Hide and Seek

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“Twenty-eight, twenty-nine…THIRTY! Ready or not, here I come!” I could hear my sister call out from the kitchen as the rush of adrenaline hit my system and my heart beat out of my chest. I had tucked myself behind the laundry basket on the floor of her closet, behind the hanging jackets and other garments that provide my needed cover. As I heard her getting closer I tried to slow my breathing so she wouldn’t hear me. Still. Silent. Small. There I sat in the darkness waiting with eager anticipation for her to find me.

She always did. Sometimes it would take her awhile longer if I’d found a really good spot but I would just wait until she yelled “Found ya!” Grabbing me out of my secret space I would shriek and we’d laugh as the game was now complete. I’d been found.

I remember one time though some of her friends wanted to play too and they didn’t find me. I waited and waited and eventually realized they had given up and gone on to another game, leaving me there, still, silent, and small. The safe hiding place was no longer filled with anticipation and excitement, but instead was just lonely and dark; tainted with the sting of being forgotten or perhaps just left behind.

Do you remember hide and seek? The safety of being well hidden and then the shear thrill of being discovered by the one who was seeking you? It was scary to be found, but that was the whole point.

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I think we can be like this in life sometimes too. We find all kinds of creative ways to hide, to cover or disguise ourselves because it is safe. Sometimes we go through seasons of needing to feel hidden, providing the comfort necessary to heal or recover perhaps. But sometimes we can get so used to our hiding spots that the thought of being found, being seen, becomes just too scary to imagine.

We may hide for many reasons and we may hide only certain parts of ourselves as well, out of fear of rejection, or shame, or even because we’ve been led to believe that to be desirable and accepted we must hide certain pieces away.

But what if we could be found? Not revealed, or exposed, but seen and embraced for all of our parts?

What if the person doing the seeking was caring, and safe, and truly wanted to discover you in all of what that that means? The “being found” process may still be scary and met with hesitant anticipation as we unearth our true selves in the company of another, but isn’t that also the point?

In counselling that is exactly what can happen as the safety and the space is provided for the gentle parting of the “garments” that have covered us in order to reveal what and who lies underneath.

When I was hiding in my sister’s closet I felt the need to remain small, still, and silent as I waited alone in the dark, but after being found I no longer had to stay there. I could jump up, tickle her, giggle with joy, and leave together into the light of day. There was contented satisfaction for us both, as the purpose of the game had been fulfilled and we could now rest in its resolution…or go on to our next game of course.

There is something about being seen and known in the truth of who we are that satisfies something deep down. Perhaps you are still unacquainted with parts of yourself, pieces you tucked away long ago, but are hungering to uncover in order to walk authentically in the light of day. It may be scary to come out from our hiding spots, wherever they have been, but thankfully we don’t have to do it alone. The journey of discovery can at times be messy, uncertain, full of emotion, and challenging to the core, but the result can be a more integrated self, aware of all the parts of our humanity.

Let’s seek together shall we, and discover what we find?

Come out, come out, where ever YOU are.

~Kara Phelan~

Re.Pose Therapy - MAMFT Student Intern