Embodied Transformation & Evolution

There is a Secret One inside

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 4 comments

There is a Secret One inside

The Secret One inside only remains a secret because of us, because of you, because of me. And because of our ancestors, and how they lived. The lost and hidden parts of us are never completely submerged–they sprout signs of their existence for anyone who cares to really listen. Sometimes the signs are symptoms: weariness, illness, longing, ennui. The signals can be difficult to decipher, unless I am alert, like an animal tracker, sniffing the wind.

A systemic constellation facilitator, Stephen Busby, said recently that he has never met a family without a secret. I believe it’s the same with our inner world: we humans almost always have a secret one inside. We are so vast and so complex–how could we wrap our arms around every piece and dimension of who we are?

The Secret One inside is often a fragile, frightened, lonely child, left behind years ago on our journey to adulthood, a growing up process that remains incomplete until we turn back and gather up what was forgotten. There can be a deep well of pain locked up inside such a hidden one, with little hope of ever being heard or received:

We had been married for six or seven years
when my wife, standing in the kitchen one afternoon, told me
that she screams underwater when she swims—

that, in fact, she has been screaming for years
into the blue chlorinated water of the community pool
where she does laps every other day.
~”Don’t Tell Anyone,” Tony Hoagland

It’s heartbreaking to realize how many people walk around with such Secret Ones inside them, and in how many ways that suffering impacts our collective field.

Cloud Covered Mountains

The Secret One can be a very powerful being, who never found a way to fit into the family and cultural systems he/she was born into. Our power bubbles like a volcano, deep inside, until we are ready to embody it. Many women carry this power locked away inside them, an inheritance from a long lineage in which such energy was dangerous, and had to be deeply suppressed. And I have worked with many men who have lost touch with the depth of their power. What kind of world do we inhabit when so many of us have disowned the radical nature of our true power?

Perhaps the secret one carries a passionate love for poetry, or dancing, or a kind of sexuality that was either forbidden or more gently excluded. This one might be wild, in a family full of docile and highly domesticated people. My father carried a deep longing to paint inside him until he died. He only spoke of it once to me, on a country road in the Himalayas. How much creative energy is still locked up inside us? And what kind of price do I pay for that? My father paid a very high price–it cost him his life.

Kabir sings of another one who hides inside, one who will never be fully revealed, but who can be encountered in a deeply intimate way:

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through her/his hands like beads.

The soul hides inside us, and also outside us–it is much vaster than we are. I see and feel a pervasive soul hunger in our culture, a longing to make contact with something deeply vibrant, intelligent and full of light.

The meeting with our Secret Ones inside can be a joyful, exuberant one. It can also be intensely painful and destabilizing. As long as we continue leaving the secret ones hidden far away from the light of our everyday lives, we live fragmented lives, in a divisive and conflicted world. Our inner divisions express themselves very faithfully in our global culture these days. These hidden ones are still alive and are not really so ready to be ignored and locked away. Their nature, like everything else, wants to be seen, and known and accepted. If we want to love each other, in a real way, we need to find ways to befriend the hidden ones that live inside the people around us.

It’s a big job, just as being fully human is. We have very strong collective agreements in place that ask us to mostly ignore the hidden ones inside. There are some artists, healers, visionaries, and other cultural creatives who move to a different kind of drum. And some very ordinary courageous people live outside of these agreements. They are willing to take the risk of not belonging to our mainstream culture.

I have a deep dream that we can move together, into a much deeper embrace of all that lies hidden within us, both the darkness and the light. It’s possible that the global crisis we are facing could inspire this kind of courage, transparency, and power.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

~David Whyte, “All the True Vows”

with love,


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Michelle Wilsdon

    Across the table from me
    the woman’s eyes shimmered with tears
    I fear it is too late for me
    I sat and held those shimmering eyes
    luminous orbs
    0f that precious galaxy

  2. marsha Donner

    Yes yes yes…..thank you for your tender clarity. I call on you as support Shaylala, as I open to witness the “news” these days. Wow… such an opportunity of growing up those secret little places that need my tender touch. I can’t do this alone. thanks for being here….

  3. Carol Noble

    Gracious one.
    What a beautiful invitation to shed light upon those hidden parts that are asking to be seen.

  4. Charon

    a most interesting curiosity this ”’secret one”’ especially the revelations riding atop the wave of surprize. Just the other day we met again and as usual it was uncomfortable and uneasy even though beauty was present also. Would like to share part of the experience …. a poem that rendered itself seen.
    Hope you enjoy …

    unwitting fortitude
    to get into that which I already am in!
    shards of discarded memories
    bear witness to that which is with out
    and blindsided … you get in.
    shredded remnants see
    but my reach is short for contact
    untouched … you believe
    I am not

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