Posted on Apr 18, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
We don’t know where Honey Bear came from exactly, nor do we know his whole story. What we do know, is that he was found wandering the streets, was two hundred pounds underweight, and had some pretty serious wounds. When we brought him home to The Gentle Barn, we immediately noticed his innate intelligence and his ability to live in appreciation of everything.
In the beginning, we had hoped that Honey Bear and Zeus could be friends. But Zeus had just lost his brothers, was still grieving, and just wasn’t ready to open up to anyone else yet. So we had Honey Bear start off in a little gated area in our barnyard giving the two males time to get used to each other slowly through a fence. For the first two weeks, Zeus bathed in the pool and walked around the yard completely ignoring Honey Bear. But finally, Zeus got curious and went over to the fence. Zeus snapped at Honey Bear, which was normal and expected. Honey Bear just backed up so Zeus couldn’t hurt him. But Zeus continued to be aggressive through the fence and it was upsetting Honey Bear who was being so polite. When we tried to separate them and give them a break with the use of a large board placed between them, asking Zeus to go back to his room, Zeus got really frustrated and chased off our staff. Seeing this, Honey Bear jumped over the fence and drove Zeus back to his room and away from our staff. Physically it seemed impossible for a six hundred pound pig to jump over the fence, but to protect his new caregivers, Honey Bear did the incredible. Honey Bear barely knew us, yet he had finally found a home worth protecting and caregivers worthy of his loyalty. In just a few days Honey Bear had made us his home and family and made it clear to everyone that he was the new sheriff in town!
Honey Bear never complained about his past or the deplorable condition in which he was found. He never seemed sad or wounded by it, even though he still bears the physical scars. Instead, he took one look at the pool, the soft fluffy straw, and the big beautiful yard and felt delighted that he finally had a home he deserved. He gobbled down each meal with pleasure. He swam in the pool with absolute bliss. He was in ecstasy with each and every tummy rub. He always grunted thank you’s when I tucked him into bed each night. He knew who he was, that he was worthy of a good life, and welcomed it when he saw it. That is the secret to a successful life! We all go through hard times. We might not always be treated the way that we want. But so many of us do find people who love us and throw away their affections because we don’t believe we are deserving. It is this self-sabotage that gets in the way of our happiness every time. When we can recognize and accept good things when we see them, we will find our way to happiness.
When animals and children come to The Gentle Barn, they have a chance to rewrite their narrative. If they know they deserve a happily ever after, they rewrite their narratives to be full of peace, joy, and happiness. If they don’t know who they are, it takes them time to receive. None of us need to measure up to other’s expectations or be who others want us to be. We can be who we have come to be! We don’t need to see ourselves as our failures, or our shortcomings, we can see ourselves as the rich, full-of-life, complex, radiant beings that we are; just the way that we are. Our yardstick can never be what others think of us or if others approve. Our measure should be the way we feel. If we are happy and fulfilled, then we are on the right track! Honey Bear knew he was way more than an object, a soulless animal, or a piece of meat. He knew that where he had been was not a match to who he was. When he found his way to our barnyard Honey Bear felt happy playing in the mud, laying in the straw, wagging his tail, and taking lazy naps surrounded by his new friends. That happiness let Honey Bear know that he was exactly right where he needed to be.
I feel that way in the barnyard every day. When I am healing animals, loving them in the barnyard, and introducing people to their stories, I feel that very same bliss; I am exactly where I need to be. I don’t hold on to the fact that I never got my degree, or I didn’t get the best grades at school, or that my parents wanted me to become a school teacher. I am proud of who I am and what I do. I have rewritten my narrative from one of self-shame and blame to one of pride and self-respect, and the animals helped me do it! Where is your bliss? Who are you meant to be? What does your narrative sound like? Join us this Sunday for our pig’ birthday party. Come sing them happy birthday, feed them cake, and find yourself in the barnyard at the same time! Maybe they can help you rewrite your narrative if you need it?