Friday, July 27, 2007

Time To Move On.....

Well, yesterday, i met with my new friend. She surprised me with the book

the art of the sari

from the Surrey Art Gallery, in which one of her poems is published. I sure she won't mind if i share her lovely poem with you.

Sari by vb

I am a Sari
I am an East Indian Women's identity
I come in all colours -
I am a friend in grief and in happiness
In red colour I become a bride
In white a widow
In orange a saint
In yellow i look like the mustard flowers blooming in a field -
I bring new hope for all
I am a long piece of cloth about 5 1/2 meters long
I am draped over a long skirt that clings to the beautiful waist of a
A blouse is worn on the upper part of the body called choli.
The moment I fling my pallu over my shoulder everyone gazes at me -
I am not just a piece of cloth to cover the body.
I am a living painting, a piece of Art.
I am a Poet's Dream
I am a Security Blanket for a child
I am the heart throb of lovers
I am a subject of conversation. Your Sari is gorgeous!
Where did you buy it? Munbai, Delhi or Surrey?

I am all decked up with beautiful pearls, beads -
gold and silver thread embroidery looks so stunning on me -At
party or in temple i look graceful -
Every Sari has a story of its own.
The vision of a designer springs up on me and unfolds the story.
I come in many forms
In order to improve each form
I created jobs for many
Each province in India has its own style -
In Gujrat & Rajastan I became famous by the name:
Bundhani & Kotadona
Lucknow is known for chikan work
In Bernares as Banarsi Sari
Tamil Nadu has Kachniparam
In Mysore silk & cotton rules
In Bangladesh Jamdani, Pabna is my name.

I have been around for centuries
In every decade I became more beautiful -
First my grandmother wore me
Then her daughter
Then her daughter's daughter
I may come in different versions
I always maintained my Name Sari
As I kept on improving myself many followed me
Jewelry, purse, shoe & shawl joined me
I am glad I am a Sari
I became a source of income for many
I was born & brought up in India
I flourished in other countries

On the runway whether it is a white, black, or brown woman -
I look good on everyone

I am the Pride & Joy of

Today I have Global recognition for that I am thankful -
I am happy that I am a Sari
You became happy to see me -
I am happy that you are happy -

Isn't that beautiful!

And here we are at the Surrey Art Gallery, "all decked out" in our finery, at the opening of the art show in April.

Monday, July 23, 2007

what IS a mother to do?

Further to my little rant about Landmark Corporation i decided to publish my opinions about it. I am sure i will be criticized by people who may have just completed the Advanced Course in July (if they happen to read this Blog), because they will still be on the "high" that this group process creates.

I am hoping that by Posting this information someone out there in the Blogosphere will be inspired to do an investigative piece on "the corporation", because i am not skilled enough to do this myself, and i think there are some people out there who need to be protected from these very aggressive, unethical "salesmen". (because while they claim to be "Educators", i really believe that their main interest is in making lots of money. The fact that some people might get something from this education is incidental).

Some Landmark "curriculum" claims:

$$ The Landmark Forum is the world's most widely acclaimed personal development programme.

$$ Recently, Landmark's work was the subject of two case studies by leading graduate business schools at two prestigious American universities. The first case study focused on Landmark's work with individuals, while the second case study centered around Landmark's work with organizations.

$$ The Landmark method is more like coaching than teaching, more like dialogue than lecture, more like a university case-method of study than learning theories, more like acquiring skills than learning tips, rules and information.

$$ Each year over 160,000 people participate in Landmark's programmes. [hmmmm...multiply 160 thousand by approximately ($500 + $1,000 + ? = plus/minus $1,500) ?$2,4000000? My little hand calculator can't even handle this sum. Boy, i think i want to buy shares in this company!]

$$ Nearly one million people on five continents have participate in Landmark's programmes.

further, "Each day begins at 9:00 a.m. and typically ends at approximately 10:00 p.m.*
the * sent me to the very small print at the bottom of the page which reads: "In locations where The Landmark Forum is being simultaneously translated, the coure will end between 10:00 P.M. and midnight" - The Forum Is Being Simultaneously Translated? - what the ffftt does THAT mean?

Actually, my daughter started at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 12:30 after midnight! - then she still had to travel an hour and a half to get home!
The back of this glossy 7-page (8 1/2 by 11) brochure lists their corporate headquarters as San Francisco with offices in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Bangalore Bombay, New Delhi, Tel Aviv, Nagoya, Osake, Tokyo, Mexico City, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Auckland, Wellington, Cape Town, Bucarest Singapore, Bangkok, London Arizona, California (Los Angeles and Newport Beach) Sacramento San Deigo, San Jose Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, Detroit, Minnesota, St. louis, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Cleveland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Dallas, Houston, Utah, Virginia, and Seattle.

After my daughter's participation in "The Forum", i was somewhat concerned, but when she told me that she did not really want to attend the Advanced Course (in July) i decided that i did not have anything to worry about. But she said, "oh well, as i have already paid for it i guess i should go [she had put down $750, and her dad had loaned her the rest" - $250]- By Sunday she was "hooked" again and behaving in a really hyper, slightly manic, totally weird way, and talking gibberish.
I went into panic mode and phoned my sister, several friends, and my neice. My friend said i have to let her learn her lessons the "hard way", my sister said there really was not much i could do, after all, she is 24 and supposedely an adult, one friend said she totally understood that i want to protect her, and my neice told me she had a couple of friends who have become "Landmark Junkies" (my term) and when they phone her at 3:00 in the morning to "be complete" with her she just laughs at them.

These "Landmark Junkies", are tolerated but disliked by people who have not done the Landmark Education courses, and are really annoying because people cannot understand what they are talking about, and they are always trying to "enroll" their friends and relatives.

I was really concerned because i did not want my daughter to alienate her boyfriend, friends and relatives, and i felt very strongly that the Landmark Corporation is mis-using neurolinguistic programming techniques.

So i went to the Internet and found a mass of literature about Landmark, some in support of Landmark, others not.

Here are some sites you can visit if you are interested, and i highly recommend that you do, just in case someone you know is thinking about spending money on these courses.

>>The Process and Ecology of The Forum

Quoting from Charles Denison: The Process and Ecology of the Forum: "If you play according to the rules, you can expect big results from The Forum. If you don't. ' may still get the result, but you forfeit your right to expect it.' In other words, cooperative participants can expect to bear the fruit of "The Promise of The Forum." Unfortunately, the promise is not readily identified, and none of the subjects seemed able to quote it. There are a number of handouts which document the promise, albeit none of them represent the definitive statement on the subject. The ones the researcher has on file include:
* The promise of The Forum is to empower you in the face of the risk that life is
* A breakthrough in relationship to yourself and the world around you
* A breakthrough in personal efectiveness
* A breakthrough in the practice of excellence
* A breakthrough in the art and science of achievement

Perhaps the most comprehensive statement of "the promise" is the one written on the board during the training:


further; "...In the informed consent packet (which arrives in the mail) registrants have been notified of the required promises and the recommended promises they will be asked to make. 'We are asking you go give your work and to keep your word, specifically to make certain promises and to keep those promises you made, during the entire presentation of The Forum..."

Required promises (paraphrased):
> When you wish to speak in The Forum, you must raise your hand and be called on by the leader. Then you must take a microphone and speak into it. You also promise not to talk to others during the sessions.

> Always wear your name tag "in a visible place." [i recall now that when i attended the last presentation a "volunteer" at the door stopped my daughter because she could not see her name tag]

>Do not bring tape recorders, cameras, reading materials, busy work, or food to your chair. Also, you need to promise not to take any notes.

> Practice confidentiality, knowing that absolute confidentiality can never be assured. (In other words, you must agree not to identify other trainees and their issues outside The Forum, but you must also realize that no one at Landmark can guarantee that your identity will be kept confidential.)

> Read and sign a legally binding statement of copyright and no resale, a document which declares that every concept and activity taught at The Forum is the property of Landmark Education, and that you will not repackage and sell it for financial profit. (One may not go out and produce thier own Forum training) [my comment: well, that is pretty standard]

> Read and sign an informed consent (document) in which you confirm that you are healthy and that you understand the The Forum is not any kind of psychotherapeutic treatment program. This document included question about your history of psychiatric hospitalization, current psychotherapy, and your use of psychotropic medications.

Then there are the recommended promises:

> That you not take any drugs or medications, including aspirin and alcohol, except those which are prescribed by your health practitioner. Caffeine and nicotine are allowed.

> That you stay awake and alert during the sessions.

> That you be present in The Forum during all the sessions. You are allowed to go to the bathroom anytime: if you do so, however, 'you forfeit the right to expect any result from your participation' ("I was reminded of this by the doorkeeper who greeted me on the way to my first bathroom break" - Charles Denison)

We all knew all this before we entered The Forum room, since we had all been mailed packets which informed us of these promises. No big surprises. But getting throught he discussion of, and agreement to, the promises took well over an hour....It is somehow obvious (to me, at least) that the leader has heard every complaint many times before.

"What if somebody has hypoglycemia and needs to have a little food at their seat?"
>"oh. do you have hypoglycemia?"
"Well, no."
>"Next question, please."

Some of the discussion comes in the form of a challeng:

"All this seems like mind control or something, like you're just trying to control us. Like we're being deprived of food and sleep. Like we can't even go pee if we need to: can't talk to anybody."
>"Do you have a question about the promises?"
"It just seems ridiculous, weird."
>"I got that. Do you have a question about the promises?"
"No. You know, that's just how I feel about it."
>"Are you agreeing to make these promises?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess so."
>"Yes or no?"
>"I got it. Anything else?"

Conditions Created by the Promises

The researcher and several interviewees recognized a great deal of resistance to the Promises as they were being presented during The Forum. After The Forum, there was a shift in attitude among some participants about that process - that it was actually "the work" of the Forum, as opposed to an inappropriate delay in getting The Forum started.

The promises are an integral part of the structure of The Forum, and they are a means by which this unique experience is facilitated."

The foregoing is just a brief summary of the document entitled "The Awareness Archives which is headed up by this disclaimer: {"This copyrighted article is provided under U.S. COPYRIGHT ACT 108.Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libaries and archives. The archives are provided for your private study, scholarship, or research; and any use you make of the materials must fall under the Fair use exception of the U.S. Copyright Act." - I went to both the copyright links but could not get connected to read, so i'm hoping that quoting some of the document and giving credit to the author is ok for me to do.

I ignored my friend's advice who said i have to let my daughter "learn the hard way". My reasoning being is, i'm still her mom, and it is still my job to do what i can to protect her. Why should i let her give her hard-earned money to a bunch of slick salesmen? I know that i have no control over whether or not she does give them her money to take the courses, but at least i have some responsibility in letting her know what i myself have learned about "the corporation".

But having said that, any feedback would be welcome.