Secrets are powerful. Yet more often than not, they do more harm than good. In fact, many methods of healing (therapy, counseling, confession) involve a person voluntarily disclosing the secrets they hold.
A few years ago, I completed a process where I wrote down – then verbally shared – all of the secrets I was aware of. I searched my mind for my earliest memories, then systematically went through my life year-by-year and event-by-event, documenting anything that was still gnawing at me, anything that I was protecting as a secret. After a few weeks, I had created 15-20 pages of documentation – which I then carried with me to a very kind woman’s apartment, and read to her every word I had written. At that point in my life, I had literally zero secrets about my past and my life. It felt strange – yet also interesting – to be so exposed. I didn’t exactly feel “free”, but I did feel unencumbered.
Interestingly, around this time I heard about PostSecret. I don’t remember exactly how I came to learn about the project; it may have been through a magazine article, a TED talk, or a fellow blogger. But I do remember being fascinated with the evolution of the project, and wanting to do my part to contribute to it. However, I genuinely did not have a single secret to share – so I sat back and watched the space for a while, remaining an observer instead of becoming a participant.
When I created my 101 list, I still didn’t have a single secret that I was conscious of (I actively work to clear my heart of items that might allow shame, guilt, or resentment to take root and grow) – yet I continued to feel drawn to somehow participate in the Post Secret community. I decided to trust my gut, put item #83 on the list, and wait and see what might happen.
Once a month I review my 101 list, and see what items ‘jump’ out at me. For the past year when I have looked at the Post Secret line, my mind has been totally blank – so I just move on. I’m confident that when the time is right, a secret will make itself known.
A few weeks ago I was performing my monthly ‘inventory’ of the not-yet-completed 101 items – and I felt a niggling in my chest when I arrived at #83. So I paused. I sat patiently, and waited. I didn’t attempt to force anything, but instead tried to just remain open, to allow whatever was coming up the space it needed to arrive.
After about 10 minutes of sitting, breathing, and waiting, a secret appeared in my mind’s eye – a secret I was genuinely unaware I had inside of me until it stood before me. A secret that was over a decade old. A secret that was actually a pretty big deal.
Wow. I was amazed that I could carry such a secret for so long, and honestly not (consciously) realize it was there. Wow.
Later in the day I located a post card, and wrote 13 words that contained the entirety of my secret. I put the card in the mail that evening – and within eight hours of the secret arriving, it was gone.
I don’t know if my secret has been published on the Post Secret website; and if it hasn’t appeared already, I don’t know if it ever will. For me, that’s not really the point. I completed this item so that I could participate in something much bigger than myself, and so I could do my part to perhaps help someone else who shares my feelings know that s/he is not alone. As a nice side benefit, I have cleared the secret from own heart – which makes more space for something better to arrive and dwell.
Good bye secret.