… So Many New York Memories.

About guest posts: sometimes fellow “disgruntled(s)” contribute blog comments that deserves prominence. These comments are either informative, OR are too entertaining to pass up. Today’s guest post, brought to you by my fellow evil blogger’s site, is both! You see, Robert et al neglected to mention corporate headquarters in NYC to my “class” –oops. (Yes, Virginia, Boston is merely the satellite cult  — sorry).  When one day a strange, round, overly-made up, woman, swooped in unannounced, and Robert escorted her front and center, and sycophants scurried to cater to her, and “older students” asked for her “help”, and she responded in jumbled non sequiturs, and wide-eyed recipients murmured, “Thank you, Sharon”, in hushed tones, those of us not-in-the-know watched in bewilderment.

The Sharon-Show trounced through early in my tenure. I almost quit and wish I had. Some “privileged” Boston-branch attendees pilgrim to NYC for her super-evolved “instruction.” For a peek into the inner workings, see below. Ready to throw open the curtain? Visit:Standing Up To Sharon Gans. In the meantime, I personally found the below missive horrifyingly funny, AND informative:

The beginning of class was something we all endured before we slowly phased out into the mind set of “oh god when will this be over so I can go home? It’s so late, I’m so bored, Oh dear Lord is Chris going to ask a question NOW at 11:20? That guy has no sense of the room.”

One recommendation for getting onto coffee service was this: It gave you an excuse to walk around and do stuff — to leave the “magic circle” and fiddle with things in the back. No one bugged you if you were on coffee service. You had a little aura around you that suggested that you were on “teacher business” and if anyone messed with you, they could be in trouble. You could even leave the space, saying we were low on chocolate, or almonds, and go down to the deli.

Now, a few others could also leave – I know one woman who regularly left for about forty five minutes every week to copy sustainer reports. Yes, Virginia, your sustainers, or “FRIENDS”, as I heard they call them now, write up reports on your conversations to give to the teachers – they are divided into updates on your three-story house, and on your three centers, and anything else that might be interesting or useful: “Pamela finds the no drug rule to be silly and says she is still snorting coke at parties”; “Bobby says he wishes he could date Mary (not you, teacher Mary.)”.

The next week, or month, Pamela may find herself on the hot seat, grilled about her lack of respect for school and its powers and “rules” – she may feel guilty and slowly confess to her coke use. Bobby may get a sudden call and be asked if he would like to date anyone in school he’s been such a good boy – and soon Bobby and Mary are announcing their weddingweeee! Or…..not. At any rate, I digress …

Coffee service is a bitch. Don’t do it. The only way to quit once you’re on is to have a baby. You are constantly being upbraided for not having good meals when the budget is ridiculous and the food requirements are antediluvian: this one doesn’t like chicken and that one is allergic to mushrooms – once you’ve gotten through all of them, it turns out that the only thing everyone agrees on is turkey breast, and then you get yelled at for boring meals.

Next, you get to make coffee and little plates and wash ugly mugs – you get to go up to the teachers during class and listen to their drink orders. Most of them drink strong alcohol. At one point there were about six teachers spread across the front, and another four guys as “tits” — teachers in training. The tits wanted to be worshiped too – they wanted recognition and power, so they began asking to be fed dinner and have drinks and coffee and little plates brought to them as well. Hubris! Annoying! No tips! And no budget increase.

We were told, “In school all things are possible – you should be able to feed ten people on the same amount of money as six – turkey is cheap”. Another note about coffee service – it will cost you money. And you have to take taxis with the food and stuff, and for some reason, they wanted you to buy Sharon’s God-awful hazelnut decaf at the Jefferson Market, which had terrible coffee, but she doesn’t understand food, so the next time she criticizes your cooking, please know that she is a peasant. I can’t even smell hazelnut without getting sick to my stomach – my last trigger.

Yes, coffee service has many downsides, but ladies (and gentlemen? Really? I hear in Boston a man dominates the cooking, but that’s the only thing he ever does in, or for school) – Ladies, it will get you a break from all the whining and posing, from the abuse of your comrades and the embarrassment of listening to the pomposity and ignorance of the people Sharon has appointed to guide you.


3 thoughts on “… So Many New York Memories.

  1. Rally Ho says:

    Ha ha ha, the ridiculous reality that is this Cult!

  2. The Gentle Souls Revolution says:

    glad you enjoyed! sometimes you have to laugh …

  3. Ponderosa Pine says:

    I will tell you another one…
    Someone was talking about some of this recently.

    I remember working on the lectures in Boston. We got divided up into groups – ostensibly we were a part of a group that we had a “talent for” or an “interest in”. I don’t think we got to choose the group we were in or our opinion was only minimal in the decision. In each group, we divided up all the subgrouping of subject matter and we each did a whole bunch of research (or not) and then came back together and talked about it all (ad nauseam) and filtered it all through the “leader” (older student and exalted one) of the group. Eventually, after many months of research and talk, talk, talk about it all, the “leader” wrote the lecture.

    And then came the fun part (the part that I had not known about): the “leader” or should we now call him the “lecturer” (?) got to practice the lecture (ad nauseam) for weeks and weeks. Here’s the funny part, as the lecturer would practice the lectures, Robert would listen and then he would say he wanted to take it home and work on it himself. So, in the end, Robert re-wrote all the lectures. He put in all the non-factual, non-researched points of view which made it all fit into the “work”. Instead of the work fitting into the world, Robert remade the world to substantiate the work. On top of that, everything that Robert put into each of the lectures was the same for all of them so that by the end, they were all the same lecture except the subject matter was slightly different for each one.

    I was in Josh’s group.

    Well, the end result of it all (and yes, I do have a selective memory) was that after each one of those thrilling identical Robert-written lectures we had one of those wonderful soul-bearing sessions known as “impressions” classes.

    This is the one that I remember. I have forgotten all the others. It was a lecture that Lisa gave and she got the greatest honor anyone could get: Sharon was coming from NY just to hear her lecture!!!!
    The lecture was absolutely dreadful – the subject matter, the delivery, the plausibility of the lecturer, everything was totally off. It was an evening from hell. Then we get to the impressions class. Four or five people got up and said what a brilliant job Lisa had done, her delivery was flawless, her subject matter showed her pure intellectual superiority to all others, she was a marvel, a miracle, in fact she was just almost as good as the Virgin Mary.

    Then Robert says: “Would you like to know what Sharon thought?” Everyone was eager to hear because they were expecting Robert to shine his bright sunlight on Lisa even more so she would be doubly blessed. Robert said “Sharon hated it.” Silence. Then he went on to expand upon exactly how horrible it was (and for the most part, she was actually correct, believe it or not.) Not what he (Robert) thought (he loved it because he actually wrote it and coached Lisa on her presentation and on every step along the way) but what Sharon thought.
    So, there’s the rub: by condemning Lisa, he was actually condemning himself as well. But he did it because Sharon showed him the evil of his ways and he was grateful to her for that and also because he did (and still does) whatever Sharon tells him to do. Not much free will out there in cult-land.

    Then, like the good little lemmings they are, everyone else in the class who had not yet spoken, stood up one by one and told Lisa exactly what a horrible dreadful miserable god-forsaken itsy-bitsy person she was (and for the most part, they were actually correct).

    Lisa was of course devastated and after that she was “out of favor” for months. This is what they do: build you up and then break you down. Send your whole world crashing down around you and leave you standing alone in the ruins for what seems like forever.

    You might have guessed that I have no love for Lisa but I have been in that exact spot before and I don’t like watching it being done to others no matter who they are. I didn’t speak in that class, coward that I was then. But it hurt me and I think that hurt everyone in that room. Everyone in that room. Not just the very few of us who might whisper the next day or the next week to someone we knew really really well that it was a real shitty thing that was done to Lisa. Everyone in that room. Maybe it hurt the people worst who are still there and still watching this scenario run over and over again in Robert’s capable hands.

    I know someone who recently left the group and she is a very very very angry and hostile person right now. She would tell you that her life is just wonderful – so much better than before she left the group and she would be telling you the truth. It’s a difficult thing, to be in a cult and very enmeshed for 20 or 30 years and it takes an amazing amount of courage to walk out the door. But the group takes its toll. It takes a long time to get over it and really return to “normalcy” (whoever that is) – if we ever really do return to some form of “normalcy”. It’s not something you will ever forget or leave behind you. Your experiences with Sharon and Robert is with you for the rest of your life. It’s normal to be angry and sad and hurt and broken for awhile. It’s hard but it does lessen over time. I’m not sure it ever really goes away totally.

    I’m saying all of this partially because it’s true and needs to be said and partially because I know that Josh and Lisa and Robert will all read this and they will all disavow the truth of it. I am just asking you to look deeper into your hearts and try to see the truth of your predicament. It’s not your predicament alone, we are all in it to caring degrees. And if you should decide to leave – or are thrust out into the world again via Sharon’s death – just remember that it not all sackcloth and ashes but its also not all roses but a little of each those. And you do have friends out here who will try to help you along your way. It’s a way that many many of us have been down.

    Blessings on each and everyone of you.

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