Monday, October 4, 2010

Landmark Forum

While I was sketching in the lobby of the Sonesta Hotel, Kelly Medford, an artist from Florence Italy struck up a conversation. She invited me to return the next day to experience what she called a wisdom workshop which is an offshoot of "Landmark Forum." Being curious, I returned. When I entered the ballroom, people were gathered in small clusters in animated conversations. There was a point to all the social interactions. On the chalkboard at the front of the room the following questions were written: "What is happening in your life? What do you want to get out of being here?" It was later stated that life is a conversation, that one person can change a conversation and a conversation can change the world. Participants were asked to continue a conversation even when it got uncomfortable. One person said that when the conversation moved beyond the awkward moment, then suddenly the person would offer some insight which he needed. Everyone was asked to get seated. I continued to work on the sketch in the back of the room. People were asked to introduce guests. Kelly stood and gave me such a glowing introduction about being an influential artist who is helping build and strengthen the arts community. I got choked up, and a tear rolled down my cheek. I didn't bother to wipe it away since no one was close enough to see. I shouted out, "Thank you Kelly" and got right back to work.
On tables around the room, there were scrapbooks which had visual biographies. Each page signified a year. Kelly showed me hers and there were childhood photos and snippets of conversation. Post its with negative thoughts were pasted here and there. These negative comments were things she said at the workshop and they originated years ago in her past. By recognizing the origin of the negative thoughts she could leave them behind. She could complete her past.
Other collages were called Originating Circles. They acknowledged that words that come out of our mouths create our new reality. Images were picked to symbolize those words. I read the back of one,
"Seems like I don't trust women."
"Seems like I don't trust people."
"Seems like life is a big lie."
"Seems like everybody but me is crazy."
None of these statements were true and by visualizing them they can again leave them behind.
The workshop really stressed the idea that we are part of a community. We need to talk to people to find out what they have to offer. If we use the community, anything is possible. Things we create live through other people.
Another important aspect of the workshop was to recognize the importance of play in our adult lives. Life can be play and it is important to bring that to the people in our lives. By playing we bring a flow back into life. As an exercise people sat in circles and had to relate something that they always wanted to do in a group but never had. Kelly pointed out that she had just seen people shouting out hell and brimstone on Church Street at night. She had never shouted out her convictions to a group. She stood on a chair an shouted with her fist raised. I had related that I never express anger. I shouted in anger though I had no one to direct it at. Then the play began. I was recruited as part of a human pyramid. At the front of the room a chorus line formed and then a conga line. A woman related that while she was in the women's room, she started singing, "If your happy and you know it clap your hands!" Women in the other stalls started to sing along. When it was all over, Carl related that "This never happens in life, only in the movies. In the proper environment there can be play. Thank you."
To make anything happen, first you must dream it. Perhaps a community that allows for play is possible. The universe rewards action. Nervousness is power and energy. Be big in the moment. Inspire those around you with playful exuberance. Continue to grow every day. Think big, pursuing that dream while being truly alive.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Kelly Medford said...

Wow, this is so awesome! Thank you Thor for being with us that Sunday, you really added so much to me and the rest of the community, as you do every day with your fab drawings. So glad we met!Thanks for sharing your experiences here on your blog- how cool!
See you soon,

Kelly Medford said...

Hi Thor, awesome blog entry, thanks so much for documenting community Sunday! Your presence added a much needed artistic element and I enjoyed getting to know you a little more. I love your blog and who you are- out and about documenting the liveliness of Orlando!
See you soon!

Kelly Medford said...

Thanks, Thor! It was great to have you at our Wisdom Course Social Commons. I love your sketches and love that you shared our event with your blog readers. I hope we see you again soon.

Lucy Medford (Kelly's mom)

Bob said...

Thank you for the contribution you were at our Wisdom Community Sunday, and for the wonderful insight into the world of trasformation. I loved your sketches and your freedom to share yourself so freely. Please accept our open invitation to attend some of the other Wisdom events in the future.

Bob Moore

Sonda said...

Thor! What a treat it was to have Kelly magically run in to you in the Sonessta Lobby and then to have you actually join us at the Wisdom Community Sunday! I read your blog and my heart is filled with all of life and joy. You described what happens in the Wisdom Course and Community beautifully. Thank you! Please join us anytime! Love & Community -- Sonda Rocchio

Heather Rippert said...

Thank you for capturing the essence of the Wisdom Course so beautifully in your art as well as your words!
Thank you for sharing yourself and your gifts with the world and for being open and joining the community! It made a difference that you were there!
Heather Rippert

Doug Barra said...

Thor, that is an awesome sketch. It really captures the space of the event. Your description is also fantastic, you really captured the "essence" of the day. It is truly a testament to your ability as an artist. It was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope to see you again either sitting, sketching and capturing the "feel" and "essence" of a scene, or actually interacting with us "characters" in your play...

Judy said...

Thor, it was a pleasure to meet you at the Wisdom Community Event in Orlando. You are not only capturing events with your illustrations, but also with your writings!!! Each Wisdom Community Event is truly unique and they are all marvelous. Thanks again for being curious and open. .... Judy

Elissa said...

I have never seen anything like this! THANK YOU THOR and everyone for bringing joy aliveness to the community!!!

Kenneth P. Kroger said...

Cool great job describing the actions we took to enjoy that moment.

Sarah Rowe said...

Hi Thor, It was a pleasure, a treat and an honor to meet you. Your work is A-plus and your future is unlimited. You are not only a talented illustrator, you also have a way with words. Your description of our 'Community Sunday' is fresh. You have a visual 'eye' for life and I see a spiritual 'eye' as well.Thank you. Your mural at the hotel is awesome and your website is fascinating. Thank you. Oh, and did I say Thank You!!

Geoffrey Swetz said...

Hi Thor
thank you so much for being there, capturing the day both with your words and your artistry!!

Thor said...

It warms my heart to get so many comments for this blog post. It is a testament to the warm, open and caring nature of the people who attended the event.

liss0110 said...

hi! a friend shared this and I too have to say THANK YOU for reprecensing the magic that occurs in our Wisdom Community Sunday events all around the world. absolutely amazing! ~Fatima from Los Angeles, CA