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History is toxic

Those of you who know me know that I love to share my beliefs and perspectives about what I consider to be the fundamentals of how to live in harmony with oneself and others and that one of my favourite themes is that in order to understand each other we need to step out of our own constructed identity. Those of you who know me better or at least more recently are also likely to have heard me share that I am tired of listening to my own story and striving to step out of that box. In recent years I have become increasingly conscious of how identifying with our own story can limit our capacity to manifest our potential to create a better life, a fulfilling relationship, a better career or a creative project.

Witnessing my own reactions in recent years to the media stories during the Trump era, the covid crisis, and now Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine I have worked on broadening my understanding of the situations by examining how my own conditionings from the stories I have been told have prejudiced and polarized my views. I recently watched an interesting Ted interview with historian Yuval Noah Harari called The War in Ukraine Could Change Everything:

He made several interesting points about the context of this crisis in terms of the history of past wars, hot and cold. When he pointed out that this invasion has united the other nations who had previously been in conflict with each other as well as the political divisions of left and right, it reminded me how even the devisive covid crisis had also made nations forget about their differences in their need for global cooperation.

What particularly caught my attention was his expressing his shame about sharing his knowledge of history. He referred to how each time Putin has been interviewed about his reasons for invading the Ukraine most of the time is taken up by Putin lecturing his audience on history. Yuval pointed out that remembering history is what motivates people to be at war with one another. If we could just let go of our memory of the past there would be a lot less division in the world and much more likelihood of peaceful cooperation.

It might seem extreme for me to claim that history is toxic. That was meant to catch your attention. Of course we can learn lessons from history but holding on to it can also prevent us from moving on. When we ingest food, we take in what nourishes us and a lot of it passes through our system to be excreted as waste. If we hold on to our shit, shit will happen, sooner or later, and the longer we hold on to it the more toxic it will be to our system. Both for our our personal evolution and our survival and evolution as a species we need to let go of our story and be open to change.

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