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Hiding is Given a Bad Rap

June 8, 2021

Hiding is Given a Bad Rap

By Amba Gale

We are so filled with prescriptions for positivity, that sometimes we forget to include, to allow for, to put our arms around, all those parts of ourselves that are hurting, that are lamenting, that are grieving, to be with what has ended, and embrace those parts of our lives, or ourselves, that it is now time to let go. As I say in one of my poems, “Heartbreak,” in my book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections, pain not honored or fully experienced hides in the years, hides in our body/mind, goes underground, and so we live with a brittle heart, not a supple one, protecting ourselves, as Parker Palmer suggests in his beautiful book, “On the Brink of Everything.”

These times call for our deep listening, to ourselves, to the pain of others, a listening from our hearts. This kind of listening, which allows for grace, and spaciousness, creates compassion, and acceptance, brings unconditional love into our relationships, including with ourselves. This is very distinct from wanting to change them, or ourselves, fix them or ourselves. If we want to fix them, they are broken, if we want to change them, they are not whole. If we want to create a healing, which is what it is time for, we somehow need to go deep inside, into the dark. As David Whyte says, in his poem, “Sweet Darkness,” “There you can be sure you are not beyond love,” and invites us to let the dark…be our “home tonight.”

Sometimes, hiding is given a bad rap.

Two years ago, my husband and I went on a retreat in Ireland, a pilgrimage of sorts, on a journey called “Turas D’Anam,” which means “Journey of the soul.” At the beginning of our pilgrimage, Owen and Mícheál ‘Moley’ Ó Súilleabháin, musicians, poets, Irish traditionalists, along with their mother, Nóirín Ní Riain, Celtic Wise Wolman, priestess, and Soul Awakener, invited us at the beginning of our retreat to stop, “take a step backwards, let our souls catch up.”

Stop. Take a step backwards. Let Your soul catch up.

 

Hiding is Given a Bad Rap

By Amba Gale

Sometimes
it’s time to hide,
to go deep inside the well
to descend
into the whirlpool
of wounds,
of losses and griefs
that ask to inhabit
your mind and heart
for a while.

There, you have good
and necessary work to do, to let your wounds
bring you to compassion.

Within this time,
while you follow the slow and circuitous path
of your heart,
remember to love yourself,
care for yourself while
feeling your way through the pain.

Know the rawness of your griefs.
You and they are trustworthy.

You must listen to them speak,
transforming you and softening your heart.

Finally, when you emerge,
you gather yourself,
become one with yourself,
and emerge from that deep well

able to be an open heart,
able to show an open face,
able to come alive,
able to be
blessed by a welcoming, listening world.

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Several weeks ago, I was staying in a lodge in Southern Washington where my husband and I would be attending a Creativity Painting session the next day. Never considering myself much of a painter, I thought I would enjoy stretching some new creativity muscles, leaning into the “unknown,” letting go of my own painting critic, who has been with me since grade school, and inviting the Painting Muse in. The night before that painting session, a poem came to me, quite suddenly, and I wrote it down. Peonies were at the center of that poem. I could not recall what…

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