Having landed at Savannah International I proceeded downstairs to the baggage area. Like refugees crowding around a United Nations food truck we huddled around the baggage carousel, watching suitcase after suitcase trundle by. A suitcase went by me that had popped open and its innards were spilling out; in my peripheral vision I saw an arm reach out for the suitcase so I turned slightly to observe the person’s expression upon having his underwear exposed for the entire terminal to see. He grabbed at the case, fumbled and when it hit the floor it popped open all the way and contents spilled out onto the floor. I was astonished to see 4 rolls of toilet paper roll out! I thought, “What, does he think we don’t have toilet paper in Savannah?” As he grabbed at the fleeing rolls it was clear that the poor guy was clearly embarrassed to have his secret stash of toilet paper revealed.
The need to keep secrets hidden can have a powerful effect upon our inner and outer lives. Hiding secrets teaches us to be somewhat furtive, which then communicates itself to others as a degree of sneakiness, resulting in people being cautious around us. Hiding secrets teaches us to not take chances lest the real us, and our secrets, become known; this translates to others as our being timid and fearful. In the end, hiding secrets teaches us to not trust ourselves lest we reveal our real “us”.
I am not advocating that we blab about our inner life to every person on the street; what I am saying is that we all need to have at least one other person in our life to whom we are willing to reveal our secrets, whether it be a therapist, a lover, or a Spiritual Mentor. When we trust the other enough to not betray our inner life we learn that it is safe to embrace vulnerability, at least with a select few; this, in turn, lets our soul breathe free.
So how can we know who that safe person is? The key is found in getting to know others, which requires our connecting with them, our talking with them, our slowly exploring the possibility of being comfortable with them. The price for not doing this? We live our life always afraid of being found out, which in turn prevents us from truly living our life.