Posted on Sep 27, 2018
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
When I was a child, all I dreamed about was to have a huge place full of animals and show the world how beautiful they are. I would sit at my desk, and as the teacher droned on in the background, I would draw pictures of The Gentle Barn in my notebook and on my hand, until I was covered with animals. When I went to bed each night, I would picture each and every dog, horse, cow, pig, and chicken that I would get to love. I would envision their soft fur, warm embrace, and the adorable sounds they would make. And even though with my eyes wide open, the world around me was lonely, hard, and full of people who didn’t understand me, I made The Gentle Barn real inside my mind. With my eyes shut, I could smell that wonderful barnyard fragrance of hay, fur, earth, and manure. I could feel safe and surrounded by friends. I could practically reach out and touch the animals. And I felt happy whenever I spent time there. The Gentle Barn was real inside my head, long before it became real in the world.
When I came back to Los Angeles, after being in Nashville for almost three months, I found myself subconsciously avoiding the cow barn. My friend and love, Star had passed away while we were gone and I thought that to be in a pasture without him, after a decade of loving him, would hurt too much. I would find excuses to not visit in the evenings or early mornings. I wasn’t aware of what I was doing at first, but I finally realized the truth behind my avoidance after a few days. The first time back and giving cookies to the cows didn’t hurt like I was dreading, in fact, it felt better to be in the cow area because I could feel Star everywhere. With my eyes wide open, I was looking at a pasture of cows without Star. But with my eyes closed, I could feel Star’s warmth, his kindness, and his enormous presence. And now every time I miss Star, or Gentle Ben, Mr. Rojas, Buttercup, or the myriad of angels that have graced our barnyard over the last nineteen years, all I have to do to see them, is close my eyes.
With my eyes open to the problems of our world, I see suffering, pain, slavery, and cruelty. I see a changing world that is evolving rapidly, with a future not yet clear. But, with my eyes closed I see forests growing tall, oceans clean and thriving, animals being held and loved, earth soft and fertile, horses running free, communities that are healthy and lifting each other up, and abundant gardens feeding all of us. I saw The Gentle Barn in my mind before it became real in the world, and I know that I need to spend time every day in this peaceful world, so it too can become real.
We create things in our minds that become real in the world. And what is no longer real in the world, can still be felt in our minds. There is so much more than we can see, taste, and touch. We are powerful creators who can manifest anything that we set our intentions to. I believe that we are much stronger as individuals than we realize, and I believe that we can change the world just with our dreams. If you too have prayed for peace, perhaps you’d like to join me each day for a few minutes in envisioning a gentle world. I believe that we will create it, but first, we must believe it!