Rumi believed that our essence is the soul and that the body is a temporary cage from which the soul yearns to return to the Beloved. Kafka said "I am a cage, in search of a bird." Those of us who are deeply spiritual know that at our cores we are so much greater than the sum of our parts, that in the words of C. S. Lewis "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." And yet, we imprison ourselves within the walls of our fears, within a mental cage inside the spiritual cage that prevents us from living fully, afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, afraid of what others might think. People protect themselves from pain, by wearing masks, by grasping to old memories rather than creating new ones, by failing to love fully, by committing partially. By sheltering our hearts from the lows, we fail to experience the highs. In protecting against sadness, we protect against happiness. To avoid pain, we avoid joy, we avoid life. Vulnerability is the key that unlocks the happiness that awaits on the other side of fear.But, within the shackles of fear, let's not forget that each of us is a glorious spark of God, needing to burst and light up a dark world. We all must tell our story and unfold before our return. In the words of Maya Angelou, written so delicately in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." When an egg is broken by outside force, life ends.When an egg is broken by inside force, life begins.Greatness starts from inside.When broken from inside, do not lose hope, for a new life begins.Have courage. Tell your story passionately. You were meant to be a free bird of paradise, so why do you insist to be caged? Set yourself free of fear and fly.