How can you ever think about creating a better future if you cannot learn from your past mistakes? I think that sometimes it is easier to continue through life ignorant to the very fibers that make you who you are, and that it is truly difficult to really look deep into yourself. More importantly, I think we need to analyze what makes us who we are and what has helped to create all the stereotypes and misconceptions we inadvertently accept as truth. It is a lot easier to continue to put band-aids over wounds then it is to go back and build a brand new foundation brick-by-brick.
I think that until an individual is open to recognizing why they think certain things and accept certain facts about themselves, they cannot be possibly be ready to look at what needs to be done to create a better future for oneself and for future generations. This week, I tried out a healer/medium based on the fact that I was intrigued after speaking to a friend who recommended I go because "she was the real deal." I walked into the room, skeptical and not really having any idea what I was getting myself into. She warned me that she would not remember anything she would be saying to me and then proceeded to speak to me about my dead grandfather, quoting things that no one on earth had or could ever know. I instantly broke into tears, absolutely shocked that a stranger could read deeper into me than I have been able to read into myself.
She handed me a box of tissues and started digging into me, touching on my present relationships with my friends, family and all those who are closest to me, analyzing the relationships and my personality, explaining each dynamic with instances from my past lives and how my soul was shaped by all of these different stories. I was in awe. This woman that never asked me one question and didn't even know my last name was explaining things that I hadn't shared with even my closest of friends. I cried through the session and left as a believer, but even more than being spookily inspired, I also felt whole. She had helped sort things for me about myself that exist in me that I didn't even know were haunting me. She had touched upon my past, and my soul's past (six past lives to be exact) to explain why I felt certain ways and acted in certain ways, and helped me sort through these feelings. It was therapeutic and a catharsis for me. I was so happy that I was open to trying it out and thought about how skeptical I was prior to going. I realized that most people in my life believe that all psychics and healers are scam artists, probably based on stereotypes presented in movies and past experiences with someone who was hired to read their palm at a Sweet 16 or in the West Village.
The power of a trusted source to open me up to trying something new, followed by the credibility of the experience, made me change the way I looked at myself. More importantly, it made me recognize that it is important to embrace one's past, (not get stuck in it and let it absorb you), and analyze it to help shape the present and create a better foundation for the future.
After this enlightening experience, I was lucky to have spent time this weekend with my friend, Nyla Rodgers founder of an amazing organization called Mama Hope, who just recently released the video, "Stop the Pity, Unlock the Potential," based on de-constructing stereotypes regarding African men. She uses Western media examples to express how it is easy to be miseducated and disconnected when we have grown up around and been exposed to such depictions. Nyla's intention is to help change the way people look at their understanding of the world, and themselves -- (the same thing the healer did for me when she had me look deep into myself and see why I was the way I was). The first step is awareness, the next step is education and Nyla is doing just that; her goal is to create systematic frameworks to work with people on the grounds and to help complete projects that will empower the individual and the entire community. Her foundation is giving answers of why our past experiences, (Western film and media) have shaped our understanding of the present and what we can do to change that.
While this may seem like a stretch to compare Nyla's film about the past shaping our present views of the world with the healer using my past and how it has shaped my views of myself and my world, I believe there is a lesson to be learned. It is important that we don't close ourselves off to learning about ourselves and about others. Sometimes opening that door to the past can be scary -- terrifying even -- as it is easy to be stuck there and get lost, but it is scarier to ignore your past mistakes, which can better the chance that you probably will make the same mistake again and again, not ever being able to change as a person or grow. There has to be a balance where we can dig into ourselves and learn from what makes us who we are, and what shapes our view of ourselves and the world, because it is only after we embrace ourselves that we can then embrace each other and build, brick-by-brick, a better foundation for the future.