Monday, October 16, 2006

A Terrible Thing To Waste
A message seen on a billboard sponsored by UNCF:
"A mind is a terrible thing to waste". Amen to that. The punishment is also harsh - a life of suffering and, eventually, death.
Don't waste your mind! Find what it really is and how to use it properly!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Coming Back to Your Roots

I have just posted a report from my recent trip to Minsk, which is a place in Belarus where I came from, and two great Russian cities - Moscow and Saint Petersburg. This trip has been a great experience and it has started my thinking about an important subject that I want to share with you.

I have never before indulged in nostalgia or thoughts about coming back to my roots, but now I dig it. By "roots" I mean the place where I grew up, my parents, family and other people who played an important role in my childhood. Now I know why it is important.

Most people would say you have to come back to remember who you are and what is your foundation and principles in life. But I think slightly differently. You need to come to your roots to free yourself from them.

You see, in our childhood a lot of things happen that may define our thoughts, reaction patterns and fears for the rest of our lives. Depending on what events (sometimes of a random nature) you have experienced in your childhood, you may get a life-long impression that the world is good, evil, loving, indifferent, cold, warm, dangerous, safe, caring, cynical, frightful, joyful, meaningless, empty, full. But the fact is that it is all of that and much more.

In our childhood we go through a (usually) ill-designed program of chaotic life lessons and form some sort of a filter that cuts out our perceptions and thoughts that do not fit into that limited configuration. And then life goes on and on and we may never get a chance to rethink what it really is. We act and react to whatever happens in our adult world, but how we do that is largely controlled by thinking and behavioral patterns that we adopted in our childhood. So while on the surface you may look like reacting to the events of today, at the same time in your subconsciosness you may be fighting with your parents, desperately trying to deserve their love or simply running away from that scary black dog that attacked you when you were 3.

So once we grow up, it is really important to rethink our emotional, mental and reacting habits and validate what still makes sense and what doesn't. From that perspective, coming back to your roots is a surprisingly effective way to become aware of many such patterns and to free yourself from that dead emotional and conceptual weight!

In my own trip, I have reexperienced and let go of the whole range of emotions and thoughts that kept me back - sadness, hatred, desire to prove something to people who once insulted me, various fears and tremendous sense of insecurity. All of this craziness is still here in me, but now it is something that I can see, fight and even control!

Now I realize that all these old things were always hiding in my sunconsciosness and controlled me from it. It is almost like a garage - you put some piece of junk in it for now, and then 40 years later you die and that thing is still there. That happened to my grandfather, so I know how it works. Coming back to your roots is like a trip to your mind's garage and it is your chance to take all this old stuff out to the junkyard.

However, there is a very important condition: you need a break first. You need to move out from the place where you grew up and let enough time to pass by (in my case it was 6 years), or have something very big and important happen in your life, or both. Basically, you need a chance to take out that old roll of film and start a new one - otherwise the pilgrimage to the childhood will become just another insignificant episode of your life's soap opera. You must break the life's sequence and get ready for the trip back - otherwise it will be impossible to take a fresh look at what really happened in your past and who were all those people.

But if you do it the right way, you may suddenly realize that your god- or monster-like parents were just ordinary people, younger than you are now - people who were suffering from their weaknesses, fears and ignorance just like you do... You will be able to see every person from your childhood for who they really were - and if you want the best for yourself, you will let them go, forgive them. And you will also tell all those childish fears that the danger is gone and it is time for them to go too because you are in charge now.

You may think that such experience may kill your past and make you forget about your family, but it is quite the opposite. It will make you more human and it will release your anger and all that energy of your soul that has been locked in old half-processed emotions. It will leave you with a sense of gratitude and warmth toward people who once surrounded you - even if most of the time they were total jerks!

You can remember bad things only if you cling onto them, but good things are remembered without any effort.
© Andrei Palskoi 2004-2008. All rights reserved.