There is this moment in therapy – and in life, where we are taken by the open secret.
You may feel particularly stuck.
You have failed yourself again.
You are not quite measuring up.
Everybody else has it all together.
You didn’t think you would be here, at this point in your life.
It’s kind of a quiet suffering.
A secret that you hide.
An internal ache that you keep buried inside.
A voice that keeps saying:
“What’s wrong with me?”
This is what Rumi, the poet, calls the Open Secret:
“Rumi says that when we hide the secret underbelly from each other, then both people go away wondering, “How come she has it all together? How come her marriage/job/town/family works so well? What’s wrong with me?” We feel vaguely diminished from this ordinary interaction, and from hundreds of similar interactions we have from month to month and year to year. When we don’t share the secret ache in our hearts—the normal bewilderment of being human—it turns into something else. Our pain, and fear, and longing, in the absence of company, become alienation, and envy, and competition.
The irony of hiding the dark side of our humanness is that our secret is not really a secret at all. How can it be when we’re all safeguarding the very same story? That’s why Rumi calls it an Open Secret.” ~E. Lesser (cited from her book Broken Open).
Listen to Elizabeth Lesser talk about the open secret and what it takes to break open that secret:
Broken Open is the book that will help guide you through the ‘rabbit holes’ of transition, divorce, loss, parenting, aging, and facing the shadows of growth.
The author, Elizabeth Lesser, is the co-founder and senior adviser of Omega Institute, the largest adult education center in the United States focusing on health, wellness, spirituality and creativity.
This year, as you navigate the many rabbit holes life takes you through, I hope you will remember to open up to the humanness – in you, and in others.