Xtul: An Experience of The Process
by Sabrina Verney

"The unnecessary had been rubbed away and what remains at the center of my being, is Joy. Joy radiating outwards. Joy pouring into me. An infinitely circulating exchange with the whole of Nature. The whole universe."

It is mid-August of 1966 when 19-year-old Sabrina Verney arrives in Nassau, Bahamas hoping to join a group of thirty-six people performing innovative psychological treatments designed to tap in to a person's hidden potential by eliminating unwanted compulsions. Young and rebellious, Sabrina is eager to uncover the roots of her destructive behaviors and overcome the hurdles limiting her ability to communicate honestly.

The group, known as "The Process" and led by husband and wife, Robert and Mary Ann de Grimston, will take her and the rest of their devoted followers from London, to Nassau, to Mexico, before settling in an isolated area of the Yucatan peninsula known as Xtul. Existing on limited resources and stripped of the comforts she had always known, Sabrina finds herself also stripped of pretense and vanity. It is with openness and complete trust that she fully experiences The Process, embracing their ideology and embarking on strange psychic journeys meant to expose the true nature of reality.

Verney's hypnotic tale is almost lovingly told from the eyes of her 19-year-old self. The voice suits her unique experience with The Process, which is not so much a depiction of its questionable practices and cult characteristics, as it is a glimpse in to her particular journey. During her time at Xtul, Sabrina undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis, cut short by her parents' concentrated efforts to bring her home to London. The memories of her time in Xtul reflect her youthful optimism and unabashed love for the people and location. Verney does a formidable job detailing settings and events with eloquence. While the memoir at times seems a bit skewed in favor of The Process, Verney includes some her father's correspondences as well as an afterword by Andy Roberts describing The Process' shaky history. Both additions succeed in balancing this fascinating representation of life with The Process.

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