Posted on Dec 21, 2017
When we rescue animals and bring them home, we heal their bodies, teach them to trust people, and introduce them to our other animals so they can become part of our family. That’s the easy part. The part that takes even longer is reminding them of who they are so they can connect to the love and joy that lives inside them, and they, in turn, can connect us humans to the love and joy inside of us.
When Ferdinand first came to us, he was terrified, sick, and scared. He ran around for days calling out for help, then laying around depressed. It was heartbreaking to watch. Each day I would meditate with him and in each session, I would remind him of who he is. That he is actually an amazing ambassador, who will change the world. That he has come to heal special needs children, model kindness to children of all ages, and open people’s heart around the world to the wonder, intelligence, and affection of animals. Ferdinand was so stuck in the trauma of what he went through on his way to us, that it took a while for him to believe us. This week, though, Ferdinand let go of his past, took a giant step towards who he truly is, and became an official ambassador at The Gentle Barn, allowing guests to pet and visit with him. Everyone who met him left changed, opened, and in love.
When we first rescued The St. Louis Six, we were not sure of next steps. We considered placing them with other sanctuaries and were open to them going just about anywhere as long as they would be safe and cared for. When I met Chico for the first time, I was so affected by his strength, power, and wisdom that my knees buckled out from under me. Tears streamed down my face, and I knew right away that we had to open a Gentle Barn for him and his brothers so that they could share their story with the world. These were no ordinary cows! Chico came to share a message with the world, and we had to help him! Under all the fear, anger, and sadness that the boys felt about being at the slaughterhouse and then running for their lives, all along there was this fierce spirit ready to emerge. After several months, Chico and his brothers now remember the divinity within them and are helping people do the same when they meet them.
I think that the same is true for each of us. I think we have all come here to sing our song, dance our dance, and share our message and gifts with the world. Some of us get stuck in our experiences and the details of what our lives have looked like so far. If we could all just remember who we really are, if we could just step into the greatness that is us, if we could let our pasts go and feel the love that is inside of us in every moment, then we would light up the world, and change it forever.
Many say that being with animals is uplifting because they love us unconditionally and don’t judge. I think that being with animals is healing because when we are with them, we are the ones loving unconditionally and not judging. In their presence, we are reconnected to the enormous love inside ourselves, and we feel reconnected to who we really are. Hugging a cow, holding a chicken, cuddling a turkey, or petting a goat are all easy ways to feel that way, but we can also train ourselves to feel love all the time. It is easier with animals and harder in the face of someone who pushes all our buttons or stands for the opposite of what we believe. If we could learn to be gentle and compassionate to everyone in every moment, then we would truly reawaken to who we really are. If Ferdinand and Chico can do it, maybe we can too?