“Ring the bells that still can ring forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.”-Leonard Cohen

photo    Lynne Kaplan Artography

It occurs to me that I have a different concept of transparency than most other people that I know. I have this belief that we all have dirty laundry and it is only in the airing of the dirty laundry, that it can become clean. I do not believe that anybody in a human body is devoid of dirt, or Shadow if we use a Jungian term. These disowned parts of ourselves are kept in place through fear and self-hatred. It is in the healing of these painful emotions, that transparency and authenticity emerge.

One of my caregivers began to pose a question to me with, “you don’t have to answer this if it is too personal…” We both laughed hysterically, because I am blatantly honest about everything in my life and I responded, “challenge me.” I believed that being totally transparent is a virtue, although I understand that others might cringe and disagree.

When I look at what is in the way of me sharing something deeply personal, it seems to be reveal some version of shame. Shame is a feeling that both creates tremendous suffering and reveals an area where healing is essential. I do not expect others to share in the level of transparency that I live; it just surprises me when I find so little consensus. Because of this, I began to look at what was the difference in my development.

I instantly reflected on my life many years earlier while participating in intensive group psychotherapy. When conflict arose, it would be taken very seriously as a block to intimacy and we would meet with one of the facilitators to remediate the tension. In each situation, I realized that the conflict was based on distortions of the truth between us. When the distortions were clarified, connection was restored. Because there was deep trust in the group facilitators, the love between the group members grew exponentially. It was through this level of intimacy that I first began to believe in God. To me, God was not a punitive man spewing judgment from on high, he wasn’t a bearded pilgrim in sandals, IT was this feeling that began in my chest and radiated out to include everyone it touched.

It was in this community of beloved individuals that I realized that all anybody really wanted was to be loved, and once that was realized, to be able to serve. I came to realize that any conflict was merely confusion, either with one’s self or another, or both. It was during that time that I realized that any blockage to truth was merely misinformation. It became a sacred practice for me to dismantle my inner blocks to truth. To be able to speak my truth, unencumbered, was central to this practice. For me, the practice involved looking at the intention behind each statement I would make. I would ask myself what I was communicating and which of my needs it served; did it serve a higher need for integrity or did it meet a lower ego need; did the statement increase or decrease my vibration.

As I began to work with groups, my working theory was realized on a deeper level. The dictum of confidentiality is the foundation for creating safety within groups of people. I believe, however, that at a certain point a dictum can become a hindrance to intimacy. I also believe that the degree of openness is dependent upon one’s own personal development. Each person must decide for her or himself what they are comfortable with based on their own level of truth. Until that point, I honor confidentiality implicitly yet I am clear that I do not require the same for myself. On the contrary, I believe that my internal work when shared with others, can have the power to effect deep change in them. That is where my passion lies in pushing my boundaries toward transparency.

As I mentioned earlier, one has to achieve a certain level of development in order to have integrity and respect for self and others. One has to get right with one’s own shadow for this level of consciousness to be integrated. Without coming to terms with one’s own pain, collusion with other people’s pain will likely occur. This is the confusion I mentioned earlier.

I am coming to believe that as embodied humans, our Work is to uncover our wounding which will ultimately heal the pockets of self-hatred causing our suffering. It is through this sacred journey while embodied that self-love can be realized.