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  • Writer's pictureNancy Willbern, PhD

Chicken Whisperer

Earlier this week, I posted a blog (see Blog Post, Heart to Heart) about how moving into a state of Coherency (which means a state of inner balance) can sometimes have the power to draw a horse towards you. So, Monday morning I went out to the barn where I do my Equine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions and decided to give this a try for myself. I brought my HRV (Heart Rate Variation) monitor with me. As I entered the paddock with Pete, (the Rescue I am in love with), I very respectfully approached him, rocking back and sighing every few steps, not wanting to intrude on his space. When I got close enough to him, I stretched out my arm in his direction and offerend my closed fist for him to sniff - which is one way to shake hands with a horse. He sniffed it, acknowledging my presence but moved back into his reverie - one back knee released, eyes barely open. So, I left him to his slumber and sat down on a rock.

In a few minutes he meandered over to the water trough and then to the hay bin to eat a snack. I decided to use that time to turn on my HRV monitor and see if I could breathe myself into a sense of well-being. I clipped the electric node onto my earloble and held the monitor in my hand. I began to breathe in to a count of 5 and breathe out to a count of 5. I watched the blue line move up and down in concert with my breathing and the tiny colored light at the top to see if I was coherenct or not. It started with a blue light which means you are not fully present with yourself or with your surroundings. Then it changed into a red one, which means you are getting closer and over a few minutes of time it made its way to green, the signal that you have reached coherency. I focused on the green dot and the rising and falling blue line. I heard cluckng of the barnyard poultry in the background as I moved into the zone. Pete did not seem to notice how together I had become, still more interested in the hay. Oh, well.

After a few more minutes, I heard a surprised gasp from the direction of the covered arena. A rider taking a lesson, stopped her horse, pointed in my direction and exclaimed, "Look at all those chickens!" I looked up and found that I was surrounded by a full flock of chickens! Jess, the riding instructor leaned around a tree to get a full view and hollered out, "Nancy, is that you over there with all those chickens?! You look like the pigoen lady in Mary Poppins!" I said, "I know. This is so bizarre! I'm expecting one of them to come and perch on my shoulder!"

You know that old adage, "You want to know how to make God laugh? "Tell him your plans." So, that's what I pictured in that moment, a group of Celestial Beings laughing at me... with me... as I remembered once again that we never really have a clue what Life will bring. Our job is to stay open and curious and trusting, rather than planning and predicting and unconsciously assuming that we know what this Thing is all about. Here's the message the chickens brought that day, "Back to Beginner's Mind, Nancy. And don't take life so seriously. It wants to play with you."

     Footnote: I just looked up the symbolic meaning of "chicken." Among other things, it represents the unpredictability of life, keeping a sense of humor, new beginnings and has been used throughout history as an animal with the power of divination. Alrighty, then. Cluck, cluck.

Stock photo from Pixabay


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