“I stood in this sunsheltered place
‘Til I could see the face behind the face” – Peter Gabriel, ‘Secret World’
“To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others. To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.” – David Whyte, ‘What to Remember When Waking’
Clarissa Pinkola Estes discusses in her ‘Mother Night‘ series that as we are opaque objects, when a bright light is shone we cast a shadow. The darkest part of that shadow is the umbra. The popular notion of the shadow in psychological terms is that it is a part of ourselves that we do not want to look at, what we want to hide from ourselves and want to hide from others. CPE opens up that idea to suggest that the umbra in each of us holds our deepest secret, a secret gift that our collective culture does not recognize. Many who carry the wounds of being over acculturated, may not be able to see beyond the veneer of what they, or our modern commerce culture think their lives are supposed to look like. The challenge might be to see what gift(s) may be hidden from ourselves; or if not hidden, perhaps abandoned or ignored as not a valid part of who we think we are in this world.
I think there is a secret world within each of us, perhaps part of our subconscious, perhaps accessible through a private language, perhaps no language at all. Jay Griffiths explores the idea of what children experience during “unscheduled, timeless, unstructured play in make-believe worlds. During this imaginative play, children talk to themselves in what psychologists call “private speech,” planning and thinking aloud, practicing self-regulation, controlling their emotions and behavior. This is not just a matter of “good behavior” but of autonomous thinking, the thought of artists, creators, and politically independent adults thinking for themselves, uncontrolled.”
Jill Bolte Taylor‘s experience of expansiveness after losing her ability to use and understand language when she had a stroke points to what may lie beyond our ordinary cognitive ability to perceive the world within and around us. Allyson Grey‘s secret writing, “symbolizes all communication and creativity — the unutterable truth beyond language that is pointed to by sacred text. Secret writing… represents a language beyond literal interpretation, a language so universal that it cannot be translated.”
All of this points to something hidden in each of us, deeper than what we have been programmed by our culture to perceive. This secret world is what I want to celebrate and encourage – in myself and anyone who cares to join me