LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings by Barbara La Valleur — 25 Years Of Transformation 

Twenty-five years ago today, on March 3, 1995, I walked into the Landmark Forum not knowing what would transpire over the next three days. Landmark Forum Leader, Jerry Baden, on the dot of 9 a.m. walked to the front of the room in an office complex in Edina, Minn., and proceeded to lead a conversation that transformed my life forever. Little did I know, I was in for the ride of my life, a ride that hasn’t stopped 25 years later.

Whether you’ve done the three days and an evening life-altering transformational program or not, there is no denying that for the vast majority of people who complete the program, their lives are never the same. In fact, in a survey, 94 percent of the people who have done it say that “it made a profound and lasting difference in their lives.”

The Landmark Forum is often difficult to describe. There are numerous articles one can read about it, including in Time and Forbes magazines. The program is a continuation of the earliest training developed by Werner Erhard in the 1970s.

The experience in the program absolutely can be confronting since you look at who YOU are being in life when you interact with others as well as with yourself. Sometimes it’s not pretty.

Like I mentioned, I had no idea what I would “get” out of doing the program. I just knew that the transformations I saw in my sister, who had done the program a few months earlier, and later my older daughter, were profound. I wanted that.

Take a Stand, by Jewell Benson, Alexandria, Minn., reminds me of my commitments to the world.
Take a Stand, by Jewell Benson, Alexandria, Minn., reminds me of my commitments to the world.

Landmark promises that if you complete its Curriculum for Living, which includes The Landmark Forum, the Advanced Course, a seminar and the Self Expression and Leadership Program, you will lead a life you love and live it powerfully. That has absolutely been my experience. I credit my participation in their programs as the most powerful influence in my life. Family and faith are right up there, too.

As an international photojournalist, who prides herself in my communication skills, I was shocked that one of the most important results I saw during the weekend was that I don’t listen. Hmmmm, pretty critical to being a good communicator. That has made a huge difference over the past 25 years. Do I still listen to everyone all the time? No. The difference is now I chose to listen — or not. And I know when I’m listening and usually catch myself when I’m not. That’s a powerful tool.

There is so much I could write and talk about that I’ve benefited from by taking this program. One of the most profound results is being happily married to my husband. I shared the Forum with him the first night we met. Six month later, he did The Forum. We have a level of communication that has us working on our relationship all the time. Is our relationship perfect? Of course not. We’re human, we make mistakes. We have disagreements about the dumbest things, such as like how to load the dishwasher. We talk them out. The Forum has simply given us the tools to recognize when we’re “on it” and and how to “get off it.” Being “on it” is the stance that all humans take when they know they are right, whether they are or not. To get “off it” means to give up being right. In The Forum, you learn how to do that.

The 3½-day program is a series of conversations about what it is to be human and how life works. It is an ontological dialogue. You discover conversations that have been “running your life” from a very young age. Examples are: I’m not good enough. I don’t count. When you learn what these are, you can better recognize when those conversations take over your life. In brain science, they call it an amygdala hijack. Once you recognize them, you can put them in the past where they belong, choosing to live life powerfully vs. being at the effect of that voice in your head or comments from people that often “hook” us.  When we get hooked, we operate in reactive mode to others vs. being proactive and in charge of our own lives.

According to Landmark Worldwide’s website, “The Landmark Forum is designed to bring about positive, permanent shifts in the quality of your life — in just three days. These shifts are the direct cause for a new and unique kind of freedom and power — the freedom to be at ease and the power to be effective in the areas that matter most to you: the quality of your relationships, the confidence with which you live your life, your personal productivity, your experience of the difference you make, your enjoyment of life.”

In addition to the Curriculum for Living, Landmark also has a top-notch Communications Program and dozens of seminars (Being Extraordinary, Beyond Fitness, Living Outside the Box, Causing the Miraculous, Commitment, Creating Happiness, Creativity: Life by Design, Excellence, Integrity, An Invented Life, Living Passionately, Money, Relationships, Sex and Intimacy and Success to name a few). I’ve also participated in their Team Management and Leadership Program. Landmark also has a division called Wisdom that offers several programs with a strong emphasis on play.

The Forum is available for Young People (8-12), Teens (13 – 17) and adults (18 – 105).

I’ve been trained and developed to lead Introductions to the Landmark Forum and have done that for to hundreds of people over the years. I previously led seminars and the Self Expression and Leadership Program. In addition, I’ve been on staff at the Minnesota office as the Registration Manager, Enrollment Manager four times. I have registered hundreds of people into Landmark’s programs.

To say I’m passionate about Landmark’s education is an understatement. I know the profound difference it makes for people. Often when business owners complete the program and sees the value of having employees experience it, their company pays for employees to do it because of the amazing increase in productivity that results.

One of the wonderful benefits in doing these programs is meeting people of all ages, races and sexual orientation who are committed to making a difference in the world, which I’ve found is a common theme for those who participate. My sisters, daughters, husband and most of my good friends are graduates. Some of them were with me in that first course 25 years ago.

Currently, I’m facilitating the Wisdom Elders Course in Minnesota. Our first of five weekends was this past weekend on the Zoom video platform. The Minnesota participants were in my living room. We were in conversations about what it is to be an elder with about 150 people (65 and older) in 40 groups from all over the world from Hawaii to Florida, Vancouver to Toronto, Costa Rica, the Isle of Wight in England, Australia and New Zealand.

During each of the five weekends, we can invite anyone 15 and older, whether they’ve done the Landmark Forum or not, to attend our Community Saturdays to experience this extraordinary conversation. (Feel free to contact me if you’d like information about upcoming Community Saturdays to attend at no cost.)

What I was present to during our sharing this past weekend was what an extraordinary conversation 150 people who live all over the world were having: a positive dialogue for transforming our planet into a world that works for everyone. How’s that for a plan?! I assert that if more world leaders participated in this education, we would not be in the state we’re in.

Dates for upcoming Landmark Forum’s in Minnesota this year are:

  • May 15, 16, 17 and 19.
  • July 31, Aug. 1, 2 and 4.
  • Oct. 9, 10, 11 and 13.

The Minnesota office is at 4570 W. 77th St., Suite 200, Edina, MN 55435. There are Introductions to the Landmark Forum several times a week. To find out times and dates, call (952) 893-1515.

You can find out more, including the cities around the world where Landmark’s programs are offered. If you choose, you can also register online at www.landmarkworldwide.com.

Tuition is $650 and includes a followup 10-session seminar. That works out to be just under $10 an hour. In my experience, it is the best bang for your buck you’ll ever spend.

– – – – –

A list of publications and tv features about Landmark:                                               https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/why-landmark/news

Leave a Reply