Paul Makepeace ;-)

Landmark Forum

On 25th March 2003, I wrote this as my Forum was coming to an end. It was in a club thread at ecademy talking about "Ah ha!" moments.

Over the weekend I had the largest 'Ah ha!' moment of my life. So large in fact that two people I love dropped what they were doing and literally within hours bought plane tickets and are now as I write this on a plane from San Francisco and Tokyo.

I attended the first in the Landmark Education series, the Landmark Forum a three day intensive seminar that explores how to create what they refer to as new "possibilities", which I liken to the space of opportunity and ways to have impact. This first seminar's central theme is how past events shape our present being.

Thanks to Tom Ball and his wife Jenny I came along to an introduction a month or so back and was immediately impressed with the poise and obvious character of the people who had completed their course and were presenting their experiences. The concentration of "ordinary" people who don't regularly publicly speak displaying that confidence and genuine heart in front of a crowd of over a hundred strangers captivated me.

The seminar itself explored authenticity, integrity, ways of being, self expression, language, and this idea of inventing new possibilities for ourselves. The quite frankly astonishing coaching was regularly interspersed with participants talking in pairs and being coached publicly. Long 12hr days!

I attended primarily out of curiosity and as Tom had recommended it (he says "try this", I'll try it however bizarre!). I considered my relationship with my parents & brother very sound, have a huge number of wonderful friends, and am happy. So hey, I joked, at the very least it'll be intriguing Oprah-on-steroids entertainment.

The first couple of days I did learn more than I had expected, most especially the concepts and vocabulary to simply have a powerful conversation in the realm of one's self (far beyond IMO even quite a collection of "self development" books).

The third day however proved a breakthrough. While I was listening to a father read out a letter from his son praising and admiring him I quite uncontrollably burst into tears. And had no idea why. During the break I called my parents and was unable to speak - very peculiar! Later I managed to construct full sentences and open up a basic dialog just to explain what had happened. Later in the seminar a critical piece of exposition on choice helped me get complete and even aware of a long, long standing issue I'd had with my parents.

It's one thing to realise that there's a problem and then address it, it is a truly scary experience not realising there's a problem of the magnitude of family relations (the ultimate) and then being confronted face-to-face with it. Thankfully the Landmark Forum's education provided precisely the tools to deal with it.

I have since had some intense, genuine, and heartfelt conversations with my family and people I love working through the blockages I (and we) had had. The sense of relief and new possibility is hard to put into words. I actually am becoming a different person. All this in three days!

So what about networking? This is one of the best bits! Not to swap business cards but progress into a space where you really do look at someone else as another person increasingly free from judgment. Imagine the time you last scanned a room, or the cool ecademy "printable attendee list" and thought "hmm, she looks interesting!", "not sure about him!" just by the person's face? I know I used to, but now almost cannot even relate to that behaviour.

The biggest fear humans have is of public speaking. This is even beyond death. The seminar spends significant time and technology on this area. My fear of walking up to random people is diminished to such an extent I was having conversations with total strangers in the street today.

The seminar completes for me Tuesday 25/03/03 evening with a presentation by the participants, and course leader sharing experiences & outcomes that occurred from the Forum. I'd be delighted to talk more about it, and if anyone's interested in even attending the presentation I would be happy to host them -- drop me a line. It's in the region of Russell Sq tube.

Paul (+44 7814 728381; I won't be checking email today I'll be at the airport and lounging in Hyde Park :-)

Check out what I thought about the Advanced Course.