How Did I Get Here?
By Eldon Taylor
How did I get where I am and how do I get where I want to be"that is the question?
Most people at some time in their lives look inward and ask something akin to how did I get here? Sometimes this question is disguised in other forms like, "Why do I get so angry? Or "Why did I say that? Or why does that bother me? or "How did I let myself get so fat? Or "Why do I smoke? There are so many whys that etc., etc., etc., as in the movie "The King and I is simply inadequate. In other words, there is the discovery that our potential self has not yet been activated. Indeed, all too often the discovery of who we have become so pales by contrast to our ambitions, goals and inner calling that it's easy to find the entire matter depressing. It is therefore not uncommon for blame to function as a defense strategy if for no other reason than to lift the burden of self-disappointment from one's shoulders.
It's easy for anyone to ask the question of anyone, so how high is up? It is equally easy for even the most successful to question their individual worth, not in terms of wealth, but more particularly as a person. So as not to unnecessarily belabor the point, I'll leave the matter with the words of Woodrow Wilson, "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
If like most, you find that in some ways you simply have not fulfilled your dreams or reached your mark, it is likely that you too will ask the question, "How did I get here? There is a valuable tutorial story that is worth repeating before examining the road to self-betrayal, self-limitation, self-defeat, and most certainly that inner road that stifles dreams, ambitions and so forth while encouraging discouragement.
It seems there was a female eagle that fell from her nest at a very young age. She wandered until happening onto a chicken yard where an older hen adopted and raised her. The chickens taught the eagle the way of chickens. She learned to dig holes and wiggle down into them on hot days so as to stay cool. She learned to scratch with her talons and soon became treasured for her ability to scratch deep into the earth. She learned many things from the chickens and despite her size became loved by all. She was secure in her chicken house surrounded by her friends and adopted mother. Still, she sometimes felt out of place, uneasy in ways she could not explain, unfilled and un-natural. Her friends would reassure her. They would let her know things like other chickens didn't always lay an abundance of eggs and not hens made so much noise when they did lay an egg. She would confide in her closest friends and most would reassure her that this was life and she would adjust in time. She needed only to try harder; after all, her maternal mother had failed her. This was comforting, for it wasn't her fault"her maternal mother was to blame. Unlike Jonathan Livingston Seagull, there were no great Seagulls to teach her otherwise. So, her potential, the possibilities in life, went altogether unknown until one day when a male eagle flying overhead spotted her grubbing in the chicken yard.
She is such a grand Eagle, he thought, so he began to descend to speak with her, but one of the chickens caught a glimpse of his shadow and called to all. The female eagle, who all called Nina, together with the chickens quickly scurried to the chicken house where they hid the rest of the afternoon. The male eagle was confused, but determined.
Days passed before he gained his opportunity. Darting out of the sky with the sun in his face he cut off Nina's retreat almost before any in the yard were aware he was approaching. All of the chickens hid in the chicken house"not one dared to venture out to even see what might be happening to Nina.
Trapped the male eagle, Nina crouched down in fear, almost paralyzed by her expectation. "Why are you here, he asked. Unable to answer Nina could only tremble and look down. "What are you doing here? he went on. "I have never seen an eagle nesting with chickens, though I've heard of them. Have you lost your mind girl?"
Nina looked up. She suddenly had an idea"for she was a smart chicken. "Did you call me an eagle? she meekly enquired.
"Of course, you are one. Have you not looked at yourself? Have you not felt the urge to stretch your wings and soar? Have you not felt out of place with these chickens? Do you think those talons were made to dig in the earth? I have watched you for days now; you do everything the chickens do. Why?"
Nina now stared in his eyes, they were large and brown. His pupils were dark black and nearly filled his entire eye. He looked as though he could see forever. "You"ve watched me? she added.
"Yes girl"I've watched you, but I don't understand. You are capable of so much. I could tell you stories for days of adventures and sights that have filled my life"that should fill yours. You were created with such an unlimited potential"you simply don't belong in this yard for a day. You are a beautiful and capable eagle. Can't you see that? Don't you believe me? Have you spent your entire life here?"
Nina felt stronger now. Something was wrong with this eagle. He must have some Messianic complex, she thought. Imagine him telling her she could soar. Nina spoke, "So I'm an eagle and I can soar and do things you can show me that I have never done? Is that right?"
"It's in you girl. Follow your feelings. Be natural. You're not a chicken, I promise."
"So then, Nina continued, since I'm an eagle, you're not going to hurt me."
"Of course not"what non-sense is that?"
"Well then, Nina confidently added, "Show me'step aside so I could leave if I chose to."
With that, the male eagle stepped back and out of Nina's path. She seized the opportunity and made the best of her plan, running straight for the chicken house. Once inside she told the chickens how she had out-smarted that dumb old eagle. They all laughed and rewarded her with their chicken appreciation, "Your such a good smart chicken Nina! The old rooster chicken even spoke nicely to Nina, "I'm proud of you Nina"you certainly did outsmart that eagle."
By now, the moral to this story is obvious. Most have been enculturated during maturation to accept and believe certain things that may, and likely do, betray their real potential. Like chickens in the chicken yard, we have all been imprinted. Behavioral scientists use this term to refer to the process where by animals seek to be accepted by imitating their peers. A duckling raised in a chicken yard will behave like a chicken, and so forth. The first tutorial advantage this story provides gives rise to this question: how many chicken beliefs limit you now?
Copyright 2005 Eldon Taylor
About The Author
Eldon Taylor, Ph.D. is the author of over 200 books and tapes. He is the director of Progressive Awareness Research. Visit http://www.innertalk.com.
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