About 10 years ago EVERYONE in my family became obsessed with this life coaching seminar called Landmark Forum. My parents, step-parents, grandparents, baby brother etc. all did the program. Everyone, except my brother, was crazy in love with it. As a 12 year old I was forced into attending a lot of Forum “graduations” that were both dull and non-sensical to me. I flat out REFUSED to do the program…until 3 months ago when my mom expertly used her Jewish guilt on me. In a moment of weakness I signed up for it.
Today was day 1 of a 4 day course. Each day lasts 12-13 hours, starting at 9am. I decided to go into it with a skeptical, but open mind. Day 1 is now over and I am convinced now more than ever that this is NOT the program for me. Even angsty 12 year old me had some sense of this. Today I sat in an extremely uncomfortable chair in an overly air conditioned room (which I am convinced has brought on a cold) for 13 hours and watched 10 grown adults stand on a make shift stage and weep openly about their problems to a room filled with 125 strangers. I was asked to perform visualization exercises, given assignments about identifying my authentic/inauthentic personality traits, and a homework assignment about identifying something called a racket and writing a letter to a person I have wronged.
I have never rolled my eyes, sustained laughter, or heard so many irrelevant/corny sports analogies so much in one day. I was an emotional roller coaster verging on frustration, fury, annoyance and just a hint of delirium. Basically, I’m the bitch in the room and I think the forum leader knows this based on how many times she caught me glaring at her today. I’m also the resigned cynic/conspiracy theorist in the room. The whole time I could not help but wonder how many of the people sitting around me were paid actors pretending to have a moving experience or if the extreme air conditioning is actually a gaseous chemical meant to make us happy and compliant. Basically, I’m crazy.
I have nothing in common with most of the people in this program. I have another 3 days of this to look forward to and I don’t think I will be able to make it. However, it’s possible that I will drink the Kool Aid and become obsessed with it like the rest of my family. Maybe.