When I established BYOO, I determined that I wanted to give people an opportunity to have their voice heard. For years, I was not able to speak up and make myself heard. One of the gifts BFL gave me was the strength and courage to speak up and give my words life. The most difficult part of my time on T.com was the fact that after finding my voice, I felt that it was taken away from me again.
A few days ago, Brett contacted me and asked that I remove comments he made on some previous discussions. He was concerned about what he’d put out into the world. I understand that concern, but believe that it’s important to give voice to both good and bad. That’s how you find true power and strength. It’s how you find your own Oz. Rather than further stifle his voice, I asked him to consider writing a blog expressing the positives he’s finding in this process. This is his story of learning to “listen to his inner self and transform”.
by Guest Blogger Brett
Since Michelle asked me to be a guest blogger for BYOO, I have been overwhelmed with thoughts about what to write. I have started and re-started my story, only to delete it and think, “That doesn’t tell my whole story.” How do I describe how Transformation has consumed my thinking for the last few years? How do I convey how it has thrown me back and forth with my feelings towards it, between what I wanted it to be and what it actually has become?
I could go on about how I too thought Transformation was my promised land. How I thought I had finally found what I was meant to do with my life when I found Transformation. I truly thought it was a calling for me. Or how I let it take over parts of my life, because it seemed to have a moral high ground that I wanted to be part of my life. And how that idea came crashing down time and time when facing reality.
There are good things about Transformation – the people there that really do care about the message; the people who open their hearts up to others in an effort to help others; the stories of overcoming addictions and past tragedies; and the steps that show people how to live a healthy and happy life. I loved all those aspects of Transformation.
But there are also the not-so-good things about Transformation – not being able to have your own voice and the need to follow the opinion of one man; the idea that one way is the only way; the confrontational approach that others take when something is questioned; and the message of how the site is truly about “inner” change while it bombards you with photos of “champions” showing off their “outer” half-naked, muscular bodies.
The elements of Transformation have been a conflict for me since I first found the site. There are the friends that I had there. But at the same time, there are people there who used confidential information I shared with them to question the motives of some other people on the site that I knew. There is the idea that forgiveness of others is a step in your inner transformation. But at the same time, there was a time when I was told I needed to just “back away for a little while,” so those in charge might forget about something that happened and allow me to return. There are the “champions” who were so open to listening and sharing their insight with you. But at the same time, there are “champions” who do not allow others to have a voice, who condescend others when they do try to question something about the process, and who only follow the opinions of Mr. Phillips. How can a program that is based on “inner” transformation of each individual also have a foundation of allowing there to be only voice?
Last week, I was watching a church program with the Rev. Dr. Jim Keck of the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, NE. He said, “The idea of people all thinking exactly alike and not having disagreements, that sounds creepy to me. Any institution that promotes ‘group think’ or some forced unanimity of opinion, that’s creepy. We don’t gather at church to drink the Kool Aid; we gather to drink from the cup of the new covenant and that cup of Christ honors our differences and diversity as individuals. Any institution that promotes ‘group think,’ that’s more of a cult than a church of Jesus Christ.” I thought to myself while he was speaking those words, “Wow. That is so like Transformation.” It was that way from the beginning but I was blinded by my wanting of approval by others to see it. It is that way more than ever now.
I love the message of Transformation. I love the thought that we should want everyone to be healthy and happy. I love the idea that eating good food, exercising, and taking the time to love yourself and others is truly the RIGHT way to live. I love that message. But, honestly, I loved those thoughts before I found Transformation. I simply had not chosen to live my life according to that message. I do not need the site anymore for me to truly understand that message, however, I understand that there some people who may. Some people out there who are still looking for someone to lead them to find a path to living their best lives. I wish the site was truly about that, but it always seemed to be heading in another direction.
I had a friend tell me once (the same friend who got me and my computer banned from Transformation.com last year – that is another story) that in the future the site would become just like every other “self-help” site on the internet. It would be just like all the other sites created based on selling a book. Books created by authors outlining the steps and guiding us on how to live our best lives. Of course, it would go hand-in-hand with the idea that your “best life” really only happens if you buy the DVD’s and nutrition bars that go to help you along the way. Starting today, with the release of the “Transformation Solution,” his prediction has become true. I found it truly ironic that on the day that I sat down to write this blog about my torn feelings about Transformation, an ad for the Transformation Solution froze my computer after it popped up on my screen and I tried to delete it. That was a message from somewhere that did not go unnoticed.
The wonderful concept that I thought that the site was truly about, has transformed itself into an infomercial. When I found the site, I thought it was bound for greatness. Instead, it seems it is bound for late-night television. That is truly the saddest part of this story. It has, in an instant (but a well-calculated and planned out instant), become the next Snuggy and Gold-For-Cash of the self-help industry.
It’s funny how this site had owned my life for the better part of two years. I was hooked with the message from the very beginning. I was searching for something better and I thought Transformation was that missing element in my life. It has caused feelings of happiness in me and heart ache at the same time. I thought I needed Transformation to find my inner-self but all I really needed to do was to listen to my inner-self and transform.
Transformation has played a major role in leading me to where I am today. Today, I am a man ready to move on. I am a man who does not need to follow in order to understand where I need to go. I realized, after writing this final version of this blog, what I really wanted to say in it is that I’m finally ready to say “good-bye” to Transformation and move on with my life. Like my computer, my life was frozen by what was offered. Today, I’m pushing delete.