09 June 2010

Opening to Memory at the New Dawn

The other night, I was wondering "What ever happened to J______" my childhood best friend. Even though I had a vague memory of having tried unsuccessfully to find her online a few years ago, I gave it another try. This time when I typed her name into the search engine and hit "Send," the screen blinked and brought back two pages of hits.

My illustrious forrmer best friend... In the most recent Google citation, a 1997 article in Ebony magazine, J_______ was VP of a Fortune 500 company and former state's attorney general. In the accompanying photo, behind the executive haircut and dark blue power suit, I recognized my first and truest friend. My love for J_________ was intense and unconditional and fragile and I haven't known a friend-love like that since.

When asked by the article's author what it takes to succeed, she said
"...I have to set a standard for myself... independent of anyone else.... I never set out saying `I'm going to beat him or her.' Rather, I say that I want to accomplish this objective or this goal. Then the question becomes how do I get to my personal best.

...first you must define what success means to you as an individual -- not what it means to parents, family and friends. And then you have to be committed to achieving success, ... and that means sacrifice. ... The issue is your willingness to commit to and go after your objective. ... you must like what you do....If you don't like it, you'll never put the energy into it to be successful."

Discerning my "life work" is the #1 project these days. I'm reading and listening and asking questions. I accept Thomas Moore's message in A Life at Work without resistance. It is more difficult to open to J________'s words. For decades I've vacillated between nervous picking at the scar of losing her and disciplined denial, trying to leave it alone and let it heal.

It took a few days but on this day, I'm finally able to read J________'s words as part of the inspiration and information pouring in in this time of discernment and meditation.

Also on this day, a coincidence is revealed: , the day I did the Google search for J____________ was her birthday.


I don't remember now if Pallas or Carlton first brought Landmark Education to my attention. They're both graduates of the program. In the intervening years, subsequent reminders have come from both of them as well as other voices. Perhaps a decade ago I decided to enroll -- the dynamism and intelligence of every graduate I'd ever met was compelling -- but program policies made me ineligible: I was taking anti-depressant medication at the time and had a hospitalization for depression in my history.

The policies have since changed. When our friend Vanda came through town last weekend, Landmark came up again. Vanda is also a graduate. [Note: I hope the reader follows the link and checks out Vanda's video clip.] Something in the quality of our interactions led both Pallas and Vanda to recommend a re-consideration of Landmark.

Again, scar tissue made consideration difficult. Being rejected by Landmark all those years ago had been painful. Again, it took a couple of days to gather sufficient strength and willingness to override my defenses. In the resulting "clear space," with Carlton and Pallas' generous support, I registered for the upcoming Landmark Forum in San Jose. There's residual emotional matter that feels mostly like a healthy skepticism; but there's also excitement and curiosity.


Vanda also brought a new conceptualization of "the personal blind spot." I conceive of it now as a psychic space (that feels to be located behind and to the right of my head) where core elements of my "operating system" are stored. These elements are automatic -- no dialog boxes need to open for these applications to execute and run through my behavior and thinking. The files are stored in "System Preferences" and require a series of "advanced" steps to access and modify.

This blind spot manifests as a feeling that there's an auto-pilot "program" running through my life, a meaning-making program that limits and defines my perceptions and understandings. As I make my way, making choices based on these understandings, I experience "effects" with an incomplete sense of the "causes." To enjoy new effects, I must make new causes.

OK. I want to "go there." I'm ready to learn the steps and begin reprogramming... I think, I hope, I believe that Landmark will be a valuable tool in this process.

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