That Time I Went To Landmark

And it was far from a beacon

Because I didn’t attend the last night where they suggest you to bring friends and family so to reveal your new butterfly wings, I’m technically not a graduate of Landmark.  When they told our group of 100 plus this and indicating it as an upsetting fact, I attached relief to it.

Many had gone before me.   Even two of my dearest, MC and Ciona loved their experience.  Most stories I heard back in Nashville.  The ones who had the most difficult problems with it were the staunch Christians.  I thought, well, then, I will love it!  I remember hearing how colleague Meg left after the first day.  Scoffing, how bad could one day be at listening to someone talk?

Terrible.

So, I disliked it as much as those needing organized religion because of the exact same reason.   We were told over and over that that weekend was the only way we could become free of our pain.  I wasn’t siding with the idea that it was Jesus who relinquishes the woes.  I haven’t thought this in over 19 years.  It’s not a weekend at Landmark either.  It is you.  Its is yourself being in choice.  Your path is created because you have the muscles and mind to create it.  Your abundance is in your life based one the way YOU treat others and the family you create is based on choices you make to have one.

I could go on and on about how much Landmark sucks.  I just laughed out loud.  I could have written that more eloquently but the words chosen with hesitation and care are only for subject matters that have enlightened me.

But I must add: They follow you into the bathroom.  The drones who work there and linger in the back of the room eyeing your mandatory name tags in case they need to scratch down your identifier.  Mine was and I was cornered because I didn’t fill out when I would be returning.  This sort of soliciting reminds me of the older ladies knocking on my door with bibles in their hands.  What is the difference, truly?  They each are standing behind their own theory of your need to be saved.

Throughout the weekend you were urged to sit by strangers.  And this is where I met Bonnie.  We were requested to turn to the person beside you and share with what you just heard and answer three questions or something of the like.  We introduced ourselves. We somewhat talked about our assignment but then veered towards personal connection.  I had shared about Patrick, why I moved and left Nashville and losing my dad.  She shared with me about losing her fiance of 9 years within the past 6 months and losing her father, the year prior.  We then went to lunch a few times together.  She was enjoying her time much more than I was at Landmark.  Her sister in law had urged her to go.  She could see its benefits but didn’t understand why we needed to sit in chairs for 17 hours a day and listen to the countless stories from our Forum Leader.

We continued to meet up.  Even though she wasn’t a new stranger to sit by, we faked it.  At one point she shared with me how her stepmother had sent her a box of her father’s old things.  He was an avid golfer and the package included a few old v-neck sweaters.  She felt comfort as she put them on and wore them around the house.  She said she wish she could do the same thing for her fiance’s grown children.  I didn’t understand what she meant.  She said that there was one room in the house with many of his belongings and she just couldn’t bare to go through them.  Without pause, I interjected that I could come visit and help her through the process.  I shared with her that the muck doesn’t frighten me nor do I judge it.  I’ve been in muck of my own and dealing with the death of someone you hold so dear is staggering.  She could introduce him to me so to speak with his belongings.  We could divide what goes to each child.  She looked at me with awe.  She said that her close friends were so close to him as well that it was hard on everyone to take the first step.  This conversation was three months ago.

After figuring out schedules, I drive two hours south this weekend.  Ironically, it will be father’s day.

Landmark did not save me from myself as it had hopes to do.  It wasn’t a lighthouse guiding my way home.  It’s not the destination.

It is always whom you meet along the way.  It is the ones you connect with…not by force or persuasion…but authentically.

A weekend did not change me.  Thankfully it kept me exactly who I am.

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3 Comments

  1. Thank goodness it didn’t change you. Girl, you’re making your own landmarks. Here’s to meeting folks along the way!

  2. Kerry

     /  July 9, 2015

    Love, love, love this post!

  3. Lisa Miller-Carlson

     /  August 5, 2015

    Oh Sarah,
    I enjoyed this post and love what became of meeting Bonnie at a Landmark Forum of all places. I’m glad you were you and are you and that you offered to help her, what a gift to give her, and yourself at that.

    I also found it interesting to read that you had attended a Landmark Forum seminar. What an experience I’m sure 😉 My roommate Sharon from 2005/2006 was really into Landmark. I knew her before we became roommates from back in 2003. It does seem to be almost like a gospel for some. Luckily she understood that I wanted no involvement with it, but a lot of times when we would have bbq’s or board game nights she would invite some of her Landmark friends, so I knew plenty about it just being around them all. Then early in 2010 during some very low points another friend of mine was going to go, and he asked if I would come along. I did and was glad to only go that one night. Some of the people there recognized me from Sharon. Sharon moved to Redding CA in 2008.

    I’m rambling….. I’m glad things are well and I believe you still got something good out of it 😉
    Cheers!!

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