Look to the past to enhance your future!

On this first day of black history month, I am not going to do the traditional, MLK, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks type of tribute. I will simply say that you must go back to your roots in order to move forward.
One thing in my life that has inspired me since my rhetoric class in undergad... shouts out to Dr. Shird, is the Sankofa bird. For those who are unfamiliar the Sankofa is an African term that symbolizes "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten." The egg in its mouth represents the "gems" or knowledge of the past upon which wisdom is based; it also signifies the generation to come that would benefit from that wisdom. It's a lifelong quest for knowledge, where your quest is based by critically examining your past in order to excel towards a bright future. A more familiar saying in American culture is "You can't know where you're going unless you know where you come from."

In recent years I have not done this. I have not looked toward things in my past as a way to advance. I have been living in that moment and that moment only and making the best of it at that given time. Before the last couple months I had been so sure of myself, my career path, and my personal life that I never even took a moment to reflect. But having no personal life, finishing a graduate degree program, and the challenges I have recently been facing on the job has caused me to remember this little bird. Over the past couple of weeks, (especially since I saw a special screening of the Black Magic Documentary... Click HERE to read more about that) I have really taken the time to look back and gather the best of what my past has taught me in order to make sense of things currently going on in my life so that I can move forward to my full potential. Another aspect of this bird is that it teaches "Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated. In order to understand our present and ensure our future, we must know our past."

So I am vowing now to not only live in the present, but to reflect on my past as well.

9 comments

Karrie B. February 1, 2008 at 6:32 PM

i'm down with that.

-karrie b.

K.Victoria February 1, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Just beautiful! I have always valued the concept of Sankofa. Our past is such a large part of us, we simply can not forget it.

Yes sis, that bird is on my page. It follows me everywhere I go.

Have a great Super Bowl weekend!!

Mr.Slish February 1, 2008 at 6:55 PM

You just made me realize why I started blogging in the first place...I needed to reflect so I started writing shit down.I started to read what I wrote and figured out I was a real asshole back in the day...lol

Desy February 1, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Reflection- that is probably the best thing about blogging. You have a log of how the hell you got to be where you are... People forget sometimes, and it is always nice to look back... Nice post

Homer is My Co-pilot February 1, 2008 at 7:42 PM

This reminds me of a post you did way back about the Purpose driven life, how is that book going for you? I just found my copy buried under my desk.

And don't worry I'm not holding anything against you, I just forgot to comment earlier.

Skoolboi Krush February 1, 2008 at 8:27 PM

I'm especially going to use this principle in my social life. Remembering past lessons learned so I don't have to learn them all over again.

The Jaded NYer February 2, 2008 at 11:50 PM

I had a similar realization today while attending a writers' conference in midtown; thanks for this great post.

AND thanks for giving me the blueprint for my next ink!! That Sankofa is going to feel right at home on the nape of my neck...

fallen angel February 4, 2008 at 1:58 AM

i have the adinkra symbol for sankofa tattooed on my right arm (the curly looking heart). i love your site and i intend to keep coming back! :-)

1/3 of what I used to be February 4, 2008 at 4:48 PM

I like this post alot! I always knew there was a special significance of looking in your past for the future. I hope you dont mind me adopting this philiosphy for myself as well:-)

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