I had planned to write a completely different, much less soul-achy, crack-the-heart-open-and-put-it-on-display piece today but when I sat down at my laptop my fingers started pouring this out and I had to trust that this was just what I needed to write today; that it might be just what you need to hear right now.
A couple of years ago I heard this analogy about certain people we meet in life, and it has stuck with me ever since. It goes something like this: a mother eagle carefully selects the safest, highest point of a cliff to lay her eggs on. She will spend days building the perfect nest; one that is just the right mix of softness and support, of protection and openness. Once the chicks are hatched, the mother eagle tends to their every need, fetches them food, ensures their comfort and makes sure they have the very best start to life.
Then, one day, she stops bring them food.
She starts dismantling the nest.
Eventually, she abandons the chicks all together.
At this point, the chicks face two choices: either stay in the once-comfortable nest and succumb to an almost-certain death or sidle over to the edge and take a leap of faith, trusting that their wings will work, that they will soar. And soar they do.
We all have that person who infuriates us, the one who pushes so damn hard on our buttons and makes us wonder what we did to have the misfortune of ever crossing their path. It seems as if they were put on this planet of ours simply to cause us grief.
These people are our mother eagles. They’re the ones who show up and say, “Hey! You know this situation? The one that used to feel so comfortable and right and good but now feels a whole lot like discomfort since I showed up? Yeah, that one. It’s time to do something different, something that terrifies you, something that feels big.”
Mother eagles show up when your life is set to cruise. Their point is to be the catalyst for change, to propel you into new things, so instead of ruing the day you met them, what would happen if you stopped and listened to what they were telling you? What if you told your ego to be quiet for a moment in order to let your heart really hear the message you are being sent? Imagine the possibilities. How much easier would life be if instead of resisting the mother eagle, you thanked them, and jumped?
Real, tangible, grabs-you-by-the-heart life happens in those moments after your feet leave the edge and you momentarily hang before your wings propel you into whatever is next. And your wings always appear. None of us are ever set up to fail at this. I know with every inch of my being that our inherent truth as humans is to soar, to grow, to thrive. We’ve just forgotten it along the way, so more and more mother eagles are appearing in our lives. You feel it too? Let’s just listen, jump and fly.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Go and do that thing, you cute baby eagle you.