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By Darlene Niemeyer

Trip to the starsAfter 25 years in the career of court reporting, I retired in 2015. I became a student at the Healing Arts Center (HAC) in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated in the fall of 2016. Little did I know that when I began studying the science and art of massage that I had also started my own journey of self-discovery and healing. The headmaster of the HAC, Tom Tessereau, and all of the teachers and staff played a huge role in being the catalyst that began the change in me. The business teacher and cancer clinic supervisor, Terrie Yardley-Nohr, suggested I would benefit from attending a three-day traditional Hawaiian Lomilomi massage seminar at HAC. Terrie’s friend, Cuky Choquette Harvey, would be teaching the class. I fell in love with lomi massage and found an amazing mentor and friend in Cuky.

What’s A Hoffman?

While in Cuky’s home furthering my study of lomi, I shared with her about my life-long struggles with a lack of confidence and feeling unworthy, and I became very emotional. She mentioned, “You need Hoffman.” I said, “What’s a Hoffman?”

Cuky explained that she was a graduate of the Hoffman Process and that it is an experience where I would come back an improved version of myself and that it would be a trip to the stars. She also said the food is fantastic! I signed up for the Process within days of learning about it from Cuky. She had me at the “trip to the stars” and the “food is fantastic”!! I had the support and love of my husband, which made it even easier to commit to the Process.

A Trip To The Stars

Friday, the 13th of January of 2017, was the last day of the Process for our group. After days of rain, it was a beautiful and sunny afternoon. My heart was overflowing with love and compassion for myself and others. I had not done any creative writing in years even though, at one time when I was much younger, I had been passionate about it. I wanted to reflect all the emotions I felt as I experienced the Process that week, and I wanted to capture the feelings in a way that I could read later and remember all the wonder and miracles. I wrote a poem in about 15 minutes. The words came from a higher place and flowed out of me. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I wrote. I borrowed the “trip to the stars” line from Cuky!

Since I’ve been home from the Process, my journey continues and the tools I learned from the Process are helping me with each step. I’ve been working with a success coach to help me continue my work to reach my personal goals and my goal of starting my own massage business. I’m filled with excitement and joy for my accomplishments and love for myself and others!

Open To The Magic

I have learned that if we are open to the magic, teachers will come to us exactly when we need them. My heart is filled with gratitude for all of the teachers who have shared their wisdom and love with me.

Darlene lives in the country near the rural community of Hillsboro, Illinois, with her husband Roy and their two dogs, Linus and Fozzie.


By Darlene Niemeyer

Trip to the starsIt was not done for glory.
It was not pretending to be somebody else.
It was not to impress a few.
It was not for a warm, fuzzy feeling.
It was not to escape problems.
It was us, being human.

It was as gentle as an August day’s breeze.
It was as violent as a massive landslide.

It was the soft purr of a contented kitten.
It was the heart-stopping roar of a mighty lion.

It was a bubbly brook of laughter.
It was a majestic waterfall of tears.

It was a lifeless, unrevealing shark’s eye in the deepest waters.
It was a thoroughbred quarter horse, foaming with sweat, nostrils flaring, mane flowing wildly, hooves pounding.

It was as concealed as a baby fawn in the tall, swaying prairie grass.
It was stripped as bare as the majestic maple tree in the dead of winter.

It was as bright as a lightning strike during a violent summer storm.
It was the dark side of the moon.

It was as sweet as clover honey dripping from the comb.
It was as bitter as the taste of wasted years.

It was glorious, warm sunshine on gently closed eyelids.
It was the heartbreaking downpour of ice cold rain on shivering shoulders.

It was as slow as a blade of grass grows.
It was as quick as a hummingbird’s wings.

It was a whisper gentler than a spider’s web.
It was louder than visceral screams from unexpected loss.

It was as minute as a grain of sand.
It was as vast as the stars above.

It was us, in our magnificent glory and crushing despair; our longed-for success and lonely failure; our massive strength and debilitating weakness; our abounding love and paralyzing fear; our sweet innocence and crushing guilt; our gentle patience and smoldering irritation; our light side and dark side.

It was our journey to the stars.
It was us, being human.

  • Cuky harvey


    03/26/17 at 12:18 PM

    I love that you see and feel exactly what I saw and felt when I met you, Darlene! You are a brilliant, powerful, honest, gifted, courageous, love-filled being of Light! You are a Rock Star!!!

  • Claire Painter


    03/21/17 at 1:48 PM

    Darlene, you captured the essence of our week for us all to remember and treasure forever, our flock was truly special, thank you.

  • Freddie Camozzi


    03/15/17 at 10:06 AM

    BRAVA! Just beautiful. Every time I read that poem, I get even more from it. Thank you, Darlene!

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