If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
—Gospel of St. Thomas
I have been keeping a journal consistently for the last five or more years, for many different reasons. One is to document events, people, and places I don’t want to forget. Another is I like to keep a journal to help figure out my moods as they relate to my behavior and to help sort out my anxieties, joys, and so on. Essentially, I journal to get to know myself better. For example, why did I get so upset about that event, discussion, or comment? I want to uncover the conflicts that may really be going on.
Journal writing is a great way to self-discovery. Your feelings and insights are documented for future use. It’s a learning tool. You can see how you felt a year ago about a relationship. Was it better back then, or were you suffering from the same dilemmas?
The Artist’s Way
There is an outstanding book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. If you need help sorting out what is really going on in your mind and need a nudge or guidance, I highly recommend this book. You don’t have to be an artist to benefit greatly from this book.
If you don’t know how to get started, it’s easier than you might think. I first got started in college. As I mention elsewhere in this book, I fully realize I am not a gifted writer. After flunking English a couple of times at Metropolitan State College in Denver, I was advised to attend tutoring sessions at the writing center at the school. I had a great tutor who simply sat me down with a notebook and pen and said, “Okay, write.”
I asked, “Write about what?”
She said to write about whatever I wanted.
“Like what?” “Just write about whatever you want to write about.”
I said, “I don’t want to write about anything.”
She said, “Write that.”
“Just write. It doesn’t matter what you write about.”
“I don’t want to do this,” I said. “I am really busy and have a lot to do.”
“Write that,” she said. “Just shut up and start writing!”
I was thinking, “That is kind of rude,” and she said, “Write how you feel about that. Write about all the things you think you need to do. Write about how I am getting on your nerves. Just keep writing.”
Give up your resistance
Finally, I gave up my natural resistance and just started writing how I thought I was way too busy for this writing class and how I shouldn’t have to go there twice a week and how this was really a stupid exercise and how sure I was that I wasn’t going to benefit from it. When I gave up my resistance, I couldn’t believe how much I had to say. She could barely get me out of there when my hour was up. So if you have a problem getting started, I suggest the same thing to you—just write. You will benefit more than you could ever anticipate.
Find the best time of day for yourself to write. I find first thing in the morning very beneficial. I find that my dreams can really affect my mood when I wake up. Thus, I think it is important to do it close to waking up. Journal writing is about discovering yourself. It’s about having a better understanding about yourself. Consider it an adventure. Just start writing!
The Landmark Forum
The purpose of this book is to help you (as the title states) find ways to promote beauty, health, and happiness in your life.
Beauty is both an interior and exterior state. Health begins inside and shows on the outside. Happiness is an inner condition that overflows to the outside. All three begin inside. Thus it becomes obvious that we should invest time and energy on our inner selves—who we are and what makes us tick.
Make your discoveries
People can do this in many ways. Discovering the inner self can be done alone or in groups. It can be done with or without professional assistance. It can be done at home, by a lake, in a garden, in a church or temple, on a walk, and/or at a spiritual retreat.
My sister chooses to make her discoveries alone. She meditates daily. She believes that ultimately all problems can be solved through deep meditation, by connecting with that Source of Power which holds all creation intact.
My mother, who is inspired by being surrounded by uplifting people, profits from retreats, especially those put on by Jean Foster (Team Up, Box hi5, Warrensburg, Missouri 64093).
Like so much in life, it’s an individual thing. Explore all the avenues available for finding, understanding, and expanding your inner self. You’ll be amazed how many there are! Find what’s right for you.
I found a very interesting organization called The Landmark Forum. The Forum forces you to take a good look at yourself and the havoc you create in your own life. It then demands you take responsibility for it. It simultaneously lets you in on a big secret: You are just human and so is everybody else around you. It plugs you into the pain of the universe and leaves you with a connection to all humanity.
The Forum is about making your life work for you. It’s about taking real responsibility for your happiness, which is accomplished through taking control of your life. It helps you see that you are the one making all the drama, pain, and craziness in your life. Yes, you may have a good excuse for your story, but The Forum refuses to let you live in the domain of your “stories.”
One of its prize tenets is that you do what you say you are going to do. Simple, yes; difficult, yes. Do most people do it? No. It is about maintaining your integrity at all times, not just when it suits you.
The Forum is held three days in a row, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 8:oo a.m. to approximately midnight, then the following Tuesday night. It costs $325 for the first course and $700 for the advanced one. It is held throughout the country at various times. Contact information is below. Be forewarned, it’s a mind blower. If you’re up to it and if you want to push yourself to your emotional limits and if you want to explore all modalities of healing—go for it; it’s a wild ride. And it may just get you over some of your constant complaints in life, forever.
If you are really ready to open the box that contains all of your demons and fears and see your own humanness at its core, and if you are really ready to get over your own self-deluded, problem-oriented life, and if you are starting to really bore yourself with the “poor me’s” and want to see what is really possible for you on this planet and in this lifetime, I highly recommend it.
The Landmark Forum describes in its brochure its advanced seminars the following way: “Each of us has a sense of something possible beyond the ordinary. Each of us has moments when something about our lives, our family, our community, our world awakens in us a sense of possibility. Each of us has glimpses of that most fundamental of all possibilities—that life really could be extraordinary. The Landmark Forum’s advanced course is based on the premise that each of us can design that life now—an extraordinary life—a life of possibility.”
History of The Forum
The Landmark Forum has an interesting story if you can get anyone in the organization to tell it to you. I have had to piece it together. Over the last 25 years, The Landmark Forum, as it is called today, developed from what was called “EST” back in the 1970s. EST stands for Erhard Seminar
Training or est in Latin for “it is.” Nobody at the Landmark seems to deny or engage in a discussion about this without some explicit query.
I, however, find it extremely interesting. I first heard about EST in a specific way from a wonderful Lily of Colorado representative I had in Michigan. I noticed how she was so dependable, so honest, so nice to be around, and always did what she said she was going to do. I was so impressed I asked her about it one day. I was with her visiting stores in the Ann Arbor area and I just came out and asked her where she got her attributes. She said it was from her EST training. I found a few clues in the November/December 1997 issue of Nexus, which is “Colorado’s Holistic Journal,” in an article entitled “Where Have All the Gurus Gone?” The founder of EST, Werner Erhard, was a car salesman in the late 1950s. “A number of lawsuits were filed against Erhard and EST claiming they were responsible for emotional distress,” the article states. The article claims that Erhard is in exile, somewhere in Europe.
The Forum is hard to describe for even the most educated, esoteric, and articulate, so I am not even going to try; but there is a great book that may help clarify it for you, although I really didn’t understand it myself until I actually went to The Forum, as we graduates call it. So to get more on EST, read EST: Making Life Work, by Robert A. Hargrove. Time magazine did an interesting article on The Landmark Forum in its March 16, 1998, issue, which you can read for reference.
The Harvard Business School published an article on The Landmark Forum on November 3, 1997, by Daren Hopper Wruck and Mikelle Fisher Estley, which I found to be really interesting and a good source of information. In order to get copies, you can contact the Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163 or call (800) 545-7685.
The Forum has organizations in many parts of the country. You can contact them and get further information by writing the Landmark Education Corporation, 353 Sacramento Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94111, (415) 981-8850, or go to http://www.landmark-education.com.
For more information and beauty tips you can purchase Beauty, Health and Happiness–A way of life an online version for only $2.99!