Chicken Diaries: It’s all a big balancing act

Rosey is sleeping on her roosting bar.  Her green eyes shut, her head softly dropped in dreamy slumber, her toes curled firmly around her roosting bar as her breath goes deeply in and out. With each breath her chest is expanding and as it billows it sways her left and then right but she sleeps on in perfect balance with her faith in tact that she will not fall even as she is far away in a precious chicken dream no doubt exploring soft grass on a sunny day in her soul.

Roosting bars are not easy.  It takes a while to get the hang of climbing on one and staying there.  Sometimes no matter how often they practice the chickens have to use their wings as stabilizers and hold them out like a tight rope walker might use a balance bar.  Even experienced chickens may find themselves falling or gripping too tightly.  The trick is in holding the middle. Rosey does not lay on her feet nor does she stand. She crouches and gets her weight balanced so that she does not lean forward or back.  Her feet are wrapped around the roost but not gripping just holding gently to keep her suspended there.

Balance requires strength.  It’s easy to try too hard or not hard enough. It’s hard to remember that counter balancing each shift in movement is necessary because nothing stays precisely the same from moment to moment, even a change in who is next to you can require shifting to accommodate the change. No matter how in balance you stay for long periods any day can present a new challenge in which you must find a new way to stay in the exact center.

Rosey has faith in her ability to stay on track and so she can sleep for prolonged periods, and unlike some, she can move to any spot on the bar and find her center. She is a big chicken and it’s a small bar but she has no worries, just the knowledge that she can always find her balance with slow and deliberate effort.

Roosting is an act of mindfulness practiced many times daily. Perhaps it is the ability to find the balance point which keeps chickens so often cheerful and harmonious. In balancing their bodies they appear to also be balancing their breath, their body and find that middle part of their mind which offers stillness and clarity.

Finding balance is essential to being a chicken and so Rosey slumbers on letting go of all that might tempt her to get too high or too low.

The dip of her soft feathered head, the closing of her eyes so beautiful in their bird-ness and the resting of her body held in a half crouch shows the art of balance in wakefulness and sleep.

Rosey knows what I am most often in the process of trying to teach myself; there is no rest without balance.  There is no balance without daily mindful practice and their is no daily mindful practice without first understanding it is essential to breath and balance-also key elements for life itself.




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