Thursday, June 5, 2014

Landmark Forum

I was initially going to tie the last blog in with this one and make one super-long blog, but then decided against it.

Let me tell you about the Landmark Forum. First thing you should know about it is that if you ever meet someone who as been through it -they will not shut up about it. I have met numerous friends now that have told me how amazing it is and tried to personally go out of their way to get me into it.

The things I've heard about it consistently is:

1. It opens people up and makes them very active as leaders in pursuing their goals
2. It Helps people get clear on their objectives/desires in life and helps launch them towards achieving them
3. It's really expensive -we're talking thousands of dollars worth of courses
4. The courses are life changing
5. The forum lasts 3 days in a  row (usually a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) 

The At-Risk Youth Mentoring Program I was a part of was founded by someone who took lessons learned from the forum and adjusted it to apply for teens. So I have already experienced and witnessed 40% of the forum itself over this past year. And it does work.

So last night I was invited to a Landmark Forum Intro Session to let people see what it's about. Some themes I heard repeated in the forum introduction that I had learned from the Teen Mentoring Program was:

1. Already Always -don't continue blindly believing and applying thoughts/notions form the past 

2. Be open to creating new possibilities instead of clinging to old doubts 

3. You know what you know, you know what you don't know, but there is a large untapped resource of things you are not aware of that you don't know about and Landmark can show you these things you are blind to. 

4. Erase Judgement and Opinion because "Being Right" may not be "What's Right" for the situation

5. Tell your inner voice to shut up for a little while and just be present to what's going on without any side commentary 

Then the session called up people who had been through the forum already to give testimonials. Again I kind of heard the same theme repeated: 

"My view before the forum was something limiting and diminishing that was holding me back"
"And after the forum I now choose to see that I am capable of doing whatever it is I'm set out to do

The people who came up did so voluntarily and I was amazed how "brave" people were and how solidified they were with themselves. You could tell some people used to be shy but were now composed and more concerned with what they were saying to people than how they were coming off to the audience. The epiphany I got from watching them (given my own recent struggles with gaining confidence and speaking in front of people) was this:

-Being Self-Assured comes from Committing 100% to Yourself and Your Goals in the Moment 

There were some people that went on a little long with their sharing and the facilitator actually said at one point, "Don't speak about what happened in the past -say in this moment right now how it has impacted you or is impacting you. Yesterday's Transformation is Today's Ego Trip." 

The other interesting thing that was mentioned was the truth about the "Learning Processes" of life. They said there are 2 kinds of learning: 

1. Informative Learning 

This is the learning we get from school. You memorize facts, data, and knowledge which may or may not stick with you. Most of this learning is taught by teaching you basic concepts and then building upon that which you already know -which then leads to two possible outcomes when new conflicting information is added: Either you reject the new information as incorrect since it conflicts with your previous understandings (which then makes you "right" and the information "wrong") or you delete that which you learned before and adopt the new information as "the truth". 

This can lead to conflicting view points and ultimately does not add much value to the lives of people. If you don't know something you can either just learn it as needed or hire someone else who does know it.

2. The other kind of learning is the learning Landmark Focuses on teaching: Transformative Learning 

This is the kind of learning you can only gain through experience -like learning balance form riding a bike. Once you have achieved balance, it's not something you easily forget. Years an years can go by, but you can easily jump on a bike at any time and find balance again. Landmark teaches people in-person, in the moment to take action and ACT.

At some point I realized what Landmark Forum really boils down to: People of Action taking revenge on People of Thought. It sucks for people who are more action-oriented to be subjected to sitting in a classroom all day given facts to swallow. People of Thought thrive with kind of learning but suck when it comes to action and experience. People of Thought struggle with DOUBT and FEAR which way heavy in their minds because of their lack of personal in-person experience and over-analyzing things.

This is fine with me. It's one of the reasons I partnered with last year's Life Coach Nadine because I saw she was a motivator and very action-oriented. And this is why I'm in my current speaking group -to gain confidence and step out more in-person. So I decided to sign up for the forum course this August so I can give them a shot at taking me out of my shell. 

I fear that my old instinctual tendencies to shut myself away from the world and become recluse may kick in at some point, and now it seems like there are multiple external sources that are driving me towards my desire to be more out-in-the-open and connected to the world around me. 

At the forum they asked us to establish clear goals for what we wanted to get out of the program. Here are mine: 

1. Feeling like who I am and what I say matter and are of value to the people around me. I feel instinctually most of the time like I'm just filler. If I wasn't around people would carry on just fine without me and I'm not needed. People don't really need to hear me or have me around.

2. Closer to "Source" -aka God and my soul. It sucks having to explain to 2 strangers your sitting next to at a personal development session that your main goal in life is to be closer to God and uplifted as a soul. You feel like an idiot. But it's what I really want.

3. Become confident and self-assured. I feel like if I achieve Goal 1 and Goal 2 I will then get Goal 3, but it's still something worth noting that I want. 

4. Be Fulfilled. What I want is to feel the way I did 2 years ago when I felt "glowing" and "light" and "pure". I felt completely together and worried about nothing and was really connected. I want that back. 

5. Take care of my body and physical well-being. I'm already on this one and making progress towards fulfilling this goal. It's kind of a bog goal for this year in general.

6. Figure out what the hell I'm doing in my career. I want to be a Graphic Designer. It's what I do now, it's what I'm meant to do to earn money, and I really want to solidify and affirm it's who I am as a worker. 

The last thing the forum intro taught which I thought was good was this notion/phrase: 

"I am creating the possibility of..." 

They say if you want God/the Spiritual world to help you achieve your goals you need to be affirmative, active, and crystal clear what it is you are trying to bring about. This phrase does it. It means, "I don't care HOW this goals happens, but I am actively making it happen right here and now." 

I couldn't find my way back to the parking structure after the session ended so I was wandering around these tall buildings at 10pm last night saying to myself, "I am creating the possibility of finding my car..." And then I came across a back entrance that was sort of chained off to the parking structure and I had to decide whether it was worth risking trying to get in a back way and maybe hitting a dead end or looking for a "perfect designated entrance". I decided to take the back way in -realizing that the mode or way of travel was less important than actually getting to the destination. And I got in! 

Don't worry about things not showing up the way you think they're "supposed to" just go with it and let things come about in their own way.

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