I’m reading Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. The book is a compilation of advice Cheryl offered in her column, “Dear Sugar”. As I read, I’m struck by the number of people who reveal a secret, a doubt, a fear, or a wish. And I’m struck by the fact that most of the secrets, doubts, fears and wishes are the same ones we all have.
When I worked as a volunteer at the Center for Grieving Children, I saw secrets of grief revealed every week. Grief is a weird, hidden thing. We think if we don’t talk about it the loss will hurt less. We don’t talk about it because it makes us cry. We don’t talk about it because we don’t want anyone to worry that we’re still sad. We keep grief bundled up and secretly tucked away, and it feels huge.
The magic I saw at the Center was that they provided a place for people to be open about what they’re going through. They created a place where it was okay to talk about secrets. To cry. To laugh. To draw. To dance. Or to shriek as you rip up old phone books in the “Tornado Room”.
What I saw was that when people let out their secrets, doubts, fears and wishes that something magic happened – people healed and a community formed. It took time. It wasn’t like people came to the Center, told their story, and headed home happy. For some families, it took a LOT of time. But being open with their secret thoughts about grief was a gift they gave themselves and a gift they gave others. Because when you tell a secret that’s from your heart, other people feel safe telling their secrets. And everyone feels connected.
We saw that this weekend in DC, across the US, and across Europe. People who were feeling scared, angry, isolated and cut off opened up in a big-hearted way. And when they came together as a group, they felt an amazing energy and power of a greater whole. Secrets were revealed and a community was born.
I’m sending you the energy today to be open and to set your secrets free. What secret will you let loose on the world today?