Let’s Create Our Story
Have you had the experience of several streams of thought coming together into one? I did tonight.
I attended a story telling class geared toward healers. Our instructor recounted a story which shared the same bones as The Ugly Duckling. Only the family was a group of chickens and the duckling/swan was an eagle. It is said the eagle fell from his nest as a young one to live amongst the chickens. He learned how to “be chicken.” He pecked his food from the ground, and spent most of his days there, with the exception of occasionally sitting on a low farm fence.
One day a naturalist drove by and was taken by this sight. Determined to assist the eagle in finding his authentic self, the naturalist went about slowly but surely encouraging the eagle to return to his native state. He began by making a connection with the bird until he was comfortable enough to perch about his arm. Then, he reminded him who he really is, “You are an eagle,” he whispered in one ear, “King of the bird kingdom,” he’d state firmly in the other. This reminder stirred something within the eagle as he began to exercise his wing span, eventually to lift from the ground. Still confused between his learned chicken hood and his new flight, he would revert to chicken behavior. One morning, just as the sun was rising, the naturalist drove the bird up to the tallest mountain the region, stood on the edge of it and released the bird into flight. Soaring throughout the sky, the native elders looked up and smiled. Eagled returned this smile.
As this story was told, something within me stirred. A decade or so ago I read the book Cultural Creatives and continue to read it annually and give it for gifts. This book is the culmination of a twenty year sociological study which followed a group of individuals the sociologists came to name “Cultural Creatives.” This unique and growing group of individuals quietly introduced mainstream to alternative medicine, hybrid cars, organic food, consciousness studies, etc. Known as a group which doesn’t buy into or play by the norms, this independent group prefers human connection over money in their hierarchy of values. These individuals have a shared story. They thought they were born into the wrong family. So different was their authentic being from the family operations they wondered if they were adopted or if something was innately wrong with them.
This parable freed me today because it reminded me my definition of family is much bigger than those I’m on the ground eating with. Not that anything is wrong with the ground, chicken feed or the life of a chicken. However, if you aren’t a chicken, then to try and be one feels funny.
Three streams of thought converged within me. The first was the impact of this story. A greater conviction to be me took hold. The second stream was the memory of all of the other hundreds of thousands of individuals who felt different from their original family. The final thought strand was the impetus for taking the class in the first place. Howard Schultz, Starbuck’s CEO, says in his book Onward that the greatest leadership skill one can possess is the ability to tell a story.
To my fellow eagles, let’s continue to tell each other stories of freedom, building and finding community, self expression and deep, deep, love.