As a property developer,  I know that whatever structure you build, however many levels you add or face lifts you undertake, if your foundation is out of alignment then you’ll be permanently flawed, unstable or vulnerable. I knew the same was true of me.

As a result of my upbringing, which was not nurturing or fulfilling, I developed coping mechanisms to enable me to function and avoid me thinking about my own flaws and to stop me connecting to my real self and my emotional pain.

Even though outwardly I was successful, inwardly I often felt an overwhelming sense of guilt, under-achievement and lack of self-worth. I continuously told myself I had nothing to complain about, but that wasn’t a solution and it didn’t fill the void.

My anger, suffering and negativity were welded onto me like a heavy impenetrable armour, which unconsciously I had been wearing since my early years. It was designed to protect me from the outside world, but it also stopped me from connecting to my own hurt and vulnerability – it prolonged my suffering. I knew I needed to remove it to reclaim my freedom, however I had no obvious mechanism to do so – even after years of therapy, meditation and love from my wife and kids, I still had no obvious solution.

By the time I was in my fifties I’d sadly accepted the answer was unattainable – permanently out of reach. I’d resigned myself to living the rest of my life like this, until one evening my wife found the Hoffman website and she began to read aloud some of the stories and testimonials. I was intrigued, so I signed up and completed the paperwork. Once I had the thumbs-up from the enrolment team, I was put on the waiting list for the dates I wanted.  The day I received a call that a place had become available due to a cancellation, reality dawned. I’d be starting what could be one of the hardest weeks of my life and it stirred up a hornets’ nest of uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.

I went into a familiar pattern of only being able to focus on the negatives; family, friends, work and creature comforts I was leaving behind to attend an unknown venue. No TV, internet, mobile phones or laptops, no alcohol, no soothing routines. How would I survive a week with rules and regulations, early bedtimes and 23 strangers I had never met? And I was paying for this experience!

I thought the real test of the Hoffman would be surviving 6 days without overwhelming anxiety or leaving after day 2 (the minimum time I promised myself to stay). Anything after day 3 would be deemed a success. However, like my life before Hoffman, I was rehearsing for the wrong play.

On arrival, everything was friendly and efficient. Everyone seemed ‘normal’. I wondered if anyone could see how displaced I was feeling – how scared, angry and full of self-loathing – and whether my desire to immediately leave was obvious to others.

After check-in we sat in a circle and for the first time introduced ourselves with a brief hello to the other members of our temporary new family. The intensity and connection I swiftly experienced helped me realise I was not alone in my vulnerability and we were all there to seek a better outcome.

Spending 6 days without any of my normal methods of self-distraction was something I’d been avoiding for years. I usually struggle after an hour with my own thoughts – let alone a week – but those insecurities faded into irrelevance as the Process unfolded and I understood the beauty of time for oneself, something I’m not sure I had experienced for many years

To eat at times in silence to encourage self-reflection, to share, to challenge and appreciate people in an open forum, is both unusual and uncomfortable for me – although I only shared what I wished to. I found myself thinking at various times: ‘I’m seriously out of my comfort zone’ or ‘I can’t believe how amazing this feels’ or ‘what the f**k am I doing here?!’ And that was just a morning session!

As I actively listened to others, I realised my family pattern of pre-judging people without knowing them was flawed (as were so many of my default patterns). Once I took the time to engage I learned everyone has something special to offer: a gift, a quality.

Being part of a group where I knew no one’s history provided a level of equality. Everyone was suffering, but there was strength in numbers and a communal desire for collective growth. I realised that no one was more important than anyone else. No one would be left behind as we all journeyed together. I became completely invested in the group, the circle. I listened without judgment, shared other people’s pain and offered love. I wished them the peace I was also seeking.

The course is incredibly clever, brilliantly executed, with no emotional stone left unturned. There were many messages and gifts to be absorbed along the way. As I was safely guided through each step, I just needed to be aware and present to observe them.

I found it, an opportunity to be mindful, to learn and change the thought and behaviour patterns that had been holding me back all my life. It was a chance to let go of feelings and pain no longer wanted or needed; to laugh, cry and most importantly – heal.

The facilitators led each part of the course with compassion, love, empathy, professionalism and humour. They enabled us all to delve deep into our emotional archives unearthing long-held core beliefs whilst providing a safe environment to release them.

The visualisations were exceptionally powerful, often uncomfortably real, transporting me mentally and emotionally to some painful places. But I also saw that if I was prepared to open my heart and be totally vulnerable, that’s when the real healing and magic occurred.

The Process taught me to be present with myself, to see what bubbled up, no matter how uncomfortable and to stay with the emotion, so I could learn. Do I take the easy well-trodden path or the uncomfortable new road? I wanted to challenge myself to look, think and feel situations in a new way, to listen to people without judgement, and most importantly, to change the way I valued myself.

As my understanding increased, my internal narrative changed. My patterns of wanting validation, needing to please and over-helping subsided. I felt more comfortable with my own needs. I learnt to trust myself more, to reveal a softer, more light-hearted, less punitive version of me – someone who’s curious and funny. I replaced internal rhetoric and labels of ‘loser’, ‘not good enough’ and ‘useless’, with a narrative of contentment and confidence. By being honest and caring, I chose a new path that allowed me to feel more liberated, unburdened and optimistic.

Hoffman helped me understand that what I’d previously labelled as ‘mood swings’ were simply times I was connecting to different aspects of myself. I finally understood why I experienced my inner child as so needy, why my intellect was so analytical and my adult self was so critical. I made peace between these parts of myself which allowed me to reconnect and engage my spiritual or authentic self, which had been silenced for too long. I let go of deep-rooted feelings of shame, guilt and resentment, replacing hate with love. It also helped me make peace with my parents, which I am so grateful for.  I struggled for many years to understand my parents, their upbringing and the way they were not able to provide a conventional or safe upbringing for me and my siblings, but the work I undertook enabled me to find comfort and make peace even though they are both no longer with us physically.

After years of conventional therapy, I could never have imagined there would be a method that had such significant results. It’s given me the chance to take a leap in learning and  personal growth. That said, I landed back in the same life I left, albeit far better equipped to deal with situations and triggers.  I have a clearer vision of what I want and need to achieve. As time passes I’ve continued to work with the Hoffman tools. The critical voice no longer dictates my thoughts or actions but I need to stay alert because my internal negative hard-wiring/rhetoric is still present and can become very audible at times. As I’ve peeled off various layers it has revealed new things to work on. There is no ‘silver bullet’ or quick fix and I have accepted this will probably be a life’s work to be truly free; however I have so much more awareness and hope. And every day I’m thankful and grateful I took the plunge.

We’d like to thank Garry for sharing his Process Story. To find out more about Garry’s property development business, email