Being human means having things in our lives that feel too painful, too raw, or too unformed to share. Yet secrets are not always shameful. Sometimes they are precious ideas we are batting around, or fragile hopes of possibility, or tender seeds for creating something new.
Just as seeds need strong husks, we need protected space to integrate our “secrets” in our heads and hearts until we are ready to voice them aloud.
It takes courage to be vulnerable with such sharing. And it requires a trustworthy community of one person or several.
A challenging but vital practice is the agreement to observe confidentiality. With this touchstone, we give our word that we will not repeat what is shared by another without permission. This is not only an act of trust, it is an act of love between and among us.
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes this love as when “two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.”
As Parker Palmer writes in A Hidden Wholeness, “We stand with simple attentiveness at the borders of their solitude – trusting that they have within themselves whatever resources they need and that our attentiveness can help bring those resources into play.”
This act of love provides the right conditions for our secrets, those tender seeds, to break out of their husks and begin their journey upward – through the soil, to the sun.
How have you experienced being held in confidence by others?
When has this not been true?
How have you experienced holding the confidence of others?
P.S. We invite you to discover and practice deep confidentiality at any Courage & Renewal program as you explore your life and leadership questions, in concert with the whole set of Circle of Trust Touchstones.
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