Joy and Resilience: A Conscious Antidote to Stress

a swimmer in large expanse of water
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Audio version
Narrated by Marie T. Russell. 

Video version

What a time this is. Like many of you, I am affected emotionally, physically, and energetically by all that is happening in my country and in our world.

Sometimes, it's just plain exhausting. Overwhelming. Worrying. Frightening. Upsetting. Angering. Heartbreaking.

We know that we're in a great time of transition, of birthing a new way of being, living, and loving in our world that is long overdue. And, it's grueling. Let's just be honest about that.

Losing My Center?

When I feel myself losing my center, my "hawk's eye vision," my grounding and anchoring, I know I need to spend some extended time outdoors, in places with strong, supportive, nourishing energy. One of my favorite places is at the Rio Grande River not far from my home, in a beautiful canyon filled with ancient sites, petroglyphs, and peace. The giant old cottonwood trees, the boulders, the ancient sites, the mesas, the sage, the animals, and the spirits of the land surround me, welcome me, speak to me, and nourish me.

One Sunday, as I sat perched on a rock high above the river, I watched first a few ducks, then a flock of geese, feeding in an eddy, floating peacefully downstream, calling to their friends. I could feel that, while they are aware of the human world, and affected by it in certain ways, it was such a small part of their reality and awareness. Their daily lives are peaceful, connected, joyful, and satisfying.

What a wonderful teaching and reminder this was for me... to keep my focus on joy, connection, the matters of daily life; allowing the outer world events to take their rightful place in my awareness—not ignoring them completely, or denying them, or whitewashing them with new age "spiritual bypassing," but also not allowing them to take a bigger place in my life and awareness than is necessary or helpful.

Chickens and The Gift of Resilience

two chicks in the palm of handsThe chicks who arrived at the beginning of August had their graduation out of the brooder and baby enclosure in my garage to life in The Big Barn! It was a big transition for them, and for me.

One of the things I love most about chickens is their resilience. With most new things, and this was definitely true when they moved outside, their first reaction is Chicken Freak-Out. "Oh my! oh my! New things! Scary! Scary! What do we do, what do we do?"

They run around for a little while, squawking like crazy, wanting to escape, wanting to hide. Then, all at once, usually after just a couple of minutes, someone in the flock realizes that the sky is not, indeed, falling, then the rest realize it, and then they shake their (newly minted and oh-so-beautiful) feathers, settle down, and relax. "Oh! This is good. Wow, this lovely dirt! Oh! The lovely smells! And here are some nice things to eat! And here is a milk crate to sit on!" And chicken life goes on.

Cultivating Joy

I have been cultivating joy in as many ways as I can in my life, as a spiritual practice, and also as a conscious antidote to the personal and collective losses, grief, stresses, and challenges that we are facing in our world.

Chickens make me happy. It's impossible for me to be in their presence without feeling pure, simple, and deep joy. They are just so much fun, and they delight me with the perfection of their small bodies. They are so wonderfully suited for their lives, their attitude, the way they view each and every small thing in their lives with joy and pleasure.

I want to be more like my chickens. I want to be as resilient as they are, calm down quickly after freaking out, and be happy digging in the dirt. I want to respond with delight and joy to every small beautiful thing in my world. I want to go to bed and wake up with the sun. I want to sing out loud, and often, about the delicious things in life.

May we all find joy in our world, and delight in the beauty that surrounds us!

This article was reprinted with permission
from Nancy's blogs. 

About the Author

photo of Nancy WindheartNancy Windheart is an internationally recognized animal communicator and interspecies communication teacher. She teaches courses and training programs in interspecies communication for both lay people and those who wish to practice professionally. Nancy also provides animal communication consultations, intuitive and energy healing sessions, and professional mentoring for clients worldwide. She is also a Reiki Master-Teacher and a certified Yoga teacher.

Nancy’s work has been featured in television, radio, magazine, and online media, and she has written for many digital and print publications. She is a contributor to the book, The Karma of Cats: Spiritual Wisdom From Our Feline Friends.

For more info, visit

Related book:

The Karma of Cats: Spiritual Wisdom from Our Feline Friends
by Various Authors. (Nancy Windheart is one of the contributing authors)

book cover: The Karma of Cats: Spiritual Wisdom from Our Feline Friends by Various Authors. Both revered and feared throughout history, cats are unique in the mystical truths and practical lessons they share with us. In The Karma of Cats, spiritual teachers and writers reflect on the wisdom and gifts they’ve received from their feline friends―exploring themes of radical respect, unconditional love, our spiritual nature, and more. Loving companions and wild spirits, our feline friends have much to teach all who welcome them into their homes and hearts.

With an introduction by Seane Corn and contributions by Alice Walker, Andrew Harvey, Biet Simkin, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Damien Echols, Geneen Roth, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Kelly McGonigal, Nancy Windheart, Rachel Naomi Remen, Sterling “TrapKing” Davis, and many more.

Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available in a Kindle edition.

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