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  • Writer's pictureDr. Emi Garzitto

You Are Your Past

You are not your past. Tony Robbins

If there is any dispute that your traits and beliefs are passed down through your DNA, you haven't organized a cultural event or a family reunion.

I am an Italian Canadian.  Both of my parents immigrated to Canada in the early 60's.  They came from Friuli, a small north eastern region with its own unique language, culture and food traditions. This year, I decided to help out with the Vancouver chapter.

I am doing this to help the community transition from my parent's generation, to my nieces and nephews generation. At least that is what I tell myself.

Furlans have their own way of doing things.  They are doers - accustomed to getting things done with their hands and their hearts. They are hard workers, and my time organizing an event for them bears this out.  I see 60 somethings, 70 somethings doing things I struggle to do in my 50 something. The photo above, with the massive sized pot of polenta lovingly stirred with the drywall mixer speed set to medium high pretty much sums up the Furlan way of doing things.

My motto has always been, "shoot first, then aim."  It has brought me some fantastic adventures and I have been able to achieve things that would not have happened if I were to fully plan it out.  Of course, this strategy has its fall backs. I have many blunders, both funny and fiasco, to thank for this way of being.

I notice all the people around me, strangely, hold the same motto.

Mario, the president, is running around trying to problem solve all of the setbacks that are taking place an hour before the event is taking place.

The mother of one of the performers, and a long standing member of the organization, passed away two days ago.

Dignitaries arrive without having been invited to the event.

Groups of people arrive an hour before the doors are scheduled to open, while the technical of the performance is continuing to take place.

Other groups of people ignore the seating arrangements.

The guy running the bar is late.

"Mario, can you turn on the air conditioning?", I say.

He stops what he's doing and rushes to complete it.

"Finish what you are doing, Mario and then turn on the air conditioning.  It can wait."

I vaguely resemble his behavior.  The impulse to complete the task at hand, and to do it fast and do it NOW. That's me.

And I see me, everywhere I go. The good, the bad, the ugly.

I am there in my impatience with some of the audience members.

I am there in my ability to think on my feet.

I am there in my ability to honor the past and my traditions.

I am there in my impulse to take things personally.

I show up.

And so does my history. I am my past, yet, as the Tony Robbins quote suggests, I am not my past.  I am a mix of both. Whether I want to admit it or not, the remnants of all those stories still circulate in my blood.  They are mixed with all the stories that stack their weights, both for and against, all the stories lived in the lives before me and before me and before me.

What are the parts of your world that need to be honored and celebrated? Which stories bear repeating? Which ones deserve a courageous and speedy death?  The stories are all there, waiting for you to move, tweak, honor or annihilate.

If you ask me, I would pick one, shoot it, and then aim. On second thought, it might be an idea to think about it carefully, before you make a decision.

See? Even I can make a change and learn from my history.

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