HOLY F*CK: RELATIONSHIPS AS A PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT

In her latest Holy F*ck column, Alexandra Roxo finds herself on the path to enlightenment with relationships coach Perri Gorman

Lettin’ my hair go full Leo in the Croatian sun…

I met Perri Gorman when someone who I had met once messaged me on Facebook and was like: “I think you would like this teacher.” Perri was leading something called a “Relationship Detox,” and it DID seem appropriate, since I had decided to take a six month break from sex, dating, alcohol and drugs to focus on my healing. But then again, randoms send me FB messages all the time so I couldn’t be sure.

When I got Perri on the phone she was INTENSE. I’m an intense woman too, so when I come head to head with another of my kind I can adopt a “been there done that” attitude. Like, “Oh yeah, I’m not afraid to look at my shadows. I do it all the time.” And “Um duh. I’ve done the work.” But somehow she convinced me to sign up for her class. And it was the best gift ever. She called me out on places I had been hiding from my truth and still living from deep rooted childhood fears. (Ugh when does it end????!) At the end of the class I felt palpable changes. Like major shifts. Like, I had looked at all of my uglies in the face and hugged them and given them space to, well…turn into butterflies. Cheesy, yes, but true!

I sat down with Perri to try and understand this alchemical process a little deeper.

Alexandra Roxo: Your website says “TRANSFORMATION IS NOT OPTIONAL” in huge letters which kinda freaks me out but in a good way. Why did you choose that?
Perri Gorman: It’s a bit of a story. When I was living in Hong Kong back in 2007 my life felt like Ground Hog’s day. I had actually hit a certain level of success, but I was like “Is this IT? Like, Is THIS my life?” I had a magnet on my refrigerator that was my savior, which said: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Oh, I must be in a cocoon I used to think. This part sucks. But just hang in there! After my life began to transform (longer story), my online moniker became and still is Bethebutterfly, and the butterfly is my inspirational creature.

Later, I went to a lecture by someone who was also fascinated by the life of the butterfly. She told a story of going to a butterfly farm and asking the keeper; “Does the caterpillar have a choice?” The answer was no. They either transform or they die. It’s not optional. And in this life, I think it is similar for us. Sounds grim but the stakes are really that high.

AR: I agree, and I also feel like the world needs transformation more than ever. Which is what I experienced on your relationship detox course. It’s hard for me to describe how you work though. It’s alchemy! Can you explain?
PG: Well, I am a guide and I create experiences. I walk people down a path that I have been down to and experienced transformation myself. If I haven’t been able to personally alchemize it (whatever “it” might be) I don’t create the experience. Rather than teaching, I help my students facilitate this in themselves. This part is really important. Often if you just “tell” people something, then either the Ego rejects it and can’t hear it—or the Ego hears it, rejects it and turns on you in the process! So in order to stun the ego, you have to guide the spirit and let the “aha” moments come naturally.

Each person has a different speed at which they transform, too. Mine was REALLY slow—partly because I had so much pain inside, it wasn’t safe for it to come out all at once. It was a process. Think of it like detoxing from chemicals. Since your body stores toxins in your fat cells, it won’t actually LET you lose weight too fast if you are toxic because it would poison the body. Awakening is similar. There is a massive pain body that you need to work through in order to open fully.

With the Relationship Detox specifically, it is designed to reframe your entire experience with relationships and have you see the divine messages that meant for you in each experience. By going through the process you are able to let go of behavior that is no longer serving you and choose something new.

Perri Gorman: relationships guru

AR: In the moments you’re coaching me I always start “strong” and then you get in there and crack me open. How do you always manage to do that?!
PG: I think a big part of my work is feeling “you” underneath the “strong,” which is usually a defense mechanism. It’s there to say “yeah I’m cool, nothing to see here, keep moving!” But if you listen closely there is another voice in there saying, “Hey! Don’t listen to her! I’m in here!”

My work is not for the faint of heart as you know, and I think it’s unique because I live it deeply myself. I am not perfect or enlightened but I have a deep deep practice of looking at my own stuff in every situation. I have unwound some really complex and tricky (and not so attractive) patterns in myself, so I can see the patterns more easily than others in many cases. So if you are like me and you have patterns that fog or trick other people, you come to me and I slice the head off that puppy and you feel so much better!

AR: So how is a relationship a crucible? That sounds scary as hell.
PG: Relationship as a crucible means that you don’t do this fairy tale thing of “acquiring” a relationship and then passing out back to sleep. It means staying conscious within the relationship, and being willing for it to “burn” the patterns in you that no longer serve you. It means looking deeply at the other person as a mirror and using that mirror to look at where you can be a better version of yourself.

AR: Yes! I find the deepest work I do is often in partnership. It’s like boot camp. No hiding! Wanna give us an example of what this can look like?
PG: Sure. Right now in my own relationship (I am getting married in October) I am working on a pattern where I try to fix him when he is down because his pain makes me really uncomfortable. So instead of letting him have his experience, I do things that would make him feel better. That sounds like the “nice” thing to do but it is not the “kind” thing to do. The thing to do is focus on myself, support him how he wants to be supported and not need him to be any way other than how he is.

As I started to look more deeply at it, I was like “Why do I do that? Where does that pattern originate?” It comes from childhood and being afraid that things going wrong were my fault and not wanting to get in trouble. But if I fixed it then that meant I did something good! It’s a rescuer pattern where I get personal validation that I am a good person by making him feel better.

But if we are practicing being conscious, then I have robbed him of his down which it is NECESSARY for him to get through himself to get to the freedom on the other side. By trying to help him feel better, (i.e. distract him from his feelings or helping him cover them with yummy things like a chocolate milkshake) I have helped him numb out and I have kept him from feeling what he needs to feel. So I notice it and then I actively practice doing something different so I can shift that piece of myself internally. It’s a practice.

AR: I love this, and I’ve been on both sides of this same coin. Allowing the uncomfortable is tough. People are always looking to “be ok.” But I wonder if some of us are avoiding the shadow. The truth. The messy side. Hiding under a mask of “zen.”
PG: We all have masks and patterns, which is why relationships as reflection from others is so important. I surround myself with people who can penetrate my defenses so the truth can get through. Of course we avoid it. I don’t think that I ever said “Oh hey, I want to be awake and spiritual.” I was a fucking walking ball of chaos and destruction, and I had no choice. It was transform or die. I had to learn how to use all the energy. For others, they feel dead inside or their relationships don’t work or they are bored. In this sense, it’s like we all have different locks that require a different key.

***

So there you have it. Perri always pisses me off with our work, but then she breaks me down and then I cry and feel so happy and see the light!  It’s an amazing process if you surrender to it.

And next up from Perri: self-love. Something I think gets misunderstood A LOT. Self-love doesn’t just mean treating yourself to a mani pedi. It means cutting off toxic relationships. Releasing self-judgment. Body shame. Sexual shame. Owning your voice. Standing up for your needs. Creating healthy boundaries. Self-love is deep. I’m still learning it more and more everyday.

Perri’s new experience, PRESENCE, is all about coming home to yourself through the path authentic self-love. Not in the “everything needs to be good and nice” kind of way, more like “I will sit here with you through it all—good or bad”—something she admits has been one of the most challenging practices for her, and so a major focus of her own healing journey.

Registration for PRESENCE opens August 1 for a limited time. To sign-up, and to learn more about Perri Gorman and her work visit: Theschoolofalchemy.com

TRIMARAN BOTANICALS: SKINCARE BLESSED BY A SHAMAN

Mimi Young, founder of Shamanic skincare line Trimaran Botanicals, shares her journey and her process…

Occasionally, a brand appears on the horizon that just vibrates authenticity – and Trimaran Botanicals, a skincare line out of Vancouver, is one such offering.

Created by modern shamanic practitioner Mimi Young, it’s no surprise to learn that each and every product is interwoven with the energetic imprint of the spirit realm – to create a line that nurtures the beauty of the user, inside and out.

It’s been an honor to collaborate with Mimi on this piece, in which she discusses her connection to the spirits (“No different than a friend texting you – those little communications just happen…”) her products, and her process…

The Numinous: How did you originally connect with your plant spirits?
Mimi Young: It happened by accident, really. For almost two decades I had been psychically smelling plants – smelling fragrances of plants (and other substances) that are not physically in my surroundings, and it took me a long while to realize that this was the spirits calling to me for recognition, to be heard.

I then realized I had the gift of communicating with these spirits when I was in Mexico. There was a tropical house plant where were staying – the leaves resembled a peace lily, although to this day I am not certain what species it was. I was in the bathroom, and I quite clearly heard the voice of the plant, “It would be so nice to experience this Mexican sunshine!”

So right away, I picked her up and put her on the deck, and it was crazy because then I kept hearing, “Thank you, thank you.” When I returned home, one of my house plants – a peace lily that had not flowered for years – was blooming with radiance. I interpret that as a beautiful token of gratitude from the spirit.

I can hear plants, animals, and crystals – and, as mentioned, experience clairscent-based communication from those realms; I perceive scents beyond the limitations of physical space and time. This morning I was talking to fern, dragon, the wolves… I wasn’t asking for this, I just held the space and it happened.

Cellulite Oil, $138

TN: And when did the idea for Trimaran Botanicals come up?
MY: Pun intended, it happened “organically”! I was searching for a product to assist with reducing cellulite after having a child, and so I made myself a body oil. To add to its benefits, I blessed it to ensure not only its physical efficaciousness but its emotional and spiritual effects as well.

The Numinous: How do you create your products now? What’s the process?
MY: I work with the spirits. I am physically the only human being when I am making the products, but I truly see it as a collaborative effort.

As a shamanic practitioner, I live my human life but the door to the spiritual realm, and to the plants, is always open. And the plant spirits (or animal, or crystals) will come to me and tell me things throughout the day. No different than a friend texting you – those little communications just happen. I mean it’s spectacular and beautiful, but it’s so much a part of my everyday that it’s normal for me now. A great example is that the plants just told me the other day to add to our current AURA COLLECTION, explained to me the functions of each new product, and even the ingredients I should be using!

In terms of filling orders, my process is both orderly and intuitive:

– I examine each order as if it’s a medical chart, as I allow myself to tune in to that customer’s order.

– I ask my plants what this person might need, be it an item from the line or a custom order.

– I always hold the product in my hand and bless it with that person’s name so it becomes “for” that person, but also adding that it’s also “for anyone else that might receive this product,” in case it ends up being passed forward – as a gift, in sharing, etc.

– I will also add to my blessing a mantra, an invitation for something like security, groundedness, self-compassion, etc. Sometimes I even write it down on my founder’s card to be placed in the shipment.

– Before it’s shipped, the order is placed in a nook in my studio – a space set up for my assembled inventory, surrounded with crystals and plants – to be charged with more intention, solfeggio music, sacred plants diffused in the air.

– Once it’s been charged, I pack it and anoint the package with sacred sage, asking that the order be delivered swiftly and without damage. So even the shipping process is energetically blessed. And I kid you not, all my orders end up being delivered far faster than expected!

Good Vibes Elixirs, $44

TN: Do you take the same care sourcing your suppliers?
MY: I have multiple suppliers. My requirements are their integrity as artisanal suppliers of the finest pure, wildcrafted, organic, botanical ingredients such as cold-pressed plant oils and first-distillation, solvent-free essential oils, but I the energy with the people themselves also has to feel right. All of my suppliers believe what I believe – I can quickly pass on any messages from my plant spirit to them, and it’s like everyday coffee break conversation!

I didn’t set out looking for shamanic suppliers, it just turned out that I attracted a network of suppliers who work the way I do: they speak with the plants, they too fulfill my orders with loving intention and anoint my shipments with sage for protection. They understand my process and share the same values. As such, my raw ingredients are always handled with love, and have not been sitting in a stale, cold, business as usual factory/storage space.

TN: How long have you been practicing shamanism – and what was your initiation into the tradition?
MY: Becoming a shaman isn’t like choosing to become one and taking a course (although I understand that there are courses out there), it is a spiritual inheritance, and it is through my work with a seasoned shamanic practitioner that I have honed my abilities to connect in an ongoing way with the spirit realm. What I have learned cannot be learned in the Western definition of learning, it’s been through spiritual experience and touch.

My shamanic practitioner did give me the formal tools and language for me to remove my “self” from my “ego,” however. In doing so, my ability to honor my “unknowing” and to ask for guidance from the spirit world has given me the ability to go deeper into my journeys and collaborations with spirits, and to bring back into the physical world a deepened intuition, and heightened senses.

Ultimately, my “knowledge” come from the messages I receive in my journeying, and with the plants – being a shaman means listening first.

Sacred Smudge Mist, $46

TN: What will women gain by approaching beauty from a shamanic perspective?
MY: My hope is that the experience of using Trimaran Botanicals will bring a person’s inner beauty to the surface, as that is the purpose of the brand: alignment of deep inner beauty with the outer.

I also hope that Trimaran Botanicals is something that people can use to continue their own practice of connecting with themselves, of coming home to themselves, and of acknowledging that the plant world is interconnected with ours, so that they can truly connect with the outside world from a “whole” and holistic place.

TN: What’s your definition of beauty for the now age?
MY:
I often question why we need to define beauty. For example, the lightness we experience when we are one with nature cannot be experienced through a facial or fitting into a pair of skinny jeans.

That said, beauty to me speaks of internal balance. It’s being happy with yourself, where you fit in the world, and where you fit in your own skin. When we can nurture this and cradle ourselves, is when I think we can begin to understand that we are really, truly beautiful.

Discover more about Trimaran Botanicals on Instagram or shop the brand at Trimaranbotanicals.com

THE NU NUDES: INSIDE THE MIND OF SHAE DETAR

Known for her nudes, model-turned-fine-art-photographer Shae DeTar is freeing the nipple in glorious technicolor, producing large scale prints which she then adorns with oils. Here, our favorite cosmic crush shares some insight into her creative process…

Is there a female archetype you channel in your work? If so, what sort of feminine energy do you like to portray?
I am looking to channel a self-confident and open-minded woman in my photographs. I prefer to photograph a woman whose concern with how she looks isn’t the driving force behind the image and who isn’t constantly wondering how she looks during the shoot. If a subject is really concerned with looking a certain way, it sort of kills the innocence, mystery and spontaneity of the shoot. That kind of energy is the opposite of what I look for. When subjects are just open to letting creativity guide us in the moment…that’s when the magic happens for me.

You see the world in technicolor – how does this inform your everyday life?
I’ve got art all over my walls and I have a super colorful interior decor at home and in my closet. I love color so much, it’s my greatest muse.

In which physical state do you feel most inspired and connected to your art?
The real inspiration for me happens after I’ve printed the images and begin to paint them. I start feeling inspired once I pull my paintbrushes out, put my paint on the palette and begin to mix trays of color.

What emotions do you want to evoke in others with your work?
No emotion in particular. I know that everyone views art uniquely and processes it differently and that’s really cool. I love pulling images out of the books I buy at The Strand and framing them. So, if people want my images in their home, or something like that, it’s the greatest compliment, since I know how much I love having art on my walls.

Your images suggest the possibility of an intimate connection between humans and the natural world – living in a city like NYC, how do you find ways to access nature?
I grew up in Pennsylvania, and I spent most of my childhood splitting time between my home and and NYC. So I have always made that hour long drive back and forth quite easily. My grandmother still lives in Pennsylvania, too, and has a lot of land, so I drive out there and enjoy the trees and mountains quite a bit. Currently, my parents live in Greenwich Village and they have a mini van that I use to pile the girls into when I do group shots in nature.

Shaedetar.com

Self-portrait by the artist

HOW TO WORK WITH EACH MOON PHASE

Symbolizing every step of the creative process, learning how to work with each Moon Phase will help you birth your deepest desires, says Hannah Ariel

Every month we have the opportunity to creatively attune our awareness of our intentions to the rhythm of the lunation cycle. The Moon moves through time and space like a meditative mind in relation to the light of the Sun. When we steadily and willfully accompany this odyssey, we begin to see our potential manifest in a new light. We begin to live in a reality more closely related to the visions being illuminated in our mind as we see them through, every step of the way.

As the Moon changes its position to the Sun every day, a universal process of dynamic growth is being reflected here on earth. This means that every time we look to the sky upholding our dreams, symbolically we can see how much is possible – how much energy is available for us on a daily basis, so long as we maintain an awareness of this interplay. Every time we set an intention, by aligning our energy with the Moon our manifestation skills are sharpened, and we come that much closer to living out our most impactful prospects.

Approximately every 30 days, whether we choose to recognize and intentionally work with the energy or not, we all take a journey on Earth. Between the Sun and the Moon, between the unconscious and conscious worlds, the seen and the unseen, we birth new realities each month. There is a poetry contained within every lunation phase. There is a map for us to observe and subjectively identify with. Here’s how to work with each Moon Phase to let it guide the unfolding of your intentions…

:: FIRST QUARTER ::
When the Moon reaches its first quarter phase, it faces us at a 90 degree angle appearing half full, half illuminated, and half in shadow. We are beginning to see what it will take for our intentions to come to fruition and can sense the creative tension of the process. The first quarter is a rite of passage that vitalizes our awareness to take action, take initiation, put or intentions to work. Often a sense of outrageous courage begins to build as we wish to release our will into the world. This is also a time to engage in community, have conversation with those around you and begin to vocalize your intentions. Through action or conversation, is time to literally “get a reaction” in order to gain more insight into the dynamics of the world around you. Allow yourself to relate to what is taking place outside of you and acknowledge that there is a container out there for you to take considerably effective action.

:: FULL MOON ::
When the moon is full, it is aligned between the earth and sun where sun’s light is shining on to the moon leaving the illuminated side to face us as the shadow remains hidden in plain view. As the light is shone upon the moon we are shown there is another side to what we have intended, all we have thought of, real or imagined comes to the surface. Our consciousness expands into full bloom and we feel all the implications of our intention. All impressions are gathered and at a heightened frequency we realize whether or not our understanding as a whole fulfills us or not. It can be a time of brilliant clarity when we grow even closer to ourselves and deepen our self-understanding. Everything that takes place during a full moon reflects the accompanying reality of our intentions and points the way to realizing their power. Full moons can show us things have yet to see for ourselves.

:: THIRD QUARTER MOON ::
When the moon is at its third quarter phase it faces us at a 90 degree angle appearing half full again, while the sun rises, half in shadow and half illuminated. As the sun rises, unusual revelations dawn on us. We integrate with an expanded awareness, how we have been affected by the intentions we began to put out at the new moon; how they have been received. We are given time to process what has come to light and internalize the heart of the matter. We can interpret events around this time as “frustrating” when really we are truly trying for a solution. During a third quarter moon the time has come to either break down preconceptions that were not helping us fulfill our intentions or further crystalize ideas that have helped us take responsibility and have enhanced out ability to carry out our wishes and sense of purpose.

:: DARK MOON ::
The period right before the moon is new again, where there is no solar reflection and the moon passes through the zodiac constellation where the last new moon takes place we have what is referred to as a dark moon period. We have seen all there was to see no we must sense what remains, what will come before us in the next cycle. There is much mythology surrounding this particular phase. In India this phase of the moon is associated with the goddess Kali, black one and force of time. It is said when we are the most psychic and connected to the subtle worlds that whisper to us both our highest inspirations and our deepest subconscious fears ultimately allowing us to cut straight to the point of what remains. It is an incredible time to go within and observe what comes up within you as these are the secrets that will help shape your next moon intention.

:: NEW MOON ::
When the moon is new it is aligned between the earth and the sun in such a way that we cannot see what is illuminated from the other side. With a mysterious sense of new beginnings taking place this is a prime time to set an intention as we say, plant a seed; allow for a creative impulse to arise from the depths of a visualization or meditation practice. Whether you write it down or repeat it like a mantra, the idea here is to get it up and out; bring it to your attention and focus in on the potential. The slate has been cleared so to speak. We can breathe deep as the creative process begins. A certain universal positivity can be restored as we remember how life continues to give us space to move into uncharted territory. It is a time to live through the powerful imaginative forces of nature and intuitively grasp up for possibilities of what is to come.

Hannah Ariel is also available for Moon Phase readings – depending on which phase the Moon was in at the time of birth can help uncover a person’s natural born instinctual approach to problem solving. Contact her at: [email protected]

BRAINWASHED: IS LANDMARK A CULT?

When I did the Landmark Forum, I was following in the footsteps of the most badass people I know – and I learned some invaluable life lessons. So why did I find myself asking; ‘is Landmark a cult?’ By Ruby Warrington. Images: Alex Prager for Garage Magazine.

 

Half way into day three at the Landmark Forum, I was ready to run for the hills. Along with 150 or so other people, from every walk of life, I had been cooped-up in a windowless basement in midtown Manhattan for almost 13 hours a day straight, whilst being told that everything I knew about myself, about my beliefs, and about the world, was an illusion. An illusion created by my “always listening” mind (Landmark speak for the ego) to avoid taking full responsibility for my life.

The course leader was busy psyching the crowd up for the “big reveal” – the key teaching of the Forum that would come later that day, embracing which, we’d been promised, would lead to a life of “infinite possibilities”. So long as we “enrolled” everybody else we knew into the Landmark conversation too (at $600 a pop), and then committed to an on going ($900+) study of their “curriculum for life”.

All around me, people had already been having life-changing epiphanies as they’d worked the course – coming out from behind their “rackets” (“fixed ways of being that result in persistent complaints”) and calling friends and family members they had been “pretending” things were cool with to “cough up the fur-ball” of their most shaming truths (‘Mom, I never come visit because actually it felt like you never really loved me’).

Encouraged to publically share their breakthroughs, there had been tears, and there had been cheers. And here I was, feeling an almost physical repulsion to the teachings. Earlier, we’d been asked to identify our “strong suits” – coping mechanisms we’d adopted at key points of trauma in our lives, which had become “ways of acting and being you rely on to produce results and make it in life.” Which, obviously, had to go, along with all the other “stories” you told yourself about…yourself.

I’d identified one of my strong suits as what I always considered a healthy degree of scepticism, or discernment. It’s what made me a good editor. But now it felt like a straight jacket. I’d paid my money and I wanted a breakthrough too! But all I could think, as I took in the scenes around me, was; “OMG this is actual brainwashing in action. Why did nobody warn me Landmark is…a cult?!”

The “c-word” hit the headlines last week, in the aftermath of the HBO documentary Going Clear – an inside expose on the Church of Scientology. And watching the opening scenes, in which they described the Church’s central process of “auditing” members in order to process their limiting beliefs, I was taken right back to that basement room in the Landmark HQ.

Was Landmark Scientology lite?

The dictionary definition of “brainwashing” is; “to make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure”. True, nobody forced me to do the Landmark Forum – I actually decided to sign up because I knew so many amazing, go-getting, and seemingly highly-evolved individuals who’d done it, and I basically wanted a piece.

But the constant pressure throughout the course to “enrol” our friends, co-workers, and family members definitely crossed over into coercion territory in my book – echoing the way Scientologists are asked to “disconnect” from any people in their life who don’t adopt the teachings of the church. It’s also the kind of behaviour that gets organisations labelled “cult”, opposed to simply “community” or “club”.

The fact that during Landmark I was also confined to that one windowless room for three consecutive 13-hour days, with minimal breaks for food, and asked not to take notes or go to the toilet (this used to be enforced rigidly, but nobody actually stopped me when I did sneak out for a restroom break), also felt a lot like “systematic” pressure to adopt their teachings.

Then there was the bizarre lingo and double-talk they used to scramble my synapses and “re-program” my thinking. Overall, by the time I left, my scepticism very much intact, it felt simultaneously like a narrow escape…and like there must be something really, really wrong with me.

Watching Going Clear (named for the ultimate goal in Scientology – a mind that’s completely “clear”, or washed, of negative beliefs), the phrase that kept returning to me was; “the Emperor’s New Clothes.”

You know the story right? About the sneaky tailor who convinces the Emperor his “invisible” new suit is actually made of the finest cloth. In fear of questioning their leader’s beliefs, the Emperor’s subjects go along with it – complementing him on his beautiful new clothes, despite the fact they can see for themselves he’s naked.

And this desire to conform is something I felt they played on at Landmark, too. Deeply rooted in our most basic psychology, human beings are pack animals after all. Positioning yourself as the outsider is also something akin to suicide on a primal level. In ancient times, distancing yourself from the tribe was a sure-fire way to get killed by predators, or die from lack of food and warmth. Going along with what’s being indoctrinated therefore is not only preferable, it’s the only truly “safe” option.

Did that explain why everybody around me was whooping and cheering when the “big reveal” finally occurred…while it seemed to me like the biggest “racket” on the planet?

Coming out of Landmark, I immediately wanted to speak to the switched-on women I knew who’d done it too. I was desperate to know if they’d felt the same as me – or if I was, in fact, a hopelessly repressed freak-a-zoid, too scared of facing my own demons to even acknowledge their existence. The overarching response I got was that yes, it was a huge shame that there was so much cult-like emphasis on “enrolment”, and the accompanying financial hard sell. Because the teachings in and of themselves were awesome…right?

And here comes the really interesting part. Seven months on, I can see that they were absolutely right – and that the Landmark Forum was one of the most pivotal experiences on my inner journey to date.

We are all slaves to our monkey minds; we do self-sabotage with the stories we choose to believe about ourselves; and we do have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to “look bad”, and to see beyond the illusion of reality, in order to evolve into the highest expression of ourselves. It is in this place of ultimately authentic self-expression that a life of infinite possibility lies.

Behind all the crazy linguistics and mental manipulation, these are the central teachings of Landmark (and of Scientology, from what I’ve read, not to mention Buddhist philosophy!). With hindsight, I can see how having them strong-armed into my psyche over that one mind-bending weekend last September forced me, on some deep level, to accept and work with limiting parts of myself I used to believe were unassailable.

I’ve since had the kind of searingly honest conversations with my mother that have taken our relationship to a whole other level. I no longer blindly accept what my belief system tells me, and look instead to the cold, hard facts of life.

And if I railed against actually calling any people in my life to “get complete” during my Landmark weekend (I had a lengthy email exchange with my mom, and called a friend to confess a very innocuous white lie), I have since embraced the concept of not sugar-coating stuff for fear of upsetting people, or getting a bad reaction – and seen massive benefits. All common sense stuff, actually, “but delivered in an environment of startling intensity,” as another journalist wrote about Landmark.

As for the “big reveal”? You’ll have to do the Forum and find out what it is for yourself. And if that means I’m now “enrolling” you – well, there must be some chinks in my sceptical strong suit after all.

Have you done the Landmark Forum? What did you get out of it? Connect and share your stories on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

To find out more about the Landmark Forum and their courses visit Landmarkworldwide.com