One of the things I take most pride in is the story of my birth. And while I may deserve no credit whatsoever for the context and scope of the event, as a lover of good stories, I have always considered it a very fortunate coincidence to have been born on the day the anti-communist revolution started in Romania. December 16th 1989, two weeks after the due date, and with medical complications that kept me on life support until the political situation in the country had been stabilised, and the promise of freedom had been made.
And freedom has forever been my most valued and sought after life principle and fundamental value. Freedom: in all of its stages, all of its manifestations, all of its forms of expression, all of its ups and downs, as a dynamic, conscious, active process, because freedom is a verb. It is being created and conquered through our thoughts, words, choices and actions.
Reading my articles, you’ve probably noticed that one of the most recurrent words of use is “unapologetic”. To me, this word represents one of the many facets of freedom, that of ownership of one’s life, with all it entails, which could boil down to harmony between body, mind, and spirit, where everything we think, say, feel and do is aligned with our true nature.
After my birth, the task of keeping me alive was shared between my grandma and grandpa, with grandpa taking the morning shift, while my granny was going to work. It may not account to much, yet I do like to believe that during that time, some of his awesomeness brushed off on me, serving as a model of such perfect balance between the inner and the outer experience.
10 years after his passing, I continue to discover or understand anecdotes about his existence, which teach me lessons of conduct, morality, ethics, turning ideas into projects, tackling tense situations humorously and light-heartedly, living as transparently, charmingly and fluidly as an hourglass, allowing life to take its course, in a spirit of honesty, frankness, wit and joie de vivre.
While he was on his deathbed, tranquilised against the pain and sedated against being an annoyance to the medical staff, on Christmas morning, we called over a priest, for my grandpa to have a confession and a final communion. The priest started reading a long list of sins and asking my grandpa which of them he had committed, having, at the end, collected a rather impressive list of unlawful actions to which my grandpa had confessed. Since the prerequisite for receiving forgiveness is admitting to your mistakes, the priest asked my grandpa :”Do you regret what you did?”
Drowsy from his medication and weakened from his disease, my grandpa firmly, loudly and dismissively claimed: “I DON’T REGRET ANYTHING!” Although back then the statement made me gasp in fear of my grandpa’s afterlife prospects as an unrepentant, this morning I realised that, in fact, having lived his life in permanent awareness of his emotions, having always acted from a place of kindness, fairness, frankness, integrity, loyalty, morality, responsibility, self-respect, trustworthiness, genuineness, justness; having always been unforgiving to injustice, lie, deceit, laziness, immorality and dishonesty, my grandpa did indeed have nothing to repent, regret, doubt himself about, feel guilty or remorseful over, since throughout his existence he had achieved an unequalled freedom of spirit, by which he always found the courage and strength to be true to who he was.
It goes without saying that my grandpa permanently reinvents himself as a role-model to me, and I couldn’t be more grateful and humbled in cherishing his legacy and sharing his story, so that other people may be inspired to pursue their own path, knowing that breaking free from the shackles of guilt is a great power, which one must make use of responsibly and selflessly.
As I continue to pursue my own path to freedom, to truth and to justice, sometimes tripping, sometimes crawling, sometimes falling, sometimes stuttering, sometimes my voice shaking, I send a loving reminder to you all embarked on the same journey and experiencing the same struggles, that the key to happiness is to never apologise for who we are and what we do, when our actions speak our truth.