I finally did it. It took me two years to go back to take the second course, after completing the forum, and I am now an Advanced Course graduate. The Forum was all about me, wherein I discovered who I am and why I am who I am. I fell genuinely in love with myself from an authentic and clear space, and became powerful enough to finally change things that I had always wished were different. For years, I’d longed to be 100 lbs lighter, to be madly in love with my husband again and a few other deep desires. I got them all and in under a year’s time! I got so much from the first course that I would never have guessed anything could impact me as profoundly again. I was afraid that the sequel would be a disappointment and I was so committed to enjoying the high of finally being crazy about myself, that for two years I wasn’t willing to risk diluting it all.
Good news! The Advanced Course is about everyone else!
If you had asked me if I was a people-person, I’d have looked you in the eye and said “yes, of course!”. I even would have told you that I loved and genuinely cared about people and I would have meant it, too. But the truth is that until I completed this course, I didn’t really know how to love people. Not in a way that serves them. John Mayer sings Love Is A Verb and he’s spot on.
I believe we are on this planet for the purpose of making a difference for others, but so often, we leave this task to teachers, counselors, coaches, clergy, therapists and other professionals. We were all created to serve. Our lives are comprised of relationships and opportunities to contribute to each other. The way we impact and support people is at the core of the course. Helping people get what they want in life is an incredible purpose and I am thrilled to be clear about my role in this mission.
On the first day of the course, we were broken up into groups of five or six people. You and your small group get close, really close. The kind of intimacy that means not letting each other off the hook when someone is butting up against the kinds of things that make them want to shut down or run away from a tough subject. We learned to really listen to one another, effectively. I can’t believe how much of my previous way of relating to people was about me and not them. Turns out that deep down, I was more committed to what I thought they needed instead of listening and actually hearing them. And even crazier than that is that when they behaved in a way that I viewed as “wrong”, I stopped listening.
The notion of “wrong” is another thing that I’m pumped to have a new view about. The realm of right and wrong is no longer a space I dwell, in which provides serious freedom! I of course still hold a separate space for things that are morally wrong, but ontologically speaking (ontology is the technology that Landmark is based on), things just are what they are and they’re not what they’re not. Realizing that making people “wrong” doesn’t work (and never freaking has) has been huge. Dominating and overpowering people with anger and disappointment is counterproductive to contributing to their lives. Eye rolls, gritted teeth, and clenched fists don’t leave space for either one of us to take on a new perspective. People don’t generally have lightbulb moments in the face of anger or shame. I am beyond excited to truly be a stand for people in whatever they want and in a way that they need. In a way that works!
Asking myself “who am I being for others?” was powerful, to say the least. Initially, having the course facilitator suggest that I was playing small in life lit me up with anger and confusion. I thought to myself “did you not just hear all that I said I accomplished in the last two years?”. But he was right, and he was echoing the sentiments of my business coach who all but insisted that I attend this thing. I was failing to truly love people. Sadly, in many cases, I was failing to love the same people that supported and loved me through much of my life. It was time to get vulnerable and sink my teeth in a new realm of possibility.
Many of my breakthroughs came from watching others get “unstuck”. As they say “what happens in the course stays in the course” because Landmark takes confidentiality seriously. What I can safely say about what others were sharing is that scenario after scenario provided examples I could identify with. There were so many times in my life that I had intentions of creating a certain result (like a solid friendship) with someone, or a group of someones but my actions were out of alignment with my intentions. So many times I intended awesome things but would act in such a way that continued to get in the way of what I wanted.
Since coming back to town from the course, I’ve spent some time rethinking and redesigning a few facets of my world. It’s so freeing that it’s actually a little scary to realize that the future is truly mine to design. My husband and I were almost immediately given the opportunity to put this stuff to work from a parenting level. We came home to discover that our daughter had made some poor choices with social media and breaking a boundary we had all agreed to. We left the good old shaming and anger behind and simply asked our daughter to consider that her actions were out of alignment with the things she says she wants in life. We left her to sit in that for a day, and the results that she created from that space were nothing short of extraordinary. I love this stuff!
I genuinely enjoyed and appreciated the course and I am grateful to have attended. The question I get a lot is “do you still feel like Landmark is only 85% awesome?” (which I said in a previous post). In sync with what I learned at the Advanced Course, I now have the view that Landmark isn’t “wrong” for their nagging sales tactics. But I want to be clear about the fact that I do see it as a blind spot for the company. I believe that they’re playing small and could be impacting thousands more if they were willing to revamp things. Considering that their courses are about people getting everything they want in their lives and in their businesses, I’d say they’ve got some myopia. I would be willing to bet that they don’t have the reputation in the world that they want. For them to be the epitome of what they teach would absolutely ROCK. Meanwhile, if you allow that annoyance to stand in your way, you could miss out on incredible stuff that can’t be gotten anywhere else. Trust me, it’s worth being irritated to get everything you want in life.