Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

September 14, 2010

A Balanced Review of the Landmark Forum

Filed under: Graduate Projects — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:29 pm

I recently read a very fair commentary of the Landmark Forum written not by one of its fanatical supporters or opponents, but by someone who took the Landmark Forum and a couple of other courses, got some valuable stuff, and moved on.

The reviewer describes many of the things that happen in the Landmark Forum, so it’s useful in that regard for anyone who wants to know what it actually looks like to be in the course. I particularly find it insightful how the reviewer notes that the Landmark Forum challenges one to really fill in the blank about what one really wants – very often we don’t define our dreams, and then wonder later why they aren’t getting fulfilled.

I also liked her tale of how she had been a member of the Cleveland Flute Society for a number of years before discovering the group had been founded as someone’s self-expression and leadership program project.

Read the good and the bad in this objective Landmark Forum Review.

May 28, 2009

Honoring a Life

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 4:46 pm

I recently read a post on the Landmark Education News website that told of a man, Raj Babbra, who is making a movie as a tribute to their best friend, Benedetta Ciaccia, who died during the 7/7 bombings of the London Underground. I went on Youtube and I found a trailer for the movie itself, which is called Life Without Benedetta.

Babbra’s story is also extremely moving. I read his blog about how he did the Landmark Forum and finally found peace, as well as the commitment to celebrate Ciaccia’s life. Go, right now, and read the Life with Loss blog.

May 15, 2009

Help Sierra

Filed under: Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 7:23 pm

Another extraordinary opportunity to make a difference was recently passed along to me. This one involves a little girl named Sierra born with severe cerebral palsy causing quadriplegia. The only thing that has made any difference is a new experimental form of stem cell therapy, but the parents are having a hard time affording treatment.

A woman who leads Landmark Education’s self expression and leadership programme apparently formed a facebook group to help raise money for Sierra’s treatment – it’s an open group, so you can visit the  ‘Help Sierra’ group and hear more about her story.

There’s also a Help Sierra Blogspot website as well for more news on Sierra.

May 5, 2009

how we did it – making a dream a reality

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 8:25 pm

Ok, I have another post here that’s really only tangentially related to Landmark, although the person who wrote the post said that why they wrote about wouldn’t have happened without attending the Landmark Forum. It’s about a couple in their thirties (I believe) that essentially took a year off from working to buy an “RV” (recreational vehicle, one of those big camper trailers) to tour the United States. It had apparently been a dream of the author’s to do this. Why I love this post is that it details the bridge between having a dream and making it a reality – all the hard work that must be done to make something happen. And after reading this post, I’m clear that the hard work, the bridge, helps make the fulfilled dream that much more rewarding. (Here’s the link to read the whole thing).

how we did it

It’s not all pretty, but here’s a look at the behind-the-scenes action.

We saw an opportunity for ourselves in creating this RV trip of a lifetime but knowing we were going down a road society teaches you not to take. You retire after 65 and not in your 30’s, even if it is just for a “pretend” year. We surely had mixed reviews along the way about what we were going to do. Most would say, “I have always wanted to do that” or “I am so envious”.  Yet, we did find ourselves challenged almost daily by the resistance of the others, but endured it.

Read the rest of the inspiring tale at the site above!

April 29, 2009

Making a Difference Via Making Microloans Personally

Filed under: Graduate Projects — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 4:52 pm

I was recently passed along a project being undertaken by a woman named Joann Didato in a Landmark Education seminar. Didato is apparently putting together a team of people to raise money to help people in the developing world. This in and of itself isn’t particularly unusual; it seems to me that Landmark graduates are always involved in a lot of different altruistic concerns.

What struck me as truly different about this was that she was doing it through an extraordinary website named Kiva (don’t ask me what it stands for – I have no idea). The website allows individuals and teams like Didato’s to get directly involved in microcredit to specific people.

I’m sure most of you know about microcredit – small scale loans to help personal businesses in developing countries to energize their economies. Usually this is done through large organizations, and if one gives money, one gives money to the large organization that is making this happen.

With Kiva, you get to loan money directly, yourself, in amounts as small as $25, to specific entrepreneurs of your choice. You choose who the money goes to, and then, if all goes well, you get paid back and you can lend the same money to someone else! It’s a bit like the “Sponsor a child” charity programmes that you see out there, except this is microcredit instead of pure charity. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve seen a lot of great charity ideas. I encourage people to visit http://www.kiva.org, or call Didato in the United States at 718-727-7867 to get involved lending with her ‘Team Abundance’.

April 22, 2009

What it Takes to Make a Difference

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:21 pm

There’s another website out there, Landmark Education News, which tends to write about projects undertaken by people who take Landmark courses which then end up in newspapers. I usually don’t try to do what they do, but I noticed a story about a basketball project on their website a while back, and then I received another story about the same project. I’m running that second story here because I think it shows something that is often missing when we hear about someone who does a great charity event or makes a difference in a big way somehow: what it really took to make it all happen. This story gets into the details of what this man was committed to, how he looked around for a way to make a difference, and how he became a partner of the local community to do it. Have some patience for it’s a bit of a long story – It’s from a newspaper titled the Mansfield News Mirror in the United States.

Mansfield athletes have it good.

Real good.

The facilities in the district are top-notch, most are new. They have on-site training facilities, with weight rooms and trainers to deal with any injuries.

When Mike Jones, a former Mansfield High School basketball player, was taking part in a leadership training course for his job at ESPN that required a community project, he knew he wanted to get back into basketball.

Jones didn’t know what to do at first; he just knew that he wanted a service project that involved a low-income school and his Tigers.

He began to drive around Dallas, knowing that there were areas “that needed some help.”

He stopped at James Madison High School in Dallas in October and asked a parent wehre he could find a school that needed help with its facilities for a project he was working on.

The answer surprised him.

“I talked to Winfred Moore, a parent of one of the Madison players. I saw the boys walking back to the gym after leaving the track one morning. I asked if he knew of any schools that might be in need of help,” Jones said. “The parent said ‘Right here, help this team.’ And so I was led into the gym and into the locker rooms, and I could see that they needed help.

“The whole time I was driving around looking for a school, there was Madison right in front of me. It was a blind spot.”

Jones went to talk to the coaching staff and the principals and then the athletic director, asking what they needed.

The locker rooms needed some upkeep. The coaching staff’s office was small, and if the kids wanted to watch film, they had to crowd into a tiny room with a tiny television.

And so “Basketball United” was born.

The idea behind the project is to rehab locker rooms in need of help. Madison has 15 varsity players and 27 junior varsity players crammed into a place intended for much smaller teams.

They have carpet floors, old lockers and broken blinds. The project calls for putting down tile, putting in cabinets and bringing in new and improved video equipment.

But Jones wanted to include his alma mater, at one point coming up with the idea of helping Mansfield High School in the project.

“I knew I wanted to involve Mansfield, and I called up coach (Richie) Alfred and passed the idea by of helping out one school and helping out the Tigers,” Jones said. “Coach Alfred was all over the idea, but insisted that we help out the Madison kids, because the Mansfield kids already had great facilities. He liked the idea of his kids involved in something outside of basketball, and has been a big supporter of community service in the past.”

So on the last Saturday in January, Mansfield will travel to Madison to help some fellow gym rats.

It also comes with a hidden bonus for both Madison and Mansfield players.

“We are actually going to be hosting a basketball skills camp on that day in the gym. We are going to have the kids rotate between working out and working in the locker rooms,” Jones said. “Cameron Hill and Bob Hill are going to run the camp. They have been around college basketball for years as players and coaches, so the kids should just get phenomenal instruction from the Hills.

The project will cost approximately $5,000 to complete. Most of that money has come in the form of donations, but supplies for the project have also been offered.

Radio Shack donated a television, stereo and DVD player for the locker room. Pizza Hut will donate the food for the players and workers, and Jones feels confident that other supplies will be donated in time for the work day.

“We are still raising money, but we are getting a lot of stuff donated,” Jones said. “Everyone involved has been great and helpful. James Madison has been great, the parents from both schools have been great and the booster clubs have been very supportive.”

And once the project is complete Jan. 31, the work might not stop.

“Right now, I’m very focused on this. Once it is completed, I’m sure there is something else we can do,” Jones said. “I was recently attending a booster club meeting, and the track coach at Madison explained that there is only $1,000 available in the budget for spring sports.”

The $1,000 goes toward every sort in the spring, including track, baseball, softball and others. The money is used to register for tournaments and meets and buy equipment for the athletes.

“To just go to a track meet, it is going to cost $300. And that doesn’t include lodging or going out of Dallas for a meet, which could cost $5000,” Jones said. “After growing up in Mansfield where we could go anywhere for meets or games, that is amazing to me. I never thought that could happen anywhere.  It’s crazy, but situations like this really inspire me to help.”

December 31, 2008

Older Folk and Street Children

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 8:04 pm

Happy Chirstmas, Happy new year everyone! Today’s post is appropriate to the spirit of the holidays – It’s about a busy young woman from Indian who has found the time take on her career and make a difference in the world around her. Her project involved senior citizens contriubting to youths from the streets. What impressed me most about this woman was that making a difference was an important part of her life plan, and just something she tried to fit in your life. If you’re going to make a difference somewhere, commit to it, plan it, and put the time in. Here it is:

It’s the festive season and a time to rejoice, what with festivals packed back to back in the last quarter. So this time I’m celebrating it slightly differently. This time it is time to make a difference and spread the cheer.
I’ve taken on a community project as a part of the SELP program in which the street children and the oldage home folks get together to help each other and have loads of fun. The best part is, when I was doing my MSc PII I had decided that the first 2 years I’d teach, then I’d work for another 8-10 years and earn enough to do something for the street kids and boy it did come true. I did spend the first 2.5 years as a lecturer and then a s/w professional. Now I’m working on the project I’d been wanting to do.

The street kids have a certain spark and are very intelligent (or rather street smart). It is really sad that the only thing they are taught is to get money. Playtime, lessons are all a thing in films or for kids of good karma in the past janam! The old people have done their bit, but unfortunately when its time for them to take a break – they are broken by the kind of break.

So lets try and get the two together, where the old people can teach these kids, teach them stories be their mentors or foster grandparents. The street kids get a chance to play and learn and lots of love.

Thanks to the tight delivery lines we were following at work, I hardly got anytime to work on this community project. I’ve got a deadline for this community project too, Jan 18th. So when I run the half marathon this time (raised the bar!) I’ll be running more satisfied.

Would be blogging more about my project. I’ve got to find the remaining 7 leaders from my society, who would help me get this project be achieved by the set date. Got to get working on NGOs, logistics, funding, toys etc. Lots of work, but something that I’d love to do.

So while I’m working things out on several fronts, suggestions and any kind of help esp in funds would be appreciated. Looking for folks who’d sponsor the lunch on goingly. Looking for contribution for toys, books, pens etc.

SELP – self expression and leadership program, a part of the Landmark forum.

To read more about what this woman is up to or get involved with her project, visit Cocavita’s blog. (By the way, she also has a very interesting post about what she got out of the Landmark Forum itself – I’ll post that another time).

December 1, 2008

Breaking Through Barriers

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 7:40 pm

I am constantly amazed at how many people I hear about who have undertaken extraordinary physical feats out of their participation in Landmark Education’s programs. I believe that when people remove limits from their lives and a lot of the self-criticism they have been doing, they are free to challenge themselves in extraordinary ways, not because they have to, but because it’s inspiring to do so. Here’s the latest example that I’ve read about:

Screws in my Coffee

I am training for the Bandera 100k Trail Race in January, so this is why I am running this race in Palo Duro. I have been preparing for endurance running since last year. Currently my longest run is 20.36 miles. When I aws in my forum the leader was 70 years old and he was doing 100 mile runs in the Rockies. His goal was to be the strongest man for his age. This really inspired me.

I had stopped running in my early thirties because of knee injuries. I am 56 years old now. I had been telling myself that I could not run. So after Landmark Education training I started creating some possibilities and my life was being transformed. There were several areas that Landmark provided me with tools to make my life fulfilling. I transformed relationships at work, home and with my children, but I wanted more. I wanted to really challenge myself to do something that I had no way of figuring out how to do it except that I was going to take a big leap of faith and say that I wanted to do it. My goal is to run 100 miles.

When I started running again in February 2005 I did not have the idea that I would want to run. I actually got involved with an exercise program at work through the Cancer Association Active For Life. HT got a RunTex coach to come on campus to help several faculty and staff prepare for a 5k race that would benefit HT. I was planning on walking the event. What happened in the next few months was amazing, I got a pair of shoes and with the coaches help I started running.

My co-worker Stephanie Bond-Huie and I started running during lunch last year. She was training for this 50 mile trail race. At the time I could barely keep up with her on a four mile run. She was very encouraging with me and told me that I would love trail running if I would only try it. I thought she was nuts but I was inspired by her determination to run 50 miles. Well this year I signed up for the Rouge Running Trail 101 class. The prerequisite was to be able to run 6 miles without stopping. I spent the winter running loops around LBJ lake so I was very comfortable in running 10 miles without stopping. After running on a trail for the first time I was so excited that I could not contain myself. I thought to myself that I have gone all of my life walking on hiking trails and I never thought once to run on them.

I entered my first 10k trail race called The Saint and I ran it in 1 hour. I placed 102 out of 232 10k runners. I entered my second 10k race, a road race the Nike Human Race which I finished in 53 minutes. At the start of this year I made a goal to run 1,000 miles in one year. Currently I am at mile 767.27.

Now I am in a trail training class to run 100k at Bandera. When I signed up for the class I could not imagine how I would run 62 miles. I have never even run a Marathon of 26 miles. Once again I am using Landmark tools to create a gap or breakdown and then work towards creating a bridge to get across it. Along the way I am meeting new friends and getting a lot of knowledge about how my body works. One thing that I know is that when you hang out with people that say you cannot do something and you also tell yourself that you cannot do it then you most likely will have a tough time doing it. When you hang out with people who are doing amazing things and they encourage you to do amazing things then you will have an easier time accomplishing whatever you want. I am running with men and women of all shapes and sizes and they have one thing in common, they love endurance running. My trail coach is 55 years old and his wife is about 50. They both have run several 100 mile races.

So on Friday October 17 my wife and I will hit the road in our Dodge Cumins diesel and haul our 5th wheel Grand Junction to Palo Duro before. We plan to arrive dark and enjoy the pre race pasta dinner. I will start my run at 7 AM on Saturday. The course will be open for 7 hours. I am running 2 12.5 mile laps and one 6 mile lap. I run about 10 minute miles for 10 miles so I may average 13-15 minutes for the 30 miles. Stephanie tells me that the race crowd is pretty laid back. The canyon is beautiful so I will see the floor of the canyon for 30 miles on Saturday. We will hang out on Sunday and start back to Austin on Monday.

To read more about this man’s adventures, visit the Screws in My Coffee blog.

July 17, 2008

New Australian Landmark Education Blog!

Filed under: Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:05 pm

It’s great to see a new blog relating experiences about Landmark Education out there! It’s called My post Landmark Journey. Check it out! The author posts about her Self Expression project and whatever else she feels like–Here’s an example of how she blogs about her husband:

I got, that I have really never acknowledged my husband for the financial contribution he brings to the family. He works full time, I work part time, and we share all income evenly. Of course we do, we are a marriage, and a partnership, but I suddenly got that there is no way I could have my current lifestyle if I had to provide for my self and my daughters on my wage. Not even If I only had myself to look after.

So I thanked him.

Who do you need to acknowledge?

June 5, 2008

Postpartum Dads

Filed under: Graduate Projects, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:20 pm

I just came across a website that for me represented a very moving example of someone using the programs of Landmark Education to make a real and needed difference in the world. The website is http://postpartumdads.org, and it was created by a man named David Klinker.

Klinker says that he created the site after doing a Landmark Education program and realizing he wanted to assist others. He had been through a rough time when his wife had experienced postpartum depression after the birth of their daughter, and he realized while there were resources for women suffering from postpartum depression there was almost nothing out there for Dads dealing with the depression of their wives, or even their own depression after the birth of her child.

Out of this he created the Postpartum Dads website, which has become probably the largest resource for Fathers dealing with this issue in some way in their lives. The website is chock full of helpful information and advice, for both depressed Dads and Dads with depresses partners, to dozens of personal, inspiring stories of men who have managed to come through this issue with happy and fulfilled lives.

If postpartum depression has impacted you in any way or you just want to be inspired by an incredible website, visit it now!

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