Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SECRETS part 2

Key-rist, I'm more convinced than ever that our secrets are toxic to us, and those around us. The new book, A Lifetime of Secrets, is becoming a bestseller already, and it just went on the market yesterday. That tells me that we all relate. We relate to the burden of keeping our own secrets. We relate to the burden of keeping the secrets of others'. We relate, and resent, the secrets we keep from our childhoods. Those, especially, are killing us. Killing us. The Dalai Lama says, (you can go ahead and call him "H.H." like I do) "Peace of mind is crucial for good health. Of course, good facilities, the right medicine, and food also make a difference. But happiness is the most important factor for good health." We can do yoga, we can take vitamins and eat organically, but if we're not happy, we're not healthy. Period.

I'm taking all my churning thoughts on secrets and applying them to the writing life workshop we just wrapped in Sisters. Without exception the students "suffer" from secrets. Some judge their own secrets as being "less" than others, more benign, but there isn't a whole lot of room for judgment when it comes to secrets. Our bodies don't distringuish between "big" secrets and "small" secrets, "worthy" secrets and "petty" secrets. Our bodies react to secrets fair and square, and I'm thinking, on a first come, first serve basis. The older the secret, the more toxic.

So the question becomes what to do with all these secrets. I think we HAVE to get them out of our bodies. Writing an anonymous postcard to PostSecret might be hugely helpful, or it might be the first bit of toxic gas that we let out, which makes may for the big load.

I believe writing our secrets out is therapeutic and healing. Whether or not our secrets are shared with others isn't always the point, but by moving them from thought/feeling to articulated words, moves them. The movement alone creates more movement, there's a domino effect. Like with dominoes, we may feel all this movement of story that's been trapped inside of us for so long, fells us. We may feel worse before we feel better, but I can say from first hand experience and from observing our students over time, they do feel better eventually. Not a little better, either, WAY better. Life-changingly better.

I'm hearing comments now that startle and upset me, "I can't believe you still like me after I told you all that." I think that epitomizes what we fear, that if others truly knew us, REALLY knew us, they wouldn't like us anymore. I can't speak for everyone (although I'd dearly love to), but I am not really interested in fake-knowing anyone. I REALLY want to know the people I know, and the more I know of them, the more compassion I can have for them, the universal truths I see in our stories, and the more I am able to turn that knowledge both inward and outward, seeing myself and all of humanity more clearly. How is that a problem?

“That which is most personal is most universal.”
--Henri Nouwen, priest and author

I stole that quote from Jenny Rough's Blog. I'm pretty much claiming it as my own, as I've said this at least 100 times in the last week. It's so true, don't you think?

I've also been hearing a lot of people tell me they want to come to a workshop, but they don't want to write a memoir. I'm thinking of organizing a "I'll be damned if I'm ever going to write a memoir" workshop. Who's in?



Anonymous said...

The problem is, Carrie, that sometimes secrets are not all yours to share and when you let them out, sometimes they affect and hurt other people. Yes, it's good to let them out, but the time and place have to be right. I just learn to focus on what's my own and be happy with that...Love, Lien

Anonymous said...

Well said Carrie! Secrets are very toxic and can really get in the way of true, authentic happiness. There is also so much truth in "will they really like me, or will I fit it, if they knew this or that." Yet, it could be the most healing/bonding part of the relationship or group. What a huge risk, very scarey for so many.
I am with you, this whole concepts of secrets and its impact on emotional well being, is so interesting to me.
Also, working with children, secrets, especially, the "bad" secrets are so damaging on so many levels and play out in so many ways. And as you know, can follow them right up into adulthood.
Ok, enough bla,bla. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

Carrie Wilson Link said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie Wilson Link said...


Yes, I agree some secrets are not ours to let "out" as in publicize, but they need to get out of our bodies, through some therapeutic process.

A friend of mine that grew up in a home with incest, now tells her own children, "It's not OK to keep secrets in the family. You can have surprises, but not secrets." I like that.

Julie Christine said...

I like the idea of an anonymous postcard to release our secrets. Also, love your thoughts and creative angles to address healing issues through writing. Thanks for sharing this!

kario said...

Love you, love your message. Love releasing some of my secrets these days, too. I'm feeling so much better!

Casdok said...

Food for thought!

Anonymous said...

Hey, that post card at the top she stole my secret. That's my old secret.

My new secret is while I'm pretending to write in my journal, I'm actually transcribing your conversation.

Nancy said...

Writing is merely a tool to take what we have inside and move it outward, whether it be a secret, a thought, a feeling...

No one should miss a workshop becuase they don't want to write a memior. It is so much more than a 'writing' workshop. By the way, I can personally attest to several "non writers" who, through your workshop, have awakened amazing sleeping authors and produced fabulous work.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Great post Carrie.

Very thought provoking.

It's no secret why everyone loves your blog.


Jenny said...

Well I stole the quote from a book by Tim Madigan. :-)

Terry Whitaker said...


Bossy Boots said...

Ultimately, it comes down to self loathing and self forgiveness and all secrets become what they are, nothing but ideas housed in a mind that is relentless in its ability to spin memory around and around and around and yet get NO WHERE.

Just sayin', love yourself and others, stop judging yourself and others and all will be well.

Deb said...

I love your line about not being interesting in fake-knowing anyone - really love it!

Speaking from my experience at the workshop, sharing our secrets with other people is light years more powerful than just writing them or just sharing them with a therapist (both of which are incredibly healing in their own right). For me it's not completely unsecret as long as I'm afraid anyone will find out.

Thank you for a great, thought-provoking post.

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

This is so true. It is the secret keeping that gives the secrets power to infect and ruin us. To help us fully become who we need to be...the secrets stop us from that. I loved this post. My own secrets as well as a family history of secrets is what almost killed me! Thanks for sharing this!