This weekend I got kicked out of a self-help program

I would like to add a nugget of wisdom to my list of "Things not to say in a group setting that could be possibly alarming to those that aren't as loose in the mouth as you are and would therefore get you into a lot of trouble".  Up to this point, my list has been very small and included just those things we like to call "common sense":

1. Never yell "bomb" on an airplane.
2. Never say "there are people in this congregation that just bug the shit out of me" at the church pulpit.
3. Never have an inconvenient giggle-fest at a funeral. 

.....and now the newest that I am not so proud to add from experience:
4. NEVER mention that you have had suicidal thoughts at a self-help seminar.

If you didn't think it very likely or even possible to get kicked out of a program that was designed to help empower and inspire you, i'm going to tell you exactly how to do this, seeings how I am now an experienced expert in this very field.  Before I do this, I would like to make note that although I can easily make light of any situation, this weekend was extremely emotional for me.  But because this blog is where I can express my experiences in life with my lighter side, I am going to do just that.

I first heard of the Landmark Forum a little over a year ago from a very close friend of mine.  She strongly encouraged me to go because she had such an amazing experience.  No thanks.  I knew very little about the program, other than it was some sort of 3 day workshop in a group setting.  That was enough for me to put that into my category of "what weird people do".  And I AM NOT weird you guys.  I would never sit in a large room while wearing a body drapery of huge tropical leaves, chanting self affirmations and rubbing animal feces on my face while someone runs a tuning fork over my face.  Because that is, of course, what they must do at self-help programs.  Okay, I might wear the draperies and chant.  Feces and tuning forks are completely out.  So next time you decide you are having a party where these activities will be present, don't invite me.  Needless to say, I was not interested in doing something I had already pre-determined as stupid.  What I started to notice over the last year though, was the my friend has some pretty damn good insights into a lot of problems I have been trying to deal with.  And I REALLY liked what she had to say.  I knew that a lot of it had been influenced by her experience at the forum because she had given me little tidbits here and there about what the forum was all about.  Mostly I really clung to the idea that it taught you HOW to think, not WHAT to think.  Me likes.

So about two weeks ago I finally got smart enough to realize that the same old persistent complaints I have had in my life just weren't going away.  And most importantly, the idea that they would eventually go away in some distant future seemed to get stupider and stupider as I realized that I am now 30 and that once distant future keeps coming and going without a fix.  In other words, I became desperate enough to consider Landmark Forum.  

This blog post comes a few days too early.  See, usually the program lasts from 9:00am to 10:00pm Friday through Sunday and then a follow up on Tuesday from 7:00pm to 10:00pm.  Technically, I should be there right now.  And why aren't I then, you might ask?  Well, let me tell you a little story....

I had a breakthrough yesterday.  Truly, i'm telling you this was an absolute miracle for me.  It's like opening up a box and picking up a piece of paper that has the answer to the meaning of your life.  Picture the most empowering, inspiring and emotional feelings you could humanly possibly get from reading this answer as it finally "clicks" for you.  That is the kind of breakthrough I was experiencing.  Part of the program is sharing your experiences with everyone else that is there.  And I did just that.  Not that this would shock you, but I don't have much of a filter.  I tend to spew out some verbal diarrhea every now and then.  I like to think that I just say the things that I know most people are thinking but don't dare say.  Now put me in an environment where we have been encouraged to let go of everything and be as completely open and uninhibited as you can possibly get and i'm going to say what i'm thinking, dammit.  Because the truth is, I think i'm the least crazy person in the room, and if i'm thinking it, SURELY most everyone else has at one point also.  So I said it:

Three days ago, I was laying in my bed trying to decide the best way to end my life.   

Let me give you some quick context:  I was saying this not only because it was a true fact, but because I was trying to relate to the people in the room of how liberating it feels to go from those thoughts three days ago to realizing that I have complete control over my life and i'm being fearless starting now.  The point wasn't to say that i'm suicidal.  Because truly i'm not.  Who hasn't felt so horrible at your lowest lows that sometimes you feel like being dead and feeling nothing would feel better than what you are feeling in that moment?  I know most people have.  I do often.  I happened to three days ago.  Well my friends, please don't share those thoughts over the microphone.  It was like yelling "bomb" in an airport.  I was immediately asked to step into a side room and told that this program was not for suicidal people.  Suicidal people need to see a psychiatrist AND THEN come back to this program.  So the bottom line that I heard when they were saying this was:

"I am sorry to tell you that you are actually too crazy to be in our program designed to help people that feel crazy."

So this weekend I got kicked out of a self-help program.  #37 on my bucket list.  Not really, I would never thought it was possible. 

Note to self: Next time, just stand up at the microphone and start chanting while you paint war stripes on your face with dog feces.  Or wearing something like this:

It would be less alarming than saying what most people are thinking.

And PS - The two days that I was there were completing empowering.  Enough so that despite that whole inconvenient scenario, I understand that we live in a society riddled with lawsuits that leave companies like this with policies that defy common logic, and therefore I hold no grudge.  I plan on going back and would recommend this program to everyone.  Ask me about what I learned when you see me next time.  It was so inspiring that I may or may not burst into song.  


1. Have you ever said something in public that you really regret?

2. If you had to chant self-affirmations, what would they be?

1 comment:

  1. When I was 16 I told my very proper grandfather, in front of my mom, that some guy was a "prick.". I didn't know what it meant and thought it sounded cool and edgy. I regretted that as soon as I saw his face begin to melt off and steam start shooting out of his ears.

    I am both proud of you and excited for your weekend experiences. Life changing shizuoka. Good work!