One fateful July day in 2014, I had a bit of a breakdown… or a breakthrough? It was like all the feelings that I had been stuffing down for most of my life came bubbling up to the surface, all at once. I came to realize that I had been neglecting my true self, and since then, I've been consciously embarking on a journey of self-discovery. I've had a number of life-changing encounters and revelations since then: A tarot reader helped me realize that I needed to get in touch with my intuition and authentic self, I learned about the power of introverts from Susan Cain's TED Talk and book, Quiet. I also discovered I was an “HSP” – a highly sensitive person whose nervous system is more sensitive than the average person. I studied Carl Jung's work and the process of individuation. When trying online dating for the first time, I noticed some people were including sets of 4 letters in their profiles. I discovered that these were Myers-Briggs personality types (also known as MBTI). I took the test at 16personalities.com, and learned that I have the rarest personality type: INFJ. Included at the end of my test results was a very inspiring story….
The Eagle and the Prairie Chicken
A native brave came upon an eagle's egg that had fallen out of its nest. Unable to find the nest, the brave put the egg in the nest of a prairie chicken.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of prairie chicken chicks, and grew up with them. All his life, the foundling eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what prairie chickens do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And when he flew, he flew with a brief thrashing of his wings and a flurry of feathers no more than a few dozen yards at a time, and never more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that's how prairie chickens fly so that's how he flew.
Years passed and the foundling eagle grew very large and very powerful. Though he certainly didn't look like a prairie chicken, he acted like one. One day, he happened to look up and saw a magnificent bird soaring in the sky far above the prairie grass. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
“What a beautiful bird!” exclaimed the foundling eagle to a fellow prairie chicken in admiration. “What is it?”
“That's the eagle – the proudest, strongest and most magnificent of all birds.” clucked the prairie chicken in reply. “But don't give him a second thought. We are prairie chickens and you could never be like him.”
Trusting in the prairie chicken's words, the foundling eagle went back to scratching for seeds and bugs and put the eagle out of his mind to remain shackled in this belief. Tragically, the eagle died believing he was a chicken, never to realize his full potential.
. . .
This tragic story struck me on the deepest level. I've always struggled with feeling like I don't fit in and have a deep frustration with how our society is structured and brainwashes us to live as “chickens” without questioning it. I knew that I was THE EAGLE and felt an intense determination to learn to fly and make my own way in the world, authentically.