While working on a chapter from a book a few years ago (yet to be finished, but on the list of things to do), I researched the origin of the word “hell”.  As it turns out, the original meaning did not depict a life of fire and brimstone.  Instead, the word simply meant “to keep hidden”.  The fiery meaning didn’t evolve until years later when it was used to describe the hell that so many came to fear.  The book, Dante’s Inferno, still flashes through my mind when I think of my high school literature class as this was one of the books we were assigned to read.  It never made sense to me that there were only two options with death.  And to this day, when I think about hell, I think about the world we live in, not a destination that we will suddenly drop into once we kick the bucket if our “bad” list is longer than our “good”.

As a psychologist, I’m well aware of how much people keep hidden in their lives as an initial attempt to cope:  childhood abuse, bad habits and addictions, relationships outside of a “committed” relationship, fragile financial circumstances that they don’t want to admit, body image concerns, sexual or gender identity issues, mixed thoughts about religion and spirituality, the tendency to hoard or clutter an environment, and a myriad of other things.  The fact is, everyone I know, including myself, hides or camouflages something in their lives, whether they know or would admit to it.

What have you been hiding all of your life?  How does this impact each and every behavior, thought, and emotion? How much energy have you expended in your own living hell—hiding something for the sake of others—or to preserve your own emotional and physical safety?

When I was in high school, I also read Walden Two, a book about a utopian society—everyone worked together and everyone got along.  Like heaven and hell, I’ve honestly never understood war.  I don’t get it.  I can’t grasp why people choose to fight about things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things—many of which are listed above.  I can’t understand why one person can’t express themselves, be understood by another, disagree if you have to, and then both go on to live a more connected and aware life.  I also don’t get why REAL stuff isn’t talked about, put on the table, resolved, and closure made, instead of harboring ill thoughts and feelings.  In my world, everyone just gets along.

truthBut the truth is, people can’t handle the truth.  People would rather hide from what is real then simply step into reality, deal with what is in front of them, and heal—and evolve beyond—any concerns.  This is fear-based living for you—nothing love-based about it.

Like many families, mine was in the camp that nothing was ever wrong… as long as you didn’t talk about it.  Conflict and difference of opinion were unacceptable, and frankly, were just ignored.  But I don’t fault my family—it was just a sign of the times.  It may seem ironic that I’ve become an agent of truth—perhaps both in response and self-defense of my own upbringing.  In my work, I help people come out of their darkness and into their own light, releasing them from their hell and inviting them into a world of conscious living.  This is healing, but this is also part of their soul’s evolution.

On a global level, I look back as the last few months and can observe more instances than ever that heaven has overtaken hell.  As a nation, we’ve finally cracked the seal on many “isms” to the point that many no longer have to stay hidden.  Same-sex couples can finally openly marry, blacks are finally receiving more compassion and awareness with the confederate flag coming down, and President Obama’s comments about Bill Cosby’s inexcusable actions has opened the box for many women to feel vindicated and freed from their own hell of oppression in their sexual traumas.  I could list many more.  So many layers peeled back… and yet, so many more to go.

I don’t suppose that we will reach utopia in my lifetime.  But the growing awareness that difference is against our nature is growing in popularity.  For the first time in many, many years, I am hopeful for our future.

peace heartMany think it’s “frilly” and “woo woo” for me to talk about the evolving love consciousness—a changing mindset that many are turning away from fear-based living to loved-based instead.  What does this really mean?  Many things.  For one, it means people are finally waking up to realize that we are all connected in one way or another—whether by race, gender, country, religion, or whatever.  The bottom line is that we need each other.  But if this is true, why are we hating, killing, and belittling each other?

The hard truth is that some have come to this planet to sacrifice themselves in order to stimulate love-consciousness.  The nine people who were brutally murdered in the church in Charleston played the role of change agents because their deaths raised the reality of racism to the level that brought the confederate flag down.  Bruce—now Caitlin Jenner—has courageously served the purpose of elevating the subject of transgendered living to the forefront of people’s minds to allow others to simply live as they truly are.  All of these individuals—and more who have not been mentioned—have served their purpose and did it strikingly well.   There are many things people don’t like about what is changing in their world, but my question will always go back to “what is it that you are hiding and what is your own living hell?”

Just think of a world without hiding… a world without secrets… a world without hidden baggage.  I would be out of a job, most certainly.  But I’d rather sacrifice that then know there are mountains of pain that people are burying for the sake of others’ faulty ideas and fears.  I’d be more than happy to give up my day job if peoples’ personal hells could magically be turned to nirvana.

Sigh….  to dream of a world without hell……  A refreshing and hopeful thought.   If you could give up just one secret and live authentically… how would life be different?  I urge you to give it a try.  It’s time to allow yourself into the light.