Do you ever look back into your life and watch yourself doing something you loved, something you cherished, in the past? I find myself on this green, soft, bird-chirpy morning thinking of a story I read on the opening morning of every Inner Quest Intensive. The IQI was a rich and delicious self-discovery program that I taught sixty blessed times, between the years of 1995 and 2015.
I see myself sitting on the teaching bench, the room filled with guests who are, at this point, wondering what the heck they are doing there.
I see myself picking up the old blue book, that weighty spiritual tome, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.
I see myself opening to page fifty-six, dog-eared by an ancient paper clip.
I hear myself reading to the group.
I feel them awakening to the words, softening into the story’s safety.
I feel the guests relaxing, opening, looking around, cautiously, hopefully.
Sitting here this morning, from the vantage point of this spring moment, I smile deeply into this memory, this blessed gift I have been given, the offering to others that which has so fully blessed me.
Fulghum’s story is about hiding too well in a game of tag. Olly-olly-oxen-free is a call given in children’s games, announcing it is safe to come out of hiding. The story is about being so committed to the hiding that we forget to be found. It calls for a re-commitment to life, to living, to coming forth, to facing one another, an incredibly relevant message in this national moment of hyperpolarization.
At the same time, there is such brilliance and necessity in developmental, psychological hiding. It protects us as the words of David Whyte, the poet, tell us:
until we are ready to come
into the light.”
Honoring the pain behind the hiding, acknowledging the brilliance of the strategies we developed to literally keep us alive, as we lean in the opposite direction, toward connection, toward honesty, this is the journey of the hearts; this is the longing of our souls.
Why wasn’t I going to tell my spouse about the lousy bloodwork report I got?
To avoid her inevitable questions about details, which I can never retain?
To avoid the shame of thinking I should have better blood, that I should be healthier?
What did I gain by telling her, by taking that scary leap, by sharing my shame and my fear?
Connection—oneness—support—honesty—a partner in moving forward.
Telling her was worth the risk.
And you, dear readers?
- How do you hide today?
- What is one tiny counter-step you can take, to lean in the opposite direction?
- Give your heart that gift. Do it today.
Olly-Olly-Oxen-Free, that almost universal children’s beckoning, calls to the child in each of us, telling us we can come out of hiding. We can come out into the open, without losing the game!
One breath at a time, everybody, let’s practice getting found.
Dear Reader-Friends, please do keep in touch. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a link to the wonderful David Whyte piece of Hiding, from his book, The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
Here is a link to my program, Quest for the Authentic Self, which is the Inner Quest Intensive revisited. Please consider joining me in September down in North Carolina at the beautiful Art of Living Center.