Posted on Jan 17, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Jay and I spent last week at our Tennessee location, working hard each day, and accomplishing so much! But my favorite part of the trip was working with the staff to see and hear the animals more clearly. I believe that what we see, is what we’ll get when dealing with anyone else. So if we can learn to see the good in someone else, chances are that the relationship will be set up for success. I think this works with animals too. When we can see animals as whole, perfect, and complete, when we know they are strong and resilient, they can recover so fast because we are holding that potential for them. And when we see them as wise and divine, their intelligence and grace will bring us to our knees.
Adeline was rescued from Thanksgiving with four other females a few years ago. They all came in filthy, scared, and traumatized. But with time, patience, and lots of love they started trusting us. Adeline very soon became a cuddle turkey, spreading her wings, closing her eyes, and allowing us to hold her in our laps as she fell asleep. She was so sweet that she often brought guests to tears. In time the five females started fighting over attention and there were no cuddle turkeys at our new Tennessee location, so we drove Adeline across the country to be the one and only, the center of attention, cuddle turkey, the superstar in TN. In Knoxville, Adeline would have an entire receiving line of visitors and would cuddle with all of them for hours. And I wanted her to do that in Nashville as well, but her new docents didn’t know yet how powerful she was, nor did they understand the kind of work she was capable of doing. So last week I got to work with Adeline’s permanent docent to really see her.
Adeline was busy walking around socializing with the other birds when I sat down with her, and she almost seemed bothered by the intrusion. But I told her that she was important, and her work with people was essential, and I asked her if she would help me open our guests’ hearts. I told her that our visitors had never met turkeys before and had no idea how wonderful they were. I asked again for her help, and in answer, she closed her eyes, settled in my arms, spread out her wings, and invited people to sit with her. Adeline gave all her energy to each person and the calm that came over the barn was palpable. One woman cried the others could not stop smiling, and they all exclaimed, “I had no idea turkeys loved to cuddle!” Adeline changed those people forever, and because of it, they will never be the same.
All of us, human and non, have two sides to us: the physical experience, and our higher self. We are all walking around with our earthly identities, problems, personalities, and relationships with others. We hold on to past experiences and have future desires. We have pain and things that make us feel happy. And at the same time, we have our spirit or our higher selves that came from somewhere before we incarnated, and that will go somewhere once we are done with our bodies. Our higher selves are here to learn, grow, evolve, and cause expansion to the world. If we merely see Adeline as just a sweet turkey, she will walk around the barn with the other birds pecking at seeds on the ground, allowing people to briefly pet her, and will be overlooked. But when we remind Adeline of who she really is, how important she is to creating peace, how she is representing millions of other turkeys, and how she is connecting people to the love inside themselves, she remembers who she really is, and gives herself to the day, to our guests, and to our mission. Once reminded of who she really is and once in the zone, Adeline will cuddle with guests for hours.
Each and every one of us has greatness inside ourselves. Every one of us has a great gift that we have come to share with the world. Each of us is divine in our own ways and called to make an impact on others. And when we are seen and called to be who we really are, we can truly shine and change the world. Adeline enjoys her fresh food, clean water, soft bedding, and friends, but it is her enormous purpose that causes her to light up and feel important. I think that is true for all of us. It is our job as parents to see the gifts in our children. It is our challenge to find the divine in ourselves. And now that the volunteers and staff know who Adeline truly is, they can call her forth to change everyone who comes to visit her in Nashville.