Posted on Sep 02, 2016
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
I was supposed to go to Tennessee on Tuesday and while I was packing my suit case in the morning, my ten-year-old daughter woke up crying of a headache. I kissed her forehead and it was burning up so I took her temperature. It was 102.5. After a bath to lower her fever and Sun Chlorella to boost her immune system, I put her back to bed. Once she was asleep, I panicked. What do I do? Do I leave her in the excellent care of the woman who stays at our house, or do I delay my trip? I had appointments and meetings all week and I was expected in Tennessee. Of course, I wanted to stay with my baby. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and pictured myself showering, getting dressed, kissing her goodbye on her hot flushed cheeks, and driving to the airport. My stomach immediately turned into one giant knot, I couldn't breathe, and it felt awful. Then, I pictured laying next to her, holding her in my arms, and delaying my trip and my stomach relaxed, I exhaled, and I felt peaceful and happy. So I asked Jay to call the airline while I climbed into bed beside my daughter to work on my laptop beside her and be there when she woke up.
It's amazing how the answer to all things is inside us and all we need to do is listen to our bodies. I think if we navigate through life according to how our bodies feel, we will always end up where we need to be.
I remember a few years ago, after a lifetime of ignoring my instincts, I had a lesson that changed my life. We had a beloved goat named Divine. We rescued her from severe abuse and she was extremely ill when we brought her home. It took many months to breathe the life back into her. Eventually she gained weight, she learned to trust us, and she became an amazing ambassador here, teaching life lessons to at-risk and special needs children. There was one thing though - Divine couldn't walk. She was, however, so happy! She would receive love offerings of her favorite treats from our guests and would almost purr when we would pet her. She loved the attention she was getting for the first time in her life and was grateful to be with us.
The first vet that examined Divine explained that because of her age and her illness she would most likely never walk again. As long as she seemed happy, she could have a good quality of life. The second vet that looked at her recommended that we bring her to the hospital for treatment. For some reason, I had a bad feeling about it. Every time I thought about leaving her at the hospital my body would tense and I felt extremely anxious. The doctors were really insisting that I bring her in. Reasoning that I was not the expert, I ignored my instincts and listened to the vets. I carried her to the car while I worried about it. I drove her to the vet while I resisted the temptation to turn the car around. And, I left her at the hospital with a terrible feeling inside me. I could not sleep that night at all worrying about my Divine. I saw her smile in my mind and I just tossed and turned wishing she was still in the barnyard. The next morning the veterinarian called and gave me the terrible news that the treatment they had given her stopped her heart and she died! All I could say over and over again as I sobbed was, "I knew it, I knew it!"
After weeks of grief, self-loathing, and anger, I had a heart-shaped dog tag engraved with her name on it and made into a necklace. I wear it every time I catch myself ignoring my instincts or doubting myself. Since that day, I have listened to my body, to the way I feel, and to that nagging feeling in my belly, and it has never steered me wrong.
When I re-scheduled my flight to Tennessee this week and made arrangements to travel when Cheyanne's fever broke, I couldn't help but think of Divine and feel thankful for her and the lessons she taught me. When my daughter is well and I fly to Tennessee, I'll be wearing my Divine necklace with my head held high! Many people thank me for saving animals, but the truth is that they teach me and save me back every single day!
The Gentle Barn