New Possiblities in Jewish Communities

Baila Lazarus is a freelance writer, illustrator and photographer who lives in Vancouver. Recently she wrote an article about the impact that the Landmark Forum and the other programs of Landmark Education have impacted both her life and the lives of others in the Jewish community. The article was published in the Jewish Independent and appears below.

Attain Freedom from the Past 

April 11, 2008 

It was last Passover when people first started telling me they noticed a difference. At the first seder, a friend whom I hadn’t seen for several months came up to me. 

”You look different,” she said.

“Really? What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. More peaceful. Less stressed. Have you had a facelift?”

We both laughed at the idea. But it wasn’t a surprise to me that there was actually a physical difference in me.

jewish-possibilities.jpgI had taken a course the January before that had changed my life. It’s called the Landmark Forum. And though it took place over only three days and an evening, it had more of an effect on me than years of reading self-help books, life coaching, career coaching, counselling, meditation, exercise, diets, cross-cultural experiences in foreign lands, jumping out of airplanes, repelling down buildings and eating Montreal smoked meat. It was transformative.

The education is often referred to as an education for life, because it has very direct and immediate applications in work, relationships, family, health and any other area of life that one sees as important.

The promise of the education is that you will have access to living a life powerfully and living a life you love. It’s not an exaggeration. I had taken the course to gain some clarity around choices I needed to make about my own career. What I didn’t know was that my indecision in business and work was tied to issues of my past and family, in ways that no book or coach or counsellor could ever uncover. It’s what Landmark Education refers to as “blind spots” – areas of our life that we can’t see for ourselves, yet affect what we do on a daily basis.

When these blind spots are uncovered and cleared away, we are freed from constraints of the past, and new possibilities exist to create anything for the future.

I cleared up issues with my family that had weighed on me for years, clarified what direction I wanted to take in my career, increased my income, reduced my stress and am a lot happier and more peaceful. I think I also got rid of a wrinkle or two a long the way.

I thought it was particularly apropos that my friend had recognized this shift in me, this freedom from the past, during Passover – the holiday that recognizes the liberation of the Jews. So often the Jewish people have been liberated from physical bondage or suffering, but what do we do to free ourselves from our self-imposed constraints – “I can’t do this,” “People won’t listen to me,” “I don’t have enough money,” “I’m not good enough.”

Recently, I spoke with an Orthodox rabbi – Rabbi Ilan Feldman of Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta – who had also taken the Landmark Forum, as well as several other courses in Landmark’s curriculum. He said he found the education complementary with his own work in the Jewish community.

“What struck me immediately was that they didn’t just talk about feelings, they talked about real results,” he said. “I was impressed by the access it gave to things I had been dreaming about. I’m totally devoted to the well-being of the Jewish people. We’re desperate for healing and completion and I can see this education making a difference.”

Although the Landmark Forum brings up many philosophical questions for participants, Feldman said he is “more than satisfied that the Landmark Forum is compatible with religious views.” But he urges Orthodox Jews to discuss how they will meet the challenges unique to their orientation with an Orthodox rabbi familiar with the forum.

Within our own Jewish community, many people have taken the course and had great experiences.

“I was surprised with what I found opened for me after taking the seminar, both personally and professionally,” said Michael Horowitz, who has devoted much of his time over the past six years producing social events for the Jewish community, in addition to his job as a chiropracter. “Landmark helped me focus on being more active in my own life and being in significantly more communication with the people around me.”

Another chiropracter, Michael Friedman, found the education gave him access to finding a committed relationship. “Before taking the Landmark Forum, I had not had a relationship last longer than six months and I was ready to end the one I was in at the time. The Landmark Forum allowed me to see the patterns I had in my past relationships and why they had developed. I was able to change who I was being in this relationship and have now been happily married for almost three years.”

Local entrepreneur Jason Sugar found the freedom to be self expressed in all areas of his life. “I took the Landmark Forum over a year ago, and am still living in a whole new world of possibility. I have transformed my relationships with myself, my family and friends, and people in general. I am inspired and connected. And I am experiencing the power and freedom of being entirely responsible for my experience of life – which I am now creating intentionally and consciously.”


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