In 2003 I wasn’t happy, it is as simple as that.
My tendency to self analysis had taken me to different counsellors and therapists but no one seemed to be able to access what was really wrong. Perhaps it was time for some relationship counselling, after all Nigel was mostly to blame from my suffering!
A friend told me about a self development retreat she had attended recently and how incredibly good it had been. I wasn’t interested in anything that drastic, and expensive, but the counsellor who ran it was in Melbourne and I thought it wouldn’t harm to try a session or two with him. But definitely no retreat!
Although it’s a long time ago, I still remember that session with the counsellor. I had gone by myself, to check him out, but with the idea of going with Nigel to try and save our marriage. He listened to me and agreed that something needed to be done, but he advised against couple counselling. In fact he managed to make me see, for the first time, where my problem was. I had spent years blaming and feeling guilty and I was totally burnout.
So much insight after only one sessione. Of course he tried to sell me the retreat and, of course, I bought it!
So in October 2003 I left for the hills.
As the Hoffman Process is a 7 days residential retreat, my first challenge was to get there.
In the years spent in Melbourne I hardly ever drove on freeways or outside my residential area. A wimp, no doubt about it.
The retreat was just over an hour away from Melbourne, well out of my residential area and impossible to reach without driving on the freeway.
Second challenge, leaving my girls. I have to admit I was one of those mother who think they are indispensable.
My third challenge was to arrive in a house full of strangers, having to share a room with a stranger, having to talk in front of a group of strangers.
Little did I know that these challenges were absolutely nothing compared to what I will have to endure in the week ahead of me. I soon realised that driving on the freeway would never be a problem again!
There was a lot of sharing and crying, there was forgiveness and acceptance, there were rituals and poems and music. I sat in a circle and listen to other people’s suffering, I stood in front of a grave and cried for my lost life, I flew on a magic carpet and met Father Christmas at the party of all parties.
Of course there was change, there was moving forward and there was a feeling that, after the process, I could really do anything.
In Italy I had never heard about “counselling”, it was when I came to Melbourne that I came in contact for the first time with this wonderful vocation and from the moment I heard about it, I new that it was what I wanted to be when I grew up. The problem was, that I was already grown up and now, at almost forty, could I really go back to study?
The week after finishing the Hoffman Process I enrolled in a three years diploma in Holistic Counselling, the first step into my counselling career, and I never looked back!