taking the Landmark Forum

I recently signed up for the Landmark Forum, and I’m really excited about it.


Well, many years ago I went to an est guest event and almost enrolled then.  Instead, I took the Lifespring Trainings and got pretty involved for several months (Basic, IPE, and Leadership).  That was 1980.  That was over half my life ago and I’ve lived my life differently as a result.  At this point I can’t imagine my life without it.  I audited Lifespring Basic Training a couple more times in the 90’s.

Recently, I downloaded The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life from audible.com.  I didn’t realize before I listened to the book that the authors are Landmark Forum trainers.  They promote it as a transformational book, and it is.  It got me interested in doing a little more.

Lifespring grew out of est and along side it.  Landmark evolved directly from it.  Someone once said that if est was Lavoris then Lifespring was Listerine (or the other way around; I can’t remember). I’m sure it will be another powerful, profound experience.

On Thanksgiving Day, I found myself watching Transformation:  The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.

This book, and this film, put me in touch with the important things I learned in Lifespring and inspired me to stop the routine for a few days and again take a look at my life in this way.  After all, I’m a different person now.

It all starts at enrollment, but the actual course starts in a few weeks, in Greensboro.  It should be an adventure, and I’m looking forward to it.

indeed, the world has changed

Last night I watched two movies.

Transformation:  The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.

This is quite a fun trip down memory lane for anybody who took est (or, in my case, Lifespring — basically the same thing).

I did all the trainings they offered in 1980.  Basic, IPE, and TC 12, in Seattle.  At the time, it was so different from normal education that many of my friends and family members thought I was in a cult or new religion.  ABC’s 20/20 did an exposé accusing Lifespring of being a cult.  (I think they actually shot footage of the training I was in).  My mother talked with a psychiatrist about how to get me deprogrammed.  She wanted me to talk to him, which I did, from a pay phone in Seattle.  est and Lifespring were his special interests.  He told me I was in a cult.

Now, thirty years later, I can honestly say what hundreds of thousands of other graduates have said:  it made a profound difference in the quality of my life, and I’ve lived my life differently as a result.

And it’s not a cult.  Or a religion.  It’s an educational course.  In fact, I audited the Basic Training twice again, years later, and received renewal credit toward my teacher’s license.

The most interesting thing about revisiting this material now is to see how mainstream this kind of education has become in the time since then.

Experiential learning has been around forever.  But formalized experiential education was a little radical then.

Dr. Phil and Oprah use a similar approach with their guests every day.  Countless books and DVD’s help people gain similar awareness.

Phrases like “getting it,” “experiencing a breakthrough,” “thinking outside the box,” “coming from” a certain “place,” “what you resist, persists,” (est), “what you resist is what you become,” (Lifespring), “thanks for sharing,” and “making a difference” were strange jargon from the training then.  Schools and businesses use these terms regularly now.

In 1980, the concept of “accountability” — a primary tenet of Lifespring — was something new and weird and different to many people.  Since the 90’s, that’s been the big push in public education — although I would suggest that it’s only the same word but applied very differently.

LGATs (large group awareness trainings) take a stand that’s really simple: Every person is important.  People can make difference in other people’s lives.  The world can be a better place in which to live.  It’s possible to spend structured time with other people, with a facilitator, and put this vision into action.

Crazy back then.  Normal now.

The other movie I saw was Julie & Julia, which was thoroughly enjoyable.  I saw it right after a Thanksgiving feast and got hungry again!