Thursday, January 21, 2010
I have a secret...
I went to hear Frank Warren last night. And I have a secret. It was a very moving experience and I learned a lot. As secrets were revealed in the talk and in the q&a period, I got an irrisistable feeling of empathy for everyone in the auditorium, including myself. I realized that we are all quite amazing, a little bit shy about our silly bits and sad bits, and this shyness creates the crazy idea in our minds that we are all alone in the world. At nearly 7 billion of us, I would say that "alone" is about the last thing we are. So how does this shyness prevent us from realizing the truth that we are not alone? Frank brought out a tin of postsecrets (postcards with a secret on them which people have sent to him from all around the world) and said what we do with our secrets is we keep them in a kind of internal box, like his little tin, which we bury and work hard to keep buried. And at some point we are no longer keeping our secrets but they are keeping us. So it's our secrets that make us feel alone. And it's people like Frank Warren who help us see ourselves as we really are, and to feel moved.
A CBC interviewer asked Frank what he does with postsecrets about acts of violence against others and murder. He was quite surprised at this. He rarely gets postsecrets about acts of violence and murder, but he often gets postsecrets about self-harm, depression, and other difficult mental states. He feels that the media spends far more time on murder and acts of violence, proportionally, than on the things that really matter to us or that trouble us like depression, isolation, and self harm. And maybe that is the secret behind these wild and wonderful ideas like PostSecrets; they are about real life, they are about us.
Work that is meaningful, that makes good use of our talents and abilities is SO worth doing! It seems to me that this may be Frank Warren's best secret, that he has taken what has made life difficult, our secrets, and turned it into a way to teach us all about ourselves and all about the healing that can happen with empathy. Thank you Frank!
Do you have a secret? Visit Frank Warren's website and or send him a postcard. Free yourself from your secrets and become who you really are!