Archive for Secrets
In the summer of 1990, at the very earliest stages of my conscious Fishing for Soul adventures, I took part in a weekend-long workshop in Philadelphia facilitated by leaders of The Forum, now known as The Landmark Forum, the flagship program of Landmark Education designed to help participants “redefine the very nature of what’s possible.” I was 24 years old.
One of the assignments in the course, on the second night I think, was to come back the next day having revealed something to someone that you had never revealed before. The assignment excited and terrified me because I knew exactly what I wanted, and needed, to turn over.
When I got home that night I decided that my very good friend Steph would be the one to hear my story for the first time. My sweaty hands shook and my chest was heavy as I picked up the receiver and put it down several times before going through with the call. I told Steph about the assignment. Then I told her my secret. “When I was nine years old I was molested,” I began. My faced burned and my throat tightened. Fifteen years of guilt and shame poured out of my body.
Telling Steph my secret was the beginning of what would be a very long road to healing. I didn’t realize how deeply I’d kept my feelings about that experience buried and how it affected all areas of my life. A few years later Steph would question me about another hidden fact that was wreaking havoc in my life. “Are you gay?” she asked.
On Thursday afternoon I saw a posting on Facebook about Ellen Degeneres’ Tulane University commencement speech of May, 2009. In the speech Ellen talks about “the heaviness” of keeping her sexual identity a secret from the public and the feeling of liberation when she finally said, “Yes, I am.”
On Monday I watched a video blog by Paulo Coelho (http://tinyurl.com/ow4wnp), author of the mega-selling book The Alchemist, titled Revealing Shameful Acts. In the video he wonders why we bother to keep secrets. “Of course we all have nasty stories that we wish no one to hear, but sooner or later, they will surface,” he says. “So – you cannot hide – and what would you say to your children that you don’t dare to say now? What will they discover after you die? We are warriors of light…against all odds are able to follow our paths without surrendering to guilt.”
Is it more painful to keep your secrets or to reveal them? What is it costing you to hold onto them? Can you keep your secrets and be truly happy? Perhaps it depends on the secret and the person holding it.
Today I express my deepest gratitude to Stephanie Geyer, Ellen DeGeneres and Paulo Coelho, my gay brothers and sisters across the globe, my parents and siblings, my clients who trust me with their secrets, my friends in NYC who keep me grounded and make me laugh, all of the people who helped me open to the truth of who I am, and God.
Thanks and peace.