Expectation is to disappointment as surrender is to joy.
Back in January, I made the conscious choice to attend a 3.5-day personal development seminar called The Landmark Forum. Now, if you were to conduct a precursory Google search, you would find numerous negative reviews from previous attendees, who may or may not have graduated, speaking to their experiences and interactions with parent company, Landmark Worldwide and its experiential offerings in the form of personal development seminars. However, I chose not to do so until afterward and I recommend that you follow suit should you decide to attend as well. That said, I didn't go blindly; I had, at least, an inkling of what to expect, but not enough to satisfy my cravings for comfort.
During the course of 3.5 days in attendance, I met audaciously brave people of all ages, walks of life, and from locations all over the country. I listened to them share their stories that were birthed by emotional trauma, I listened to and watched them openly emote, and they, in turn, listened to me as I vulnerably shared my stories. I have to admit, it was an unnerving experience and I felt emotionally naked and afraid throughout. Each session was approximately 12 hours long, give or take the time allotted for short breaks and a lunch break. If comfort was a zone, I was definitely not in it. The chairs were unapologetically uncomfortable and the room was chilled. No food or caffeinated beverages of any kind were offered, either; only water. I like to believe that the conditions were intentionally so to make all students comfortable being uncomfortable; to put us in a state of wanting to be there regardless of the conditions of our physical environment, if that makes sense. By the end of the first day, my seat felt like plywood covered in cushion-less upholstery and my buttocks were numb. I drove home after a long-ass day and when I arrive home, I immediately went to bed. The next morning, I kid you not; my anxiety levels were peaked. I did not want to return. In fact, I almost talked myself out of it, but I paid the tuition so I was not about to forfeit the bread. Nope. So I returned. The Gods and I must have been crazy, right?
Each day we were given assignments to do by the forum’s leader. In a nutshell, they consisted of “enrolling” (cold calling friends and family and openly conversing with them) the people in our lives into our newfound ability to release the past from our present and going forward create from an empty and meaningless primordial soup just as God did when he created the Universe. The leader of the forum I attended was dynamic, too. She had the uncanny ability to seemingly peer into the prism of our pain and isolate the past from the present. It was beautiful watching and listening to her do in 3.5 days what some mental health therapists and life coaches either are not trained to do or are unwilling to do.
On the first day of the forum, I walked in desiring clarity in my life. I walked in wanting purpose. I thought that the forum would give me that. However, I was pleasantly mistaken. I learned that no person or no thing can you give you or me clarity. Clarity and purpose comes form within. They come from the intimate conversations we have with our soul. Our spirit. Our belief in an all-powering, all-knowing, and compassionate energy greater than ourselves. What the Landmark Forum did give me, though, was imbue with the language template and the self-discovery curriculum with which to ask God specific questions, wait for specific answers, and then create or speak things into being from or out of nothing. In Latin, the term is “Ex Nihilo”.
Had I stood in my own way, knowingly or unknowingly, I would have missed the learning objectives and forfeit the opportunity.
Today, I do have clarity and purpose. I exist to become the best version of myself in all aspects of my life. I create not only possibilities, but also actualities. I do so confidently as God intended his highest form of creation, the one created in his image and likeness, to do.