In May my family and I embarked on an adventure of raising chicks! We got 5 tiny little Black Orpington chicks who were just 3 weeks old. We raised them in a kiddie pool with heat lamps, and introduced our dog to them slowly so everyone could get used to each other. My partner built an amazing coop.
In August I went outside to feed the girls (Penelope, Delilah, Cora, Beatrice and Violet), and Cora was lethargic and staring at the wall. We rushed her to the vet, and she died within the hour. We grieved the loss of our friend, and we went to work to try to save the other girls. I disinfected the coop, we medicated the other 4 for common chicken ailments (the vet never figured out what happened) and we watched the other girls for signs of sickness. After the medication was through and no one else got sick we figured we were in the clear. 2 weeks later Delilah died in the middle of the night. More grieving and more work. This time we also added the element of study. We now know about mites and worms and coccidiosis and what a healthy chicken poop looks like and what a problematic chicken poop looks like. I waited for half an hour to get stool samples from each girl and brought them to the vet. Again the vet could not find a cause for the death of our sweet little girl.
We put in our effort (tapas) and our study (svadhyaya), and now we arrived at surrender (isvara pranidhana). In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali the idea of kriya yoga is mentioned at the very beginning of the 2nd book, and then again in the 8 limbs (so if must be important!). It is the balance of work, study and surrender. We have worked hard to raise our girls and keep them safe. We did a lot of studying before we brought them home, and then did much more when Cora and Delilah died. Now the practice is letting go, and it is actually a relief. The relief is surrendering to the fact that I woke up today and I got to see them clucking around. I surrender to this moment, and the time I do have with them, instead of grasping for future moments that might not happen.
This is true for all of the beings in our lives. So this experience with my girls is also teaching me about surrendering into other relationships that feel so permanent. When I can surrender to just this moment, I find more sweetness, presence and gratitude. I also find less gripping and trying to change things or people and more ease.