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March 01, 2005 - Tuesday, 11:35 p.m.

Unraveling myself from where I was... Freedom

I keep thinking that somehow I am going to find time to write and catch up on things. The last few weeks have been such a blur. Last time I wrote was early last week and I was still working on doing my things for Horizons. My first week’s task was to get a complete makeover to a more professional image and live the makeover everyday for the next 11 weeks. I was to get a facial, cut my hair, get some instruction on make up and get a new wardrobe. I ‘enrolled’ L to help me accomplish that and on Thursday of that week we went out and did it all. What a transformation! I am very happy with everything. The hair cut is very different, shorter and much more stylish. I walked out of the clothing store with a ‘new wardrobe’ composed of nothing I would have bought had I gone alone. I have had nothing but compliments from people. I have dressed for work every day since and will continue to from now on. It was AWESOME!!

My task for the week two was assigned for me. I was to go out and talk to three woman that I felt were powerful and talk about how they make their lives work, the ways that they touch the world and how things work in their relationships and then talk to them about the changes I am making in my life and getting them 'in my corner' or 'enrolled in my life' as they say in the training. I pondered the woman that I'd want to talk to about this and called my sister that finished her MBA before me and asked her if she would come to a 'guest event', which is basically a sales pitch for the training that I took, with me. We weren't being required to enroll people in the classes, just in our lives. My sister's quick response was "Absolutely NO way will I have anything to do with Visionworks". I was like, "Umm. okay." She knew it was a sales pitch and I told her that yes it was, but that there was no 'requirement' for her to sign-up. She still wasn't interested. That was the end of that conversation and I started looking for someone else to take to the 'guest event'. My mother called me that evening, she was concerned and wanted to know about the training. She was the second 'powerful woman' I was going to talk to. We talked for a long while and I told here how I felt about things and that I saw some of the 'shortcomings or problems' with the training. She suggested that I 'take the good things that I had gotten out of the training, and move on'. I listened to her, but wasn't ready to walk away from the training.

The training required that I show up every week (for 11 weeks) with one guest for the 'guest event'. After my sisters response and my mother's concern, I knew it was going to get harder and harder to find people interested in going to the events.

Justin and Moon agree to go with me to the event on Tuesday night and Curtis goes to his 'post training' for Journey. The event goes well and Justin and Moon head home. Curtis is wandering around the halls; he's decided not to go on to the second level of training, as he wants to pay for the training himself. I am okay with his decision. My Horizons group is pulled into a room to talk about how 'we' as a 'community' want to handle that fact that again two of our members have not shown up with 'guests' for the guest event. It is presented to us and then we are told to 'ponder' it within our 'community'.

I am now ready to go home. It's after 9 pm. However, Curtis finds me; they aren't accepting his decision and want to talk to me. I follow him down to the room and walk in. All his fellow trainees have left and we are left to face about 8 to 10 staff people including the manager of the facility. They are 'concerned' that Curtis has made this choice. They re-emphasize how important it is to do the training back to back. I know that this is definitely the 'easiest' way to do the training, as you are working within a group of people that you've developed relationships with in the 'Journey' training. However, I know that it is possible to go on at a later date. They ask Curtis his 'intent', he tells them that he 'intends to do the Crossroads training at a later date.' This isn't the answer they want. They talk to me about explaining to him how important it is that he goes on NOW. They talk to him more, 'doesn't he think that he could sincerely talk to me about doing the training now, and be able to convince me that he will truly commit to paying me back, and therefore ask me for the money (if that doesn't put ME in a bind)’. He tells them, "I am SURE that I can convince her. I've been doing that all my life. But that isn't what I want to do." They immediately jump on that, "we aren't talking about manipulating your mother." The ringing of his cell phone, which he answers, saves him. He walks out of the room to talk to Justin on the phone. I tell them that we will talk about it that night and that he'll either call or we'll be here in the morning. Miraculously they let us leave. Curtis and I talk some more. He is pretty sure about what he wants to do, and I tell him to think about it through the night and we'll make the decision in the morning. I told him that I couldn't' tell him TO do it or NOT to do it, that he needed to decide for himself.

In the morning I get up and talk to him at about 7 am. He's decided to stick to his original decision, and I tell him to call them and let them know. They start calling me at about 10 minutes to 9 am. I see who is calling and worry that Curtis has fallen asleep and call him at home. He tells me he called his small group leader from "Journey" at 8:30 am and explained his decision. I tell him he needs to actually call the center and let them know as well, and then to give me a call back.

He calls me back shortly and they are offering to come pick him up at the house and bring him in. He tells them that he'll call and talk to me. I call them. I am talked to about how I am probably not thinking about what this might mean to my son, and that perhaps I don’t have the experience to know what kind of heartache can come from family member who don’t finish the training. They ask me to call him. I call him and we talk for a few moments. He asks if he can go to sleep and I tell him to go for it. I call them back and tell them that I am content with his answer. For me, the fact that for once he isn’t willing to ask me to pay money for him, is a huge victory. I am incredibly pleased that he was able to stand his ground and really didn’t want to ‘ask’ me for the money. The person I talk to is concerned that perhaps I am just too attached to ‘being right’. I tell her that perhaps I am. She tells me that perhaps she’ll make MY training contingent on my sons attending Crossroads. I tell her that I am okay with that, so perhaps I am ‘choosing out’ of the training. She is surprised, I think, that I don’t put up more of a fight. She tells me to call and talk to my small group leader. I call him; he is very sane and rational and tells me that ‘choosing out’ isn’t necessary. While I am talking to him I get a call from my Horizon’s buddy (we are each assigned a buddy). Once finished with the first conversation I call her back. She has called to hear my side of the story as she has heard that ‘both Curtis and I have lied to and deceived the group, that we KNEW Curtis wasn’t going to go on with the training, but didn’t say anything’. My buddy tells me this doesn’t sound like me, and that she wants to hear it from me. I give her my story and she is content with my answer.

The day doesn’t get any better. People continue to call and I go out to lunch with L. Now she is getting VERY concerned about the whole thing. She was my first ‘guest’ for the first ‘guest event’ and isn’t at all interested in the training. But the end of lunch she is getting more and more worried. She goes back to work and starts searching the internet. She comes upon THIS SITE. She starts reading stuff and starts reading on a BASIC day of LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training) and wonders if THIS is what my training was really like on the first day. I read it and say... um… well YA! I go on reading all of the days available. With only very slight variations each day of my training is described, with some psychological notes as to what the ‘processes’ might set up in a person. I note to her, that Visionworks has definitely taken a more gentle approach, but not altogether different from what is described. L becomes more insistent that I get out of the training, and I am starting to question it myself. I am mostly bothered by the fact that it isn’t explained to me in the training. I am not even aware that my subconscious was tapped or that I have been set up to follow whatever directions are given to me. I totally can see the training as desirable to some people, especially those looking to be ‘kicked in the butt’ on a regular basis to keep on track. But I am getting more and more tired of the requirements of the training… something that looked like 4 weekends and a couple of evening workshops, has turned into ALL of that PLUS one weekly ‘guest event’ that I have to have a ‘guest’ for and then we are told that we will have responsibilities to man the center, answer phones, clean restrooms and anything else that needs to be cleaned up, that we’ll be REQUIRED to volunteer our services. After one and half weeks of Horizons I am seeing all my available time being sucked into service to the community and that my own priorities are being superceded. I am not getting school work done, my house hasn’t really been cleaned since I started training in January and it is moving into March!! I am having a hard time working on my own goals. It’s exhausting. I don’t like to think that I have been manipulated but after reading a few articles I am really beginning to wonder about things.

I stick to my guns about ‘choosing out’ and am talked to by a number of my ‘community’ members (my ‘community’ would be the group of people that I trained with). They ask me to please, please “choose back in”. I am pulled most of the week. The training group is set up to exert an immense amount of peer pressure. The trainers have made sure that we know that if we don’t try ‘hard enough’ to keep our members together that some that don’t WANT to go, may have to. My buddy is the most vulnerable to ‘getting in trouble’ if she doesn’t try ‘hard enough’ to keep me in. She is very insistent. I can’t blame her and she does a very good job of trying to persuade me. By Saturday the group gets quieter and I am left alone.

I am incredibly attached to my ‘group’. I am invested. I want all of their dreams to come true. I want them to succeed. However, I know that staying in the group wasn’t going to serve me at all. I will work at remaining friends with anyone that wants my friendship, but I know that the ‘friendships’ are tenuous and most likely won’t survive. I have an ‘open door’ to return. My small group leader has left that door open to me as well. I don’t know that I’ll go back to the training, but I’ll keep contact with him and whoever else keeps in touch with me.

I feel like my mind has been messed with and weaning myself away has been hard. I still dream about the group, though they aren’t pleasant dreams and they often make me anxious.

My weekend was nice… but Sunday I am still exhausted and Char drags me to the emergency room. I am found to have extremely low potassium level and am anemic. I have begun taking things for that and am hoping to soon be over the exhaustion. I found time to study over the weekend and Monday afternoon and took my midterm yesterday in Finance. I felt good about it, so hope that I did well.

Tonight I came home and cleaned up the living room. Hooray!! It’s been a long time since I’ve cleaned anything up and it feels GOOD! I’ve a long ways to go to get the house cleaned up but made some good progress tonight. And then, after over a month and a half of not watching movies with Justin and Moon (or anyone at the house) we all sat down and watch ‘The Flight of the Phoenix’ tonight. Good flick. It feels great to spend time with my loved ones. It’s late, an hour past my bedtime, but I feel much better then I have in weeks and weeks. The dread in my heart is gone. Thank goodness. The training put the dread there along with some really strong and positive feeling about myself. It’s messed up. And I don’t think I am done with the feelings of apprehension or second thoughts about the decisions I made. But for tonight, I am happy and content.

Sweet dreams.

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