I am a psychotherapist and have done a great many growth and awareness workshops over the years. For me the Essential Experience was the best by far of any of these. All told, I love the EE workshop, the community, and recommend it to anyone with a real thirst and hunger for growth and connection.
In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine this feeling. I am soaring in a beautiful hot air balloon without the balloon. I’m absorbing it all deep in my soul. I’m gliding across the sky in the current of change and hope. I become scared at times, as I look to the earth. I doubt the loving feeling will last. Then I see them below – my new friends encouraging me. I imagine my future without the fear. I want to shout to the world what a special experience we created.
The EE Workshop and the Community offer a rare opportunity to be with people who are working to understand and respect themselves and others and to learn what it means to create your own life. The work is real, hard, loving, funny, ongoing and made possible by a network of others who are on the same journey.
It’s been ten years since I did the workshop. I was cajoled and nagged. “It will change your life.” Well, it did, it has, and it continues to. I’ve truly changed my life. I wouldn’t have done it without EE.
I remember at my workshop asking the question – But what if your hate is all you have connecting you to someone? What if I don’t want to forgive them? That moment has come back to me over and over. Ten years later, I remember the lingering pain of injustice and torture, but they have lost their power over me. They taught me but did not take me. I have a deep well of love that enables me to keep my distance from those who hurt me. I love them from afar and quietly soothe my own breaking heart. Resentment, fear, hatred are destroyers. Their stress, the stress of hate, has nearly killed those in my family who have held on to it.
For years, I wanted my sister to take the EE workshop, to find the forgiveness that I found, that allowed me to live a life of love. But she said no. My sister and I were like a tree that splits off, two main branches from the center trunk. I went the way of forgiveness and love. She went the way of bitterness and hate. And it nearly has ruined her. Already, she has embraced rage and bitterness again, even now after she nearly died. I wish her well, but not in my life. I see how her hatred hurts her children, hurts my siblings, and is destroying her. And I know, without a doubt, that I am worthy of love and do not deserve her hate.
It is now that I realize… EE saved my life. Ten years of love and forgiveness have healed my heart. Thank you, thank you. A thousand times, thank you.
Pamila Jo Florea
I participated in the January 2008 EE Workshop and would like to share some of my feelings about the experience.
First of all in terms of what I got out of the workshop – it far FAR exceeded my expectations – not only did it provide new tools I was able to immediately put into practice to improve my life, relationships and overall happiness, it helped me look at and deal with some of my long standing issues in new and more effective ways. This was particularly true in terms of how I have dealt with my father’s early death by suicide, my recent divorce and my strained relationship with my younger daughter who lives with my ex wife.
Second, in terms of setting and reaching important goals – Having achieved my highest priority goal that I established at the end of the workshop (finding employment that would allow me to relocate to Philadelphia to be with my girlfriend) – I can honestly say my going through the process of interviewing and negotiating was positively influenced as a result of work I did and things I learned in the workshop.
Lastly, I was amazed at the people within the EE community – from the sheer brilliance and intellectual agility of Eric Hoffman, the workshop conductor, to the “team” who helped facilitate and conduct the workshop exercises to the community members who helped organize the graduation dinner – I have made new friends, found on-going support and feel honest & meaningful connectivity that I truly believe will continue to help me grow, evolve and find deeper happiness and satisfaction for the rest of my life.
The workshop allowed me to get out of my own way! It incubated deep intimate supportive friendships in a matter of days that often take years to develop and provided me with an ongoing continuing support network of intimate friends that challenge me to grow at every opportunity.
I had participated in various personal growth opportunities, both individually and in group formats, throughout my adult life. My life was ‘working’ and I did not feel I ‘needed’ another workshop. However, experiencing support in the caring structure of the EE workshop changed my own approach to my relationships in a very special way and the ripple effects are still flowing. The resources and personal connections I have encountered both in my own workshop and in the community of hundreds of graduates are beyond what I had ever imagined. The workshop included exercises and tools for handling challenges and also for clarifying and achieving goals and aspirations in ways that really work for me. Years later I am still using those tools and creating the rest of my life according to what is valuable, productive, loving and fun – for me and for us!
There are two things I credit with changing my life dramatically. They are sobriety and the Workshop. As a result of my work and the support I have gotten over the years I am now married, with a child and in a new career. It is proof to me that I can have the life I want instead of the one I had.
Mitchell Owen, CLU
The workshop enabled me to shift my perspective regarding what I actually had control over and to see the possibilities in directions I’d never imagined. With the support of the workshop and the graduate community, I made changes in my life that have brought me into great relationships with healthy boundaries, expanded my horizon of living life more fully, and opened up new ways for me to have fun. I know that I deserve the best and I am creating it.
The community I’ve become a part of has been an integral part of my making true connections with others and a catalyst for bringing me to the next level of my life.
Mary Kay McPherson
The EE workshop is like a clear, finely polished mirror to help you see the essence of who you are reflected without judgment. The leaders, the process, the support team and the community are all examples of open-hearted reflection.
I think it’s fair to say that EE changed my life. Before it, I felt stuck and helpless a lot. I also felt profoundly alone in life. After it, I knew I was not alone. Now, even if I feel stuck and helpless for a few hours, I can figure out how to get the support I need to move forward. I also began to develop faith – in myself, in the universe, in the future.
I took the workshop in, and it helped me immensely in dealing with my situation at that time. It is transformational in the way that it promotes self understanding and provides tools for life’s challenges. It can be a fast-track kind of therapy in an environment of non-judgmental, loving support, and enlightenment. I have been “on team” several times and to several graduate workshops. It has helped define who I am today, and I’m much happier for having had the experiences of that weekend and those that followed as a part of this very supportive community.
I’m plenty used to giving support to others (that was how I defined being a good wife and mother for over three decades). However, I’m much clearer, since the workshop, that to ask for support for myself is not only smart and okay; it also builds connections. My parents taught me self-sufficiency, but now I believe that they over-rated it. Asking for support isn’t admitting defeat or whining for someone else to do things for me, it’s gathering the power of others to collaborate with me in order to achieve what would be much more difficult or impossible for me to accomplish alone. Friends and family members appreciate opportunities to support me, and the kind of self-sufficiency I used to value isolated me from others.
Before the workshop I thought of responsibility as a burden; after the workshop I thought of responsibility as one of the choices I make in creating the life I want. I learned that taking more responsibility for my life included getting support for putting fun in my life!
Many of the exercises in the workshop were truly eye-opening. I was able to gain insight into straight-forward yet profound approaches to life’s situations, and, through guided self-exploration, could see how to make these approaches work for me. Altogether, the experience has had a substantial and positive impact on my life.
Learning how to be present in my interactions and how to be more proactive regarding the outcomes I want to get has been the greatest find for me. It has really hit the nail on the head of what was missing for me before EE. Now, I feel very clear and very light. I don’t feel worried that my EE experience will become nothing more than a memory; in fact, I don’t think I can go back now. I’ve experienced a subtle shift that has meant the world to me and I’m not willing to give it up.
The thing I like best about the people I meet through EE is that EE people are real and not afraid to talk about what really matters to them.