This past weekend I saw 12 Years A Slave, not knowing anything about it when I published this back in February. It was a beautifully executed, powerful film that inspired me to re-run my post this week.

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With the current release of films like Lincoln and Django Unchained, and BET’s bringing the acclaimed ’70’s TV series Roots out of the vault, there’s been a spotlight on and discussion about this essential part of our nation’s history both on screen and off.

Whether or not you are a direct descendant of someone who lived or worked on a plantation in the 19th century, all of us in the 21st century, no matter who or where we came from, can check in to see which areas of our lives need to be emancipated from the tyranny of whatever is keeping us down, holding us back and making us feel ‘less-than’ in both subtle and overt ways.

Oprah expressed it perfectly when she called slavery “A machine to create inferiority.”  You can only imagine what amazing strength, utter self-belief and profound self-worth was required to break out of that mentality, to really know who you are and be able to simply exist, let alone thrive, despite others perceiving you, and often treating you in, well, let’s just say a most unfavorable way. What it would take to preserve and protect your self, your spirit and your soul under such circumstances is beyond comprehension.

We certainly continue to struggle with the legacy and repercussions of slavery in terms of race on a daily basis in a variety of ways, while at the same time have come very far. But regardless of the color of our skin, there are more inconspicuous ways that we are judged by others, much of which has to do with what we think of ourselves when we look in the mirror, are alone with our thoughts and by the choices we make in every area of our lives.

The foundation of who we are reaches far and wide throughout our work, relationships, health and everyday life so the stronger and deeper your tree grows, the more you can weather even a storm like Sandy. Yes, you might lose a few branches along the way, but you won’t be knocked out for good! So take some time this month to connect to the root of who you are, using this last part of winter to develop, heal and love yourself so you can blossom more fully come Spring.

You might have some family roots to dig up or some grass roots to build up in the process, but the bottom line is that if you look at any problem, challenge or change you want to make and trace it back to it’s ultimate root, if you’re honest with yourself, will find that the buck stops with you. Remember, this is always good news – because that means you can do something about it.

Having a little trouble connecting all the genealogical dots of your career and/or life? Give me a buzz and I will get to the root the matter, so just like Alex and Kunta in Africa, we can find you!

*Today’s PGG was originally posted on February 6, 2013

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