Editor's Blog

Sterling Weekend Awakening

January 23, 2012
By Kim Calvert

The Women’s Weekend taught me about self-acceptance and how it’s better to be single than to be with a man who won’t let me be me.

Sterling Weekend Awakening

In the spring of 2005, I had a big fat engagement ring on my hand. The man who asked, or rather told me to marry him was dashing and sophisticated, drove a fancy BMW convertible, had a high-paying job and owned a luxury condo in Beverly Hills. Armando (not his real name) was everything I thought I wanted in a man: money, power and prestige, all wrapped up in a snazzy alpha-male package.

Among the many things he wanted me to do for him was to attend something called the Sterling Women’s Weekend. In his mind, it would break down the last vestiges of my resistance to setting our wedding date — something I’d been delaying because deep down inside, a tiny voice — the voice I tried to hush because it got in the way of getting what I thought I wanted — kept saying “Don’t do it!”

I did some research and found that Justin Sterling and his Sterling Institute of Relationship were included on web pages that warned of cults — along with other “cults” like Alcoholics Anonymous and the Catholic Church, just to put things into proper perspective. Nevertheless, I was still scared. Were they conspiring with Armando to brainwash me? Would they succeed in turning me into some kind of Stepford wife so my fiancé would finally get what he wanted — a submissive, compliant mate?

In the end, I decided to go — not only because of the pressure from Armando, but also because of a bizarre coincidence that some might call a “god-shot.” A few months earlier, before Armando even started talking about the weekend, my roommate gave me a coverless copy of an old book titled “What Really Works with Men.” She got it from a woman she worked with who told her that the book, published back in 1993 and now out of print, contained the secret to having a successful relationship with a man.

The book had been lying on my desk for months, unread, but after another fight with Armando, I started reading it, surprised when I realized that Justin Sterling — the same man who conducts the Sterling Women’s Weekend — wrote it. I figured that if the universe was trying to tell me something through two entirely separate channels, maybe I should listen. So off I went, flying to Oakland, anxious but willing, and hoping it would finally calm my fears about getting married.

When you attend the Sterling Women’s Weekend, another woman, who has already done the weekend, is there to help you fill out the registration form, answer your questions and assist you in defining three personal goals. She’s there to get you “to and through the weekend.” I was very clear about my first goal: get clarity on my relationship with Armando. I achieved it on my second day when Justin Sterling said, “Never marry a man you don’t trust.”

How simple is that? Pure common sense really, yet it never entered my mind. Trust? You’re supposed to trust the man you marry? And then another nugget: “If giving a man what he wants when he wants it requires you to be someone you’re not, or prevents you from accepting yourself, then he’s not the right man for you.”

Okay, I’m a smart cookie — or so I thought! Before the Sterling Women’s Weekend, I thought my objective was to snag the highest status male possible. The concept of the “right man” never crossed my mind, I was looking for the “perfect man” — something very different. Yet inside, that tiny voice — the voice of female intuition — rejoiced because finally, someone outside of me, agreed with what I knew was my truth: I could not marry Armando, because Armando would never allow me to be me.

This and so much more I learned in a room with 200 other women as we listened with various degrees of frustration, anger, “ah- ha” and finally relief mixed with hope and elation as this gruff man confronted our  stubborn “I’m right” attitudes, our self-defeating relationship-destroying behaviors and our stubborn refusal to face the truth.

At the conclusion of the weekend, Armando came to meet me in Oakland. He swaggered in, confident that I’d learned how to become his ideal wife. How ironic, after all his efforts to get me there, that the Sterling Women’s Weekend had such a different result. There was no way I could marry him. In fact, I realized there were many things I needed to get clear on before I was ready to have a long-term committed relationship with anyone, and until then, I would remain happily single.

I decided to tell you about this experience because, unlike the pricey life coaches, romance advisers, self-help gurus and seminars that employ expensive marketing campaigns to persuade you to invest in their services, the Sterling Women’s Weekend is a fraction of the cost. Women who have done the weekend enroll the women who attend and volunteers prepare the meals, set up the venue, help with travel arrangements and do the myriad of details required to produce it.

Women these days are often too busy, too distracted, too suspicious, too locked into their old ideas  to be willing to take the risk to learn something that will open their hearts and minds to seeing men and themselves in a new light. If you would like to get some clarity on how you “show up” for your life and are ready to break through belief systems that prevent you from achieving success in all of your relationships — be they romantic, parental, or platonic with neighbors or co-workers — I encourage you to attend an upcoming weekend.

For more information, please visit: Sterling Women’s Weekend or call 510-836-1400.

Copyright © Kim Calvert/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.

Kim CalvertKim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. A single lifestyle expert and an outspoken champion of single people everywhere, Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures high-profile contributors and is responsible for setting and maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often humorous tone of Singular, the magazine for successful single living.
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  1. Brad says:

    Kim,

    Very well written, especially your explanation about the “cult” label. Courageous article, Kim.

    I did the “Men’s Weekend” years ago. It was the most transformative, intense, exciting, enlightening, emotional, frightening, powerful, joyous, and loving experience of my life. I still benefit from it today.

    My review of “The Weekend” is included in this article: http://www.guruhabits.com/reviews-of-self-improvement-programs/#sterling I also discuss the issue of some organizations being labeled as “cults” starting in the 3rd paragraph of the introduction.

    Great to find a quality site that supports singles. Well done!

  2. Wondering says:

    Thanks for this article. I’ve been casually seeing a man who’s spoken highly of Men’s Weekend, so I did a little research. What most blogs and websites offer as “information” is scathing and scary. I knew from our first date that this man was different (in such a good way) than the self-absorbed men I’ve been involved with in the past. But all that internet negativity made me worry…

    I found Sterling’s book after reading the Amazon reviews (also negative). I’m divorced and can honestly say that while reading the book I was not offended by it. I agree with many of his points and was very much the sort of woman he describes in my first marriage. (In fact, my ex often commented some of my beliefs were outdated and I was born decades too late) Personally, I see nothing wrong with affirming a loved one, listening when they talk about their day, trying each others hobbies…it’s called relating!

    At the end of the day, you’re right, we have to be with someone who lets us be the person we’re supposed to be. Someone who doesn’t expect us to be either a Stepford Wife or a Superwoman. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum! Some men learn that by the example set in their parents’ marriage, some from an innate knack for relationships and others by gathering knowledge and advice from others.

  3. Sandy says:

    I did the weekend, reluctantly, suspiciously and it ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done. Many of the women that attend are on the verge of divorce, separated, struggling to understand their relationships — which means they arrive angry, confused and hopeless. Although I can’t attest to all who attend, I know for me and the women friends that I made there, it was a transformational experience that brought a lot of healing to ourselves and our families.

  4. David says:

    Have been involved with this work for over six years and have seen marriages healed as well as Men learning how to be successful, lead their families and develop quality bonds.

    If a woman or any women needs help in becoming a better mother, daughter or wife this event will give them excellent tools to mitigate their own life .

    These trainings are not for everyone They are for individuals who truly want to master their own journey called “Being Human” in our society.

    Hope these comments leads some one to their own truth.

    Kim,

    Thank you so much for creating this discussion for our community.

    Peace & Blessings,

    David

  5. Michelle says:

    The WW was life changing for me.Truly an awakening like nothing I have ever experienced. At the age of 44, I was in the midst of a 2nd divorce, now a mother of 5 children (3 from my first marriage that I walked out on, & infant twins from my 2nd marriage).I was successful professionally as an attorney, but I was an emotional disaster. I came from a broken home & raised by a mom who is on her 6th marriage..yes, 6th! I woke up one day & realized I was following her path & decided I needed to break that pattern. I found the source of my feminine power in that room on that weekend & so much more.Every day I thank God for Justin Sterling & the womans weekend. My husband moved home 4 weeks later, after 1 year apart. I am a loving, happy & FEMININE woman & our marriage is stronger than ever & our children are thriving like never before. All because I learned to love myself for who I am, who I am not & who I will never be. I listened & opened my heart & 7 lives have been changed forever….for the better.

  6. Billy says:

    Its a cult. Did Sterling weekend and was mortified. Waste of money.

  7. What a terrific article. You nailed it! Your point about being confronted with being right speaks so well as our limitation as humans.

    And your truth about the cultural conditioning to “snag the highest status male possible” is so honest. Thank you! It’s these kinds of realization, hard realizations, that a great teacher can present to us so we can be truly free.

    I get too that it’s not that Armando was “bad”. It’s just that there wasn’t true compatibility that would have a woman trust a man and his direction.

    I applaud your courage in being so revealing about what you thought was “right”. When men and women can clear up their misunderstandings about each other, and about what really makes a long-term relationship work, we’ll all find partners that can last. We can focus on being compatible again, instead of having the latest “fashion” guide our choices. We can stop being attracted to people who are not really our match and maybe lessen the tragedy of divorce and animosity over so many misunderstandings.

    • BTW, my girlfriend is reading Justin’s book a second time and just texted me from the airport. She said she realizes how lucky she is to have me in her life because she’s really getting what works. She’s about to do this final weekend because of the amazing yet simple insights in the book.

      It’s sad that when people find something that really works, no BS, and share it… there are others who are skeptical because deep down they don’t think they can really be happy. Most people just believe long-term relationship are awful and nothing can change that.

  8. Carl says:

    Kim,
    I’m still very wounded you didn’t marry me… I want my rock back!
    Armando

  9. Women's Weekend Participant says:

    I wouldn’t say the Women’s Weekend is unfashionable. But I would say that it does have a certain “old fashioned” charm — as exemplified in the home cooked meals that are prepared for the attendees. But as Kim points out, it doesn’t use all the tools that others use: there’s no social media presence to speak of, no advertising campaigns, no email lists — all the stuff that is used to get the word out these days is not used to let women know about the Women’s Weekend. It’s all word of mouth.

  10. SIR Mission Into Action Manager says:

    Hi there.

    I manage a team of volunteers that meet at the Sterling Institute of Relationship every week to help produce both the Men’s and Women’s Weekends.

    I want to bring some clarity about the state of the Women’s Weekend.

    We will NOT be offering or scheduling any Women’s Weekends after the February 3-5, 2012 and one more on the East Coast (has not yet been scheduled). This is not a threat or a ploy to enroll or register more women into the Weekend. This is just the sad truth as to the fact that the Women’s Weekend just isn’t “fashionable” anymore.

    If this blog has brought any questions or curiosity please, now is your time! Please visit our website for more information.

    Thanks. :)
    (Great job on the blog by the way)

  11. Griffin says:

    Just read your good article. I’ll never forget “Armando” and that episode in your life! So happy I was a witness to that and how you’ve come so far.

  12. Sam says:

    Most of the women I meet are so angry at men. It’s like I’m to blame for everything bad that any guy ever did to her, starting with her dad and running all the way through to her ex-husband. I don’t understand how they think bringing all that negativity into our relationship is going to be anything more than a set up for disaster.

    • George says:

      Sam, perhaps it’s best not to worry too much about that. You will not be able to fix women’s pain, to make them happy, to heal them. Women must do that for each other. That’s what the Women’s Weekend is for, to provide a safe place where women can begin that journey for themselves.

      Instead, may I recommend that you do the Men’s Weekend, which will put you in touch with other men who will always remind you to be your best, to live your life to the fullest, to be a man who treats women with respect and love. This, I’m sure, is the man you always wanted to be.

      • Grad says:

        Takes courage to speak the truth of your experience Sam. May not be P.C. I agree too, George, we can’t fix people.

        Women have suffered many pains at the hands of men for centuries. In my experience, if she brings these wounds from either childhood or before, to her relationship, the man will get the projection of that and it can eventually destroy the relationship. He can become the representative enemy of the past. The inner child wants to “get back at” the offender and work out it’s drama. Same for a woman! If he’s got issues with mother, women, addictions, etc. don’t think he’ll change or be fixed. Let’s stop trusting our emotions to pick a mate and only be with people that can commit.

        Truth is, both boys and girls are bred to make money and don’t have an training on how to be with the opposite sex in a successful relationship. And not a clue of how to actually chose a mate in the first place. If we stop believing the nonsense that divorce is great for kids, and drop that we know what we’re doing, maybe we’ll be willing to learn what we need to pick the right mate for us and really make it work.

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