Rooster Knows

You know you’re in the country when… your rooster lets you know not just when it’s morning, but when the hens are wandering farther afield then he thinks right, or the goats are butting each other away from their food, or the dark clouds of summer afternoon rain are looming and the flock should take cover. I’m told that chickens in Cameroon only get under cover when a serious rain is impending. For a few drops they will continue their foraging undeterred. I’m waiting to see if the same applies here in high desert northern NM.

Being able to differentiate mild from major disruptions may be an inherent skill for Cameroonian chickens. It does not seem to be so for humans. Rather, we can spend a lifetime learning to “not sweat the small stuff”. Finding one’s way to feeling happy with oneself and one’s life – a goal most of us strive toward – requires not only relaxing about those small irritants, but also accepting that it’s okay to be happy.

From several sources recently, I’ve been reminded of how much more readily we identify with loss, pain, difficulties and challenges then we do with being “temples of God”, the home of Soul, or inherently divine beings entitled to feel happy and fulfilled. Many years of spiritual practice can increase the ease and frequency of identifying with one’s highest Soul essence, but still we can (or at least I find that I can) be tripped into the pit of unworthiness by surprisingly small stuff.

Why is it so easy to identify with negatives, to point always to what’s missing, and so hard to embrace being loved, appreciated, fulfilled, happy?

Believers of some religions would say it’s because we are born in sin. I think rather that the concept of being born in sin originates in a mind’s effort to explain our propensity to see imperfection rather than perfection. Yes, this is a cart and horse debate, one that cannot be decisively resolved. But in my experience, looking for what’s right rather than poking around in what’s wrong makes for a much happier and more satisfying life. It does take persistent attention and regular refocusing, to not let past experience of lack distort present enjoyment of wealth. I’m including within wealth all the tangible and intangible benefits one can enjoy – supportive relationships, worthwhile employment, a sense of purpose, relaxed ease of emotions, meaningful spiritual practice… a comprehensive list would run many pages.

Research study after research study reveals that negative behaviors of adulthood originate in childhood – abusers were bullied and abused as children, jealous spouses never learned to feel worthy of love, rage-aholics had explosively angry parents, etc. We hear much less about how good childhood experiences with positive role models produce happy and successful adults. Just as news of disasters sells papers, it seems explanations of negative behavior result in academic publication. Would that it were otherwise!

My favorite feature in The Week is entitled “It Wasn’t All Bad” and cites (usually) three stories of generosity, (a fire fighter who bought a month’s groceries for a citizen whose kitchen fire he had been called to help extinguish); achievement (a 101 year old great-grandmother getting her high school diploma alongside her great-granddaughter); or heart-warming connection (a dog lost for over a year being found and returned to the developmentally disabled child who was its original owner). I wish that fully half the weekly magazine’s content could be similarly summarizing positive stories – but it’s a magazine devoted to reviewing the “top” stories in the world press, and most of those are less than heart-warming.

About our bodies, it is said that we are what we eat. About our minds and emotions, it is also true that we become what we give our attention to. Looking always to the negative, we cannot help but feel unworthy. I prefer to “count my blessings instead of sheep, and fall asleep counting my blessings” – at least until the rooster thinks I should be aware and alert to one of his small concerns.

Cock Calls

Cock Calls

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3 Responses to “Rooster Knows”

  1. Musings from a Tangled Mind Says:

    This: “accepting that it’s okay to be happy” is so true and something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I suppose because of my experiences in the past, especially within my marriage (which ended recently), I’m always on edge, holding my breath, waiting for the “other shoe to drop.” I constantly have that feeling in my stomach that there is a pop quiz I didn’t study for. After living on egg shells for 17 years, I’m slowly getting around to the idea that it’s okay to have lazy days, it’s okay to be happy over the sight of flowers and for no other reason, and just to be happy in general. I imagine that it will be some time before it’s second nature for me to feel happy without also the accompanying feeling of dread or the feeling as if I’m doing something wrong, but I’m working towards it daily.

    • chelawriter Says:

      I had all that other shoe business from childhood with an abusive mother, am here to assure you it can be overcome, but also that odd tentacles remain long after one thinks they are gone. Had a recent ridiculously strong reaction of disappointment to a small incident, because it tapped into all the anticipated fun events throughout childhood that had been destroyed by my mother’s anger and brutality. The positive was that recognition was enough to ease the feeling of loss so much could still enjoy my day. Thanks for sharing, and for following. Niki

  2. Kip Allen Says:

    As co-creators, we are responsible for our thoughts and images….

    This is a delightful commentary. I’ll toss in a quote from Ogden Nash: “There is not a shred of evidence that life is serious.”

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