‘Between a stimulus and the response, there is a space.
In that space, is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
Victor Frankle, Man’s Search for Meaning
The Hoffman Process is an intensive week long residential personal growth retreat that helps participants identify negative behaviours, moods and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously and were conditioning in childhood.
I did the Hoffman Process some years ago, and it was one of the most profound experiences of my entire life. I think of it as a wild, life-enhancing gift.
Existential pain swept me to sea in my adolescence. To stay afloat, I sought out literature, art, meditation, therapy, isolation, religion, judgment and numbing… yet the Hoffman was where I finally learnt to put my agony down. It was a golden miracle akin to having the sun rise for the first time.
Since the Process, my life has flourished. I mean no hubris here, I still hurt and fumble often, but I live from a place of greater wonder, gratitude and increased clarity. I’ve had a much adored 4th child. I’ve found the courage to fulfil my lifelong desire to write a novel. I’m a better parent, a less reactive and more present wife, a more playful friend, a less needy sister, and a more compassionate daughter. Through working the Process, I’ve opened the front door to courage, vulnerability and wholeheartedness.
Post Hoffman I became more definite about what delivered me meaning, so I set a new tone for my company Pilot Light. I decoupled from a dryer, cerebral landscape and by incorporating the work of Brene Brown, Ken Robinson, David Whyte, Susan Cain and many others, I now run workshops with Dr Polly McGee (who’s also done the Hoffman) exploring themes as diverse as wholehearted leadership, toxic masculinity, vulnerability & shame, feedback, storytelling, kindness & body language. You see the through line yes? It doesn’t matter if I’m working at Google, with refugees, or a start-up, it’s all the same work, that of self-inquiry & self-awareness, which when undertaken enables better connection. And that’s where meaning and peace reside for me. I want to live truthfully, joyfully and compassionately. I want to live wide awake. The Hoffman took me by the hands and showed me the way.