American civil rights leader and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois once said, "The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become." In Du Bois's lifetime, Dr. Robin says these words held a special importance for African-Americans who had freed themselves from the bonds of slavery and were looking to build a new and better life.
Yet she says Du Bois's message goes beyond a literal emancipation."[Du Bois] really was known for his groundbreaking work of helping African-American people to see themselves as being fully human with souls and minds emancipated—not just in terms of race, but in terms of their whole personhood," she says.
Dr. Robin says Du Bois's message rings true for all of us: We must let go of the past and embrace the possibilities that the present and the future hold.
Dr. Robin asks, "How many times have you found yourself stuck in the past, stuck in trying to be loyal to a family ritual … that you found yourself trying to walk the family line and not walk the line that really represents who your soul was created to be? That you found yourself married to the past—the past that really isn't paving the way for the future that you could have, the job you want, the relationship you want to have?"
In ridding ourselves of the old behaviors, memories or ways of thinking that hold us back, Dr. Robin says we can reach our real purpose. "What Dr. Du Bois is inviting you with all his wisdom and brilliance, is to reclaim what actually is already ours: your soul and your spirit and your own individuality; the breaking away from the old things that are actually entombing you while you're still alive, taking forth and draining you of your life force and of your power.
"Decide that you're going to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become," Dr. Robin says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, December 10, 2013