“The Sky is falling.” ~ Henny Penny (a.k.a. Chicken Little)
I used to think there was a reason for living that would suddenly hit me on the head like Chicken Little had happen to her, in that nursery rhyme I was told as a child.
Maybe there is a moment when we wake up and realize what we thought for so long was no longer right, and our confusion about life and self becomes clear.
In the case of Henny Penny, her awakening began first with the belief that disaster was imminent and immediate, and that there was always a threat of destruction waiting in the distance (proved to her by an acorn that hit her on the head).
And isn’t this what many of us believe daily?
We misinterpret our interactions with life, and we see danger and feel fear when circumstances are often neutral.
There was a certain idea that I surely have been stuck on, that what is happening here and now is not “okay,” and that what might happen in the future will be a punishment for not living defiantly enough today.
Sometimes, I feel like we carry ancestral burdens with us. Perhaps, some believe too that we carry the patterns of past lifetimes with us also. In yoga, we call these samskaras; in Sanskrit this translates to joined or fused imprints that settle into our subconscious and become habits. In Buddhism, we call this samsara, the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Which points us to a good and ancient question: how do we wake up and out of old patterns that no longer serve us?
Our society is rapidly changing, and it is hard for many of us to keep up with daily demands. As adults, we try to live a life that will keep “the sky from falling” everyday. We paradoxically think too that what we are doing here might be questionable or not altogether right; this a prominent phenomena called “imposter syndrome,” a misbelief that produces huge amounts of fear.
We spin our wheels, our duties, our jobs, our titles, our roles, and our feelings of responsibility until we get wound up in tight little balls wondering why we are anxious and worried all the time.
We have been led to believe we are not doing enough, that we could not do enough possibly with the time we are allotted in one day, and it is true…because there’s a piece of us that strongly attaches to the fact that we are not good. This is a samskara that motivates many. We have succumbed to an old conditioning that we must prove our worthiness. Since though, we do not know what would prove this, we will forever be trying.
I titled this article with an anti-anthem to Tina Turner’s massive hit from the 80’s, “What’s love got to do with it?” because I truly believe this one word “love,” is what can support us in being okay and feeling worthy once more. I feel love is the one way that we will learn to live with ourselves as good enough, and stop becoming those tight little balls of anxiety and degraded self-worth.
Sound easy? Right. So. Love. How do we do that? For me, it has been a journey. Recently though, I have been setting an intention that everything I do be motivated from a place of love. This intention has led me to see that most people’s actions do originate (even if it is way back, beneath many layers of delusion) from a place of love.
Here’s a simple practice I have begun doing which helps me let go of patterns of fear and anxiety:
I place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly or solar plexus. I simply breathe for a few cycles of inhalation and exhalation and feel my body, breath, and heart.
I silently tell myself: A) You are okay. B) You are doing enough. C) I choose to move from love.
Then, I repeat this several times.
I do believe we are here for love. Perhaps, I did not wake up one morning with a chunk of the sky falling on my head telling me so, but I have asked daily for years, “What is the real point.” This is the closest answer I have found.
Love is what I feel might stop our feeling that, “the sky is falling,” or imminent danger is in sight.
It is important we begin to change stories we have been carrying—understanding that we are here for something more than to live in fear (for those of us who have this privilege).
It is a great opportunity for many of us now to not have to fight for love, because we learn to have it here and now.
When I wake up each morning, I focus on what I have to do, what I want to do, and what I can do—and, yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming. I hear that Henny Penny voice, “Oh the sky.” I touch my heart and my belly, and I whisper, “love.”
If we moved from love rather than fear, maybe our lives would feel easier. And maybe, just maybe we could change the pattern of our life purpose from being an “emergency” into meeting it as a “joy ride.”
Author: Sarah Norrad
Image: Giulia Bertelli/Unsplash
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson