Archive for July 2014

Don’t stay where you’re at just because it’s comfortable

Chickens are silly animals. They have short memories  and will often run towards danger instead of away from it.

They’re kind of like people.

We had to move some chickens around on the farm the other day and transfer them to a different pen. We moved their existing pen as close as we could to the other but had to corral them into rubber tubs to get them the rest of the way.

They did not want to go into the rubber tubs. They fought and ran and squawked – anything they could do to not go into one of the tubs.

After chasing them all down and eventually get them situated, we moved the tubs to the new pen.

We gently tipped the tubs over so that the chickens could walk out into their new pen. They refused to leave the tubs.

Those same chickens who had thrown such a fit just a few minutes earlier about losing the freedom of their old pen to go into the tubs were now ignoring the freedom of the new pen.

The friend who was helping me with them watched and commented – “Is that a lesson or what?”

Eventually we dumped them out and they clucked around happily in their new home. But my friend was right. Those chickens offered a great lesson.

It’s human nature to cling to comfort – or at least the illusion of comfort. When what’s comfortable seems like it’s being taken away, we throw a fit and fight against it – even if whatever replaces it is better.

And we tend not to remember what it is we really want. Those chickens wanted freedom, but when it was presented to them – they just stood staring at it and stayed where they were, because that’s where they were comfortable.

They had hated the rubber tubs we put them in, but as soon as we got them in, they became familiar with them and it was where they wanted to stay, even though it wasn’t really where they wanted to go.

I try to keep that in mind when I’m presented with something that gets me out of my comfort zone and have to ask myself “Is my apprehension about this new situation just because it’s different from what I’m used to? Does it get me closer to where I want to be, even though it’s not familiar?”

Pay attention to what you’re being told

Earlier this year I was harvesting some of the chickens on my farm and had planned to harvest my turkeys at the same time. But something made me change my mind, and I was rewarded for stopping and paying attention.

We had finished with the chickens and prepared the turkeys by transferring them to a new pen. As I looked at the turkeys I paused. I had a sudden, unexplainable feeling that I didn’t need to butcher these turkeys today.

More than that, the idea crossed my mind that I needed to let them go. Neither of those thoughts made any logical sense, but instead of waving them off, I decided to let go and follow them.

I went over to the turkey pen, opened the gate, and backed away. None of the turkeys moved.

Within a few moments, a single female turkey ventured out in my direction. She looked at me for several seconds, made a strange turkey call, then looked back at the other turkeys who then began to follow her out.

My animals talk to me all the time – I learn a lot about being human from them. I don’t speak turkey but it really felt like she was saying “thank you.”

A few months later and the turkeys are still on my farm. They haven’t run off, but roam freely around the property, intermingling with the other animals.

I didn’t know it at the time, but now I think I understand what I was hearing and feeling that day. It wasn’t time to butcher the turkeys because I’ve still got lessons to learn from them.

Listening to my heart led me to do something my brain would not have told me to do, and I learned from it. I learned not to fight what I feel I’m being told to do and to pay attention for the little messages that might shape my life for the better even if it doesn’t make any sense at the time.