Fear of Failure

I have a chicken named Camilla, (remember the muppet show in the late 70's / early 80's – Gonzo the great had a similarly named chicken) … Camilla is a very friendly, personable humongous avian version of a rescue puppy.  She regularly begs at our picnics and will come running as fast as her chubby body can motor if I call to her.

Well, at least she used to.

About a week ago, I felt like she looked "off." 

Chickens are so resiliant, until there is something wrong with them, and then they seem to go downhill quickly.  I felt like she needed to be wormed, but in the back of my mind there was this hesitation.  We have had some bad luck with several of our birds, losing a duck to a respiratory issue and another duck to a mysterious thing and then a chicken to something else unknown.  One duck was saved via diagnosis of worms and then an injection; so now I regularly de-worm everyone.  But the mysteries … they plague me.  I have tried a variety of approaches to this … purchasing OTC antibiotics and electrolytes to no avail.  The last bird we took to the veterinarian right away and he did injectible antibiotics and IV electrolytes to the tune of $100 and the bird died 3 hours later.  So it is a discouraging thing.

When I saw our favorite bird looking strange, I thought, I should worm her.  But I had company and other issues and I put it off.  Each day she looked worse and I kept thinking I should do something but I didn't.  Yesterday, she looked terrible and I fell the end was near, yet her eyes were bright, so I didn't pursue putting her down.  So what did I do?  I wormed her.  Today, she is in the house, warm, I'm giving her electrolytes every fifteen minutes and a high concentrated energy food.  I probably will go to the feed store when I finish this post and get some penicillan and inject her and do sub-cutaneous fluids.  

Heroic, right?

Um, not so much.   I bet none of it will work.  And I will be ever more so sad, because now I will really have TRIED.  

But why didn't I do this sooner? 

And, for that matter, why don't others do anything sooner to save their marriage or their job or their relationships with the neighbors or children or co-workers when they see signs of distress? Why don't they change the oil when the light comes on or get the car looked at when the indicator says there is a problem?

We see the warning signs and we ignore them.  Why?

Laziness?  Avoidence of cost/hassles?  Yes, surely.  

But I know myself, and my biggest issue with this chicken is that I didn't want to fail AGAIN.  

And so, by doing nothing until now, I have almost guarenteed that this will be the case.  

: (            

IMG_0956 IMG_0955


I recently became aware of Viktor Frankl's work – Man's Search for Meaning.

Frankl was a contemporary of Freud, and was influenced by him, yet disagreed with Freud, who said that man was basically motivated by pleasure.  Frankl theorized that man is motivated by meaning, and that when he has a sense of meaninglessness in regards to his own life, then he uses pleasure to numb himself.  

I believe Frankl had these ideas prior to being imprisioned in several (4!) concentration camps, yet his time there seemed to intensify his thoughts on the subject. 

He stated that the three main avenues to create meaning in one's life are:

1 – Creating a work or doing a deed.

2-Experiencing Someone or Something ; in other words, meaning can be found not only in work, but also in love.

Most importantly, however,

3-"Even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a situation he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by doing so, change himself. He may turn personal tragedy into triumph."

This has given me pause for thought.

And contiues to encourage me to discover my "what next" to pour my energy into.


In the 70's they blamed the Dobermans

In the 80"s they blamed the German Shepherds

In the 90's they blamed the Rottweilers

Now they blame the Pit Bulls

-When will they blame the humans?     –Ceasar Millan


I met a super nice Pit Bull at PetSmart today.  A beautiful, massive, solid tail-wagging dog.  I gotta be honest though – his owner was cold, intimidating, and prickly.  I honestly wondered how he came by such a nice dog, because he certainly wasn't role modeling it.

As Ceasar alludes to, It's pretty easy to assign fault to everyone else but yourself.  And dogs aren't really the issue I'm talking about here.

Sometimes, others may be the problem, but you allow it to continue. 

Taking responsibility for your choices and actions is the work of an adult; it takes huge effort, energy, and intentionality.  Don't make excuses.  Take ownership.  Make changes.

The Low Heart Rate

When someone accelerates in a situation where they should stop (like at a stop sign), calamity is soon to follow. 

This is true, whether for business, relationship, investments, and yes, even driving.

The question is, when the accident occurs, how cool-headed are you?  Because you can make things a whole lot worse by unhelpfully engaging your emotions in places where you need a low heart rate.

While this is not always the case, I was very calm when the lady ran right through her stop sign and, though I slammed on my brakes, due to rain and speed, we spun into her anyway.  My impact with her doughnutted her vehicle into another person, who was dutifully stopped at his stop sign.

All I can say is thank you for seatbelts, relatively low speed limits (30 mph), and a break in the rain. I'm thanking God that no one was injured (except the poor cars.  I think one might have been pretty much totaled).

The woman spoke no English and my daughter (who is home for Spring Break) spoke 3-years-worth-of-learned-3-years-ago-gotten-quite-rusty-Spanish. So we verbally limped along until the police arrived.

I was surprised: When you are not agitated, you can have compassion for all parties involved, not just the inoccent ones.  You can remember more accurately, and cross your T's and dot your i's.  You can smile and give those who are frightened hugs and say, "It's okay, accidents happen." 

Emotional Steadiness is not a fluke.  It is something you practice.  In all the places where you don't really need it.  As in, when someone brings you a meal that is ill prepared.  When someone doesn't let you merge in traffic.  When your spouse says something rude to you. When a co-worker doesn't come through with their end of the job. When your kids are making messes or whining.

It's not that you let yourself be walked on; that is not what I am saying.  But you work to remedy the situation with grace and dignity and respect for the other person, whether they deserve it or not. All this time, you are training your emotions to not pull on the leash.  To not run away with you.  To walk calmly beside you and let you be their master.

Then, in a time when all would expect you to be upset … voila.  Serenity now.  

I tell my kids all the time, "What you practice is what you become."  

I guess I have been practicing, and how encouraging, to see when the chips were down, I liked the me that showed up.  We'll see how that goes when I start dealing with the insurance companies!  : )



One day its almost 60 degrees and you're getting a sun tan and then next it is raining / sleeting.  Its a pretty bum deal.

Unless you live in the high desert.

And you needed rain.

Gratefulness is a matter of perspective.