Lusty coaches & Christian retreats: it's a mad, mad Whirled
I'm afraid this is going to be another one of those drive-by blog posts. I have tons of real work to do, but I did want to point you in the direction of a couple Whirled-class items.
An alert reader sent me a link to a story that Steve Salerno also wrote about on SHAMblog, regarding a "prosperity guru" who has been charged with sexual assault. Bijan Anjomi, 64, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault after two alleged incidents in Toronto, Canada hotel rooms. According to Toronto police, the two women, ages 27 and 37, believed they were attending personal coaching sessions when the incidents allegedly took place. They called police once they snapped to what was really happening.
And so another hero of the conspicuously enlightened bites the dust. And my, what a shame, since Anjomi had apparently amassed quite an enthusiastic following. Here's just one bubbly write-up from a June 2007 blog post:
Bijan Anjomi is a man who intimately knows miracles. Moment by moment Bijan expects miracles, lives them and expresses into the world from the mist of them. And ... he creates a space in which others effortlessly begin experiencing their own miracles. Communing with Bijan is nothing less than a step into a shimmering blue healing pool of miracles. You are instantly healed and your consciousness is elevated. Miracles happen!Hmmm... maybe we'd better make that a "shimmering pool of misdirected lust." And perhaps "intimately knows miracles" and "expresses into the world" is code for what was really going on.
On one of Bijan's web sites, The Perfect You, we learn that "his award-winning physique, sculpted and symmetrical, is a metaphor for his philosophy of life: 'Everything in balance and proportion, nothing to extreme.'" Bijan's main site is EffortlessProsperity.com.
According to the Canwest News Service story I linked to above, Bijan's defense attorney, Stephen Bernstein, said that the charges against his client will be "vigorously defended." Interesting choice of words, Counselor! Good to know that we can look forward to yet more "vigorous" activity in regard to Bijan.
On his SHAMblog post, Steve Salerno cited the excellent chapter about life coaches in his book, SHAM: How The Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. In that chapter he wrote about, as he puts it, " a subset of life coaches known as 'relationship coaches' or 'intimacy experts' who offer a more personalized kind of training that may ultimately become, in effect, a form of prostitution. " Seems like our guy Bijan is another shining example of this phenomenon. Oops, make that "is allegedly another shining example of this phenomenon."
Last year I too was inspired to take a stab at the life-coaching epidemic. At that time I was receiving a ton of spam emails from New-Wage entrepreneurs who were surfing the Secret wave and claiming to be Law Of Attraction coaches. Thinking about the life-coach problem put me in mind of an experience I'd had with a "coach"; an essay about that experience appears on my old Cosmic Relief web site. Let me hasten to add that there was no illicit sex, or any sex, involved in that incident; it was merely an intensely annoying experience.
But I've been around New-Wage culture long enough to know that the "hands-where-they-don't-belong" gurus and "therapists" and such aren't all that uncommon. I almost had an encounter with one years ago, but fortunately got "creepy" vibes after one phone conversation with him and I never followed up. (I honestly don't think I could have been manipulated into any sort of intimate encounter with this joker, but I'm still glad I listened to my instincts.) Later this person was immortalized as a sexual predator in a book by a bestselling New-Wage author.
Before I leave you and go back to work, Dear Ones, let me point you to a most excellent article that one of my favorite regulars, HHH, showed me. I've often thought that few selfish-help experiences could be worse than one of those intensive New-Wage retreats where you get in touch with your raw primitive emotions and engage in group vomiting and so forth. But I was wrong. There is something worse: an intensive evangelical Christian retreat where you get in touch with your raw primitive emotions and engage in group vomiting and so forth – AND learn to speak in tongues.
Have at it... and have a terrific weekend. And thank you again, HHH, for the link.
PS ~ I neglected to mention above that Jody Radzik at Guruphiliac was also on the Bijan story; he's the one who really keeps on top of which gurus are on top of their followers. Here's the link to his post on the "prosperity guru."