“Oh yes, the past can hurt. The way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” – Rafiki from “The Lion King”
Hakuna Matata (Social Amnesia)
We are one big family. Us, humankind. Not always kind and certainly not always happy. As a Turkish person, I feel a weight and sadness descend upon me when I find out someone is a part of the Armenian diaspora. People who are part of a diaspora live far from their homeland, not by their personal choice. Genocide, wars, famine and tribal disputes have uprooted people for centuries. I was torn away from my friends, family and the country I love by Dad’s choice to raise his family within the Western culture. It still stings me to be so far from my homeland and culture.
Why do I feel a sense of personal guilt for what happened to Armenians? Am I personally responsible for casting them out of their homeland?I haven’t been alive long enough to have personal knowledge of what would have happened during World War I when the Ottoman Empire was being attacked by the Western forces. What I do know and experience is that there’s so much pain that goes unacknowledged and unhealed in my part of the world.
It is far easier to look up to politicians, religious leaders, even pop stars and footballers to save us and get us out of our rut. What about our personal responsibility as individuals? How conscious are we of the negative impact of disowned “negative emotions” when we cannot be fully present to the people around us? I see so many people deny any negative feelings they feel towards themselves and their families. They push all of that “nastiness” under a rug and put on a mask of happiness. When that happens, there are people like me, the sensitive types (some would label us “weak”) who trip up wondering why we can’t navigate a straightforward life. It’s not straightforward, that’s why. The surface we walk on is a landmine of pent up emotions, past hurts that no one has ever brought to the surface to be discussed, disarmed and healed.
There are so many people around me who keep looking forward to the next distraction so they don’t have to face their own roles within what we may observe as dysfunction. Obsession with holidays, sporting events, concerts, celebrities, TV shows, that’s the norm. Feeling things out, wondering why we get triggered (having emotional reactions), spending time with ourselves, in nature, meditating and seeking ways to connect and heal ancestral trauma is not the “in” thing to do. Yet, I find it absolutely essential for my day to day functioning.
In my experience, until we can truly love our family of origin (without expecting nothing from them), branching out, forming relationships with other people, having children, will only spread our trauma and bring greater misery.
The Wisdom Keepers
Among the “hakuna matata” lifestyle of no worries, and constant distractions, there are people like me who come out of the woodwork to annoy and knock some sense into the people around me. At times, I feel very much like Rafiki, the crazy baboon who reminds Simba to take responsibility, return home and claim his kingdom.
Look, no one likes to be whacked around with a stick. So people are a bit wary of me because in the past, I’d made the mistake of being too up front with my feelings about certain things without reading the general vibe of other people. People lashed out against me. It hurt me. A lot. I chose to learn and I continue to bring awareness (in doses others can handle).
I am not special or alone in being a wisdom keeper. There are wisdom keepers in every family, organisation, community or gathering. These are generally sensitive people who are highly curious, patient and able to listen to and remember other people’s stories. I hold many personal stories in my memory and with permission I share and publish some too.
Owning who I am, instead of running away from my sensitivities, emotions, hurts, mistakes and faults lifts me up where I can see events unfold around me with clarity. Does this make me a clairvoyant? I think, yes. I’m very clear about who I am and what I want and can focus my energy on what I want to achieve. This is something we can all do. There are tools and strategies that work for me that I share with others.
Whenever you can lift yourself up by your bootstraps, see what’s happening around you, you are in a privileged position. You can be from any walk of life, be white, red, brown, indigenous or even an alien, and achieve sovereignty. It will mean facing the past, learning from it and letting go of resentments, hurt and managing to love (at least be present with) the people who hurt you.
Over to you…
How does being with your family feel to you? Do past hurts and resentments come up? What lessons are you learning from those painful memories to move forward with learnings?