The dysfunctional role of Judgment

It happened like this. I was in the kitchen and irritated that Diane wasn’t putting things away the way I would. My thought was, “She should do it the way I do.” And I wasn’t liking her at that moment.

I realized that judgment is my ego’s way of pushing someone else away and decreasing the love and connection we normally experience. In fact the statement, “She should do it my way,” is a denial of the reality of the way she is and puts me in this narrow angry box of fighting for the rightness of my position to the detriment of what I actually want.

I want the connection and love I have with Diane and I don’t want to live in a world in which everyone is exactly like me – how boring! But my ego/mind seems dedicated to not giving me what I really want.

As I looked deeper, I realized I was already feeling frustrated with the lack of progress in the projects I was working on. And that this “helplessness” in regard to the actualization of my intentions, brought up a deep fear, the solution to which has been my propensity to keep things in order, to have “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. My solution to my discomfort with chaos.

So rather than just notice my fear of chaos, I judged Diane for a little disorder, making her wrong, me right, and me loosing the love and connection between us. The price I pay for judging and being right!

This is my notion of how judgment always works. Something in yourself that is not complete and you are not neutral and unattached to, gets triggered by outside circumstance and you judge it or them and push it/them away form you. “That is not part of me,” you say. It is the pushing away and the loss of affinity that distinguishes judgment from discernment.

Discernment is a way of recognizing distinctions and making choices that can define who you are choosing to be and the life you are choosing to live. Judgment is the negative side of that same process. And they have two very distinct accompanying experiences – one is fulfillment and satisfaction and the other is only righteous alienation

May we all be letting go of the suffering judging brings.

Shaking my Isolation

It is encouraging how the space of our relationship provides a mirror to show me when I am not connecting to Diane and others; when I retreat into myself or become isolated or controlling and short with people.

A recent example: during the 4th of July week, two sets of children (mine and my brother Terry’s) and grandchildren arrived for a mini-reunion, 18 people including babies.  During that week, I experienced a range of levels of participation, from fully engaged playing with my grandchildren or talking to my daughters or Terry’s gang to sitting isolated reading my book, to being irritated and rigid as I gave instructions on how to pitch a tent or do something or other.

As I reflect back on my participation, I noticed that I don’t like chaos.  As a matter of fact I am afraid of chaos and have organized my life to know where things are (a place for everything and everything in its place) and to be in control.  While this has greatly diminished as I have gotten older, it surprised me to see that I had wanted the children to visit, but then I missed some of the action, by being isolated.  I actually felt tired and needed a break from time to time, yet I seem to have plenty of energy to row in regattas and do the training to keep me in top shape.

The nice thing is that when Diane pointed it out to me, we were able to talk about it without me feeling “not good enough”.  In fact I got interested to learn what original trauma made me so resistant to the normal chaos of life.  I know I was very unhappy with the chaos following my birth and I think when my brother was born 13 months after me, I withdrew in response to my mother withdrawing, but other than that I am not sure.  In any regard, I can now be more aware of my isolating, kind of cold, tendency and do something to change my behaviors around it.  Get more into the action.

All the best, Landon

Grumpiness without a cause

Diane and I had recently had a great date and were happy with each other and our life. Appreciative and thankful.

So why was I Grumpy and Irritated with little things that she did, using too many spoons, not hanging up dish towels, stupid stuff that usually I don’t care about?

In looking into the pattern, I have discovered two things.  One, I am full up with everything I want and not used to simply appreciating what I have without wanting something more, or better, or different: like setting an athletic goal, going on an adventure, doing something like skiing that is fun.

And second, is that I have been entrained in the pattern physically.  It was my way of punishing others for not getting what I want.  Or it was a reaction to my physical pain, or my not being as good as I used to be in things like rowing or skiing.  What I actually saw was that I was physically grumpy, and emotionally grumpy, and I was desperately looking around for a cause!!  And I couldn’t find a cause because I have what I want. So in this instance there was the grumpiness looking for a justification, caught in the act: a grumpiness without a cause!

I realize I now have all this extra time and energy being happy with where I am.  I am no longer looking around for who I am going to be with and I am not so interested in just another goal or project to fill the empty space of boredom.  And I am unpracticed at appreciating what I have.  Finding beauty where I haven’t been looking.  Counting my blessings for all the abundance within which I live my life.

In the past, irritation and grumpiness have gone hand in hand and I have been reluctant to say I was irritated about since the things I was irritated about were so petty.  Now I have enrolled Diane in telling me if she notices me being grumpy and I am committed to getting off it, not being grumpy about her telling me I am grumpy!!

Such are the benefits of having the relationship we have.  I recognize that my grumpiness has just robbed us of the pleasure we so often experience together and I am committed to getting rid of that pattern.

May all our days be free from grumpiness!

All the best,


Our second anniversary


June 9, 2014

Nevada City, CA

Diane’s and my second anniversary today; she is in France with the WWII veterans and their families for the 70th reunion of D-day and I am at home, keeping the cats and chickens company.

I haven’t written my blog for a long time, as I have had little that was a “problem” to deal with.  My usual modus operandi being that I would share how I resolved the upset.  However with fewer and fewer upsets, and living more and more in the reality that this is it, it has dawned on me that my normal life is enormously satisfying just the way it is.  So I am writing about that, a happy new phase in my life.

I am married to the woman of my dreams, I live where I want to live, do what I want to do, and the only thing missing is for me to find more ways to contribute to others and it would be nice if I was bringing in some money.  But we have enough money, so even that area is not a source of concern, just an area of intention.

I guess in fairness, I should mention that I have some aches and pains in my body, and of course it would be nice if they disappeared, but they have come from a very active and wonderful life, so they seem to come with the territory of being 71 and I am not burdened by them, just work around them.

Diane and I have been participating in a course about money, how we spend it, save it and make it and it has brought up some deep conversations mostly based on childhood programming and some later life experiences.  We are doing this so that we are on the same page about money.  People say that most arguments in marriages are about sex or money.  Sex has been so good, we wanted money to be just as easy and nurturing, hence the course.

In the process of doing this course on money which has really brought up every aspect of our life, “what do you want in this or that domain and how are you going to get it?”  Mostly I realize that I have what I want and if I had buckets full of money I would still choose this life.  What I really need to practice is appreciation.  I am unpracticed in living in gratitude given that most of my life has had the undercurrent of “this isn’t it.”   So I declare I am alive, happy, and prosperous.

I have also realized that in my relationship with Diane, there isn’t any subject that isn’t readily available for communication, nor an area in which we have any basic differences.  The process we have gone through to get us to where we are, has cleared out all those potential areas of conflict.  So now I find myself living with a partner in a transparent, open, and responsible relationship.  Transparent to each other, open to any conversation, and each of us responsible for our experience.  It is wonderful.

So now the ordinary is wonderful.  We look forward to finding upsets and subtle aspects of life that throw us off and take us out of present time.  It is an adventure of discovery, because we know that anything we can discover becomes the doorway to deeper connection, more time spent in a kind of mindless, experiential state, and more freedom to be ourselves, loved and accepted by the other.

Now we would love to be able to share this methodology with others.  It is a guaranteed method for making a relationship work, if both people are genuinely committed to personal growth and enlightenment.  It kind of turns your relationship into the space of an ashram with all the benefits of a loving relationship. So that is our challenge at the moment, how to get the word out there in a way that people understand what is possible for them.

I hope this blog finds my reader happy.

All the best,


Thanksgiving and what blocks the experience of feeling thankful


This last weekend I had the good fortune to meet with a Frenchman named Sami Cohen.  We had both been asking the same question, “How does this reality we live in work and how do I work it?” for most of our adult lives so our conversation was deep and wonderful.  The model of the ego Sami shared with me, led me to a deeper understanding of why it has been so hard for me to experience the gratitude from which giving thanks is a natural expression.

The behavior I will share is a great way to once again say, “this isn’t it” and to make yourself feel “unworthy and not good enough”: not the best space from which to give thanks!

According to Sami’s model, each of us constructs a mental “ideal self” made up of all those qualities and abilities to which we aspire.  In addition we have another mental construct of our “the way I am self”.  The gap between these two “selves” is what both motivates us and demoralizes us.

If it looks like we can close the gap between these two constructed selves, we frantically go about trying to do so.  This state produces stress, anxiety, worry, fear and dissatisfaction, not gratitude!  For all of us achievers, we never seem to realize that this “ideal self” is an ever-moving target, that can never be fulfilled as that “ ideal self” would then not survive.

Doesn’t your mind bring up justifications as you read this?  “We need ideals because it gives us something to aspire to, how else would society evolve?” “My ideals orient my actions.” Etc.  Now all of this may be true, but by focusing on the gap are you really creating a grateful, thanksgiving frame of mind or are you driving yourself into a fear based, frenzied state of self flagellation, struggle, and dissatisfaction?

In the recent rowing race I won at the Head of the Charles, I watched my mind take away the joy of the win by saying I didn’t set a new course record as some others in different events had.  Diane was such great support when she said, “Let yourself have the win, stop letting your mind take it away!”  And that ideal self was only invented after I won, not months or years before!!

If the gap is too large, we are once again reminded of our “not good enough” judgement of the constructed (supposedly real, the way I am) self.  And since the gap is too large to ever close, we might as well give up.  The pain and disappointment of this resigned state usually gets suppressed by some form of addiction whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex or as in my case the excitement of the next great project or adventure, the next relationship, or the next sport goal.

According to Cohen, these two mental constructs of the Ego are not going to go away.  They are a part of what it is to be human.  However how we view them, how we interpret the gap between them, makes all the difference in one’s experience.

Viewed for what they are by the Actual Self, the Real you that exists just the way you are in this moment, the GAP and the constructed selves start to lose their power over you – as the awake you ceases to be lost in that mental construction, your Ego. The You that can observe your thoughts and images and see them for what they are and the you that can choose how you wish to interpret what you observe, can withdraw your life energy from these forms and redirect it to some way of being that is more consistent with who you truly are.

In playing with Sami Cohen’s model, I discovered that my ideal self was a composite of different characteristics from all my best friends and I wanted to be like them in those ways.  But rather than make myself wrong for falling short in each quality, I realized that in order to recognize those qualities in my friends I have to have some percentage of each of those qualities in my authentic, Real Self.  I also realized that I didn’t want to trade lives with any one of them – even though they have each had good lives – I was happy with being me, having my life.

It does not mean I don’t have some goals and qualities I want to manifest more fully.  It is just that by seeing once again how my mind continually wants me to suffer by saying that the way it is Right Here, Right Now is not it, I am able to shift to another way of Being.

Now how to make that shift to a state of Love, Presence, Connection and Gratitude is the trick or perhaps the skill to be developed?  First it is important to realize that the mind can only think about one thing at a time.

When I find myself ‘this isn’t iting”, I stop and start to notice my breath and  follow it in and out, and to feel my feet on the floor.  This brings me into present time.  Then I look at what I can learn from that experience of feeling upset, disconnected, anxious, unhappy, and depressed, this helps me understand the mind mechanism more so I can catch myself faster next time.   Next I start to look around me at Nature and see the beauty and that brings me to thoughts about how happy I am married to Diane and having the life I have.  I am once again thankful for being alive and overflowing with Thanksgiving.

May we all find and live more out of that natural Thanksgiving part of our Real Selves.

Happy Thanksgiving and all the very best for the holidays


Two examples of mind machinery


Since my last blog, I have participated in two fulfilling activities.  I went to Boston and won the Head of the Charles, my third rowing goal for this, my seventieth year and I attended a reunion of the 6-Day Course staff near Kingston, NY.

After being sick and worrying about my training, I finally felt healthy and strong going into the weekend of October 19th.  Two weeks prior as part of my training I had raced two head races of 5000 meters (about 21 minutes each) back to back, a double with my rowing partner, Bill Erkelens, and my single sculls event, winning both.  So I was fairly confident I was on track.  My major competition was my rowing partner in the double sculls from the Henley Master’s Regatta, Henry Hamilton who had won the event last year.  I won in 21:20 only beating Henry by 5 seconds!!

Now I have been trying to win the Head of the Charles for 15 years since the last time I won in 1997, so I should have been very happy and as I write this I am, but at the time I didn’t think I had my best race and a number of records were broken in other age categories, so I was down on my self for not breaking a record – the mind trying to make me unhappy, taking the win away, and trying to repeat the “I’m not good enough” pattern.

Thankfully Diane was there to say, “Don’t let your mind take your win away, let yourself have it.”  She would also say when people congratulated me, “Let the acknowledgement in, you won, you did what you set out to do!”  I am so grateful to have Diane as my partner who is awake when I am not and with whom I can share my inner mind chatter and feelings and we can together look at the machinery of the mind.  Once again I conclude that my mind is not my friend!!  Sometimes a tool, sometimes a field where positive thoughts, intentions and feelings are expressed, but not my friend – as in someone I can count on.

Regarding my rowing, I won every race I entered in my single whether practice race or international regatta.  I am gratified that I have a body that can perform at that level and I have learned a great deal about life through my rowing, another thing for which I am grateful.  Of course, I am already thinking about next year!!!

The staff reunion for the 6-Day Course which I created while working for est in the 1970’s was an unexpected joy and validation of the magnificence of who we are as human beings – something Werner Erhard turned me onto when I first took the est training in 1972.  Some of the original staff where there, people I remembered and have stayed in touch with since the 70’s, but the surprising thing was that the vast majority of the 75 people who attended I had never met as they worked at the 6-Day after I left in 1980.

What thrilled me was to see the continuity of experience people had as they stood before us and shared about their time working at the 6-Day (lots of starting in the kitchen stories) and more importantly how it changed and affected their subsequent life.  It was enormously fulfilling to know that something I started and put so much of myself into had produced so much benefit in the lives of so many people – or to say it properly, that so many people had used the experience to create positive benefits for themselves.

The 6-Day Course was a very demanding and intense environment in which nothing but a person’s best efforts and highest standards was acceptable.  This was especially true of the staff who were there “in service” to contribute to and make sure that breakthroughs were produced for each of the 100 participants each week.  There was little time for socializing and almost every waking minute was about going beyond your previous limits.  People blossomed and especially the staff.

Now to share with my reader the power of the mind, I will relate the following incident.  Here we were in this reunion love fest and on Saturday evening Diane and I and Lon and Sandy Golnick where to lead a discussion on relationships.  Well I started in, and something got triggered because several people shared that they had worked at the 6-Day and they were not known for who they were.  In other words, people did not know their history and that they had not gotten to know each other as people regularly do in the normal world – “I’ll tell you my story and you tell my yours.”  For a few people this was an enormous upset and was shared forcefully, full of anger and hurt and a bit of resentment in that it had never been addressed or completed and perhaps for the people involved even somewhat suppressed.  So we, in front of the room, became the targets for this outpouring even though we had never interacted with most of these people prior to the reunion.  Interesting.

What it once again showed me is that even the most evolved people sometimes get triggered and in discharging the previously suppressed emotions most often start from a position of being a victim, victimized by someone or some situation, where they felt abused, hurt, angry, etc. and blaming others for those feelings.  Now this is a good start if the emotions have been suppressed and are now starting to be acknowledged so they can be dealt with.  But if it simply stays at that level, the level of you or they or it did it to me, and I am just looking for agreement from others of how right I am and how wrong and bad you/they/it was, then there is no freedom in it.  The upset will happen again and you and others will suffer.

But if you can use the upset (and these people were upset!) as an opening to see what got triggered, and to answer the question, “How am I creating myself being upset and unhappy right now?”  Then from that responsible stance there is the possibility of great healing and increased freedom to create who you choose to be.  That is the magic of being Awake and it is this process that has made my relationship with Diane to be beyond anything I could have imagined possible.

Eventually we did get to share a few things about relationships, but at the time we did not say what in hindsight would have been perfect.  “Isn’t it interesting what is coming up right now as this is exactly what happens in relationships – people get triggered by something, blow their stack and blame their partner.”

May your life be filled with increasing love and happiness as you view each upset as a door to freedom.

With love,


Relationship course

Relationship Course for Individuals and Couples

The domain of transformation at the level of the individual involves several dynamics: “waking up” by turning on the Observer Self, shifting from a victim or at effect stance in your reality to an at cause or responsible stance, learning about the nature of your own ego and mind, and practicing Being in the moment and Showing up in a chosen way.

The domain of relationship also has its transformational dynamics, but many of us get lost in the complexity of relationships and end up at best hoping to find “the one” or discouraged and resigned about the whole arena and basically giving up on ever having what we only imagine is possible.

Diane and I have spent many years in many unsuccessful relationships in which we learned a great deal with some great partners but were unable to make the relationships work to ours or our partner’s satisfaction.  Finally after coming together four years ago and going through a very intense process which we documented in our book, “Falling in Love Backwards: an unlikely tale of Happily Ever After”, we have come to a place where we feel we have something to share of real value for people who are looking for a relationship or want to make their relationship better than it has ever been before.

If you are looking for a deep connection and expanding intimacy with another combined with a sense of greater personal freedom to be your self, come to our workshop in November.   We can promise that you will leave more prepared than ever before to take on a lasting, committed relationship.  You will understand the set of agreements and models that will transform a relationship from one of ‘trying to get my needs met’, to one of ‘expanding personal growth and mastery along with the reward of deeper connection, passion, and intimacy’.

The seminar will be held in Mill Valley, California on the evening of November 15th and continue all day Saturday and end Sunday November 17th at 6pm.  Go to our website: and click on seminar.  Or call Diane or Landon with questions: 530-265-4050 H.  Landon cell: 415-250-3585


9/25/13 Trapped in my body by Landon

I realize that part of doing these blogs is to chronicle what is happening in my life, whether I have seen the big insight that unlocks the pattern door or not. So here goes.

After returning from Europe and my rowing wins there, I was on the top of my game and started to train for my next goal for this year, to win the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston on October 19th. Well, several weeks into my training, I got sick – chest infection, rash all over my body and fevers at night. I went to bed, took vitamin C, didn’t eat much, lost some weight, but the sickness kept persisting. After a week of inactivity, I felt a little better, so went out to row hard (after so much “no practice” I was starting to panic about my preparation for the race) and my back went out. More days off and lots of pain, until I learned about icing every 15 minutes per hour and used an inversion table I bought on sale to lengthen my back.

So now as of this writing I am almost well in my chest and my back has almost returned to normal and I did a good training piece today. But what I wanted to share about was the feelings and thoughts I went through while being sick.

I felt so trapped in my body and a victim of it’s whims. I could not control the situation, I was not in charge, my body was not doing what I wanted it to do – be healthy, strong and pain free. I was angry, sad, depressed, and resigned (this had happened before a number of times – chest burning with infection and rash). I experienced a kind of trapped blackness about me and wondered if it had something to do with the chaos I was born into and feeling trapped in my body and not liking where I was. “This can’t be it! It wasn’t suppose to be like this when I was born!” I am sure that is part of what got re-stimulated and certainly points to my “This isn’t it” pattern I have had all my life.

Diane was great and very supportive, but it was hard on her also to have a partner who was listless, angry, depressed and not much fun to be with. I have a hard time looking cheerful when I am not!

The only snafu in this whole picture is that rather than I being able to point to some aspect of my life and justify that “this isn’t it” – THIS IS IT – I like and love who I am with, Diane, and where we live, Nevada City, CA and New Zealand, we have enough money, and our life is so good. So I suspect, my mind is just making up a problems to keep me from experiencing the joy and pleasure of living the life I actually want!

I often heard that when you start having lots of pleasure in your life, that you could run up against your limits of what you can hold. I never thought much about it, but think it is something I now need to explore. How do I expand my limits? Perhaps it is in the realm of deservability. I notice that when I do not have a project where I am contributing or I am not bringing in money from a job, I don’t feel as good about myself. Yet here I am at the age of retirement and while I am looking for my next project, I can actually live within the resources I have. So I am blessed that way. Perhaps the lack of deservability comes from my “not good enough” pattern and that set some sort of limits on what I could have and enjoy.

Anyway, this is what I am currently exploring and perhaps it will illicit some sharing of what you might have found in a similar situation.

All the best along this road of life – this exciting and challenging adventure,

Revealing “this isn’t it”, my dark shadow

Yesterday while I was walking on the way to the garden of our beautiful farm, I noticed I was annoyed and angry, and kind of depressed about life, and I could not find a reason for feeling this way as much as I looked at my life and what might have triggered the upset. As I started to explore the feelings more, I noticed a kind of dark shadow over my life at that moment and I was somewhat hunched over.

I thought to myself, “This is crazy, I have what I want. I live where I want to live, I am married to who I want to be with, we are comfortable financially, I am rowing competitively and able to row. What is going on?”

Normally I would ignore this feeling and just go through my day with the edge of enthusiasm missing, the satisfaction and joy evaporating. I would get involved in some activity but the shadow would remain, robbing me of the thrill of being alive and tending to make me withdraw from Diane.

Sometimes I would talk myself out of it, consciously looking for beauty, or reminding myself of my good fortune. This time I just observed the dark shadow and the anger and the lack of enthusiasm and my hunched over posture. And all of it of course disappeared.

I realized that against the backdrop of a live that I love with Diane, my old nemesis of “This isn’t it” is revealing itself for the pattern it is. My mind continually seems to want to rob me of joy and make a problem out of our good life. But now I am on to it at a new level, so I expect to see it overshadow my life less and less.

I am blessed with the good fortune to have such a supportive partner, who less and less gets hocked when I am upset and withdrawn and to have a life that I actually want which becomes a backdrop to reveal these subtle patterns. Even though often uncomfortable and “aliveness damaging” I also welcome these upsets as I know they are the door to more joy and happiness once I can observe them and they disappear.

May your life be blessed,

Resisting Diane telling me what to do

Dinner OutI started noticing this as a pattern only recently. Back in February when we were in New Zealand, Diane was trying to get me to call someone to help with cleaning in preparation for the wedding celebration we were holding in Golden Bay at my house. She asked me several times and I finally did the task reluctantly. But before I complied, I got really angry and in a loud angry voice told Diane to “Stop telling me what to do!”

It was so out of character for me that she did not react and just thought, “he is really upset, something got triggered.” I calmed down, admitted that it was probably me having to comply to my mother’s expectations and the anger I had felt in complying. After all, I couldn’t really not comply, I was the goody two shoe of the family, the older brother, meeting or exceeding all my parent’s expectations. The role of the moderate rebel was left to my year younger brother. But I am sure the lack of freedom that compliance entailed, was resented at some deep level.

Then recently, it was just a little thing that Diane suggested, something that would contribute to my well-being and I closed down, didn’t like her and didn’t want to do what she had suggested. She felt she could not contribute to me and was therefore somewhat “invisible” (one of her buttons). I felt “not good enough” and noticed my mind saying, “get off my back, leave me alone, let me do it myself.” This time my response was much more subtle, but still it damaged the connection that Diane and I normally maintain.

As we talked about it, I recognized that it harked back once again to my resisting my mother’s expectations and insistence I be a certain way. Also there was a mandate (stated by my father) to not express anger towards my mother. So I think I had a lot of bottled up suppressed anger. I do remember, that I couldn’t get away fast enough to go to boarding school at 14. Finally I was on my own!

That is not to say, I didn’t get lots of support from my mother as I was growing up. In fact I was extremely fortunate – my own horse, camping and skiing trips, a calm, good family atmosphere, safe and loving. It was just these underlying expectations of who we were and how we needed to act in order to get my mother’s attention and love, that must have curtailed my sense of being freely myself. And even though I took all that training on (how to act) and now appreciate my “upbringing”, I am left with this anger that is now surfacing in the safety of my loving and authentic relationship with Diane.

In past relationship, this resistance (upset) would have surfaced as a big row. “You don’t love me, because you don’t do what I ask”, “You don’t let me contribute to you”, “Get off my back”, “Stop nagging me” and of course all the accompanying feelings of anger, resentment, sadness and the pulling away from whatever level of intimacy that preceded the argument.

I am so thankful for Diane as my partner, so that I can have these uncomfortable and potentially relationship ruining upsets come up and be able to talk about them and finally let them go. We both recognized recently that whatever patterns are still left will mostly surface and get expressed within our relationship. Thank God we have a way to deal with them!