Awesome Stories 255

This week Awesome Stories brings you gratitude, chicken companions, Angkor Wat and loving wilderness.

Chickens as Companions

I know this sounds like some kind of joke or gossip rag headline, but a nursing home in Australia is using chickens as companions for the elderly! And the residents are loving the chickens and finding connections with the hens that helps reduce anxiety, depression and medications needed. The Whiddon Group is using HenPower as a test project. I’ve seen other nursing homes use dogs, cats and plants to give residents a sense of care and relationship, but this is definitely the most creative or bizarre depending on your perspective. I say kudos. Whatever works to help people live better lives in nursing homes.

The Cosmos at Angkor WatAngkor Wat, Awesome Stories

I’ve always been fascinated by the temples and culture of Angkor Wat (literally city of temples). The city was built during the Funan kingdom around 200AD and covers at least 385 square miles. The city includes a myriad of temples, canals, dykes, art and symbolic features that speak to a rich and complex culture. That men would build such a colossal city and then abandon it is a mystery to me, much like the temples in Central America. Norwegian photographer Christian Houge explores the beauty of this mysterious community in the jungles of Cambodia.

Practicing Gratitude

I frequently practice and write about gratitude. Here is a nice article on 10 Ways to Be More Grateful. I’ve used journaling, group reflection and walks in nature to help me feel gratitude. What works best for you? Let’s remember all that we have to be grateful for. This post of mine called open your heart to gratitude features my all time favorite video by Louie Schwartzberg on Gratitude.

A Love Letter to the Wilderness

Buffalo Outdoor Center

The Buffalo River Valley near Ponca, Arkansas

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity. ~John Muir

This poignant video celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act with gorgeous images and poetry from famous conservationists like John Muir. Having spent several summers traveling the country and hiking in national parks, I completely agree with the premise that we need wilderness to feed our spirits. May we leave some places untouched by man, where we can go to commune with the raw, unfiltered soul of the earth.

Service Trip Traps

I’ve been considering doing a service trip and this article was a wake-up call to see how they may not really be helping. The article explores the many pitfalls of service trips, and suggests sending money or what is needed instead. At the very least, research to make sure the group is working to create long-term changes in the community and not just a showy splash. It’s a funny world where doing good can actually be doing harm. Much like the parable of the Chinese farmer, we often don’t know if something is good or bad, or the long term consequences. Follow your heart, give love and do no harm would seem to be good markers to live by.

May we rest our spirits in nature, then come back renewed to love, serve and enjoy our fellow travelers. Peace out!

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20 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 255

  1. Hi Brad! I especially love the hen-pal news… I think it is awesome! I am pretty sure that each animal can be a perfect friend for a human being. We hear from wolves, elephants, foxes… and thousand of other beautiful sentient beings, depending of the country we analyze. Many are wrong thinking that only cats, dogs or some type of birds can be a “man best friend”. I guess we all should consider that every living creature deserve respect and love… thank you for sharing this awareness.
    serenity :-)claudine

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  2. You know, Brad…I am in a home for the elderly quite often and it can break my heart if I don’t protect it first. So many resident where my Mom lives never see a family member/friend as they sit and stare off into space. I like the idea of chickens as companions, but I yearn for them to have the physical contact and love of humans!! Sometimes I just cry when it looks like our elderly in this country are discarded as burdens. There is a wealth of love and knowledge that is being ignored!! Sorry…I had to get that off my chest 😉 ♡

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    • I’ve had similar responses to being in nursing homes Lorrie. It can be very challenging. My hope is that more of these inspired ways of caring and treating people will grow. Yes, they need human care and contact too. I also believe any caring is helpful. Thanks for sharing and caring so deeply Lorrie. I love the programs that are bringing children into nursing homes too. A great mix for both ages!
      Hugs my friend. ❤

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  3. These indeed are awesome stories. My favorite one is the first one. My daughter and her husband started raising some chickens last year, and all of us young and old alike are quite fond of them. So I can see why that is helping those elderly folks. Love, N 🙂 ❤

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  4. Thanks for being another voice promoting critical thinking regarding service trips. We need those voices and research results to fully understand the best ways to help alleviate suffering and lead with love. Thanks Brad!

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  5. I loved the idea of the chickens, Brad. We had chickens for a while, and I can personally attest to the sense of engagement one develops with these curious beings, particularly when you throw a rooster into the mix. I was a tad late for work many a morning because I got side-tracked having a back-and-forth conversation (competition?) with the rooster. They bring something out in you… Something fun… We called our rooster Mr. Friendly. He made us laugh a lot.

    Peace
    Michael

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