How a chicken rescue transformed my self-care

The title of this post is not click bait my friend. I did indeed participate in rescuing a chicken over the weekend, and the process revealed an important blind spot in my own self-care: my resistance to reaching out for help for me. Here’s how it all went down. 

Last week, while walking my dog, I spotted a chicken a little further down the sidewalk, pecking away like it was nobody’s business. This being Florida, random wild life strolling down the street is not unusual: iguanas, possums, several varieties of cranes. However, a chicken I have never seen, so it stood out as odd. I figured it had escaped its coop, probably located at the house of which it was immediately in front, and left it be.

Fast forward to Saturday, I’m cutting across the pool deck to throw the garbage out in the dumpster and who do I see clucking away? The chicken! I don’t actually know if it was the same chicken, but seemed likely. Though I have no idea how it made its way inside the gate because it certainly couldn’t find its way back out. 

The chicken was clearly in distress and I felt for it. I ran back inside and returned with sunflower seeds and a small bowl of water, both of which she received enthusiastically. Poor thing was hungry and thirsty and clearly far from home. 

So I did what any good neighbor does when they find something that is lost: I posted her picture on Nextdoor. I also texted a couple neighbors to see if they knew anyone with chickens, one of whom happens to be the president of our neighborhood association and generally knows everything that’s going on within a 10 block radius. Essentially, I sent out a bat signal and mission chicken rescue was underway. 

Within less than 24 hours, Chichenitza (of course I named her!), found herself in the company of friends, relocated to luxury chicken accommodations at a family home in Jupiter Farms. For those not in the know, it’s a nice place to live. My friend Carl, the afore mentioned neighborhood association president, had connected me with someone that knew someone that knew someone. This extraordinarily kind woman Kim and her husband came over with a suitable cage and a bowl of cut strawberries for Chichenitza, and in no time she was in the back of the truck on her way to safety. She even has a new name – Charmer – after the building in which she was found.

I was both touched and flabbergasted at how quickly people mobilized to rescue this chicken. Initially, my mind spun out to large thoughts around humanity and whether or not we’re helping those in need as much as we could (we’re not, but for now, let’s set that aside). I then chose to turn the lens around on myself, and realized, something was greatly amiss. 

The Sunday that Chichenitza was rescued, I woke up feeling incredibly anxious. I couldn’t identify what was creating the feeling, but I honestly felt like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. Like the chicken pacing back and forth, not knowing where to go, I was in distress. 

The difference was, when I saw the distressed chicken, I immediately reached out for help. I sent out the bat signal to people I trusted, and a solution was rapidly procured. However, I had not done the same for myself, even though I’m blessed with a plethora of loving friends and family that want me to support me. 

I checked myself, and when a dear friend texted about something completely unrelated to chickens or anxiety, I shared what was going on internally, and within 30 minutes we were on the phone. Talking it out helped her reflect back to me all that’s going on in my life that is indeed worthy of anxiety. Hearing her reflection cleared the way for me to determine a strategy for quelling the fire (I’ll share more about that in next week’s post). 

I feel so much gratitude to Chichenitza/Charmer for showing me clearly how available people are to help, if only we ask! It can be challenging to ask for help when we don’t quite know what’s wrong, but we’re aware that something feels off. There is great relief in simply sharing with a trusted friend how you’re feeling, and having the opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth. The conversation creates space for clarity and healing to occur. 

I hope this story has inspired you to send out your own bat signal when you’re in distress. If you find yourself in that position now, and you’re not sure where to turn, feel free to send me a message and share. I’m here for you. 

Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

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