Generally my rule of thumb is to step into something without expectation is, especially when it comes to experiences possible of transformation. I stepped into the Landmark Forum relatively open minded but slightly doubtful it would produce anything that I haven’t already felt before.
Lectures speaking of the mind and its stories, who is the I and who is the observer, taking responsibility – particularily in relationships, living a life of integrity, distinguishing between the content and the context of a situation, the power we have to make our own choices which lead our life – almost all things I’ve either read, heard and know of.
Day 1 – I was glowing. Of course I was, I knew things that other people didn’t and that made me feel good about myself. I just looked around the room at confused faces and I just listened attentively to the speaker, nodding my head off because everything just made sense in my mind. Piece of cake.
Day 2 – Ideas became more abstract, moments became heavier, discomforts both physically and emotionally began to arise. I was asked to look back into my life in areas which I left incomplete. Relationships which I avoided or held resentment towards became real to me, from not wanting to deal with them previously, making excuses and complaints or being ignorant of the way I was treating these people. One person after another came popping into my head and I felt irritated, scared and remorseful, now realizing my actions which I justified in my own head. I needed to speak with these people and complete with them something I didn’t have courage to admit before. A piece of cake has become a mouthful too dry to swallow on its own. I needed to bite the bullet of this undesired dessert and do what was needed for myself, but most importantly, the people I cared about in my life.
Day 3 – The lump of dough was still stuck in my throat. I had resistance and I held on. I wasn’t willing to digest and let go of something that I had unknowingly held on to for this long. But I knew I had to. As if stepping out of a walk-in freezer for the first time, with jittered hands and clenched teeth, I nervously dialled. I spoke from a presence and a truth that I didn’t know I had. I felt my heart thaw and a warmth I haven’t felt in a long time. Water dripped and things began to become so much clearer, like that of a February day, when snow melts and skies blue.
A literal burden was lifted off my shoulders. My physical body became so much more relaxed, the mind was so much more ready to receive what was being taught. The hours of sitting and listening, reiterating and relieving, crying and laughing was to prepare oneself for this one final moment, like that of a peak pose in a yoga class that one would work so hard towards.
A climber who’s ever tackled a perilous mountain must have courage and trust. And when it reaches the top, to witness the breathtaking climax as he/she stands on the summit would be what I imagined to be the presence that I felt. I can’t describe how I got there, or articulate what it was like when it happened, but a switch, a transformation occurred. And there, standing at the peak, nothing before or nothing after mattered, just being and witnessing was simply enough. A silence I’ve never heard before, fell over the room and a collective unity so rarely experienced left me feeling a profound love and compassion for people I hardly knew, an acceptance of who they were and were not, unconditionally.
I always knew, intellectually, that the caterpillar is also the butterfly. They are the same insect, just in different forms. I have heard of what butterflies looked like and what it meant to fly, but for me, the forum was my cocoon and those enduring hours led me to experience a transformation which has helped me see the possibility of flight. A non-competeting power, commitment and presence to life, and to the betterment of the people around me. I knew of Bhakti and Karma and have read it again and again in the Bhagavad Gita, the service to others. But only now do I realize, in the body, what that means. The commitment to creating greatness and joy in the people in my life, however small or big, near or far.
I am not enlightened, or any smarter or wiser. I’m not better or different either. I can only speak of my experience and I feel that I am transformed/ing, to be more present than I was before, present to my life and present to others. I see life newly and for that I am grateful.
I am grateful to Lululemon for this opportunity and particularily to Sheila, Brittany and Ashleigh for their continual support.
I am thankful for all the teachers and friends in my life, and to Bill, Rebecca and Shelley for their encouragement
I am happy to have the family that I have and love them for everything that they are