Breaking Free

“If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force, Life begins. Great things always begin on the inside.”

3378496797_592b53dd4fSeveral years ago, we started raising chickens by setting up two incubators in the spare bedroom and hatching eggs. The incubators were the manual type in which we had to simple thermostats and egg racks, but I had to manually  maintain proper humidity and turn the eggs by hand four times per day for the entire 21 days. During those 21 days, I did not sleep more than 6 hours at a time.

Finally the eighteenth day came when I started hearing peeping within the eggs and started seeing peck holes in the eggs. I could see the tiny beaks inside the eggs pecking away at the shells. Soon wet and exhausted little chicks began to flop out of the shells and lay wet on the egg rack. Within the hour the little chicks rested, dried out,  and active little balls of fuzz which moved freely over the eggs that remained in the incubator. They were ready to be moved from the incubator to the brooder that I had set up in another room.

newly_hatched_chick2

The first chicks that made their way out of their shells were lively, but as time went on, the chicks who had not yet freed themselves of the shells were much more sluggish and unable to get themselves out. Some chicks died in their shell. It seemed unfair that these poor little animals should have to suffer inside the eggs simply because they could not manage to remove those shells. I felt that I had to do something to help them.  I helped the chicks that were in their shell and still alive. I helped them by easing the shells off their tiny weak bodies. Most of these chicks, however, ended up dying before they ever made it out of the incubator. What I didn’t realize was that getting out of the shell was a necessary skill that the chick had to accomplish on his own. Depending on outside help would not work. The changes in the chick’s circumstances had to come from the inside.

Each one of the chick’s pecks weren’t much in the large scheme of things. The chick had to manage focused consistent actions in order to accomplish his goal of getting out of the shell that held him trapped within it.

I can take a lesson from the chick in the egg. Just as the chicken is responsible to remove his own shell, I am responsible for any progress I make in my life. Just as one single pecking action on the shell doesn’t free a chick, one single action that I do in a day won’t make much of a difference. However, if I do that action, and it is the right action, and I do it daily, it will make a difference. I cannot depend on anyone on the outside. I am required to make the right competitive actions to reach my goals as well. To fail to continue action means that like the chick, I would remain remain in my own shell. No one can free me. I must do it myself. Freedom is an inside job.

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