Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Return Lvov.

Not many people will have heard of a city called Lvov. With over one million inhabitants it is an old 13th century town in the West of the Ukrain. The Ukrain is a large country north of the Black Sea with Kiev as a capital and over 48 million people living there. In the heart of Europe.
Lvov has belonged to Poland for over 600 years until the Soviets conquered and confiscated the town in 1944 and integrated it into the Ukrain.
They kicked out the Polish population which had to move West and settle in Poland.
Thousands and thousands of Poles were dislocated. Chased away from their homes and their communities where they had been living and prospering for centuries.
Their roots were cut off. They were disconnected. Displaced. Suddenly they became uninvited guests in existing communities. They were made perpetual strangers. Forever from somewhere else. The border between Poland and the Ukrain was closed for many years. No going back, not even for a nostalgic holiday
But life goes on. That is the only choice.

Events in history, like the Second World War, result in people without roots. Often they become victims of those circumstances. Many are not able to deal with the psychological turbulence caused by being uprooted and displaced. They fall ill. Mentally and physically. They become marginal in society. They have a life without roots and consequently without a foundation to build upon a sound existence. They are without a social integration deep enough to feel safe and secure. They have lives which get lost.

But some of the rootless and displaced people come to see, after much suffering and confusion, being innovative and creative by nature, that it can also be a huge advantage not to have a specific bond with a tradition, a culture and a nation.
A rootless and displaced person can believe to be free of all that. Free to create a life of its own. With self-chosen values and morals.
The belonging is not to the peoples anymore, but to oneself.
Once arrived on that platform of thinking, a whole new world opens up.
First of all, what seemed a negative in life, being rootless and displaced, is turned into something positive.
Second, once the conviction is there of belonging to oneself, the energy inside, the powers and talents can be exploited without being obstructed or limited.
There are countless examples in history of great artists who were uprooted and displaced who found a welcome in another society, and became extremely productive.

What is so fascinating about all this is to ask oneself why certain people manage to turn a situation which by nature is devastating and destructive into a positive opportunity.
To be uprooted and displaced is an extreme case of being challenged. In every day life we meet constantly challenges where we can decide to go up or to go down. In his film “Solaris” director Steven Soderbergh let an actor playing Guderian say: “There are no answers. There are only choices”.
To choose for the positive, and not wait for an answer which will never come, is by itself a same kind of action as choosing for the negative.
Many people have a tendency to lean towards the negative. Expecting negative things to happen. However, that is only a conditioning of the thinking. Lack of trust in life leads to negative projections which confirm, often also by the results of the actions undertaken with this negativity as a starting point, the rightness of lack of trust.
Unconditional trust in life, which is very much to our advantage, is so hard because we all know that we will die. How to trust life when any moment it can stop for us the privilege of living ?
There is a very easy solution for this dilemma of having to trust something which might cheat on us.
To think that we will die, is an absurd concept.
To die is not now. So it doesn’t exist. It is a serious probability, but not now.
In the here and the now is no dead. Where there is no dead, there can be hope and trust and a life free of fear.

Lvov is a beautiful town and one day it must be returned to Poland.

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