Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Landmark?

What follows is an opinion, my opinion, not truth. ‘Tis only one petite woman’s humble opinion regarding Landmark Education.
I spoke anonymously of a friend who subscribes to BDSM: bondage and domination and to a lesser degree, sadomasochism.
“Landmark draws people like that,” my girlfriend said, “And it gives them a bad name.”
My hackles rose in offense. “These people are everywhere and in Landmark, they become expressed, like everyone else,” I defended.
But her comment niggled and gnawed and festered. Does Landmark draw the socially marginal? And Is BDSM socially marginal? The answer to the latter depends largely on where one lives both physically and mentally.
I’ll assert one goal of Landmark Edu is for the passionate expressions of people. The Landmark Forum examines who you are: to you and for you. Often this is a collection of disempowering beliefs and constraints like: I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough and oh by the way, my nose is too big. These beliefs of Self tether us in ways to which we are blind. The Landmark Forum uncovers, unshackles, untethers and unfetters.
Landmark’s Advanced Course examines who we are with others, illuminating our propensity for judge, juror and executioner of those known and unknown to us. It reveals the rapidity of our movement from bounty-hunter to (judge, juror…) gravedigger = a nanosecond. In owning our nastiness, that by which we hold loved ones hostage, we dissolve the bars, disappear their prison, and relationships mend, heal and are reborn. My relationship is less about you than who I am with you and for you.
The Self Expression and Leadership Program provides structure for the outward expression of Self. People create projects as a passionate self-expression that result in: a visitation program to the shut-ins of their church, 1000 bags of clothing donated to a Sacramento clothes closet, potable water to a cardboard slum of the Yucatan, a school and clinic in Afghanistan providing education and medical care to – yes, even girls. One project grew to become the Hunger Project, an ongoing, 30-year endeavor empowering the Third World to feed itself through education and micro-loans. You know, teach a man to fish…
In the Wisdom Course people gain social intelligence and lubricant, the ability to have and hear any conversation. In Wisdom, people grow-up their conversations from reactive child and pouty teenager, to adult. This is most evident in their capacity to face confrontation, upset, and threat with open communication.
If you think your conversations are adult during upset, think again. In the heat of battle our accusations are astonishingly adolescent, devolving even to mono-syllabic utterances, gestures, and hand-signals.
Open, adult communication equates to nothing left unsaid AND communicants left equally empowered versus combatants left suppressed, oppressed, and diminished.
Landmark Edu moves people from me… to us… to all of us. Life is different out there beyond the smallness of me. Compassion lives there. Coexistence resides next door. World peace owns a plot of land.
Landmark Edu is not the path; it is one path. Many a man will never know God in church and not for lack of God. But he who lives life beyond the smallness of me, firmly planted in all-of-us, knows compassion and grace… and grace is God.
With regard to BDSM, I gained the ability to say, No thank you, without becoming aghast, defensive, or indignant. My expanding capacity for any and every conversation allows for surprising, funny, thoughtful, loving, provocative and evocative conversations.
When one is the space into which people may safely express, they say new things, the damndest things… the world is enriched by their unfolding, the path to one’s door – well trod.
All that I am and all that I say,
All of me lives in passionate play.

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