A Transformation In Process
Dec 13 2008

Photo by my friend, Sandy Blanchard.

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Last weekend I had a profound experience at a seminar called the Landmark Forum.  At the beginning of the forum, they tell you the goal is to experience a transformation.  I don’t think I achieved it in the intended way but the insights I gained have been phenomenal! 

I was extremely skeptical when I first heard about it.  I usually approach things from a very analytical viewpoint so I had a hard time getting over ‘I’ve seen this all before‘ mentality.  I even went to one of their orientation sessions at the recommendation of an amazing person, Marlene Merritt who founded Merritt Acupuncture, and left feeling like they were trying to ‘hard sell’ me on signing up.  I don’t like it when people try to convince me to buy something when I’m not ready.   

I saw Marlene a few times after that and each time she said she really felt I would get something out of attending and how taking it profoundly affected her life 7 years ago.  She didn’t get anything out of me signing up.  Nothing at all, except for the joy in seeing me go through a life changing event.  And for that I’m grateful.  I had been experiencing many diametrically opposing feelings leading up to my standing at The Entrepreneurial Ledge, so I signed up. 

After signing up, a friend sent me a link to an article on a well respected online site with a note saying it seemed like a ponsi-scheme.  In addition to acknowledging that CNN and Reebok executives have successfully participated in the forum, the article strongly insinuated that it was cult-like.  I was hurt when I read the article because it took a lot for me to share that I was taking the course.  After taking the class and thinking about it, I decided to re-interpret his response and apply a different meaning — one that meant he cared enough about me to research it and share his concerns.  

Another friend who had taken the course also said it was a good course but she could see how people could think it was a bit cult-like because of the terminology they used.  After taking it, I determined it’s no more cult-like than the Episcopal or Southern Baptist churches I attended growing up!  She said she thought it might help me surface some issues so I should go in with an open mind.  And boy did it really unearth some stuff for me.

It’s hard to explain everything I got out of taking that course in a mere blog post but suffice it to say, I now view the world differently.  I’ve been able to have very different conversations with my kids, my husband, my mother, my sister, and my co-workers.  I even called my father who I haven’t spoken to in probably a couple of years…although we exchange email from time to time. 

I’m still me, but with a different view of my life and my world.  They describe the transformation as something like when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.  It is still the same creature but the butterfly has a vastly different view of its world because it can fly.  I don’t feel like I’m a butterfly yet, but I understand more of the mechanics of how one becomes one. 

The Landmark Forum can’t really be compared to anything else, but humans learn by comparing so while I was sitting there, many of the concepts reminded me of what is written in The Power of Now, Siddhartha, and A New Earth (book links below) as well as what many philosophers and psychologists have mentioned in the past.  After all, even the Bible states “there is nothing new under the sun!“ 

I 100% believe that if everyone took the Landmark Forum, there would be fewer wars and misunderstandings in this world.  Before finishing the Forum, we were all supposed to come up with a possibility we were inventing for ourselves and our lives and one 50-ish year old man got up at the microphone in front everyone and shared his.  His mother and brother had both died when he was fairly young and he had been angry for most of his life.  He was angry that they had left him and he had not even realized how hurt and angry he was for so many years.  The possibility he invented for himself was the possibility of having every teenage orphan in the United States take the Landmark Forum for teens.  He felt if he could save those kids the decades of pain he felt, he could make a huge difference in this world.  I gave him both of my cards and said “let me know how I can help.” 

You’ll have to take the Forum yourself for the punch line, but one of the possibilities I invented for myself and my life is the possibility of being courageous and empowering people to achieve their dreams.  Now people might think I already do some of that but it’s always been laced with fear of people not liking me…or worse that I will be abandoned and not loved. 

And coincidentally enough on Tuesday at my day job, before the last late night session of the Forum, I was presented with the opportunity to be courageous.  And I was and still am afraid, but I took a stand anyway.  I may not have this day job for much longer because of the stand I am taking, and people might not like me, but I don’t want to look back and say I was not true to the possibility I invented for myself and my life…

Author: | Filed under: conferences | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

9 Comments on “A Transformation In Process”

  1. 1 Nicole said at 8:57 AM on December 14th, 2008:

    Wow, Aruni! That’s so great this was so inspirational for you! Good luck on the stand you had to take. I have a strong feeling that you will still have your day job, regardless, but if not, I know there will be more opportunities for you, anyway. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

    Nicoles last blog post..Additional Prize for Holiday Giveaway!

  2. 2 Marlene Merritt said at 5:22 PM on December 14th, 2008:

    Nothing makes me happier than for people to break through the barriers that are holding them back, and begin to get who they REALLY are, and who they could be, not what our brains say to ourselves (which is so often nasty and negative!). What we could and can accomplish in this new world is amazing, and 8 years after taking this course, I still say it was, by far, the best and most influential thing I’ve ever done. You are amazing, Aruni, and I can’t wait to hear about your new possibilities. Thank you for taking the leap! Your courage inspires me.

  3. 3 Nacho The Party Puppy! | entrepreMusings said at 6:03 PM on December 14th, 2008:

    [...] Profiles « A Transformation In Process [...]

  4. 4 Isaac Barchas said at 8:08 PM on December 14th, 2008:

    Apologies for being skeptical — it seems like this has really been positive for you.


  5. 5 Suki Fuller said at 1:45 PM on December 15th, 2008:

    Reading this, put a big grin on my face. Nothing gets my juices flowing more than other people getting inspired and especially when it fills you with courage. Especially as I am in the middle of my transformation…excellent! Aruni, continue to believe in your self and good luck.

  6. 6 “Fewer Wars and Misunderstandings” - Landmark Forum review « Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum: Reviews from People Who’ve Done the Courses said at 5:35 PM on December 15th, 2008:

    [...] truly connected, this post has a strong ring of authenticity. In fact, this entire blog, titled entrepreMusings and focused on both business and parenting is an excellent read for those inclined. Here’s [...]

  7. 7 Easton Ellsworth said at 8:22 AM on December 16th, 2008:

    Thank you for posting this, Aruni. Carpe diem!

    Easton Ellsworths last blog post..7 Strategic Blog Improvement Questions for 2009

  8. 8 Aruni said at 10:38 AM on December 16th, 2008:

    @Nicole – Thanks Nicole. I appreciate the kind words!

    @Marlene – I’m still working on breaking through those barriers…one day at a time as they say.

    @Isaac – As you would say, ‘no need to apologize.’ Thanks for your ongoing support.

    @Suki – I hope my transformation pains help you out…it would make it even more worth the process!

    @Easton – Carpe diem to you too!

  9. 9 Who I Was Being Is Not Exactly Who I Am | entrepreMusings said at 6:53 AM on April 8th, 2009:

    [...] just finished the Landmark Advanced Course that builds on the lessons learned in the Landmark Forum.  It was a very powerful course and although it turns out I’m not an elephant or a horse, I [...]