This year (it’s been a year since our last book club, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.–a year!) Meredith and i are reading Ani.mystic by Gordon White from Rune Soup (both of us got the nice hardback edition, because, book nerds). i have read none of Gordon’s books, and i am excited to dive in. this week is a meditation on Chapter 1.
much of chapter 1 winds in and around Pohnpei, an island which is “known for being the second wettest place on earth” according to Visit Pohnpei. i admit i find the living history of the island awesome and terrifying. thousands of basalt columns, tombs, multitudes of spirits, dead soldiers, a sacred eel, bones, giant sharks–my mind cannot grasp it. cannot grasp it. must slip into comfort with unknowing. why am i both awed and afraid of not-knowing? is it my upbringing and education, ever reminding me that there is “a” Truth towards which we must strive? there are some things, or most things, if i am telling the truth (ha), that i can only attempt to appreciate, not know.
Famously, there is a belief on the island that if you tell all your secrets then you will die.”p 47
well, that resonates! describing your imaginary friend to your mother falls flat. “talking about it” doesn’t always cure an emotional hurt. a secret is something kept hidden, concealed. but a secretion is something that leaks out, is expressed. both secret and secretion have a common root: secernere “to set apart, part, divide; exclude”. discernment has become an important word in my vocabulary these last few years of mid-life passage (i hesitate to write “crisis” because it’s been fascinating and enjoyable, on the whole). i have worked to discern what feels good to me, and what doesn’t. separation may not be a healthy path forward (cf Charles Eisenstein on the “story of separation”, which Meredith also reflects on), but discernment is a special, sacred tool. it requires tuning in, being with what is presenting itself.
i hope, as we continue this adventure, Meredith, that we can share a secret or two now and then, as we peel back the layers of our minds in pace with the turning of pages.