There is power in sharing stories. Some say that storytelling is “a fundamental part of being human.”
By Julie Daley
We never know what will happen when we share our Hoffman stories. We might catch a glimpse of the power of sharing when someone responds to our story outright, thanking us and telling us how it affected them. But the ripples can also move out to people and events we can and will never know.
Stories are the oldest form of passing on both knowledge and human experience. We see ourselves in each other and come to know something about ourselves that was often hidden prior to hearing someone’s story. We can grow through each other through stories, both emotionally and spiritually. I discovered this in a powerful way about a month after completing my Process.
One of my Hoffman stories
I attended the Process in August of 2002. That week, I found the courage and strength to scatter my late husband’s ashes. He had died seven years prior and I’d felt that I just couldn’t let him go. It was a self-serving choice, but I needed the comfort of feeling him still close in some way. I imagine not everyone will understand that, but those who do might feel seen and understood.
On the 29th of September, what had been our wedding anniversary, I made the trek to scatter his ashes from the top of a mountain with an elevation of 12,000 feet. My actual climb was over 2,000 feet, all of it with my backpack hanging very heavy. On the way up, I remembered how I had learned at the Process to envision roots of light going into the earth to ground me. I used this practice to keep myself focused and steady as I climbed through slippery shale. Determined to do this, I made it to the top as the sun was just starting to fade and the air was growing cold.
Once done, I began to make my hike back down the mountain. I felt so much lighter – not just physically but emotionally, too. About halfway down, I felt my spirit guide from the Process, Ben, slide on in. He always liked to make a grand entrance. I heard him say, “You need to go to the next Ceremony of Integration to share this story. It’s important that you do, Julie.” Ben likes to kid around a lot, but this time his tone was serious. I acknowledged him and silently replied to him, “Yes. I will.”
Ceremony of Integration*
This would be my first Ceremony of Integration so I didn’t know what to expect. I made my reservation to attend. By showing up at the right time, I was able to be there for the Ceremony, dinner after, and then for the time when graduates could share something about how the Process had changed their lives. This was the time Ben had in mind for me to share my story.
When it was my turn to share, I headed up to the front of the classroom to speak to the graduates all seated in the horseshoe shape we all remember. I heard Ben whisper to me, “Share from your heart. Tell them what you just accomplished because of the courage and strength you now have from doing the Process.”
I looked out at the radiant circle of graduates and felt a lump in my throat. My emotions were sitting right at the tip of my heart, waiting to spill over. I once again grounded myself with radiant light through my feet and into the earth. I took a big breath. Then I shared. It was short but powerful. What I was most happy with was that I needed to use the courage and strength there, too, when I spoke. I embodied these qualities of spirit that helped me to share something so vulnerable with people who might, but might not, understand. But really, whether or not they understood, my only concern was to share the story.
There is power in sharing stories
It turns out that my story moved a number of graduates. They came up to me after the sharing was over to tell me how much my share had moved them and that they could relate it to their own lives. I don’t know what, if anything, came of my sharing. That is the most beautiful part. Life is a mystery. We often don’t know the results of our actions but we must act anyway. We must tell our stories. It is part of our humanity.
Do you have a Process or post-Process story you’d like to share? If so, please consider sharing it with our Hoffman community. You can write it in essay form or poetry, draw or paint it. There are so many ways to express these stories you hold in your heart.
If you’d like to share your Hoffman story, please email Shawn@hoffmaninstitute.org.
* During these Covid times, we aren’t taking reservations for the Ceremony of Integration. Hopefully, these will be back soon.