Long ago an eagle was flying with its eggs to a new tree. Unbeknownst to her one of the eggs fell into the pond below. The eaglet hatched with the brood of ducks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the ducks did, thinking he was one of them. He swam all day and hunted for food like the rest of them did, played with them, ate with them and heard duck stories from the elders. He clucked, quacked and would thrash his wings and even fly a few feet into the air. As days went by he was the happiest little bloke. But his heart burned with an unknown desire. Sometimes he would see this magnificent bird high above him in a cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. He secretly wished he could be like that creature. One day a “Yogi” came to the pond. He saw the chicks playing happily and suddenly noticed the eaglet. He asked the eaglet what he was doing in the pond. “I am a duckling”, he said. The learned one knew exactly what might have happened. He picked up the eagle kindly and asked, “Do you not want to fly?” The eaglet was shocked as he had discussed his desire with no one. “Well yes… but….” he faltered, “I am a duckling. How can I?” The yogi carried the bird to the top of the hill and held him high above his head. The eagle screamed with fear and apprehension. The Yogi smiled and released him. The bird started falling helplessly and in a flash he remembered the magnificent bird in the sky. He started to flap his wings. And lo and behold he was flying, gliding through the skies. He was doing something he had always wanted to do. He knew for sure that this is where he belonged….
So many of us are like that little fellow. We live the way we do because we know no other way of living. We may see someone doing or saying or being exactly what we want to be. We maybe jealous that they can do what we never could. We may fear the possibility of failure to be what we want to be. But we never try. We are what our parents wanted us to be. What the society expects of us. What filial pressures turn us into. But we are too scared to be what we really want to be. Is it the fear of failure or fear of being ridiculed and snubbed??? We trim ourselves constantly to fit the different criteria set on us by those who matter to us but have we realised how little of ourselves is left in the end?
Don’t get me wrong we may be perfectly happy with our lot. The little eagle was. A happy world. Friends, family, security… We may live a life as a successful banker, doctor or lawyer, a happy family, a warm home to come back to, work colleagues and friends who hold us in high regard…. But for some of us, is that really enough? Take my dearest friend for instance. He loves cricket! He would have loved to be a cricketer and was a gifted batsman. He has followed every ball of every match of cricket ever played. But he had to give up his passion because his father thought he was gifted academically and he could earn and make a living for his family if he became an engineer. Nothing wrong with that and he did what his father wanted and is very happy with the life he leads. Successful engineer, great job, financial security – the works. But in the field of cricket, he is a respected critique of the game. One that everyone admires for his in depth knowledge and expertise. But I know that that is not enough. It is not the same as if he had actually played a game and represented the state or the country!!! In fact just hand him a bat and see his face transform!!!!! Its like you wouldn’t even recognise him!!!! After all, a white horse just needs black stripes to look like a zebra!! But the animals are a world apart.
“My work sucks”, “why does it have to be Monday?”, “I wish I could go on a holiday.” we complain rave and rant, because its easy. But to do something about it is really hard. Its really hard to dare to be yourself! Not all of us are lucky enough to find an angel that comes to us and transforms us in a flash. We need to all do it ourselves. To be myself I need to know, understand, and accept myself first. Find the time to dwell upon what I value and take time to consider what makes up the essence of who I am. Its an acquired art but one that is most satisfying. Oscar Wilde once said with his usual wit: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. As humorous as this might seem, it’s a basic summation of the truth. Define yourself. Start with the “me” and then allow others to find themselves – whether or not its something that fits in with your scheme of things for them. Trust me, more people are in this boat than you would like to think.
So here’s to me… and to all those who come into my world!!!