John Pace. That was the name I gave to my super spy character in a spy novel I wrote when I was about 13 years old. I don’t know what inspired me to name the hero that way. The "secret agent” identity was a big part of my formative years. I loved spy shows, like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Secret Agent Man, and, of course, movies with the ultimate spy, 007. Much of my play time and fantasy world centered on being a spy. I remember one day when a friend’s mother asked me if I had been playing secret agent the night before. There was a cynical tone in her voice and I felt immediately embarrassed. My cover was blown! I held on to the fantasy a while longer, but it was never quite the same after that. This secret agent identity continued in my life, but not in the childhood fantasy or anything like the way it is depicted in movies and books.
I also loved Joseph Conrad’s short story, "The Secret Sharer,” which I first read in my sophomore year of high school. The plot follows a newly appointed ship captain who harbors a fugitive from the law in his cabin. The fugitive is like a doppelgänger for the captain, a shadow version of himself, which he calls the "Secret Sharer." The captain sails dangerously close to rocky shores, risking the trust of his crew on the pretense that the maneuver will catch trade winds and sea currents to cut time off the trip, but will also allow the secret sharer to jump to freedom. Something about the story captivated me and I even named my own spirit-guide or guardian angel “Secret Sharer" after this story.
I have always had the sense of a spiritual presence with me, which operates as a bridge through which souls communicate one to another. In this sense, it truly is a secret sharer. I’ve always felt that there are connections between myself and others under the surface, hidden from our everyday senses. On this level, we are secret sharers with each other. When the connection rises to the level of consciousness, we recognize each other as soul friends, or at least as momentary catalysts for our growth and awareness in life.
Until recently, I never connected these two threads of the secret agent identity of my youth and the secret sharer entity that serves as my guide and connects me on a soul level to myself and others. It seems the link should be obvious since both titles include the word “secret.” A secret is something shared privately, which bonds the relationship and creates a deep level of intimacy. As children, we all loved secrets. We loved to be a part of something special and this carries over into our adult life. We love to have access to special knowledge, to be privy to something known only to a select few, and to be a part of something precious that needs to be protected.
Now, I see the pattern. These threads of secret agent and secret sharer are woven into my choices and activities in life. My choice to use NLP Coaching and hypnotherapy as an occupation makes sense. This work may be characterized by this sense of a shared secret, a special connection made with another person that grants access to the unconscious mind, which is like the "secret agent" in our lives, the one who acts behind the scenes to make things right or save the day. In a way, I serve as an agent acting on behalf of the unconscious mind, or what you might call the secret self. I work to support the secret self to find expression in life.
The name “Pace" for my super spy is perfect. The word “pace" originates from the Latin “passus," meaning “a step.” It is a derivative of "pandere,” which means to stretch or spread out. Pace is technically a unit of measurement, a single step taken when walking or running and is used as the measured rate and consistency of movement. In this sense, we use “pace” to mean “to get into a rhythm." In NLP, "pacing" is the process of getting into a rhythm with another person. The phrase “pace yourself,” means both to work in measured steps and to get into rhythm with yourself. Pacing is the "secret sharer" connection. When we pace ourselves or pace another, we become a secret agent!
© Nick LeForce
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What is your relationship to the secret agent (your unconscious mind) in your life?
How can you serve as a "secret agent" in life or in the lives of others?
Please share your thoughts and comments below.