jobs are done by paid staff. Most of the time in the office, my experience, is spent making personal phone calls. It's encouraged. Travelling from Massachusetts, I didn't pay anything. But ... New York Hotels! People share rooms, sleep on floors, but for my last weekend I stayed at a hostel for $50 per night. The weekend before that, my room share plans had fallen through, and I managed a complicated arrangement to go to a party at the Connecticut border Friday night, ride to New Haven with a woman from the party, sleep on her sofa and in the morning early she took me to the train, I arrived at the Center on time, and ... completely exhausted, I might as well not have been there, falling asleep, the only time I was actually suffering in the entire course. I had no place to stay that night. I announced it to the group, the Course Supervisor said we don't allow announcements like that, but ... someone from Canada came up to me and said they had a hotel room with two large beds and I could share on. It was a $400 room, so I paid $100... So the next weekend I took the Megabus in, Friday afternoon ($25!), stayed in the hostel two nights, and took the train home Sunday with my partner, whose husband met us at Springfield station. In other words, by the end, I'd figure out how to survive.....

Now, about kissing the rest of your life goodbye. The saying is that the person who walks out is not the person who walked in. This is a variation on die before you die. But what do you become? A part of the Landmark Machine? That sounds bad, right? Except this is not what happens. First of all, most participants do not become Introduction Leaders. In fact, they don't take the training to do what Blogger has in mind, i.e., this noble goal, really dedicated to the work, committed to transforming the planet. They take it for personal transformation which does require, as it happens aligning with planetary transformation, because we are all connected. But Landmark doesn't own the Self. Blogger seems to think this is a huge realization that Landmark junkies are unaware of. No, it's a common understanding. Landmark is a device, a tool, a modality, an organization, but is not the goal. It's a means. What happens in the training is that, relatively speaking, one becomes unstoppable. But it is not a bullying unstoppability, it is unstoppability that arises out of the Self. Human beings are capable of spectacular things, far more than we routinely think.

The "Self"? What's that? Blogger has not mentioned it. One way of thinking of the Self is as the human collective conscious. Human beings are social animals. We are far more powerful, connected with others, than isolated. We are not particularly healthy, isolated, and modern culture is highly isolating, compared to traditional cultures. The Advanced Course is designed to awaken the Self, that is why it is a prerequisite for the Self-Expression and Leadership Program. Now, in my interactions with a wide range of graduates, I found some that clearly got the Forum, and experienced the personal freedom, but who missed something in the Advanced Course, and it was obvious. One thing in Landmark that is missing is accountability for success in training, at the individual level. {thank you} This is not being measured, to my knowledge. I'm not saying it would be easy, but ... it could be done.

Advanced training in Landmark, without getting the Self, without having a direct experience of it, where this is not some abstract idea, but very, very real, is going to be difficult! Actually, probably impossible until that connection is awakened.

And say hello to becoming a transformational superhero. Because that’s what they want to turn you into. And that’s what you want to be, deep down, because back when you took the Forum, you thought to yourself a couple of times how cool it would be to lead a course like that, to transform people’s lives.

It's a nice idea, I certainly had it, I declared Fast Track. Of course, I fell on my face, which is what happens when your face outruns your feet.

Blogger is describing himself, and I'm sure that there are plenty of others who have thought that. This intention will not take one into the Leader distinction. That is "Superhero." It is far too disconnected. But back up. How cool would it be to lead such a course, that transforms people's lives?

My answer: very cool, very cool indeed! However, the task of transforming lives requires many workers, working together. If nobody is in that room, the Leader can do nothing. Someone has to get the people there. Introductions Leadersa re on the front lines, but people who set up introductions give Introduction Leaders a venue. Who does that?

People like me, ordinary graduates, who do it because it's fun. And because they love to see transformation. And they don't need a black plastic badge, but if they have done the ILP, and many have, they gave realized the promise of becoming a Bold Leader for Landmark Education. Only a few wear those Leader badges, because only a few of them are needed. Notice: the real work is done by people not in the spotlight, at the Center of Attention.

I served as a Room Captain for an Introduction one time, just because I was there and the IL asked me to do it. I learned, by screwing up, what a Course Supervisor does. Same job, merely on a larger scale. Here is what happened. I made sure that anyone arriving late was seated. Mostly, I sat in a chair facing the IL while he delivered the program. I had a copy of the Format and was following it along. And then I looked over at the table. Some snacks. What's the harm if I nibble on them? I did. The IL stumbled, lost his place, too him a while to recover. Later, clearing, he said, I don't know what happened, I just lost it! I said, I know what happened.

I was feeding my face instead of feeding the space. He said, 'That's it! I notice you and it completely took me away." So I developed an appreciation for what the Course Supervisor is doing in that chair facing the Forum Leader. They are feeding the space. They are supporting the Leader. One sees notes being passed back and forth. Those are about all kinds of things, but the Course Supervisor will maintain a consciousness of the material that needs to be covered. The Forum Leader is in charge -- always -- but the Course Supervisor is the support that makes it work. The Production team orders the space, which is done meticulously in Landmark. Some of it can seem ridiculous, but ... the technology works and they are quite reluctant to change what works, just because someone comes along and thinks it doesn't matter where the pencils are placed and how. I know of someone registered into the Forum because she saw the ordered pencils, moved one to see what would happen, and looked again later, and saw it had been moved back. She said, OMG! I want this! (personally, that might have driven me away.... but I later came to an accomodation with all this, and a respect for it.) That woman became a highly successful SELP leader. (And that is, of course, how I know the story! She told it in a coaches' meeting.) (Hint: it is about incorporating consciousness in the environment, humans detect this, it is certainly instinctive).

Not only that, but it seems like the leaders are the ones that have it really together; they have great lives and high standards. They’re sexy. They’re always talking about how wonderful their relationships are, how nothing stops them from getting anything they want, how happy and amazing life is.

Landmark Leaders do have it together. You don't become a Leader when your life is a disaster. One Forum Leader talked to us (the ILP in Boston) about being ready to declare bankruptcy. He decided that he wanted to be a Leader, and considered bankruptcy to be out of integrity. So he didn't and he paid off all the debts. Took him some time, but he did it. You could call that high standards. But the technology is about what works, and certainly not about "morality."

This "nothing stops them from getting anything they want" is interesting. Is that true, i.e., do they say that? Actually this is what is said, and it is said about everyone in the room, it's up on the wall in a banner: (my memory) You can have anything that you want for yourself and your life through your participation in the Landmark Forum, that you share with another, who is moved, touched, and inspired by your having gotten the possibility."

First of all, notice how this was truncated. Can the Forum Leader get "anything he or she wants"? Frankly, this sounds like a juvenile fantasy. The actual distinction is different, and those words are very carefully chosen. When I did the Forum, the first thing I got about this was the word "life." "yourself and your life" were not just rhetorical synonyms. Your "life" means "everyone you know and have interaction with." However, that was minor compared to what I saw later.

Ever see w:Forbidden Planet? The planet sized machine that would make happen whatever you wanted? And how dangerous this was?

It is not just "anything you want." There is a condition, which involves sharing the possibility with another, and the response. That is the realm of enrollment, not the realm of survival (which is what most of our wants are about). I saw this many times. A woman came to the hot seat in the SELP, and was asked what her possibility was. "I am the possibility of making a million dollars." The Leader says, "I'm not inspired!" What is it you really want? (Inspiring possibilities are not about things we have no direct power over, "conditions." They are about states of being, which we can create by declaration, that's a secret of the technology. What I recall is that the woman then said something like, "I am the possibility of security, of having enough." And that was actually inspiring, and she could actually have that, all it takes is a commitment and taking actions correlated with it. She could also make a million dollars, but it could also disappear quickly! And, as they say, "money can't buy me love." Lots of Landmark people make lots of money, and I saw the technology vastly amplify earning power for people. But it's almost an afterthought, because the goal is not getting rich. The goal is freedom, peace of mind, self-expression, etc.

..You want that. Bad.

He wanted it, he will tell us. I'll say, and this is ancient wisdom: The more you want it, the less available it is to you. Only when you don't lust after it, does it become available.

I know I wanted it, as I was listening to a course leader share about the ILP. Part of the sales pitch of the ILP involves sharing a glowing list of what people get out of the program:

What's amazing is how naive he was. He believed everything he was told. Now, in fact, they were not lying to him, but what he believed was a fantasy, it was how he interpreted what they told him.He's going to be surrounded by admirers. And anything he wants? "Hey, God won't you give me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all have Porsches and I must make amends."

Nothing wrong with a Mercedes, he can have one if he wants. But does he want to pay the price?

I studied the promises of the ILP, we would read them aloud at the beginning of every assisting session, in a small group. They come true, they are realized. But the reality is not Blogger's fantasy. I'll assert it is much better. For starters, it's real. As real as anything can be that is not concrete (basically, the promises are all stories.)

This gets really cool:

I know I wanted it, as I was listening to a course leader share about the ILP. Part of the sales pitch of the ILP involves sharing a glowing list of what people get out of the program:
They get promoted.
They get raises.
They get the relationship of their dreams (or turn their current relationship into the relationship of their dreams).
They get the job of their dreams, if they don’t already have it.
They get acknowledged for leadership.
They win awards.
They always get the close parking spots.
Everything gets out of their way when transformation is afoot.
Their level of clout and authority goes through the roof.
I don’t remember all of the points that were said, but these cover all the bases. Basically, you get to be the shit.

What I notice is that he translates a list of happenings into "being the shit." That is what he did. For him, it is all about being the shining star. In fact, those things happen to be people who learn how to make others shine. Maybe even the parking spots. I don't want to swear by that one, but it does seem to me that it happens. {Yes it does; that was an anecdote shared in my ILP} However, it's also a characteristic of training that we interpret life as wonderful, so ... do parking spaces really appear magically? Who cares?

The only thing is, if you register for the ILP just for those reasons, your 6 months in the program will be Hell.

Brilliant. True. Here is what really happens. At an ILP intro -- I've seen a couple of them -- people who have done the ILP get up and talk about what happened to them. Those things or things like them will be on the list. These are not the "promises of the program." Many of these things are relatively natural consequences of the actual promises being realized. People do get promoted, find love, win awards, etc. What seems like miracles happen. So how are the promises realized? Basic description, which has two aspects that may seem contradictory. First, you get out of the way. Then, you make it happen. Or there way around, you make it happen and then you get out of the way and let it happen.

What prevents these things from being real for all of us is that we get in the way. We stop it. So much or most of transformation is learning how to disappear.

The months in the ILP will be hell because, with those goals and that way of thinking, you will make it that way. You will experience what happens as failure. You will experience coaching as blame and being yelled at. You will not be able to enroll and register people because if you were authentic, you imagine that people will be repelled, and you might be right. That's all your identity, and, remember, you are ready to give that up if you take the ILP. Your precious identity. That is at cause for everything in your life, including your decision to do the ILP with the expectations you have.

To your identity, this is the worst possible news. Hell. But if you drop the identity, if you return to your very simple human nature -- that is grateful to be able to breathe, to be alive, that is quite simple at core, and with this, we are all the same, it is our developed identities that make us different and, all too often, miserable -- you will find the ILP a joy and fun and even easy. The ILP is, like a number of things, a Chinese finger trap. The more you try to escape the harder it is. If you surrender, you are free. Completely free.

Don't blame the identity. This is mostly a frightened child, and children need love. Assure him that he'll be fine. The word has power. I found or got this in the Invented Life seminar, or both, that the amygdala, which runs these survival programs, responds to verbal commands and assurances. If you are upset, and tell yourself that you are okay, say the words aloud, say it like a parent -- even if you think it's crazy, "what do you mean okay, my Mercedes just got scratched!" -- within minutes, you will be calmed, and if there is anything to actually do, you'll know it.

Because what you’re learning to be is a registration machine. You are learning what it takes to stand in the front of a room and sell the Landmark Forum to people. Everything you do is intended to serve that end. The transformation you undergo to become the shit is just a by-product of your reaching that goal.

What does it take to stand in front of a room to sell the Landmark Forum -- or anything -- to people? Yes, in the ILP, one learns, if one follows the program, to do that. That does not mean that one does it for the rest of your life, that one does it even once. One learns how to do it, and that skill is generic. If one can sell the Landmark Forum, one can sell anything that actually serves people.

One could call it being a registration machine, but that story neglects what it actually takes. It takes being fully human. It takes being authentic and inspiring, which go together. I.e., the most effective registration machine is a fully self-realized human being.

Remember, "becoming the shit" was Blogger's invention. He made that up. It's what he wanted. It appealed to him, so strongly that he was willing to make a huge commitment that he probably could not yet afford.

I remember a revealing comment that a center manager once told me about a participant who completed the ILP. The participant shared in front of the class how amazing and exhausting the experience was, but now she FINALLY gets to start that project she’s been waiting 6 WHOLE MONTHS to start…!
The center manager said, “Why did she wait? Why wait until after the ILP to start having a great life? That’s not what it’s about. If what you want for your life is to do a project, do that; don’t put it off for the ILP.”

Right. But the center manager did not answer the question raised. Why did she wait? I could only guess. She wanted to have this amazing and exhausting experience first. I don't want to call the ILP exhausting, but I will say that when I declared I was complete with it, I didn't want to do much of anything but maybe Sudoku for weeks. I relished having nothing to do. But I'm not going to assign this some big meaning.

Gee, thanks. Someone could have used that advice 6 months ago.

That advice is ubiquitous in Landmark. Don't wait to live your life, live it today. Bogger was not ready to do that, isn't it obvious? But he wants to blame others for not telling him what to do six months earlier. That avoiding of responsibility is a theme in the blog. Instead of "I misunderstood" -- which is quite the case -- it was "I was misled."

There’s another one: Towards the bitter end of my ILP, I was actually sitting in an Introduction to the ILP, sharing with folks who were considering the program for themselves. A course leader was leading the conversation, and he gave the rundown of all the above ways an ILP graduate can be the shit from completing the program.
But he cautioned, if you do the ILP just for those reasons, you’ll have a really hard time; it’ll be difficult.

It is possible that this is part of an Introduction to ILP format. (It was, but only after I started doing ILP} And very possible then, that it was said the first time, simply was not heard, because this is not what Blogger wanted to hear. He wanted to be the shit, and this was his chance!

However, anyone with basic knowledge of the technology would tell him that, if he revealed his motives and thinking. That is exactly what he did not do. He hid it, because he didn't want to be yelled at. He was terrified of looking bad.

Again: Gee, thanks. Nobody told me that in my introduction, and here I am now, with a shit job and clinically depressed. All I did was say I was considering the ILP, and along came a course assistant to shove the application into my hand.

Basically, it's his fault I'm in the ILP. He made me do it. It wasn't my choice. {Here's what happened: I say, in front of my SELP peers, "I'm considering doing the ILP." Next thing, an assistant comes up the aisle and physically puts an application in my hand.} Multiply that by all the situations in his life and what do we get?

Well, a shit job and clinically depressed, easily. It could get worse. No job and flat-out suicidal.

Because again, it’s all about registrations.

Registration. And Registration is all about choice. Who chooses to register or not?

I'm very aware that many people will register and claim they were pushed into it. {I'm clear that I wasn't pushed. Just chose to do it for the wrong reasons.} That's a story, just as the idea that they did it freely is a story. Stories serve purposes. What is the purprose of the story that they were pushed into it? It's obvious.

The purpose is avoiding responsibility for the conditions of one's life. {That was certainly a thing for me then.} If we can blame others for them, we feel better, because we want to avoid blame. Being blamed is painful, very uncomfortable. We have responsibility and blame all tied up with each other, and with shame and guilt. If our live sucks, we think, and we are responsible for that, we should be ashamed.

In fact, it's just an occurring (life sucks). If we want to think our life sucks, so what? Teenagers must say this, fairly normally, like maybe once a day? At least many do.

However, believing it is another thing. Blogger has not gotten through this, still, we can tell. He's got much of the technology, anyway. He uses it, but he's still stuck in this story of how terrible an experience this was. Apparently it didn't kill him. {Oh, and that's enough to make it all right?} So now what? He is still very private, reveals very little about himself {Again, what do you want me to say??}, and those were associated with what made the ILP so difficult for him.

But he was already in a pickle, before the ILP. Indeed, I'd say that the ILP took him closer to sanity. And, yes, because it led him to leave. That was a choice, he demanded it, insisted on it, and wouldn't let anyone talk him out of it. In a way, I'm cheering that.

If you love the work of transformation at Landmark more than life itself, then you have to love registering people into Landmark more than life itself, because lots of registrations means there’s lots of transformation going on. And if you live for that, then you gotta live for the ILP, because that’s all the ILP is about: registrations.

Registrations are not even mentioned in the Promises. Yeah, they are a measure used. If you want to be an Introduction Leader, registrations are important to you, because they are part of your measures.

But it's not all that much, in fact. {Oh, everyone gets coached into doing more and more and more. It's not inspiring enough to the weekend leader if you just want to meet the measures. They want you to go beyond. All the time.} I almost made it, in spite of events. I think I had 12 registrations, including one personal. I needed 15 total and a guest card registration. {I don't remember guest card registrations from my experience.} Those are the toughest to get, living far from the Center. Originally, when I registered into the ILP< the Registration Manager told me I'd be able to make guest card calls from home. I did do some guest card cleanup, a particular task where I contacted grads to tell them the results from their guest. But that Registration Manager married the Fulfillment manger -- an amazing woman -- and they left to "have lots of babies" and the Center Manager then said, not that was against policy, blah, blah.

Blogger doesn't say this, but one personal registration. {Yep, I don't remember that being required when I was participating.} One person you know, from your life, in six months. Registration machine? Okay, you can call it that. The other registrations are from sitting at registration tables at guest events and Introductions. If you don't get those, this would be why:

  • You are repulsive, people won't go to your table if you paid them.
  • People come to your table and your conversation convinces them not to register. They wouldn't come to the table if they were not ready to register (usually).
  • You aren't going to enough registration events. In the ILP, it's set up, you have many to go to, but you do have to show up! {I actually met the measure for registration. Where I didn't met it was with guests.}

OKay, I've seen other reasons:

  • There is a cute guy sitting at another table across the room, and an Introduction Leader takes the guest right past you, like you are chopped liver, to him.
  • You are brought a guest because a grad thinks you are the perfect person for this guest to talk to, because of blah blah. So you talk, and it takes up the entire time, and instead of getting three registrations, you get one or none.
And if you complete the program? Congratulations. You have assimilated into the hive mind.

No, you have simply completed the program, you have skills, and most do not go on to become Introduction Leaders, it is a huge commitment. If you made your measures, you become "candidatable." Then if you run a "candidatable lead," and you make your measures for that, (the minimum is one registration out of three or four guests. If there are more guests, the minimum goes up proportionally, I think it is 1/4 rounded up). People become candidatable and do not go on to serve as ILs. There is no promise to do that.

There are a few other requirements. You have to pass a mock. I didn't (no-pass twice, once very early because I was Fast Track), but that was just a matter of practice. {I passed my mock}

But if you’re in the program wishing you were doing something else, do yourself a favor: stop fucking around and GET OUT.

First of all, a transient "wishing I was doing something else" would not be sufficient cause to leave, at least not for me. That's for grasshoppers. However, if the coaching is perceived as torture, if the entire experience is as miserable as Blogger makes it out to be, one is obviously not in a good place to benefit from the program! People leave, it's common, I don't know the standard number but it might be one-third or more. It's not a big deal. Coaches and/or the Program Leader or the Center Manager or the Registration Manager will talk to the participant to make sure that it's an actual choice, but it's obvious, from what I've seen, that there is no strong-arming to stay, and there are no negative consequences from leaving the ILP. People leave and if they want to try again, next tranche or later, they can apply. (The ILP does require acceptance, it is unlike other Landmark Programs, acceptance is not automatic and I've seen people not allowed to do it. Often people are told to get their lives together first. That didn't happen with Blogger, and I don't know why, but I suspect he was good at hiding the problems he was having.) {I think it was all about having enough registrations for ILP}

Blogger went much further than leaving the ILP. He apparently announced an intention to leave Landmark forever. That's likely to upset his Landmark friends {nobody missed me when I left, and I didn't miss them either}. He did it, I'm assuming, to meet some personal needs. Some people need a dramatic break to create change. People who are married may need to get in a big fight to leave. Lots and lots of graduates don't come to courses, for years, not a big deal. Nobody goes after them, beyond some normal sales calls or invitations, for a limited time. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:48, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

EX-coachable[edit | edit source]

March 10, 2014

Okay, a little bit, I'm burning out. More to go? Ugh! Now, my training is to notice that and then make a choice. That's an occurring, not a fact. It's a reaction, and says more about me than the topic. My choice? To complete what I set out to do, even though this is taking a unreasonable amount of time. This study is generating a draft, not a finished product, so even more work will be involved to make something actually useful -- except for those who want to follow my tracks.

I now am familiar enough with the source material, the blog, that I'm ruminating on it at night and in the morning before getting up. I have come to a conclusion over what puzzled me. The blogger is a woman. There were lots of clues, not even subtle, like "my boyfriend," but gay men have boyfriends. Gay men, stereotypically, also may show hysterical responses, that would be part of any parody of "gay." But I resisted this conclusion, because there are aspects to the thinking displayed that would be much more common with men than with women. {What - did I write to intelligently to be a woman?}

Is it important that this is a woman rather than a man (I assumed man from the very beginning, and this would be the first woman I've seen with substantial Landmark experience who wrote extensive Landmark criticism)? I do not assume "importance." That's part of the training, it has a flip side: I do not assume unimportance. Political correctness would be to dismiss gender as unimportant, currently. But gender actually makes a difference.

In this case, the blogger was critical and reactive to several things more likely to cause a reaction with women than with men. The inquiring into molestation was one. The blogger is aware that a knee-jerk assessment of that would arise, that she was herself molested. She denies it. However, of course, denial among survivors of molestation is common. Catch-22, I'm sure, frustrating. However, to anyone whe believes they were never molested, I'd suggest simply suspending judgment, because one can never actually know for sure that one was not molested. What one can do is detect reactions, those arise in the present, and they might arise from actual suppressed memory of molestation, or from imagination of molestation or knowing of the molestation of others. From a training perspective, the truth of the past does not matter that much, and, as pointed out, "molestation" is not a truth, it is a reaction, an assessment, a judgment, an analysis, etc.

The other examples that come to mind are the judgmental reports of a rumor that a Forum Leader had a mistress in every city, and the idea of the ILP being a place for a coach to find easy sexual partners. I've been an SELP coach, that's very simple, and I coached beautiful women. Of course, my training (before Landmark, but continued) is to declare all women as beautiful. It works, by the way, I will say "where possible." I found that women project unattractiveness as a defensive strategy, for obvious reasons. I discovered this by observing a woman who seemed quite plain, then, in a conversation where she felt safe, she was beautiful! They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that would be one side. There is another side, beauty is created and projected by the object of beauty, if this is a sentient being. And how a person sees themself is a part of this. So I say that beauty exists in the interaction between observer and object, not simply in either one, exclusively.

Now, if this was a sexual opportunity, being a coach, wow! I sure missed out. One of my coachees was actually professionally beautiful, I won't give more details, but it was understandable! Others were simply strong, beautiful women. And, hey, I was a single man! Who loves women! So what did I do?

Loved them, silly! Love does not mean "Let's get in bed together." Depending on context, it can mean the opposite. I explored this in depth many years ago, demonstrating the independence of love and sex and marriage. Love that demands sex is conditional. Love does awaken sexual instincts, under certain conditions. The essence of love, though, is caring. Definitely not controlling, beyond the level of control of a functional parent for an immature child. Parents at some point face the necessity of letting go of control, or else their "love" actually harms the child.

So, here we go. The plan here is to complete the first pass discussion, consider it a log of an exploration, then go back and edit, refactoring, summarizing, etc., to make this more accessible. I will also point this out to the blogger, as a comment on the blog (which is edited by her. By the way, the final strongest evidence of femininity was the user name of the blogger, "sound sorceress." I had overlooked that. I am not, at this point, going back and editing the gender references. The history of this document will show every error of mine, every slip, overreaction, clumsiness. I like that. My training is to consider all that part of the process of transformation, it not only is "not wrong," attempting to avoid it is disempowering.

That’s how I’m going to describe myself to any Landmark person who knows I’m familiar with the work and thinks I’m being squirrely.

I.e., "ex-coachable." Now, she is sensitive to being called a "liar." I don't wonder, this is very common. That she was called a liar was a gross error on the part of her ILP Leader. I've seen no signs that she "lied." However, her answer on the registration form, and much of what she has written about herself, failed to completely disclose what she knew, if she considered it. She did not consider it, so these statements were not "lies," which is taken as meaning "deliberate misrepresentation with an intention of deception or concealment." She did not deliberately misrepresent the truth, as far as anything I've seen. She believed what she said, even if it was false. And, in fact, "false," as we can see in the central "lie," is an interpretation, not a truth.

So her ILP coach screwed up, my interpretation. I can speculate why. She also was not lying. She believed what she said. This is Yet Another Example of how Landmark Leaders are very human. We make mistakes, and calling someone a "liar," without necessity, is generally being an asshole. Hence Werner said we are all assholes. He wasn't being judgmental! Rather, we judge ourselves, indirectly, by judging others who do the same as us. "Asshole" is a literal object and every human has one -- I think! But that's not what it means. "Asshole" is actually an emotional reaction, a survival response. We will come back to this.

So ... why did I bring up "lying"? Because the blogger could easily examine her own behavior and realize that what she is saying is false. She was never actually coachable. {I did the homework and acknowledged when I didn't. And I sat there and took it when I was being coached.} She very succesfully pretended to be coachable, because she would take the outer actions as suggested, but it is not clear that she ever generated the necessary innner states to make the coaching work. It's pretty simple. She experienced coaching as "being yelled at." She did not confront that. {Calling out your own coach or leader was absolutely unheard of when I was participating.} It would have been very simple, and I've described a woman who did it. At the least sophisticated level, she would openly display an emotional response. "STOP YELLING AT ME!" She might yell! But she didn't do that. It would look bad. To practice being authentic about our inauthenticity, a basic Landmark technique that she was well aware of, but continually misinterpreted, one must be willing to "look bad." That is, to allow that appearance to arise. Of course, "bad" is a story! So all one is doing is generating stories, potentially -- and normally -- transient, at least within the context of the training.

I'll give an example from the other day. I was emailing the director of an educational program I'm involved with, and was critiquing fee collection practices. I love this program, and am fond of the director, he is devoting his life to supporting alternative education, and is being very effective. But I write a lot. And I research what I write, so what is behind my writing, that might take, say, twenty minutes to read, will be hours of work. So he has been doing this for many years. And I'm telling him that he's doing it wrong, or, more to the point, he could easily take it that way. So, after an email in which I gave him a series of evidences that what he was doing, shall we say, was falling short of the ideal, I then sent him an email with the subject header: Sorry for being a know-it-all asshole. The body of the email was simple: best wishes, see you at the Potluck if not before.

This is coming out of the training. I did not apologize and then attempt to minimize it, i.e., by explaining "but really I have good intentions." or anything like that. I tossed a ping pong in the air, where he could hit it however he chose. Maybe it's worth quoting his response here.

You are a know it all. You are not an asshole! Actually I appreciate all of this perspective.

And then he went into more of his position and stand. And then we, very quickly, negotiated an agreement. He completely accepted my proposal. He made an exception to the policy, and it was understood that this was a trial, because this could apply to many other parents. The outcome was win-win, as far as I can tell.

Now, my past. In an Introduction, as an IL, I'd describe that first. My past would be that we would end up in an argument, with him, in my view, not understanding me, and me being, once again, rejected and blamed for what I thought of as knowing too much. Unfair! Unfair! And I'd be obsessed with it, unless I completely dropped my involvement. And I was right, dammit! (I exposed illegal activity on the part of a nonprofit organization when I was on the board, for example. I did not report it to authorities, but my discussion of it with the board was considered being "not a team player," or " disrupting the collegiality between the board and the staff," etc. I resigned, with bad feeling. And there were many other incidents like this, with a common pattern. I'm odd man out. I'm right, nobody listens, blah, blah. And this is what my Forum Leader nailed, after a brief listening. One word: Racket. He didn't have to yell, because I already knew it. I could hear it in my voice.

But I was right, dammit! For some reason, I knew already that racket had nothing to do with right and wrong. A racket is a persistent complaint combined with a fixed way of being. Period. No blame, no "right" or "wrong," just those two conditions in combination. The "complaint" part usually shows up in tone of voice, it's a characteristic whine. It's the voice of a victim, pleading. Definitely disempowered!

My life is full of examples like this interaction with the director. I can also acknowledge him, considering the generosity of his response! He is not a graduate. He runs a program, though, that has a high density of parents who are graduates, compared to the general population where I live. The transformative thinking is compatible. I've floated an idea to him of a joint introduction (to Landmark and to his program, and he's willing, if I set it up. It's yet another project to be undertaken.

Blogger thought of admitting inauthenticity as "grovelling." She uses that word over and over. Grovelling is admitting we are bad, to attempt to avoid punishment. I can speculate on her childhood, but that's really her job, to identify the genesis of her identity, if it matters. Grovelling is accompanied by intense shame, and, indeed, the way it works is to display such shame that the critic (real or imagined) forgives the offense. This behavior was developed as a child (Landmark will say "chosen," though onotolgically that's iffy, Landmark describes this as a choice because of the effect of declaring it as a choice, which generates power.)

Blogger never got the most basic of Landmark distinctions, "There is nothing wrong here." That distinction is a negation of what is considered to be a universal first choice in the genesis of identity: "There is something wrong here." That choice, that story, then colors the rest of our life, until we distinguish it as a choice, and experiment with alternatives, such as the declaration of "nothing wrong."

I have declared "nothing wrong here" when it seemed completely preposterous, in situations on the level of life and death. What happened? The situation transformed. What seemed ridiculously wrong disappeared. Transformation and inspiration and power appeared. Apparently, when we believe that something is wrong, the survival mechanisms of the amygdala are activated. "Wrong" is dangerous, so the fight or flight responses are triggered. What cognitive activity exists in the cerebral cortex is turned to an immediate problem solving mechanism, that assumes there is a problem, and looks for proof, cause, and a fix that is as quick as possible. It's an emergency, there is no time to reflect.

The ability of the cerebral cortex to identify and solve problems does not disappear when the "wrong" reaction is dropped. It actually is amplified, and becomes accessible to the "still small voice" mentioned by the ancients. Intuition operates, and we may do exactly the effective thing without conscious reason. The cerebral cortex is a vast pile of associations, most of them occurring outside of consciousness. The conscious mind, as far as I can tell, cannot encompass it.

If anyone asks me the classic Landmark question, “Are you willing to be coachable?” a “yes” answer practically guarantees that I’ll be exposed once again to the relentless enrollment and registration machine.

Particularly because the answer is not Yes. It would be inauthentic. "No," is, here, authentic. However, this is all a fixed story created by blogger. The vast majority of Landmark graduates ignore the "enrollment and registration machine." If they care about someone, and an opportunity arises, they might invite the person to, say, a standard Introduction at a seminar.

In the ILP, and in training for setting up introductions, we are told to tell invited guests to bring payment information. I tell them that, and then add something: If you are worried that you might be under undue influence, because Landmark graduates can be very persuasive, and you don't want to deal with cancelling a deposit, and you want to protect yourself, then don't bring a payment method. My stand is always for the guest, not the "machine." But I respect the machine. I love much of what it accomplishes. And I also know that it is not fully developed, pieces are missing, mistakes are made, etc.

Nothing is wrong here.

There are ILs who would disapprove of me "bringing the conversation over pressure into the room." I get it. There is a cost. But, still, if they raise that objection, my first and quick response is: "Controlling asshole!"

Blogger was not healthy, did not have the healthy self-protective responses that normally develop in the teenage years, where kids are normally telling their parents -- usually without saying it directly -- to fuck off. My sense is that this is instinctive, and necessary for long-term human adaptability and survival. I'm sure that this comment is not new to Blogger. {Actually, it is. Are you saying I'm developmentally disabled? And what gives you the authority to suggest that?} What I'd like her to understand is that this is not blame. It's about normal cause and effect. Blaming blogger would be like blaming a frightened child, and that is not "patronizing." We are all frightened children, at times. Everyone. {So stop it, please}

Or else it will give my companion free rein to tell me I’m a controlling, manipulative bitch (an old Landmark friend’s exact words to me on a coaching call).

With friends like this, who needs enemies? This, by the way, was more or less the last straw in my conclusion that Blogger is a woman. If the "old Landmark friend" is gay, and Blogger is gay, "bitch" could be used, but, far more likely, that word would be used with a woman. With a man, even though I once wrote that "asshole" was gender neutral, "asshole" is far more likely to be used for a man. Or, of course, "prick."

Now, here, I would ask Blogger:

  • Are you controlling?
  • Are you manipulative?

And, then, the third question which is much more on the "story" level"

  • Are you a bitch"?

To the first two questions, I find the answers obvious, they are threaded all through the posts describing her experiene. She is controlling and she is manipulative. Who is controlling and manipulative? It's a survival response, it gets particularly strong with w:Reactive attachment disorder, with which I have substantial experience. It is not "bad." It can be harmful, because the control is exercised by the primitive amygdala, it is not necessarily mature. Parents are, however, initially highly controlling and highly manipulative, it's part of being a parent! You tell your small children what to do, and you make sure they do it. "Controlling and manipulative" are not "bad," not in themselves.

That brings us to "bitch." Here is what I think. This "old friend" was frustrated, and "bitch" is an expression of that. When they are honest, people might say this about someone they love. But they are not, at that moment, shall we say, in love. They are in dislike, rejection, and probably blame. A "bitch" is unpleasant, isn't that the essence of it, someone who "bitches" regularly is incessantly complaining. So, when we are caught in a racket, we are "bitching."

But the world is heavily afflicted with emotional and cultural baggage. Not a skillful thing to say to a frightened child!

This is what I'd say: Blogger has the right to call herself a controlling, manipulative bitch, if that is authentic for her. It could be powerful. It is not grovelling at all. I did not grovel before the Director when I called myself a "know-it-all asshole." I said "sorry," not as an expression of shame or even guilt, but I was sorry for the possible impact of what I'd been saying on him. I find it fascinating that he confirmed "know-it-all." What does that mean. It's ambivalent, there are two primary possible meanings. First, that I "know it all," actually (which, of course, isn't true, but I do know a lot, because I research a lot, I write a lot, I study a lot, or, secondly, that I reflect a lot), or that I'm arrogant. Both are true, at least both are within my range of actual behavior.

And if you don't like that I'm arrogant, you can go eff yourself. That's an occuring response, because "arrogant" is often used to dismiss people without actually understanding them.

Arrogance is disempowering. That is, the occurring of "arrogant" in people's reactions will lead them to disregard the person and what they say. We have strong defenses against control by others, and, again, this all makes sense. We need to know that this is a survival response, because survival responses are properly respected, yet they are, in turn, disempowering, they only function well in emergencies.

Blogger has established defensive reponses. The issue would be whether or not they are dominating here when there is not an emergency. Who decides if there is an emergency. Do I decide for Blogger if there is no emergency when someone yells at her?

No. Blogger decides, it is a choice that only she can make. Unless I have the power to restrain her and drug her! {Again, story. What are you trying to say? That I need to be hospitalized again? Who are you to say that?} And I don't and wouldn't want that power unless I had that authority (think mental health professional in an institution) and considered it an emergency, myself.

Were I working with Blogger as a coach, I'd approach all this with care. Blogger is sensitive and sensitized to criticism. She has heavily rationalized this as avoiding harm, i.e., being subjected to the enrollment and registration machine. I would make sure that she understood I support her choice to stay away from that. I might occasionally mention that no matter how much she might want to bind herself so that she won't allow that, she remains free. But I would not, at all, support some guilted or coerced or manipulated "choice" to go back. She really, my opinion, should stay away unless she can make a free choice otherwise.

In 2014, she was not ready to make such a choice, so it's moot. She is right. Landmark is not the sole fount of wisdom and transformation on the planet. Attending or leaving Landmark is not an emergency, except that, for her, it actually became an emergency, objectively. She was going down fast, headed for the hospital. That's an emergency! Going back would never be an emergency.

Now, I understand that being coached involves hearing things you don’t want to hear. But it’s the yelling…
…the yelling…
…the yelling I couldn’t stand, and the pointed judgments, when I was taking courses.

Blogger had the problem from the beginning. Reactivity to yelling. This is almost certainly a developed response in childhood, and usually it's possible to determine the origin. The yelling would remind her of someone or some situation.

People yell under various circumstances, but the problem is here is not merely actual yelling, i.e. strongly elevated voice volume, which can be associated with anger, which can indicate danger. People may yell in emergencies, when they feel they are someone they love is threatened. And then people yell for effect, to punch through noise (which can include internal noise.) Reaction to yelling is not uncommon.

I think Blogger noticed yelling at other participants, and then determined to avoid that by being "coachable," etc. But it was all fear-based. If one is afraid of coaching, it's not going to work, the person is not motivated by testing transformational possibilities, but by avoiding what she fears. Yelling.

"Pointed judgment" is a complex occurring. First of all, I've seen this occuring arise when there was no judgment, or rather, when the one supposedly judging was not, they were just reporting fact, or sometimes an occurring without blame. The judgment is supplied by the one reacting. Literally, they are judging themselves and then projecting this onto the coach or Leader.

Or they actually are judging. People do. Leaders do. I've seen it. I've also seen them turn on a dime. Blogger was entirely too freaked out to confront a Leader directly, I suspect. Her ILP Leader confronted her, in the closing session, with "liar." Consider what would have happened if she had confronted the Leader, in turn, with "A lie is an deliberate attempt to deceive. I had no intention to deceive when I fill out that form. Further, the assessment that I was actually admitted to a hospital is inaccurate, I was not. Forget the past. Are you saying I'm lying right now, to your face?" And she would have been there, staring down the Leader. Present, unashamed, clear, and, by the way, fully self-expressed. Ah that would have been a victory, and, my guess, the room would have been applauding. And if not, there is no law that says one must continue to expose oneself to persistent assholes.

We are assholes, all of us, from time to time, and so some decision that "assholes are bad" will backfire. Blogger had not learned to make judgements without believing them to be the "truth." That' using the brain, as it is, but not being run by it, rather running it by choice. One of my favorite phrases is, "It's my story and I'm sticking to it."

See, if I'm choosing my story, I become free. I can change it at any time. The one who doesn't want to look bad thinks that if we change our story, we will look bad. So we will defend our stories beyond reason and understanding. They are just stories? Empty and meaningless! That is what that distinction is for, to allow us to exercise power.

If I were an NCAA football player, I could deal with a yelling, judgmental coach.

Yes. Yelling coaches is normal in certain contexts. Further, desensitization to yelling is normal in war games of any kind, which extends to competitive sports, which can be war games.

If I were being absolutely belligerent and didn’t give a fuck, I would need a little private face-to-face to sort things out.

I'm not clear what she means here. Why "private"? Okay, it's obvious. Shame. But if she doesn't give a fuck, why shame? Shame is very much giving a fuck. Blogger was heavily afflicted with shame. That's obvious!

It seems to me that this was not handled with skill. However, the coaches, twelve years ago, were faced with the real situation, and we don't know how visible it was to them. Blogger has now disclosed much that she did not disclose then.

I don't think that Blogger's reaction is that unusual, but it's extreme compared with the usual. Consider: ILP training is Leader training, and Leaders must be able to hear criticism without reacting. Coaches will assume that this is a necessary trait to develop, and a common method is desensitization. (I've never seen this discussed, by the way, in Landmark, so this is not some official position. I know that, myself, my response to what seemed to me to be crazy reactions in others was to attempt to desensitize them. That developed out of having a paranoid/catatonic schizophrenic mother, I was trying to fix her, over and over. It didn't work.) When the reaction is deeply rooted, desensitization, straight off, without clear consent and safety escapes, etc., doesn't work. (I've done w:EMDR with an expert, and the D in EMDR is "desensitization," and great precautions were taken before activating the trauma.)

There are better ways.

But I’m no longer participating in Landmark, and I never will again. I’m out of that conversation. I’m ex-coachable.
I can happily work with you and further any transformation we do together if we have a common interest, or you know beyond a doubt what my commitment is to my life. If you care more about my commitment to my life than your own commitment to the Landmark machine, I may accept a form of coaching.

Carefully controlled, of course! What Blogger wants (caring "more about my commitment" than to "your own commitment to the Landmark machine") was, for me, a part of the training. It's incorporated into the corporate vision in the Originating Document.

However, suppose we met, Blogger and I. I'm not directly involved with Landmark right now. However, my thinking is now heavily transformed by the training. When they say that one walks out a different person than the one who walked in, that is meant, it's real, at least for many. I am Landmark. However, this "Landmark" is the child of the person who walked in the door. That person did not actually die. Whatever understanding or power he had did not disappear. We still have our strong suits, for example (for better and for worse). It could easily occur to Blogger that I'm "defending" Landmark, just as it could occur that I'm defending myself. These are human things to do. They are normal. Blogger was, and possibly still is, highly reactive to ordinary human behavior. And she does not want to transform that, it's clear. Rather, she wants everything to be under control.

This is standard amygdala response. The entity responding in this way is called IT in the Invented Life seminar, which, I've understood, is the most recent material in the seminar series. IT always wants to be in control, but it is not safe to not be in control.

Behind this, IT does not even trust itself, so IT will set up "rules" to be followed so that IT cannot harm itself. Bottom line, it gets dumber and dumber, because intelligence requires freedom. However, IT may set up rules well enough that it lives a long time. Generally miserable, but IT will tell itself everything is fine. And, of course, that's IT's right. In the end, we are free, but freedom and responsibility go together. There is not one without the other.

So a path out of this trap has been blazed. It is not the only path. If one knows a better one, take it! Blogger uses Landmark technology, she reveals to us, when she chooses to. Nothing wrong with that, and we can say that she fully paid for it. She does not "owe" Landmark anything. (The concept of "paying back" Landmark for the transformation is defective. What is more accurate is that passing on transformation, we develop it and secure our own. And this does not need to be within the Landmark structure, that is merely an option.)

I don’t say that to be manipulative; I say that so I can protect myself and the people I love from manipulation.
Because I’ve seen where it can go.

Really, it's tempting to say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" However, Blogger is not lying. She is contradicting herself. Saying something to protect oneself is manipulative. It's control. {How is that possible?} And she has it wired that "manipulation and control" are Bad. Hence she is denying being manipulative. But does whether or not one is manipulative or not depend on whether or not one has "good reasons"?

I would not think so. Manipulative is manipulative, but the ordinary way we use language assigns far more than the literal meanings to words. Words become codes, mostly to a world of Right and Wrong, Good and Bad.

What I'd love to see would be for Blogger to say "I'm a controlling, manipulative bitch, get over it!" That is, fully own who she is, and she would use "bitch" like I used "asshole," to give the statement emotional power. Essentially, this is "I am what I am," what is it that God said was his name to Moses? {If I do that, it won't be for you}

One of the realizations of the technology is that we create reality by declaring it. I resisted this understanding. Wrong, I thought. Well, I didn't understand it. The reality created is not external, it's internal. The declaration programs the brain.

And it's not necessarily what a simple-minded understanding would come up with. So, a misunderstanding of this would lead us to avoid saying things like "I'm an asshole," because we would be afraid to create that. It does not actually have that effect, and Landmark is experimental and experiential psychology, not theoretical. The effect of "I'm an asshole" is to allow that idea to have a little space, to breathe, to be accepted, and then it becomes releasable. When it's being resisted, it is bound and stuck.

Basically, if I'm okay with "I'm an asshole," I can then be okay with being something else. My statement with that Director opened up the space, such that if he was thinking that, he was able to make a different choice. I know him pretty well, He's human, and he gets frustrated. I'd guess he was thinking it. Now, suppose I imagine he is thinking that. Normal response: attempt to prove to him I'm not an asshole. How? Well, perhaps, agree to everything he says. Be a doormat. Hey, Blogger how well does that work?

Yeah, might make him like me, but, my guess, he'd not really trust it. He'd smell a rat. Plus, my own resentment would grow until it breaks through. Or I leave to get away from the oppressive situation.

I didn't let that happen. I intervened. I took charge, like I took charge with the thief of my iPhone. To pull that off, I had to make it clear and obvious that I was considering, and respecting, the world of the other. It had to be authentic.

I can be an asshole, and my yak yak explaining things to people can be assholery. This is, in no way, grovelling. I don't feel ashamed. I'm proud, in fact, perhaps that's an aspect of my arrogance.

But if you can’t work with me unless I submit to Landmark rhetoric, or let myself be judged a petulant, resistant “criminal” (actual word a leader used to describe a whole room of people in an LE course), or go so far as to put that name tag on again, then you obviously haven’t learned a damned thing in your courses about transformation.

Consider what is being avoided, demanded to be absent:

  • Submitting to Landmark rhetoric. My training is to submit to reality and to encourage others to do that. Rhetoric can be about submission, but is not submission. I don't think that Blogger knows what real submssion is, I've seen no sign of it. Submission, the kind that matters, is an acceptance of reality as it is. Period. Without necessarily knowing what Reality is. It is a leap of faith, throwing one's hat over the fence (Landmark rhetoric), an unreasonable trust ("unreasonable" is Landmark rhetoric), because, after all, hasn't life proven to us that it cannot be trusted? That something is wrong here?
  • Letting myself be judged. But people are going to judge us. "The human being is a meaning making machine." Already Always Listening never shuts off. (Once one understands what it is, that is totally understandable.) So the only way to avoid being judged is to avoid people, or to control interactions with people such that they get nothing to work with, to judge. To control one's behavior so that it always appears to be positive. Real coaching is designed to allow us to see what is in our blind spots. Some of this will look ugly at first glance. So avoiding being judged probably precludes any real coaching. It demands that coaching be perfect, and people are not perfect.
There is a story of the seeker after truth who was looking for the perfect teacher. The seeker went from teacher to teacher, finding a flaw with each, and then moving on. Finally, the seeker found the Perfect Teacher, and ask to become a student. The Perfect Teacher said, "I'm sorry, but I only accept Perfect Students."
(What really happens with a skilled coach: The judgments will arise, that's AAL, but the coach will quickly distinguish them and drop them, digging underneath the judgments to the actual observations, recognising possibilities other than the knee-jerk ones, etc. However, the skill of coaches is not perfect, so the student develops the skill of using coaching powerfully. So if I occur to my coach as Blah-Blah, and I see that, instead of getting angry with the coach for what is only a reaction, (and having a counter-reaction. Moi? How could he possibly think of me like that!), I have choices. One is to confront the judgment, as that coach did with the SELP Leader. "I feel like you are making me wrong."
That was a purely authentic disclosure. Now, consider if the Leader was defensive, and thought of this as "pointed criticism." After all, in context, isn't "making someone wrong" Bad in the Landmark culture? No, the Leader was "coachable." She was able to hear what was said and process it with relative objectivity.
She did take a moment, you could see the gears turning. The coach she was supervising had hit her right between the eyes, it was simple, powerful, and effective. Without actually being blaming, it was an "I-message," disclosing her occurring world. The Leader took a deep breath, and said, "You're right." Then she disclosed her fear.
We would make someone wrong out of fear. If the Leader thinks of herself as "the shit," as Blogger called it, the Leader would have resisted this, perhaps, being threatened, going into counterattack, i.e., "I'm not making you wrong, you are already wrong. I'm just telling you the truth, which, of course, you don't want to hear. Are you willing to be coachable"?
This, of course, would have confirmed the coach's impression, and in addition, convinced the coach and those watching -- like me, but other highly experienced graduates as well (The Head Coach there was soon to become an SELP Leader herself)-- that the Leader was FOS. Definitely, at best Having a Bad Day. I'd have intervened in some way, I suspect. I hope so, anyway. It was not necessary. Both of them handled this with high skill, the coach as a participant who knows how to create leadership in others (like the Leader) and the Leader who knows how to lead most powerfully, by example. No grovelling involved. If there was shame on either side, they immediately dropped it.
Because what the hell kind of transformation do you have if you can’t work with everyday people who don’t (or won’t) wear the name tag? How are you transforming life if you only stand for people who will say “yes” to the machine?

Not at all, I'd say. It's obvious. However, Blogger is far more concerned with the transformation of others than with her own transformation. She's looking for a perfect coach, using certain standards that she created, when the powerful position for one who actually wants transformation is to create it, by turning interactions into opportunities to be coached. By anyone. Whether or not they judge, and, in fact, someone who is judgmental might be an excellent coach, if what one is seeking is freedom from self-blame and self-judgment, because when we are afflicted with these, we commonly project the blame and judgment onto others, and we create the judgment in others so we can easily do this.

It’s been said that a person who resists coaching in an LE program is resisting their own life. What this syllogism reduces to is, Landmark is life.

No. That "reduction" is substituting a silly story for an observation. The reduction does not follow from the observation, which is what it actually is, not a syllogism, as such. Someone who resists coaching anywhere is resisting the transformation of their own life. It happens that those who say this within Landmark are talking about coaching in Landmark. Hence the translation to "Landmark is life" is a non sequitur.

Telling someone that they are resistant to coaching might be racketing them. Does the person have a persistent complaint about coaches and coaching. It this combined with a fixed way of being? If so, a coach might point it out. However, "resistant to coaching" can easily mean "you don't want to do it my way." Now, if this is your coach, what you have taken on is a commitment to trying the coaches way out, which requires, for starters, persistence in attempting to understand how to try it. I'd say that it was somewhat common for my coaches to tell me to do something, and I had no clue how to do it (or didn't understand it and then thought it was wrong). So what then? There are many options, if I'm in charge of my own transformation. (Accepting coaching does not relinquish responsibility.) I can try doing the thing, as silly as it seems, at least once! Is someone going to die? Will they put me in jail if I do this. If so, shall we say, caution is in order. But if all that will happen is that I might look silly, this is an obvious possibility. Or I can ask for coaching on how to do what is suggested. If that's not clear, I can insist on clear explanation, or, better, we can run mocks, to practice the necessary skill.

Blogger could not do this, and we can see the lack of this skill -- creating her own coaching -- all through her stories. "Lack of skill" is not a moral failure. This is not blame. I think that some of the necessary skill is part of normal human development, perhaps in the teenage years, so there may be a developmental disorder here. {Again, you believe I'm developmentally disabled? I have two masters degrees. I am not retarded.} Regardless, these skills can be developed, even if they are delayed. They might be delayed for fifty years, and can still be developed.

Sorry. No, it isn’t.

Right. Life is not contained in Landmark, rather Landmark is contained in Life.

And if I were still participating in Landmark, I could take a yelling, judgmental coach better now than I did twelve years ago.

Doubtless. It's possible that Blogger could become flat about this. She would see a yelling, judgmental coach and what would occur to her might be "1. Is he dangerous, is he going to attack me. No? Drop the emotional reaction, I don't need the adrenaline, I 'm safe, so now 2. What I hear is Yelling. Judgmental. Thinks he's right. Is he upset?" And you would then look more closely (adding in an additional sense, vision, if high skill is developed in this, you would sense heart rate, blood flow to the face, etc.) to assess the position of that coach, and maybe help him out. "I don't like being yelled at, it was a long time trigger for me. Are you yelling at me for a reason, are you upset?" You might end up laughing, both of you. And your life would never again be run by these reactions. You don't have to put up with yelling, but occasionally, people being people, you might need to handle it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:00, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Liar[edit | edit source]

March 18, 2014

As far as what occurs to me as "Landmark error," i.e, error on the part of a Leader, this post takes the cake. If it is accurately reported -- always an issue -- then there was a remarkable naivete displayed, probably self-protection on the part of the Leader. I am not claiming lying, even as a possibility, but rather there is the possibility of selective memory and translation, and we know that Blogger, like most people, may summarize what someone says into a more compact expression, and, repeated in the mind over time, that becomes the memory. It's a well-known phenomenon. It can be quite difficult -- or impossible -- to tease out what actually happened. But my goal here is not to determine what actually happened, but to examine what lives in the mind of Blogger, to the time of writing. So I will generally assume that what happened is what Blogger reports, unless I have strong reason to think otherwise.

Landmark wields the power of an emotional sledgehammer to get the truth out of people. That’s kind of their whole reason for being.
Not everyone survives the impact. Or deserves it.

This concept, of an emotional sledgehammer, I find fascinating. The image is this: I'm a Leader. I see that the participant is refusing to accept something that I believe she needs to see. So I pull out my Acme Emotional Sledgehammer and whack her right between the eyes. She dissolves in a puddle of emotions, including shame and guilt and fear. And then I tell her what to believe, and, since believing it is much more pleasant than sitting in shame and fear and guilt, she accepts it, her life is transformed, and we all live happily ever after, with her becoming a registration machine pulling in others so that they, too, can benefit from being whacked with the emotional sledgehammer. {Metaphorically, that's what I experienced.}

Now, Leaders are highly trained, they have high experience working with people. If anyone could pull off using the AES, they could. They would know just what buttons to push. They would recognize the sensitivity of the person. We think. In fact, Leaders are not omniscient and sometimes misread what's in front of them, I've seen it. I also saw them quickly recover from this.

The goal here is stated as "to get the truth out of people." In fact, the Leader mostly doesn't care what the truth is, the training rejects the concept of truth in areas like what we are thinking about. Consider the first interaction Blogger reported, the questioning of the person who reported forgiving someone, and the Leader asked a normal question about it, and the response discovered a strong reluctance to actually say what happened. Now was the goal of the Leader to discover if someone was guilty of child abuse? I'd say, no. Not at all.

I was trained in suicide prevention, and one of the aspects of the training was to do a mock. So I did a mock phone call with a woman who was saying. "I just killed my baby." The ensuing conversation was targeted at bringing the caller to say what had actually happened. Did you throw your baby out the window? Or did you withdraw life support from the baby? In the mocked example, it wasn't exactly a baby, it was a fetus, and what the woman had done was have an abortion.

One of the first steps in recovery from trauma is to say what happened, rather than the "meaning" of it. This is not just Landmark technology, it's a well-known therapeutic practice.

The Leader wanted her to say what actually happened. As far as what was reported, it only went a short distance down this road, but, at least it was closer. "He touched me" was about it.

Emotional sledgehammer? I don't think so. In fact, the participant wasn't showing much emotion, I think. And certainly there was no desire to humiliate or shame, the opposite, actually. The shame that likely existed there already existed.

The goal is not to "get the truth out of people," but to support people in recognizing the truth of their life, for themselves, and "the truth" is "what happened." What actually happened is not an interpretation and it cannot be changed. If she was touched, she was touched. If this was her father, say, it was her father. If it was her little brother, it was her little brother.

Now, here, we have a supposed truth (NOT) that was, in fact, an AES for Blogger, it's obvious.

The Landmark Forum had an elaborate application process in the early 2000’s when I registered. The form was several pages long with disclaimers and questions and blanks to fill out. It seemed pretty innocuous, but for a curious set of questions regarding mental health. It asked if I had ever been hospitalized for a mental health reason, or if I had ever stopped taking medication for a mental illness against the advice of my health care practitioner.
Neither applied to me. I answered “no.”

As blogger knows, those questions are not asked that way any more. But that's not relevant here, except we should note it, because this might be read by someone for whom this would be relevant.

If Blogger had known the history of Landmark, the lawsuits, etc., Blogger would not have thought these questions curious. Whether it is true or not, the training has been accused -- at law -- of being dangerous for mentally unstable people. I'm not convinced that it is particularly dangerous. However, if someone who is mentally unstable takes the training and then, say, kills someone or commits suicide, who will be blamed for it? And this is about lawsuits. It can be incredibly expensive to win. Landmark was protecting itself.

Blogger, here, says "neither applied to me." That is a present statement, she does not frame it as "I did not think that either applied to me." Is she lying *now*? I don't think so.

Two years later, I was deep into the Introduction Leaders Program – the first stop for any Landmark devotee wanting to advance to a leadership position. But I was deeper in debt, misery and fatigue than I had ever been in my life…deeper than anyone else around me, for sure. And no one knew how much.
Not even me.

This is important to notice. Nobody knew this was happening. She was in the most intensely coached program in Landmark, and her coaches didn't know. I emphasize this to emphasize the depth of the inauthenticity involved. She was not lying, but she was hidden. It's not just about that form, it's about her entire life. I can't imagine being under stuch stress and not disclosing it, at least, to my coach. But many people are intensely private. It is associated with shame, and, I'd bet, depression. Misery.

And Landmark coaches have high experience with people, and one would think would notice that something was awry. And it seems they might have, but did not know what to do about it. And not being openly acknowledged by Blogger, they may have simply kept quiet about it. Once again, coaches are human.

If Blogger is ever to fully recover from all this (and this started, I'm sure, long before Landmark), getting flat about the perceived (or real!) imperfections of others will be a part of it.

And one day, it just dawned on me. I remembered a time way back in college when I was in grief over an impending breakup, and I was so upset that I threw a teacup against my dorm room wall, shattering it. And I collapsed.
Two hours later, the residence life coordinator of my hall found me curled up on the floor in tears and offered to help. I said that the loneliness of my single room was driving me crazy, so she suggested that I stay a night or two at the local hospital. There was a special program whereby college students could convalesce there if they had a bad flu, or mono, or just anything too gnarly to handle on their own. They wouldn’t be admitted to the hospital as a patient; the hospital would just provide a place for sick students to get away from the dorms and heal.
It sounded like a good option, and I took her up on it. I stayed there a couple of days, and it actually did a lot of good.

This is clearly and succinctly stated, this is a "vivid share." I think she took the ILP!

I will note that this is her story, now, after she know how it might be misinterpreted. This is not necessarily exactly what she told her Leader.

I thought nothing of that incident until the nadir of my ILP, a program that promised a mountain of miracles that weren’t going to happen for me. I wondered if that hospital stay in college qualified as a hospitalization for mental health reasons, and thus something to be noted on my application for the Landmark Forum.
If it did qualify, then things could get serious, because Landmark Education always turned down applications from people with certain mental health issues.

Well, I think it was possible to do the Forum with professional approval, even then. But.... she was not admitted to a hospital and she did not stop taking prescribed medication. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of people have done the second one! The question is designed to look for, say, bipolars who stop taking lithium, but it's not a specific question. It's obvious why Landmark dumped this, it was a huge can of worms and probably illegal.

It could happen that I was never supposed to register for Landmark at all.

Blogger is now developing a lot of complexity. The context: the ILP seems to be failing. She's looking for an excuse. To state it bluntly, anything but becoming authentic. What if people don't like the real her? She would be crushed. So what does she do?

I called up my local ILP leader and told her my concern. I explained in detail what happened and described my college’s arrangement with the hospital as accurately as I could. She said “wow” several times and listened to everything. Then she said she would talk to the center manager about it to see what to do next, if anything.

I know the Landmark bureaucracy. First of all, Blogger created this, with the Leader, as a concern. That set the wheels in motion. I know what happens when a Center Manager is presented with a situation with possible conflicting interpretations. The Manager is very likely to make the most conservative possible interpretation. Like Blogger, Center Managers may tend to be rule-bound. Not always, but, we are talking normal. By taking this up with the ILP Leader, one took it up with a person directly responsible to the Center Manager. This was clockwork, the outcome was predictable.

Now, "wow"? {She absolutely did say wow several times as I told her what happened.} This story, how unusual was it? I don't find it unusual or shocking. So something is off here. We may not be seeing how the story was presented.

Notice: if Blogger was not showing signs of severe depression -- she was -- this story would have been meaningless. If I were asked about this, I'd have advised saying nothing. The participant gains nothing by disclosing this at this time. If she had an actual mental health concern, consulting a professional would have been in order, not Landmark. Present Landmark practice would suggest is that she consult a professional. (Years ago, with Erhard Seminars Training, there might have been a psychiatrist on the hook for consultation, I know one who filled that role.) Nowadays, that would be what Center staff would suggest, I'd bet. The present depression was the worrisome problem, not what happened so many years earlier, and that does not reveal what I've seen as a neurosis here. That old sequence looks much more like relatively normal situational depression to me.

But, remember: Blogger is looking for a reason to bail. That, by the way, is normal in the ILP. We do that. This is distinct from her depression.

The ILP was only a week away from completing its long run that year. I was entering the home stretch as an Introduction Leader hopeful; now everything was about to change.

I now find that the blogger actually completed the ILP. {I did complete; I attended the final session. But there were a couple more weeks of assisting that I had to fulfill after that. That was the structure. It was during that final assisting period that I officially left.} I had thought that she walked out before the end. It was one week, and then at what must have been the closing session, there was the blowup. She completed. Not candidated, of course, but that's actually the norm. Good for her, I'd say, at the same time as I wish she'd done more -- much more -- to care for herself. She was far more important than a course. The integrity of completing what one sets out to do is powerful, but ... not at the cost of her health! {There was a woman in our ILP who was concurrently making plans for bariatric surgery. She had huge health problems. When she and her son went AWOL because of this and money problems, that's when other participants called and went to their house and banged on the door for them to come back. They did, and the leader welcomed them back, but the mother was simply advised to "fight for her life" and not worry about the measures for the remainder of the ILP. She never should have been accepted in the first place.}

My program leader got back in touch with me and said that yes, the center manager agreed that my hospital stay in college was, in fact, a hospitalization for mental health reasons (of course it wasn’t, because there was no admission, but these weren’t medical professionals I was talking to). Therefore, Landmark Education could not make me an Introduction Leader, or any other kind of leader. I could certainly finish out the ILP, and go on to some other assisting opportunities, but nothing more.

I notice the language, though it may be accidental. "Agreed." Agreed with whom? Who asserted first that it was a hospitalization. As described, the practice did not require a psychiatric disorder. There is no sign that she was diagnosed with a disorder. Later, she's hospitalized, after she left Landmark. That seems totally independent to me.

Landmark got out of this business of judging the mental health of people. This would be an example of why. However, at the same time, for Landmark to take precautions to identify if participants are having problems, that is not discrimination and would be simple good sense. It was not true, even then, that people with a mental health history could not be a Leader. However, it likely required special permission, a careful examination (which, in this case, would have opened up the problem). What I'm seeing here is an unimaginative Center Manager, who follows The Rules, and that's that. Did the Center Manager contact corporate? I'm guessing not. Did Blogger ask for that? I think not.

In fact, she wanted out of the commitment to being an Introduction Leader. But here, it's not just that she's making that choice, she's told she has no choice, she can't. Ugh. Looks Bad. Rejected. I'd bet she was screaming inside. I think of her pain and I cry.

In a way, it was a relief. No more chasing after everyone in my life to get them to register for the Forum, no more groveling on the phone to offer or receive forgiveness. I could excuse myself from the rat race at the heart of the ILP, which was nothing but a big, aggressive registration machine.

Of course it was a relief. However, consider how she considered the work of the ILP. Of course she was miserable! Once again, "groveling on the phone to offer or receive forgiveness." I was never coached to grovel. Not ever, nor did I ever see anyone coached to grovel. My coaching was to acknowledge what had happened, and to take responsibility for it, which is not to fall into shame or guilt. The kind of "guilt" that is involved is apology. I'm sorry I did it. I won't do it again. It was a mistake. I regret it. There is no grovelling in that. There is no begging for forgiveness. The ball is in my court, so I hit it. What the other person does with it is entirely up to them. They can forgive me, tell me that nothing was wrong, or they can yell at me, blame me, they could slam down the phone. In fact, this doesn't happen with these calls, at least I haven't seen it.

To acknowledge my own assholery to my ex-wife required that I forgive her by dropping the importance of what she'd done, so that I could make the call without the complication of mixed motive. What she had done was for her to acknowledge if she chose. No grovelling. No "please forgive me." Just a clear communication. "I'm calling to apologize for being such an asshole." That acknowledges being an asshole, I'd think! I could have gone into more detail, but she isn't a graduate. Simple and clear. I was an asshole because when I wasn't getting what I wanted, I left, instead of standing for the relationship, and I wanted to escape back into a prior relationship, thus rejecting her in favor of another woman. Uncool. Asshole! She was angry. Of course she was angry! But, in fact, she'd been angry before that, and that is why I wasn't getting what I wanted, but I certainly was not going to go into that. Never complicate an apology with an explanation of why the behavior might have been justified! It will make people angry!

At this point, near the end of the ILP, it was hopeless for her, I'd say, as far as meeting measures are concerned. {I met the measures for registrations and did a successful mock, but did not meet the measures for guests} (But I might be wrong about that, and she might have been close enough to quickly recover. They will grant extensions if one is actively working, but by this time, the normal ILP participant wants to get out of Dodge. I.e, probably a majority. I came up with what seemed like a workable plan to me, to meeting my measures, but I did the math. It would be expected to take about three months, given conditions, like where I lived, no ride share, little money, and a sensible assessment of what pace I could maintain. The Center Manger said that if I'd commit to completion in two weeks, as I recall, she'd approve it. I suspect she did not actually look at the records, where I actually stood. Grrrr.... There goes my story machine!

So I simply dropped my plan. When I wrote the plan, it did not depend on Center approval. I was just going to do it, and identify whatever resources I needed, Mr. Unstoppable. In fact, I was at the end of my rope, I'd say. For whatever reason, when the Center Manager said No, I collapsed. And very much enjoyed having nothing to do.

A week later, my program leader, who listened so compassionately on the phone with me, allowed me to have my moment of authenticity in front of the whole group.

Great. Closing session! (Or is it? {Next-to-last, actually}) This is normally a celebration for all, including all who complete even though they don't make their measures. They know what those who did make their measures went through, they appreciate it, and they applaud them, and those who are candidated applaud those for their effort and commitment and sticking through to the end. It's normally about the happiest party I've seen in Landmark. And, yes, no more effing measures!!! No more teachers, no more workbooks, no more coaches' dirty looks!

(However, that's just a parody of the childhood rhyme. I recall no "coaches' dirty looks." These people smiled and laughed a lot. We all did. As that opera singer who was candidated was telling me how idiotic my "sincerity" in a mock looked, she being less than half my age, I was laughing. I told a close friend of mine about it, imitating myself, and she was rolling on the floor laughing. Literally, she fell out of her chair. Blogger, we love people! That includes ourselves!)

What a lovely way to cap it all off: I stood up in front of my ILP peers and shared authentically what I shared with our leader the previous week, and the acknowledgement from the group was astonishing, because they knew how I was floundering in the program. They saw how I was losing energy and getting more and more upset and withdrawn. The moment had come when I found the strength to turn it all around.

What moment? Haven't seen that yet. To disclose the concern about the alleged hospitalization?

I'd like to point out, there, the effect of the authenticity managed by Blogger in that share. This is normal in Landmark. Blogger is not going to become an IL, a cog in the registration machine. But they still love her. They were showing what she has said she wanted. And then the fly in the ointment.

“But you lied.” The leader interrupted me.

Out of left field. Blindsiding Blogger. Gratuitous. I'd even call it vicious. At this point, the program is over. This is not a moment for coaching, this is a moment for completion. I'd take this as a betrayal, and I'm sure Blogger did. Why did Leader do this? I may hazard some guesses, but ... this was horrific. A demonstration of how untransformed thinking still infects, even Leaders. ILP Course Leaders are not Forum or ordinary Program Leaders, but ... this is still an advanced distinction.

My eyes shot back at her. “No, I didn’t lie. I didn’t remember it. I didn’t know.”
“Yes you did lie!…” Lie? On the application? To get into the Landmark Forum? What the hell is going on?

The Leader insists on her interpretation. Blogger does not have the skill to tear her a new one. Ahem! To confront the story and make-wrong involved here, which has gone far beyond, say, the simple concern of the SELP leader that her coach would "screw up her participants." I can only read this, given the context, as a moral judgment, and kicking blogger when she was down.

Blogger is confused, and still wants approval. It would take her substantial time to process this, given her history. I did something similar when my Act showed up in my Advanced Course. To "prove" that what I was saying was reasonable, I betrayed a confidence. It was completely unnecessary, coming out of my old pattern. In order to avoid looking bad, I went out of integrity. Nobody noticed but me, perhaps. Inwardly, I was humiliated. And I had created the whole thing, when it could have been very simple.

Within a few hours, I knew what I could have done, that would have turned everything around. No way I could have done that in the spur of the moment, without practice. Under pressure, my automatic reactions took over. We all do that when we are not trained otherwise.

She started to go on a tirade, as leaders do when they think they’ve uncovered an inauthenticity. But no matter how many times I told her I didn’t lie, nothing appeased her. I quickly thought of something: “Ok, I minimized it.”

If a Leader goes after an inauthenticity, outside of a coaching occasion, they are simply judgmental assholes, thinking inauthenticity is "bad" and must be stamped out. There was a basic issue of interpretation here. All the information about the hospitalization was coming from Blogger. Blogger attempts to explain herself. Such attempts, when a conflict like this has been set up, inflame it. Leader was sure she was right. Blogger was sure she was right. About whether or not the signature on the registration form was a lie or not. Did they ever look at he definition of "lie"? Until they agree on a definition, it's meaningless to disagree on the application. They used to keep dictionaries handy in Landmark courses, precisely for this. Then you can take the dictionary meaning, or pick one, and apply it. Until then, you are jousting with "meaning" and it is all purely invented. No win. No cheese down that tunnel. {Yeah, a lot about that conversation just didn't work.}

Here is a definition.

LIE. 1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

There are three definitions there. The first two require intent to deceive or intention. The third is, in fact, a reasonably common usage of the word, and frequently a highly dysfunctional and inflammatory one. In other words, if you want to increase conflict, tell your opponent that what they say, that you believe is untrue, is "lies." I have never, ever seen this resolve any dispute. Because the opponent generally knows he is not lying, and so, then, can just fling the accusation of lying back.

"That's false" doesn't have that effect,

Rather, there was a disagreement over interpretation. But Blogger's desire to be liked and to look good led her into a problem: She then actually lied. Notice: "quickly thought of something." Something what? Something that would "appease" her. "I minimized it." In fact, that, if true, would require that she recognize the hospitalization was a possible problem, but decided it wasn't important, which contradicts her first story. She can't have it both ways. But wanting to please, she blurted that out.

To those in the room, this looked like progress, and in fact, it looked to them like she was acknowledging lying. Which if she had been, would have been quite a step forward. But it was not, in fact, authentic, because she had not minimized it. This was an attempt to compromise by lying a little. Bad Idea. I think this completely backfired, as I'd expect.

That was the beginning of the end of my whole career with Landmark.

Not surprising. Here is what I'd hope for: a complete end to that career. A return to nothingness. No prejudice, nothing left. Flat. Gone. It happened, that will never change. However, it can come to mean nothing. She will still protect herself. Protective mechanisms are not to be shut off, merely distinguished so that choice arises.

No proposal that she "go back" to Landmark. The woman who was in that situation will never go back. Someone else may go forward, wherever she chooses, empowered, free, self-expressed, nobody's doormat, and ... a light to those around her, a stand for honesty and truth and real caring.

Can something be a lie if there is no intent to deceive? Was I lying to myself about the significance of what I did in college?

A false statement can be a lie by some definitions. Not by the most useful ones. The useful definitions require intention to deceive. That is, again, not necessarily Bad. It's a survival response. Heavy judgment of people for lying just makes things worse. People lie. Small or large, and it varies.

Lying under some conditions is a crime. Not most. Sometimes lying is not even a moral offense (though morality is invented, so, I'd have to say, "by my morality") The discrimination heavily involves context and intention. If there is intention to harm, that's a moral offense. If there is an intention to defend or protect, there might still be a problem, but not necessarily a moral offense.)

Now, was Blogger "lying to herself" about the significance of what she did in college? When? From the story, when she filled out the form, no. Maybe later, but I'm not seeing a clear sign even then. I suspect Blogger is conflicted about the meaning of that hospitalization. It gave her an excuse to bail. To do that, it had to be "important."

I look at it and think that the hospitalization was trivial. I've adopted children, twice (from China and Ethiopia). There are tons of highly intrusive forms to fill out. Questions are asked like this. I answered with full disclosure. My wife was horrified, but I believed that fuller disclosure was safer, long term. (Yes, I was hospitalized, it was an involuntary admission, and for weeks. But what does that mean? It has no ongoing significance, it was situational, not repeated and not evidence of a pattern, which someone sane looking at psychiatric risk would be looking for. The proof is in the pudding. I was allowed to adopt.)

Or was it really nothing and this Landmark representative was just being ignorant?

Again, issues are being mixed. It could be nothing and Blogger could lie about it. Who is the "representative"?

1. I see no sign that Blogger intentionally misled. We all can make false statements, and one who claims to never do this is .... lying? No, not necessarily, they might believe it, being severely deluded. So not a "lie."

2. Was the hospitalization significant? No. Not from what is described. The later depression appears unrelated. The Center Manager was not competent to make a unilateral judgment of significance. It is possible that this decision was a simple application of then-existing policy. But were I the Center Manager, if I were going to make that decision, I'd inform the participant of the right to appeal to corporate, and would suggest consultation with a professional (which is what Landmark now does with something like this.)

Everyone clapped! Yay! Ok, I admitted to a wrongdoing that never happened – I toed the party line just to get people to shut up about me. Our leader stood down and let me finish, awkwardly.

Right. It worked, temporarily, and then it backfired, when Blogger realized what she had done. Consider: being inauthentic gained approval!!! Absolutely, Blogger was in full compliance with her Prime Motivator, to avoid looking bad.

This is intimately related to her entire occurring about Landmark as what I'll summarize as hypocritical. {yes, Landmark is full of hypocrites. The first one I ever met was exactly that and I failed to see it}

A few years later, my therapist was shocked that LE would ask such questions on their applications and deny registration to people for mental health reasons, when they have no mental health professionals on staff and no business asking about the medical history of their prospective clients.

It's a little more complicated than that, but, yes, that's a normal reaction from a mental health professional. Landmark had a problem, and was running a substantial legal risk. Those questions and the policy were a clumsy first attempt to address the problem. I will argue the other side: If you were running a skydiving service, can you ask if your clients have a history of heart problems, and refuse to serve those who do? I'm not sure. However, Landmark found an alternate way to handle this, an informed consent form that advises consulting a professional if you have those problems. That form still scares some people away, I saw it happen. It actually advises not to do the Forum, if you meet the conditions. But it leaves the decision to the customer and their professional advisor, and it does not attempt to verify if the person actually got advice or not.

But by that time, I also heard that LE actually removed those questions from their applications, insisting that participants should just be fully responsible for their mental well-being. If anyone asks about mental health or anything else medical with regard to participating in Landmark, the answer is always “the participant is responsible for their own well-being.” End of story.
An old Landmark friend said that this change came as a result of LE discovering that it was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. He shared it with me as if I would welcome the news.

Always point out how stupid people are. If I heard this story, I'd want to mention the change, as the friend did. My motive would not be to make Blogger feel happy. Now that I know the story, I would not expect that. It's actually irrelevant.

Gee…thanks. That changes…nothing.

Yes. This is not about Landmark's policy on people with mental issues. In might almost be the opposite, i.e., Landmark displayed, here, a remarkable blindness to the problems Blogger was having. And that is related to some systemic issues, that lead to a lot of problems. Ultimately, what I see is that many graduates slip through the cracks, may appear to "get it" when they don't. And so they go through advanced training, when they don't have the basics down. Usually, they eventually get it. Some don't. And I'd suggest that Landmark's inattention to this cost Blogger something on the order of a thousand dollars or more, considering that some of the work was useful. It cost her time and energy with value much more than that. It is trivial to blame Blogger for this. She should have known, blah, blah.

But we eat our own dog food. The response of "she should have" makes her responsible, and avoids our own responsibility. That is not the training, it is the opposite. The stand I take with education, talking to teachers, is that the teacher is responsible for results. The stand I take with students is, the student is responsible for results.

Consider a world where this is understood. For there to be a real breakdown, both sides have to break down! Then consider this in a community. If everyone takes responsibility for "everyone gets it," failure becomes almost impossible.

And what is the goal of the Advanced Course?

Everyone gets it.

One small story. I had a paper published this year under peer review, in a mainstream journal, in a highly controversial field. I passed the review of the section editors, it was a "special section," but ... one of them was a close friend. Then the paper went for normal anonymous peer review, and I think it was reviewed by a physicists. Most physicists, still, probably, think the entire field is a crock. The reviewer was far from impressed by my paper. He said it was horrible, I think he used that word.

So what did I do? I know the old thinking. The guy was ignorant, clueless, didn't understand the research in the field, etc, this was just a knee-jerk response of a lazy reviewer. I'll make a complaint about this and attempt to go over his head. Right? That's not an unusual reaction! Might even be true in some ways.

However, what I actually did came out of my training. I dropped the reaction that there was anything wrong with the review. What the review showed me was that I had failed to explain the material!

Notice: we try to avoid "I failed," because failure is Bad, right?

If I failed to explain, however, there is an obvious remedy. I read his response carefully, rewrote the paper, making sure that his objections were clearly addressed. So what happened? What do you think?

This is, quite simply not surprising, not even in a field where what I was saying is quite different from what most physicists would expect or think possible, even.

He waxed enthusiastic about the paper, and suggested part of my conclusion, which I incorporated.

Failure led to success. Cool, eh? --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:40, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

“Just let me go.”[edit | edit source]

March 25, 2014

When I was called a liar – just one more time – in front of the Introduction Leaders Program at Landmark, it was the beginning of the end.

Okay, I notice details. This had high emotional impact, and I do not want to minimize that by pointing to details.... but this is a first draft and is really a collection of notes.

"One more time" called a liar? Only one incident was reported.

In what she reported, she was not called a "liar." "Liar" impeaches the person, implies habitual action. What was said was that an action (signing a document) was a "lie" (because of another person's judgment that a piece of the long text on that document was false when applied to her). It was not even clearly a false statement. Maybe. I suspect not. The error there, if anything, was in not recognizing a period spent in a hospital without formal admission as a "hospitalization," and, then, not disclosing it. That's not a lie, and would not likely to be so considered in a court.

These forms are routinely signed in a rush, it's obvious that many hardly read them. (The present form is different, does not require disclosure, but sets up informed consent. I can tell a story of a woman who asked for a copy of of the form. It was refused. Someone at her center refused to send her the form. None of this is policy, I'm sure! It was amateurs, mostly volunteers, making ad-hoc decisions, a consequence of the Landmark structure. I emailed her a scan of the form. Because, after all, I'm a Bold Leader for Landmark Education, and I will make decisions like that, and if corporate wants to stop me, they could. I've dealt with a company president (not Landmark, but a company worth just as much) on issues like this, and work them out to find consensus. In a case I have in mind, years ago, I think the president started out with the idea that he had a huge headache here, this troublemaker called Abd. How did it end? That company gave me a full license of their product, worth $10,000, out of gratitude for my service.

So I can be a bit uppity. That was before Landmark. Strong suit.

I wanted it to be the beginning of something better, something new. For a while, Landmark did promise me that, after the whole debacle of exposing my mental health history to them.

Yes. I can practically see the shining future as it might have appeared then.

Because I had inaccurate information about my mental health history on my original Forum application, I couldn’t become an Introduction Leader.

I think this was likely moot, in fact, as to immediately becoming a Leader, she didn't meet her measures. She have had to take the program again, and ... I can imagine how appealing that idea was. I.e., Not.

There was no inaccurate information on the original Forum application, and that was moot by this time. Even if were true, punishing someone for not providing complete information, after accepting their money for two years, would be ... iffy, for sure. No, the issue then would be rules for ILs. If there were a rule prohibiting ILs from having any history of mental health problems, that would be the issue. The whole issue of the alleged "lie" on the Form was a red herring. Of course, such a rule would have been a violation of the ADA (passed 1990). She might have had a cause of action, then, but this kind of thing would be far from what might occur to her, and it's way too late, now, I think.

But they had another option for me: I could be an Introduction Leader for the Landmark Forum for Young People.

oohhh! I am sooo inspired! And then it hits me. Really. So, you cannot lead to adults if you are whacked and maybe dangerous, but you can lead to children? Hello? Is anybody home? ... ome? ... ome? ... ome? {Okay I really have to call you out for this shit. Again, what gives you the authority to say that I need to be in a mental institution? That I'm "whacked and maybe dangerous"? What do you mean by that? This bit right here is just insulting.}

Yes, there is a Landmark Forum for under-18 kids. It differs from the adult Forum in only two significant ways: 1) any child participant has to be under legal guardianship of a Landmark graduate, and 2) the course itself is shorter in length, but not because they trim the content. They don’t. In fact, the Young People’s Forum is exactly the same as the adults’, with the same verbiage and everything. It just doesn’t run 19 hours long each day because young people are less resistant and they absorb the distinctions that much quicker and easier.

Yes. Expected. Most of the training is unlearning, not learning.

They get out by 5 in the evening because they don’t come in with as much “baggage” as their adult counterparts, who are often writhing until midnight on an average day.

The midnight thing isn't common, now, I think. It causes damage when participants don't get enough sleep.

And rare is the child who attends an introduction to a Young People’s Forum and doesn’t want to register! They all think it’s cool! So leading introductions for these kids is relatively easy.
And, I thought, it should be more life-affirming than trying to deal with grumpy adults. I’ll give it a shot!

Notice the focus on registrations. The Introduction is a piece of Landmark technology, given away. It's actually an under-utilized piece. If graduates don't go to Introductions, they miss out on it. Going to Introductions can be a way to get some free training and keep up the conversation. Almost always, in training, assisting at introductions, I also did the Possiblity exercise. It can be spectacular. Watching someone -- anyone -- get an inspiring possibility that can change their life is quite a gratifying experience and that has little to do with whether or not they register. Sometimes people do an Introduction, it transforms their life, and we don't find out about it until years later, they finally call up a Center and register, because they decided they wanted more of that. These people do well! They know why they are there.

"Dealing with grumpy adults" comes from trying to get adults to do something they don't want to do! They have not been inspired, and we have a pretty good idea of what that failed so many times for Blogger. That's not uncommon. I'd say many or most in the ILP at first are like that. Most people, when they run into a brick wall, however, stop running in that direction! Or they discover that what they thought was a door was a wall, and just to the side, there was the door. Open the door, walk though!

So I meet with a fellow Landmark peer who is already a happy Introduction Leader for kids, and I start to learn the ropes. I start off by sharing my latest authenticity with her – that my Forum application didn’t reflect my mental health history, and it was time to come clean about it. She totally got it: “That happened to me, too.”
It turns out that she had the exact same experience I had – a piece of mental health history that was not reflected on her Landmark Forum application. And because the center manager found out about it during her ILP, she was steered toward leading Introductions for the Young People’s Forum.
This struck me as eerie.

Well, if that is how people were steered toward the this side-program, not eerie. Weird. That is, the policy. By the way, an undisclosed mental health history was probably fairly common, from people not reading the form carefully, or from actual minimization. For example, I was hospitalized when I was about 23, for a few weeks. Let me put it this way: combining meditation techniques with LSD, unsupervised, not a great idea. I learned how to stay in a ... detached ... state, without the drug, and then combined with being drastically underweight and ultimately dehydrated, I was pretty wigged out by the time I reached the hospital. Catatonic, actually. But a few weeks of food and rest and calm, no problem, and this never recurred. I can imagine if that stuff was on the form in 2011, when I took the Forum, I would have made an ad hoc "adjustment." This is de minimus, irrelevant. And legally, by the way, that could be supportable. I don't remember thinking about the issue when I registered, because, technically, the form was advising me not to register. I did not consult a professional about taking the Forum. I did not have any psychiatric condition requiring regular care, just the normal ADHD for someone like me. So I sometimes take Ritalin. Usually I don't bother.

I reported the exact same experience she had, and now here we were together in the same assisting program. Something was not quite right about this. Is this where all the mental health cases in the ILP get put out to pasture?

I see the weirdness. But I also see something else. Shame at being classified as being a "mental health case." In fact, at this time, she was a mental health case. She was about to be hospitalized. So the same is over something she cannot escape.

For the first time, I didn’t feel the need to ask. I already knew the answer. I stopped returning phone calls from the center. When one of my fellow ILP participants called me up on her cell, I told her I was leaving Landmark for good. She said I was on a “racket” and discouraged me from leaving without “completing in front of the whole group.”

Yeah, normal thinking (for Landmark). Completing in front of what group? {our ILP class} Maybe I'm confused. Blogger revealed the prior incident, the non-admiteed stay in a hospital, when the program had a week to go. Then a week later was the "liar" debacle. So the program would be over, already complete, no expectation. Was she in a new program.? Maybe the next ILP, aimed at becoming a YP IL? Usually the tranches, at least in my experience, overlapped. You could not hop from one ILP to the next, one needed to wait almost six months. Was there a small group training for YP IL? {There was more assisting I had to do, after the final session of ILP}

There is no doubt in my mind as to there being rackets involved here. This blog is one persistent complaint after another, with indications of a fixed way of being. However, telling someone they have a racket can be completely useless, especially if one is trying to control their behavior. If there was an active group, encouraging them to complete, great. But I think the friend wasn't getting it. What is she supposed to, complete in front of the entire center? She was leaving Landmark, not just a small group. I'd say that, in a way, she's completing with the blog. And I can acknowledge her and thank her for that. It's her choice if she wants response or not, and the blog is open for response (but she chooses what to approve).

Hesitation. And then,
“…NO, Holly.”

It was the most powerful “no” of my life.

Great! Breakthrough! Choice! Yes, I can see problems with it, anyone can. But Blogger was going down, fast, and needed to focus totally on herself, with a lot of help.

I can imagine a day when Landmark could handle this. In 2002 or so, no way. I don't think, 13 years later, that we are even close to it. Quiet rooms in the Center. Professionals on call for consultation. Measures that actually monitor training performance, instead only the primitive guest/registration measures, which can completely miss failures like this. {Why don't you tell them about it?}

I followed it up with just one more conversation with my ILP leader, the one who first heard my concerns and thus started this whole crazy ball rolling. It was a pain, but I had to take the opportunity to reiterate to her that I was not a liar. I did not intend to lie about my mental health history on my application for the Forum, and when I suggested that I did during that ILP session, I was just saying what everyone wanted to hear so that she would stop yelling at me in front of the group.

I just wanted the yelling to stop! Was that too much to ask? I was crying on the phone for the last time. “Just let me go.”
“Okay,” she said. “I’m okay with it.”

I hear compassion in that imagined voice. Or resignation, giving up, and not taking responsibility for that "lie" conversation. I don't know which, I can hear it either way. {There was compassion, that I heard}

This report is passionate, the cry is plaintive. This is not the whine of a racket. However, consider: what yelling? Blogger was delusional. {story} Yelling does happen in trainings, but it's infrequent. However, Blogger was carrying it around.

When I hung up, that was the end of my participation with Landmark. But it wasn’t “all over.” The worst of my depression and a real mental-health hospitalization were yet to come.

Right. Landmark was not the cause of this. Landmark may actually have staved it off for a time. However, Landmark did not successfully address the situation, that's obvious. Landmark is "not therapy." However, does it have the institutional skill to recognize when therapy is needed? In fact, Centers are crawling with therapists and mental health professionals. {not when I was around} I'm not pretending this is a simple problem, just do X.

But the first step in addressing any problem with performance is identifying that something is missing, something is not fully satisfactory (or worse). That's an occurring, a story, always. But Landmark technology does not then say, "Okay, it's a story, not real, so shut up and go home!" No, it then asks, is there something missing, the presence of which would make a difference, and this takes the mind on a journey into the realm of possibility.

And thank goodness for that, because on the other end of that journey came the opening into a truer light. There was no looking back after that.

I worry about "no looking back." {Why? After reading all this about me, who would want me back? ever?} Is she the wife of Lot, who will be turned into a pillar of salt if she looks back? Is seeing dangerous? If one's condition is such that seeing reality (perhaps again) will cause harm, the condition is already precarious.

No, there is only the going forward and the path forward cannot be predicted in detail. It may take us back through places we used to be, but we will see them differently and they will actually be different, because

Everything passes,
Everything changes,
Just do what you think you should do
And someday maybe
Who knows, baby
I’ll come and be cryin’ to you. [1]

--Abd (discusscontribs) 23:46, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

This one thing: Epilogue[edit | edit source]

April 1, 2014

My last trip to the local Landmark Center was many months after I had left the ILP and underwent treatment for major depression. I was well on my way to recovery, but I felt I had to do one more thing, if for no other reason than to prove my courage.

I still don't get this "left the ILP" story. Putting the pieces together, she completed the ILP, it was over. The one more thing she wanted to do violated the commitment she just made. >{What? Story?}</span That's okay, just saying. Qur'an: God will not hold you to account for your foolish promises. Do not let a foolish promise keep you from doing good.

There was a new center manager, though many of the old staff were still around. One of them greeted me and said, “Are you still mad at us?”

I can imagine that question being ridiculously inappropriate, and I can imagine it being mere human curiosity, even compassionate. But this was staff, and they are held ridiculously accountable. It wasn't an accusation, i.e., "Do you still have that racket about us?" {That's what he really wanted to say}

Really. He actually said that to me. (Fortunately, the center manager later assured me that she told this guy how inappropriate his question was.)

It was inappropriate. I'm simply saying I could possibly understand it, and much would depend on exact context, affect, tone of voice, and the Center Manager probably didn't see that and may have reacted to her report, the goal being to assure Blogger. In particular, the assurance would be that "Landmark" is not holding a story about her. Or at least shouldn't be, that would be contrary to the accepted stand.

The center manager welcomed me gently into her office. There was nothing fake about her warmth. She was remarkably human, with a great love for Starbucks coffee and a smoking habit that she sometimes got the better of. She was the right person for this conversation.

Sounds like a great Center Manager.

We talked a bit. She knew a little of my history with Landmark, but I was able to give her a more complete account of what happened from my point of view, especially in those last weeks of the ILP when it was clear I had to leave. And she listened, saying nothing.
“I want my life back,” I said.
I was remembering a time that was more creative, spunky, and simple for me; when I had a passion for life. That was gone. But my life wasn’t taken from me; it was more like I had given it away before I realized that my life was truly mine.


The center manager got this. She shared about a time when she was in hot pursuit of leadership roles in Landmark Education and there was a ton of pressure around her to always give more time, more effort, more energy, more blood-sweat-and-tears to Landmark than any other aspect of life. And it took a toll; she felt it suffocating her life and she got physically ill.
When she woke up to what was going on, she shifted. “From then on, I was going to have life go the way I say…” and with that, it did go that way. If she said she wanted more off-duty time in her life, she simply took it. If she said she needed rest, or a family play-date, she took it. And her ability to have life go the way she said got noticed…as trait of leadership.
Because that’s what it’s all about, really.

Yes. Notice the taking of responsibility. Instead of blaming, say, her employer, Landmark, probably, she created what she needed. Instead of demanding that other people anticipate what she needed, giving it to her without her needing to ask for it or take it -- she took action, made it happen.

Consider these two communications:

  1. I need to get some rest. May have I have time off Friday and Saturday? (Center staff often work on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday if there is a course.)
  2. I'll be off Friday and Saturday, I need to take a break.

The first one requires action from the supervisor. A question is asked which could be answered yes or no, and arguments could come up. The second one declares what will happen.

We think, many of us, that the first is more polite. But does it work? Sometimes! But often not. Is the second one controlling and uncooperative? No, not in itself. The supervisor can say, "That's a problem, we are already short on Friday," and could counteroffer. How about Thursday and Saturday, or, if it would work, Saturday and Monday, giving three days in a row like the request. But it may be that the communication is done, with the information communicated. That is highly respectful of the supervisor's time.

"Let me know if there is a problem with that" can create the problem, where there was none. It requires that the person look for a problem! It's not necessary. A supervisor can always let an employee know if there is a problem with their behavior. (The corollary if this is that if the supervisor does contact the employee with a problem, the sane employee drops self-defense and listens. Once it's understood, clearly, and if there is a problem with it for the employee, then the employee may begin to engage with anything other than "Yes. Got it! We don't want the X mixed up with the Y, I won't do that again! Thanks!"

A dysfunctional supervisor or an abusive coach -- and in Landmark those can be the same -- might say, "You don't need to get some rest. You made that up. If you have a headache there is some Ibuprofen in the drawer. Or you can disappear it, don't you know how to do that? Etc." {That happened more than we cared to admit. A Forum leader actually spoke to our ILP class about assistants who were running themselves so ragged that one of them fell asleep at the wheel and died on the way home from the Landmark Center. She said she was a powerful stand for that to not happen again - "not on my watch." Also: our own ILP leader once told anecdotes of times when she called up AWOL participants, and when they said they were sick, she would reply, "So you're resisting! Resisting made you sick!" What is she gonna do - have sick people show up to ILP to be miraculously healed once they got off it?}

Pushing people beyond what they think they can do is a great thing in some contexts. In other contexts it's being an asshole.

However, it's not necessary to label the supervisor as an asshole. A possible choice is, "See you on Monday," no racket, no complaint, no whining, no pleading, just communicating that she is walking out.

It’s not about how much life you can devote to self-transformation, it’s how much self-transformation you can devote to your life.
Finally, I was talking to someone who got it.

There were lots of such people around, I'm sure, but Blogger was not selecting those people to talk with or spend time with, largely. {They were nowhere, I'm telling you} Others had pieces of it, and those can be assembled. If there is basic sanity, not being in the middle of a psychiatric emergency, or an extended full-blown amygdala hijack. Instead, she was reacting to others, and to her own expectations.

So then I dropped the motherload on her:

“I have an unreasonable request to make.” I swallowed. “I want Landmark Education to refund all the money I paid for every program I’ve registered for.”

Good for her! That is an unreasonable request, she knows it, and made it anyway. Here is the Catch-22. The request proves that she got something from the training. {Why did you need proof?} But so what? It's a request, not a legal demand or threat or anything like that.

She was quiet for a moment, looking gently at me. Then she said, “Sure,” and turned toward a file cabinet to grab a bit of paperwork. She didn’t flinch. She was actually going to forward my request.

Brilliant. She was within her job as a Center Manager. A refund for old payments might be outside of her authority, I don't know. However, she can forward a request and as long as it isn't completely preposterous (wasting the time of her supervision from corporate), it's not risky. She was honoring the request. Considering what I know, while she had problems in the Forum and other courses, perhaps, the participation that was really a bad idea for her, which should have come out in the application process, if it were functional, was the ILP. The rest of the money would be, I think, not much more than $2000, if that. The real and harmful investment was her time in the ILP. (And her time volunteering to support Center financial process). If that time were valued, it would be a lot more than $2000!

She asked no further questions of me; just said we’d be in touch in a couple of weeks to see what headquarters had to say. I thanked her for her time and consideration before leaving the center for the last time.
I thought, I hope this girl remains the center manager for a good long time.
A couple of weeks passed and I got the call from her; LE headquarters would only refund my ILP tuition, but it was better than nothing. The check came in the mail, and that was that.

At the time of my ILP, this would be the fee for the New York weekends, $100 each. That fee was waived if one had travel costs in excess of $100. My travel cost was hovering a bit below $100, but the hotels! New York hotels! My God, the cockroaches must be made out of gold! (Seriously, I never saw a cockroach there and I finally figured out that I could stay in a hostel for $50 per night, so two nights. In any case, this was the most easily refunded fee. I was never asked, in New York or anywhere else, to pay it. It maybe like the $10 per session to attend a seminar as a graduate guest. It's an official fee, but it is often not collected. Want to pay it, I'm sure they will cheerfully accept it! (And the 10-session seminar is $125, so the per-night fee is a bargain if you want to think that way. But you won't be on the list of participants and you won't be in a seminar group and get group support, the Leader won't invite you to the big party at her incredible house, etc.)

This was great. She was affirmed for making the unreasonable request. She could look at the 80% empty glass or the 20% full one. I'm thinking she looked at the full glass, at least I hope so!

Even if I never see that woman again, I hope she’s still there. Or, at least, that she still has life going the way she says.

We never know for sure what the future brings, but with what this Manager has incorporated in her life, I could confidently predict that she will handle whatever conditions arise. That is the promise of the training.

Blogger could, of course, find out if the woman is still there, if she remembers the name. A phone call, and talking about enrollment and registration would be inappropriate, so if someone brings it up, HTFU. Hang the ... up. Fone. yeah! Fone, that's it!

My language has been going south. I'm living with a highly self-expressed 13-year-old, 14 next month, who hangs out with teens mostly older than her. In the letter frequencies in the English language, ETAOIN SHRDLU gives the letters in order. F is not on the list. If, however, the language of these teens were studied, three letters not in that list and the one at the end, would be common. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:00, 23 August 2015 (UTC)