September 19, 2008

(Sorry for the quality of the images – they were taken with my phone)



Good Morning Readers… *yawn* thud*


Yeah, I’m pretty tired today.


Yesterday, we set a new record for visitors to this blog, so thank you all for stopping by, especially Tonje, my new Norwegian reader. Takk deg for lessened, Tonje! (I hope that was right, my Norwegian isn’t as good as your English…


I guess I was nervous; it just took a while to recognise it.


I raced from the office at 12, arriving back at my house at 1, showering, shaving, and attempting to get dressed. I’ll admit, for the sake of being honest, that I was in a bit of a panic about what to wear, something compounded by my impending, self-imposed ‘must leave the house by 2.15pm’ deadline.


Eventually I made it out, and set about my 2 hour journey to Florence House in West Sussex for Closure – the Hoffman graduating ceremony, and scene of one of the happiest nights of my life.


I have traffic to thank for calming me down.


I didn’t need to be there until about 5, but I wanted to allow time for the famous traffic on the M25, so I gave myself an extra 30 minutes. It was only just enough. 2 ¾ hours later, I arrived at Florence House having spent the vast majority of my journey in total silence; a far cry from the tornado of nervous energy and loud music I had begun with.


Florence House

Florence House

The House

The House

I parked in the driveway, and walked up to the house, immediately spotting the glorious open grounds in front of me. Memories flooded back – of revelations around the fire, of roses left behind, and of so much more – and I felt a lump in the back of my throat and tears forming in my eyes. For the first time in at least a couple of weeks, England had decided to have a sunny day, and the rays warmed my face and shone upon me. I don’t believe in God, but it was a godly sort of day.


There was one problem, however. My instructions were to enter Florence House at the back of the building, which meant entering the back garden, and then sneaking past the room, which I did, stalking past like Wile E.Coyote trying to sneak up on Road Runner. Though the curtains were closed, I later realised that due to the amounts of sunlight, if people’s eyes weren’t closed, they would have seen me, in silhouette, throwing some very weird and funny shapes as I snuck past the windows.






Tea Room

Tea Room

I entered through the back door, still quite nervous, and suddenly overwhelmed with memories. It was all there, just as it was before – the seemingly never-ending biscuit barrel, the teas, the shelves of plates, the kitchen with its chairs and decoration ready for the post-Closure food – everything, just as it was. It was as though someone had pressed ‘pause’ in the house, and I was coming back to press ‘play’. It felt weird, it felt surreal, and mostly, it felt like home.


I made myself some tea, but I didn’t feel relaxed. I was the only one there, for one thing, and it began to dawn on me the tremendous responsibility I would have if I were the only graduate there – and more, how disappointing it might be for the people finishing their process if the only one to turn up to turn up to a Closure was someone who had only just finished theirs. I mean, it’s lasting change they ultimately would like to hear about.




I paced the kitchen. I looked out at the back garden, the scene of our group photo. I played with my phone, and I was not relaxed. This was not an ideal way to be. The door opened, and out popped Simon. I’d forgotten just how long his hugs went on for, and resolved that if I should ever meet him again, I’d ‘out-hug’ him – just for fun. We had tea together, and somehow, just being with him and in Florence House once again calmed me, and I felt a whole lot better.


Eventually, I was led into the room, where the group were sitting in their all-too-familiar semi-circle. I sat at the back, on some pillows, and closed my eyes, trying to tune into the part of the ceremony they were currently in. It was actually really tough to do this, being that they were about halfway through, but eventually, I got there, and though I was distracted from time to time, looking to see if anyone else had turned up (eventually, someone did – Karen, who had finished her process 8 years ago – thus killing two birds with one stone) and to see when I would need to move into sitting in a chair. I can’t think if my mind is just playing tricks on me, but I distinctly remember opening my eyes, and seeing the graduates there as if out of nowhere.


Still, the Closure ceremony was as moving as it ever was. I was connected, and I felt those same feelings of forgiveness and comfort that I remember all too well from sitting in that room on July 10th.


Eventually, I was introduced to the group, and joined them standing in a circle along with Karen. They broke for dinner, and after talking a little to Mairi and a couple of the other teachers, I answered what seemed like ten million questions, trying to be as honest as I could, without revealing too much about what had happened.


I stumbled over a couple of questions – especially ones about relationships after the process. I mean, it’s not easy to explain to someone without killing their positivity that my relationship went out the window shortly after I left Florence House…


When all the questions were finished, the party began, and I took it as my cue to begin the long journey home. I got into my car, and drove home in silence, eventually getting back very late, and falling into bed.


I wish today’s entry could have been longer. On one hand, I am, as I said, very tired, and very conscious that today’s work isn’t my best writing – and that’s annoying me. But also, as people reading this who have done the course will appreciate, I don’t want to say too much about what has passed. That’s for that group, and for me to remember.


I’ll leave you today with my final thought of the day. At the end of the questions, I got up and announced I had to begin my long journey home. One person said ‘you came all this way just for us?’ And then thanked me, as did the other members of the group.


It made me think about the course as a whole. Whether or not I came to help out the others is irrelevant, but their reality thinks it I did just for that reason. Similarly, whether or not the Hoffman Process is the answer for everyone, I don’t know, but in those moments, in those 8 days, it worked for me, and provided the answers I was looking for. I thought that when I left, and I thought how angry I’d felt a couple of days earlier when my arrogant father said ‘Hoffman isn’t the answer to everything you know.’


It is to me, as the notion of someone undertaking a 4 hour journey was to the group.


Have a great weekend everyone.


Closed Box





4 Responses to “Closure”

  1. Neil Manchester Says:

    A moving account of returning to Florence House David- I’ve done it in my mind many times, and had a lump in my throat. I also feel guilty that at our closure it didn’t occur to me that the graduates were there for us.

  2. Tonje Says:

    I think what you were trying to say was “Takk for at du leste, Tonje”, but I thought your version of it was much sweeter! (and, I have had English at school for.. almost ten years now. And you have never learnt Norwegian, so if your Norwegian had been as “good” as my English I had been veeery disappointed in myself.)

  3. Powerless and Afraid(less so) Says:

    Brave, Indeed.
    Id forgoten just how anxious we were, and how eager we were to ask the graduates questions about life “on the outside”.
    I am toying with the idea of returning but im not sure who i would be of benefit to. I would be hesitant to admit that post process life has not been for me as smooth as i would have liked.
    Even just imagining going back makes me feel emotional.

  4. Missy Says:

    I’ve just never had an appetite for drugs.

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