Rebelle Society photo

Years ago, in my forties,  I attended a week long Hoffman personal/spiritual growth course in an attempt to support getting my life and health back.  This is the story that inspired the poem as written below:

On the first day,  we are called to a large room to introduce ourselves with an exercise where we each stand in front of the whole group to share something vulnerable we have never told anyone before. I am shocked and it feels way too confronting.  I want to run but I’m frozen at the same time knowing I cannot.  
One man in his forties bravely steps up to face us, dropping into his past memory, wearing his yuppie suit and sporting his badge which says ‘Lost Boy’.  He suddenly looks so crest fallen and lost, sharing his desperately sad story at age seven being sent away to boarding school.  I am mesmerised, so touched by this courageous man daring to be so tender and real, I want to go and hug him but my mind is working overtime.  Others quickly follow, all so powerful.  I am in hyper anxiety, hugely out of my comfort zone and frantically trying to think of what I might say when it is my turn.

I have no story.  I am totally blank.  There is no escape.  My name is called.  Holding my breath, somehow I am propelled to step out of my chair as requested.  I’m blank and in shock,  but as I turn to look at the unfamiliar faces in front of me, a clear memory surfaces out of nowhere, that I have not remembered in thirty years.   I seem not to be in control as the flood gates open for this hidden story that I have no idea even exists.  The words fall out of my mouth so fast without censorship, despite feeling startled with so many faces staring back at me. 

Where on earth is this story coming from, who is revealing it after so long?  I don’t know that this is one of many stories that I have repressed.  I don’t yet appreciate why I have total amnesia under the age of eleven in my house.  I don’t yet know that this is why Bob Hoffman has a powerful statement in his marketing material, about how all of us learn to ‘put whipped cream over garbage’ as a way to survive.  I’m simply on auto-pilot with Hoffman safety and permission where somehow,  the gag restriction on this particular memory has temporarily been lifted.  

Time stands still and rushes crazily at the same time, words appearing from nowhere as my story is re-membered and given voice.  I can’t believe I am sharing the intimate details which I have never told anyone, not even to myself and that I am sharing to a group of complete strangers.  But I am.  I am in two places at once, back on a train going to Germany at age 14 and here in this room in my forties. 

Suddenly it’s over.  I have no more words.  I am stunned and I sense that so are all the others because there is a deathly silence in the room.  I walk back to my place, shaking and deeply moved.  My legs are wobbly just as they were back on the train at age 14.  I feel incredibly vulnerable wanting to run and hide as shame kicks in but at the same time, somehow more alive and surprisingly liberated.  It’s a strangely comforting feeling like I have in the 12 step rooms.  I am part of a nourishing community of people wanting to heal, by delving deep into their psyches and I am here, trusting to the resonance, loving acceptance and cohesion already being created.  

Day one on this Hoffman intense week and I begin to piece together the jigsaw of my life and how I came to normalise one of many violations that took place.  I recognise what a powerful medicine it is,  to have an enlightened witness or group of empathic souls, who can hear our stories and more importantly how this co-creative field helps us to heal the invisible scars we have all endured.

Many years after this Hoffman training at age 58,  as a result of going through menopause, I find myself writing this poem below, when encouraged by a friend, to use only three words every line.   The issue of my feminine sexuality continues to be a healing topic, as it is for so many of my generation and I want to give voice to the brave shadow work that is necessary,  to return back to these exiled, fragmented and lost places within us that are desperately seeking love, deep compassion and reconnection.    It is our collective, global awakening and healing on the planet right now to complete these unfinished conversations and so I share this story with gratitude to the Hoffman Process because what I heal in myself, I know I help heal for others. 

POEM WRITTEN some 10 years later 

I only remember

Travelling to Germany

On a train

With a friend

Fourteen years old

Free summer holiday

Boy’s school trip

Father in charge

With no warning

And no preparation

A sudden shock

My body changed

What to do?

Perhaps I dared

To mention this?

Innocent young girl

Hoping for help

So very confused

Mother in panic

Furtive and rushed

Clearly she said

In frustrated voice

It’s the ‘curse’

Worst thing ever

Swimming is impossible

We must control

This terrible ‘problem’

You have caused

“I know best”

She who ruled

And dictated from

Dark Age parenting

Alienated from body

Made it clear

Who was I

To question this?

No personal power

Boundaries long gone

Acting on command

My friend mute

In the sidelines

Frozen and shame-bound

I crouched down

Rattling train compartment

Mirroring body tremors

In my ears

Silent word ‘pariah’

Contracted and exposed

Knickers pulled down

With no explanation

No kind words

She rammed hard

Broke my hymen

Penetrating hard object


Harsh internalised patriarchy

Mother’s directing hand

Brutally raping me

Stealing my virginity

Momentary searing pain

What just happened?

Vagina in shock

Trauma locks in

I have left

Fully checked out

Whilst an adaptive

Wise, internal voice

Programmed to survive

Saves my life…….

“Pull yourself together

Show no emotions….

Mother knows best”

So without choice

Stoically zipping up

While broken inside

I quietly die

Yet another death…..

One of many

I am now

Pubescent, young teenager

On the outside

Able to swim

Business as normal

On the inside

Fragile owner of

Clinical white object

Phallic and hard

Invading my space

Done and dusted

Devoid of love

Matching my own

Sense of objectification

Disembodied, sterile, dry

Compliant and conforming

Seemingly ok whilst

Bleeding from inside

Body and soul

Stark initiation recall

Implicit cellular memories

Body sensations that

Haunt me still

My body remembers

Every disguised violation

New found womanhood

Midst sanitised shame

Rejected body fluids

Bruised and defiled

Without honouring ritual

It’s so clear

I’m not immune

To ancestral legacy

Hidden epigenetic trauma

Teaching body hatred

These ghostly imprints

Passed down through

Generations of shame

Toxic masculine programming

Driven patriarchy and

Demonic religious agendas

Attempting soul murder

Silently brainwashing and

Disinfecting feminine wisdom

Creating anaesthetised, disembodied

Sweet,  immature maidens

Performing in stilettos

Taming our wildness

Pleasure as forbidden

Controlling this life-force

Potent womb power

Blamed yet again

Written later, final verses………..

Oh but now….

Everything is changing

You buried us

Forgetting we’re seeds

You blamed us 

As dirty whores

It didn’t work

We are forged

In the darkness

In Mother’s womb

We are rising

With fierce compassion

Across the globe

Dragon’s fire blazing

Mothers and daughters

Sisters in circle

Reclaiming our dignity

Honouring our rights/rites

Holy sacred warriors

Emissaries of light

Resilient, fully prepared

Prophetic destiny assured