Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other
Inspiring Kindness and Compassion towards Animals, Our Planet, and Each Other


I’ve always loved animals and had an acute sensitivity to all life. That openness was always met with, "Oh Ellie, don't be ridiculous, it's just a bird", or "stop your nonsense I'll get you another rabbit.” You would think that with all the criticism I got from home and the laughing and jeering I got from the kids at school that I would block my connection with animals and, in fact, I did for awhile. I could always hear and sense animals when they cried out for help. In the middle of playing with my dollies at age six, I could hear a baby bird in distress down the street and would stop my tea party to go fetch that baby bird that had fallen from her tree and would raise her until she could fly away. Years later driving home and exiting the freeway miles from home, on a street I had never been before, wondering to myself what I was doing, until I saw the chihuahua in the middle of the road who had been hit by a car. The sidewalk was lined with people looking and laughing at the helpless pup, not doing anything to help. As I picked up the yelping dog and put him in my car to rush to the nearest hospital, the onlooker's faces had the same expression looking at me as my family and community has always had: like I was crazy.

So I turned away from my true self and my instincts and my connection with nature and became "normal.” But what does that look like? Parties, dates, shopping, working jobs I didn't care about, being in relationships with people who didn't care about me, sleeping, eating, self-gratification, a meaningless selfish existence that meant nothing.

Life must have meaning. Life must be on purpose. Life must be dedicated to something we care deeply about, to the core of who we are, or it's just not worth it -- even if others call it ridiculous!

But is it ridiculous? Is it ridiculous to cry when a tree is chopped down? Is it ridiculous to go out of my way to help someone who needs help, animal or otherwise? Is it ridiculous to have empathy for someone who has died or suffered?

Let's look at the norm. Normal is to look away from someone else's pain. Normal is to do whatever is good for us, not thinking of anyone else. Normal is to eat, buy, attain, make money, and succeed at whatever cost. But, what is that doing to the environment? It's cutting down the rainforest. It's destroying the ozone. It's poisoning the oceans and rivers. It's causing species to go extinct everyday. It's causing mass suffering to animals whose voices are not heard.

I hear them in the core of my being. I see them in my mind’s eye. I am connected to them. I have chosen a plant-based diet to help them; to save an acre of trees each year; to save 198 animals every year; to save 600 gallons of water a day. And… I no longer need to be normal. I'm happy and proud to be ridiculous.

Thank you for being ridiculous with me! Together we are making a difference!

Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn

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  • Thermal Horizon - Windsong Retreat (Spring 2024)

    May 4th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Let’s come together as a community as we support The Gentle Barn in their endeavor to enrich the lives of abused animals worldwide. Let’s bring our loving hearts, the spirit of opportunity and fill our cups emotionally, spiritually, and physically as we celebrate unity in community by helping these wonderful support animals.

  • Chakra Meditation and Sound Healing (Spring 2024)

    May 18th 2024 - The Gentle Barn California

    Clear, Balance and Align your 7 main Chakras through guided meditation, chanting, and Integrative sound bath. When your chakras are aligned, the energy moves through you more freely, and you can feel in harmony with all aspects of your physical, emotional and spiritual self.

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