Writing and speaking about the Hoffman Process is not easy. It’s one of the most amazing, intense experiences I’ve ever had in my life and that is hard to convey in words. However, my personality is such that when people told me “I can’t tell you what it’s like or what we did”, I was immediately turned off. My mind went to “secretive” and “cult-like” and just plain “too weird for me”. That was not a good and helpful place to be, and fortunately I went to the Hoffman Institute anyway. It took a lot of convincing and, for me, finally seeing the need for change in my life so clearly I felt compelled to go.
And while there, Hoffman’s Director Liza Ingrasci, and one of our teachers, Kani Comstock, fully agreed with me that the Process needs to be shared and talked about and there are no secrets here. We are under a confidentiality agreement to not talk about anyone else’s experience, but we have full permission to share our own. Thank goodness! Hoffman is not a cult. (ha!)
This post will be the first of several I’ll write about Hoffman, why I went, and my experience there and how it’s changing my life and work. Today I want to talk about why I went and how I felt before going.
How did I find out about the Process?
I have had at least ten close friends attend the Process, most several years ago. Also, I see a homeopath and spiritual director who is a Hoffman Graduate and is a huge proponent of the Process. I’ve been seeing Jason-Aeric Huenecke about once a month for two years and let me tell you, nearly every one of those months he would mention Hoffman. It got to the point where I was rolling my eyes (secretly?!) at the name because I was so tired of hearing I should go. (I’m very sorry, Jason-Aeric! I didn’t mean to be rude.)
Why did I resist the Hoffman Process for so long?
Again, I can be very stubborn. That’s a negative pattern that certainly runs through my family! I also hated admitting I am not right and don’t have it all figured out on my own. And I was very, very reluctant to do the work of looking at the hard stuff in my past and how it’s contributing to my present in negative ways. Thank goodness Hoffman doesn’t stop at the negative! But that was all I knew about Hoffman for a long time. Or at least, it was all I was able to see. I had seen a friend filling out pages and pages of the pre-Process paperwork, having to look at and write about her past, the negative love patterns she picked up from her childhood, and all the “crap” that looked really hard to face. I certainly didn’t want to do that! (Until I absolutely had to, that is.)
What made me (finally) sign up for the Hoffman Process?
Well, I knew I needed drastic change in my life, and I finally surrendered to signing up for the Process last fall when my 15-year old daughter was having major emotional issues. Some people say they really wake up when they hear their mother’s voice coming out of their own mouth but for me, I really got scared when I heard my own critical (and broken) voice coming out of my teen-aged daughter. (see note for update below)
I needed to change the way I relate to my kids, both my daughter and my 17-year old son. When Eli was diagnosed with autism five years ago, I went into a period of grief, uncertainty and fear. I started seeing him as different, and I was so afraid for him. At times, I was afraid of him. All of this needed to stop right now, and I was finally willing and able to be the one to change the family tree.
And then in my work, and in training for coaching, I started on a path of personal development like none I’d ever been on before. My training with Coaches Training Institute was so phenomenal, and so enlightening for me, I was changed by it and also could see clearly where I still needed to change. So, needs in both my work and my home life led to the Process.
How did I feel in the last weeks leading up to the Process?
Terrified. I kept seeing an image of Humpty Dumpty being pushed off the wall, falling and breaking into a million pieces. That’s how I felt. Shattered. Afraid. One very insightful friend called my feelings “soul level stage fright” and that resonated immediately.
Fortunately, about a month before I left for California when I was feeling really terrible, Jason-Aeric prescribed a homeopathic remedy for ‘stage fright’ and it was perfect. I started to feel like I could at least function. I could do yoga again to release some of the tension I was feeling. I felt hopeful that maybe I wouldn’t break and shatter. I made it through, and all the way onto that plane for San Francisco, and all the way up to the Friday night before the Process. That night, I found myself eating dinner with 39 other people who were also terrified. It showed in our faces. Our small talk was hopeful but strained. None of us had a clue what we were in for.
Note: Things have really turned around with our daughter. She was doing really well even before I went to the Process, thanks to homeopathy and excellent guidance from our practitioners, as well as our love for her. Sometimes teens have big bumps in the road and we got past it. I expect things to keep going well for both our kids, even better now that I’ve been through Hoffman.