Broody Hens Revisited 


How does my Broody Hen know? She sits upon her nest, angry, feeling unlovable, ready to battle anyone or anything determined to remove her from her slot. How does she know? How does she know to sit upon an unfertilized egg, waiting, hopeful, defending the possibility of new life? She is mean, intolerant and driven to find a pile to sit upon. She physically needs to move through this brood, to discover new life, to nurture and launch babies into the world.

While I am not awaiting new life from my body, I feel the same. I feel like I’m stuck at an intersection, the one at 4th and Main, that says “Wait. Wait. Wait” in threes. The triplet syllables running through the background of my consciousness. “Wait. Wait. Wait.” I feel like something new is waiting to be hatched from my being, the desire is present, yet the time is not right. In a culture of producing, of measuring success based on a variety of parameters, to wait feels so wasteful, so useless.

I have to believe there is no perfect way to wait, that I don’t have to follow a prescription, for if this is the case I am miserably failing. This recovering perfectionist reverts to the need for black and white law, to measure productivity by following a specific set of rules. My head knows this is not a requirement, that truly it is a matter of surrender. Sometimes it comes down to getting through, calling out the head chatter, switching the station, changing the mantra.

In reality, all I have to offer myself for any solace in this broody stage is self compassion and kindness. Changing the station to a semblance of SNL’s Stuart Smalley. Doggone it.

Talking with a friend this week, we realized self compassion is our lynchpin, the key to living abundantly, to accepting mercy, to allowing for grace. Why do I believe God’s voice is the one that’s cruel tempered, judgmental, and condemning? Why does this need to be His/Her voice? When I switch the station and hear kindness, mercy…this is the place I long to stay, the pillow on which my head will rest.

Fast runs, lap swims, clean house, conversations with beer or coffee in hand, Mumford and Sons on loud…finally a glimpse of momentary stillness, a reset, if just for a moment.  Freedom settling, a relief from broody condemnation. Meditation, breathing, gardening, all provide moments of respite.

Do I run from the chatter? From the questions? From the feeding frenzy in my head? I try but no, for it is my consistent companion, rising and waning through these days of wait.

Do I choose numbing? Maybe in some ways, but I prefer the tenuous line of feeling, of aching, of misunderstanding, than create a problem that will result in deeper consequences and severe-er, pain to be felt later.

What to do with my broody hen? Unfortunately she is living a lie. She is angry, with no answers. When will she get her sustenance, her food and drink, her relief? I don’t know. We may need to wait and see how she manages.  We may have to hand feed her, we have been known to do that for our precious hens. Even though she’s angry and taking up valuable real estate, I still love her. I will continue to provide for her. She doesn’t have to prove herself to me, I know she’s a faithful bird. And I am such a flawed bird owner.

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