Springingtiger's Blog


Thank You Randy McNamara
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Mediterranean Sunset

Anyone who reads my blog on anything like a regular basis will know that I acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Werner Erhard who developed the est Training. However Werner’s work of transformation was not undertaken by Werner alone, he built up a team of people equally committed to having people’s lives work and one of these was Randy McNamara who learned Mind Dynamics from Werner and was there right at the start of est in 1971. Yesterday I was on Facebook and I saw Randy’s announcement that after forty-five years of leading transformational courses first est and then the Forum he was going to lead his final event in April. I dread to think how many thousands of miles he has travelled and how many hours he has spent in the work of transformation, I reckon it’s been a pretty gruelling forty years and I bet he doesn’t begrudge a second of it.

I didn’t do est with Randy. However some years after I did est I attended the first Forum that Landmark Education put on in Leeds and Randy was the trainer. He has real presence and what can only be called a ruthless compassion. He doesn’t waste time indulging a person’s stories, reasons and excuses, he honours them as being responsible for their lives and puts them right on the spot. During the course I shared an issue and Randy suggested I might like to talk to him about it. I’d seen him in action and preferred to sleaze my way out of what I expected to be an uncomfortable confrontation. Meal breaks were the times when Randy was left alone, no one was allowed to interrupt him and I’m not surprised given the focus he held for hours on end, completely present to everyone in the room. I calculated that if I spoke to him quickly at the start of lunch I could postpone a real conversation until I’d had time to get my act together. Confident that Randy held his breaks as sacrosanct as the attendants held them I went up to him and asked, “When would be a good time for me to come and see you?”

Randy fixed me with a stare that told me he could see right through me and replied, “Now!”

I had hoped for a respite before I faced myself, but Randy doesn’t do ‘wiggle room’. In NLP we are often told to make a note of why people come for help because when their perceived problem vanished they would often have no awareness of it ever having been there. I have some slight awareness of my then issues but by the time I left Randy to go on my break they had collapsed like the stupid illusions they really were. I didn’t eat much that break as I spent the whole time on the phone clearing up my life and completing incomplete issues with the people I loved.

One of the things I took away from that Forum was that Randy knew the stupid stories and acts we had, the rackets we were running, because he had been exactly where we were. His compassion was grounded in the recognition of what it is to be human and what it can be to be human, he didn’t discriminate between us and him because at root we are all human.

When Landmark Education was recreating its program my wife got to go to San Francisco to observe the Forum Leader Body and Communication Program leaders working on the recreation of Landmark. She was very impressed by the space Randy held for the conversation with his absolute integrity and rigour.

So the point of this post is to record my personal acknowledgement of Randy McNamara. I won’t detail the impact he has had on the lives of Neelam and myself, but I will say that it has been considerable. Werner may have laid the foundations, but Randy and others built on them. I don’t know how many lives Randy has impacted directly as an est trainer and Forum Leader, as a trainer of Forum Leaders, or indirectly through the successive impact of those he trained. I do know that I was moved to read the hundreds of tributes his announcement elicited, he is well loved and he deserves to be.

And he’s not actually retiring after all these years! He’s taking that classic stand for a world that works for everyone into tackling the impact of humanity on our environment and combating global-warming. Whatever Randy McNamara goes on to do, he has my undying gratitude. I am sorry that soon people will no longer have the experience of him as a Forum Leader, but they will continue to have the opportunity to experience the Forum under the guidance of those he trained, and that occurs for me as an amazing opportunity.

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