It begins in the dark. There is a hard exterior around us.
We can feel it. It's constricting. But at the same time, it's all we know.
It's safe here in this small, dark place.
But still, we know there's something more for us. What's beyond this darkness? What will we find if we leave our small, safe space?
Perhaps the better question is, what will happen if we don't leave? Nothing. Nothing doesn't sound so great. We know the nothing. And we know that soon, we're going to be too big, and the nothing will squeeze us until we are extinguished.
And so, we take the first step. We try something. We push on that wall a little bit. This puts a little crack in the shell. We take more steps, and more cracks are made.
This is a bit exhausting. What if this isn't worth it? What if we try to break free, only to find there's nothing out there? What if we break free only to find it's terrible, and scary?
Oh, but what if we break free and find things more majestic than we ever dreamed?
And so we try more, pushing, pushing, struggling, this is so much harder than it seemed. This could go on forever. Maybe we won't make it... maybe we're just not strong enough... or not meant to make it. How will we know when we're close? How will we know when the darkness will give way to something else? Will we ever know?
Maybe that doesn't matter. Staying in the shell will surely be worse, so we might as well keep trying. Keep going. There is nothing left but to have faith we'll make it. No matter what, just keep going.
And then something breaks! A crack goes all the way through, and ah, it's so bright! We hear something, what's out there? What's waiting for us? It's calling to us, just a little more, come on, this is it!
A bit more, a bit more, there... there it is! Freedom!
After all the effort it took to break free, to be in the light and see the colors, the faces, the newness. There's so much to see and do from this new vantage point!
The hard, dark interior of the shell no longer looks safe at all. Instead, it looks like what it is - a way to show us who we really are. Each step we took strengthened us. Each time we went on when we thought we couldn't taught us patience, resilience and focus.
We had to be awakened to our strength and courage. We had to face the fear of the unknown. We had to break free on our own, for if anyone had broken the shell for us, we would have never known all the potential waiting inside of us.
Maybe we were born to do this. Or maybe we learned how along the way. Maybe it's both, or something more we can't understand. All we know for sure is, life is so much sweeter outside of that shell, and what comes next will be full of more challenges, more glory, more things that push our limits. We will awaken more, coming to realize, this is an ever expanding, ever enriching process that began with one brave step, one miraculous desire to leave the known for the unknown.