Self Love Series: Lessons From the Gentle Barn


Welcome to my peace filled space. 

Today’s post is dedicated to healers and those who require us All…

One of my favorite songs is Bob Marley’s I Know A Place.  Here is a snippet of the lyrics:

“When the whole world lets you down
And there’s nowhere for you to turn,
‘Cause all of your best friends have let you down, do-o-own.
Then you try to accumulate,
But the whole world is full of hate,
So all of your best starts just drift into space.

I know a place where we can carry on.
I know a place where we can carry on.
We can carry on, we can carry on,
we can carry on, we can carry on.”

I know such a place.  It is quite special to me.  But first, an introduction.  I seldom talk about my work as a healer, but today I will give you a glimpse.  When I share energy with you, I look past your outer shell into your Heart.  I rarely notice physical attributes, because those are quite earthly.  Instead I sense your vibration, I See you, I listen to what is behind your words and I Know you.  I look for what makes you unique and different, and I celebrate that uniqueness for it inspires me, teaches me, enriches my life. 

The “problem” is…that I look past your outer shell and I celebrate all that makes you unique; however, often it is the outer shell, or unique differences that allow you to form barriers around your heart or carry pain or redirect your steps to less than what your heart desires.  I love you..yet your mind says how, why, who me???  The people I choose to invest healing energy into are those who have pain so intense that they forget to celebrate at all, let alone anything about their being.  I love All, I choose to heal those who label themselves “unlovable”..

The pattern is the same.  I say I love you.  I then watch as the heart says ‘thank you’ yet the mind says a whole bunch of other things..and that love is so yearned for, yet deflected.  It is an internal battle I cannot touch..but I can work with.  And that is what I do..I work with that person in their most wounded spot..I work through a lot of stuff spewed at me, through barriers and smoke screens, through a lifetime of gunk..until we reach the core and that core allows a bit of sunlight in. Each ray of sunlight is healing love..and it is a struggle that often takes months..but I invest the energy because I believe in love and beauty of the world and freedom and I want you to experience that. 

My heartfelt wish is that there wouldn’t be a need for my healing abilities, or for Simon Hay\’s, or for Jenny Mannion\’s  or any other healer.  I know Simon and Jenny and am familiar with their work–I am so grateful for the healing that they provide, yet I see what they invest and I wish that pain did not exist.  We are born with hearts open to the world, to love, to create..and then a moment of pain happens and barriers form and adaptive behaviors begin and coping mechanisms arise.  I wish we loved so fully and so fearlessly that none of this would be necessary.  I wish we would know how to love and then the world’s teachers and guides would just teach us how to love more, enriching..a gentle, kind world..I wish..

I see emotional pain so great it is literally crippling, so intense some people choose to die rather than to live..and I cannot wonder why??? I can only allow my heart to open to pour love into it..

So..” I Know a Place”…and I would like to share that with you today.

This place is about 2 hours east of my marina.  It is a rescue farm where animals who have been beaten, broken, battered are taken in..animals who require intensive physical therapy and rehabilitation and then when they are physically healed require love to restore their trust.  It is called the Gentle Barn.  Each animal has a biography that saddens my heart..once loved then forgotten, abandoned, abused.  When I visit this farm,  I cannot help but think how each animal’s biography is probably representative of some people.  How you will look at the photos and think how cute, yet not know they have a broken back, bruised ribs, have been malnourished, left to die.  And how we may react the same as we relate to people, who may look so put together on the outside, yet inside have the same ‘story’.. or who may look different to us so we choose to not relate. 

 I visit this farm to remind myself of Love.  The energy while relating to the animals is amazing.  I am sometimes afraid of the largeness of an animal, or of the attitude, or of something I do not understand.  I put aside that fear and love them anyway.  Much like I do with people.  I touch each one to pour  love into them, and the love I receive back is pure.  I’ve learned to look past the animal’s outer shell, into their heart.  We can “blame” corporate America for some of the abuse, but surprisingly lots of it happened in domestic situations.  I choose not to blame, just to love.  The biographies for each animal are available in a pamphlet at the farm, and online…for more information, to sponsor an animal, or to make a donation, please visit the website Gentle Barn

I share this with you today in my series of self-love, because the animals are an example.  When I love my self fully, I surround my self with all that is good energy to me.  When I feel “less than” I allow “less than” into my life.  Sometimes we get so caught up in “less than”, life gets cluttered, chaotic, messy..and we forget all else.  As the creator of my moment, I can invest my energy in all that enriches my life and release all else..I have that choice..and so do you!  My friend Evelyn wrote an amazing article on self-care that includes some wonderful tips on how to incorporate self-care into your life.  Please take the time to read her article 70 Ways for Self-Care and may you open your heart to love. 

I also want to suggest this.  Perhaps you love your self fully.  Thank you–I celebrate that love!  May you then consider loving outside of your comfort zone, may you look past an outer shell and extend a smile, a kind word, a small gift of someone you may not necessarily understand or relate to, Knowing that you are sharing a gift. 

I appreciate you and all that you share!  Absolutely. 

A few images from this recent trip:

This llama fell in love with me.  I walked into the area, and the llama immediately came over to me, almost nose to nose.  Yes, I was a bit frightened and I asked the handler what will this llama do to me? She said she wasn’t sure but apparently it liked my energy!  I stood there trying to access calm, and decided I better turn my mind off and let my heart lead.  Almost nose to nose…fascinating!  I do this with people too..when my mind says what in the world will happen, I turn it off and let my heart lead and pour love into the situation..

This turkey was ‘saved’ around Thanksgiving time.  It took courage to get close to him.  His turkey wife was nearby and he was in protective mode.  I thought how proud and how beauty filled..and touching him was a treat.  Isn’t that how it is with people too..when I take the time to recognize their motivation (in this case protection) I can see past the barrier and into the relation. 

This was my most fear filled moment.  This pig is 1000 lbs!  His handler said he enjoys belly rubs.  Umm, great..  So, I stepped into the pen.  I said he is sleeping..and his handler said no he is just ready for belly rubbing.  Are you sure???  So, I breathed *lots* of calming thinking was if we were wrong and he didn’t want his belly rubbed, he is big enough to hurt me in some way.  I tentatively reached out and rubbed his belly.  He nestled in.  1000 lbs nestling in is quite a sight!  When I realized I was “safe” I rubbed and rubbed and it was amazing.  My most fearful moment turned to my most magical because I opened my heart. No words.  Exactly how it is with people…may you let your heart wrap around that..

This calf is one of two adopted by Ellen DeGeneres and Portia.  These calves were rescued from a veal farm.  At the farm they break their backs and hold them in a pen for tender veal.  They arrived at this barn with broken backs, malnourished, and not trusting people.  This is my most touching moment.  I walked up to the calf who then nibbled the bottom of my shirt and began licking my leg.  I was thinking please don’t nip my leg..but I let her lick.  I love her…When I open my heart, I am surprised by the amount of love poured back in. 

I then found the owner of the barn and I told her thank you for the work that you do although I am sorry such a place “has” to exist.  She said it is her dream come true.  My dream is that one day there is no abuse..for now I shall be grateful for hers!

I love this little guy.  He was rescued from a petting zoo, where he was severely abused.  Sometimes when there are too many children around, he becomes afraid and stands on this log, which they call his security log.  I understand and I respect his need for space.  I think my boat is often “my security log”…

This guy is amazing…he is one of a stable full of horses rescued from various places.  So majestic, so power filled, yet so beaten down.  They are learning to trust people, as they learn to trust they receive therapy, massage, nutrition.  It is amazing to see the difference from when the animal first arrives to this barn and months later..with proper care, healing does occur!

You matter.  Your presence in this world is significant.  You are purposefully made.  You are loved beyond measure, exactly as you are, exactly where you are.  There is nothing to do to earn this love, nor is there a way to lose this love.  It is a well of unlimited, unconditional love that you may tap into each and every moment. 

Thank you for sharing energy in this space today.

Much peace,


  1. #1 by Keith on January 18, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Hello Joy,

    I am loving the Gentle Barn! There’s an animal reguge here in Kentucky that I have visited. Wonderful place! I swear, you can feel the gratitude in the atmosphere. =)

    Beautiful post today my friend, and I especially like this advice you leave us with near the end, “May you then consider loving outside of your comfort zone, may you look past an outer shell and extend a smile, a kind word, a small gift of someone you may not necessarily understand or relate to…”

    I work to keep this in my mind always. I don’t do it perfectly, but the more I do it, the more I open myself to love, the more love opens itself to me.

    Also, the impact such an expression of love has on another is miraculous!

    Thank you Joy.

    • #2 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 1:53 pm

      Hi Keith,
      Once I fell in love with the Gentle Barn..about one year ago..many excuses formed as to why I would be unable to commit: the distance, time, my car’s ability to weather the it is with plasure that I put aside those excuses and allow my heart to open to new and different. I am now excited for I know opening my heart in this area will open my heart in other areas. And what I receive from sharing love–especially when I am hesitant–is magical! I also find that as I embrace healing in many forms, I am given healing in many forms:)
      Thank *you* for loving in general, and for the faith and courage to love outside of your comfort zone. I celebrate each moment of love for again, it is poured back into your own life in perfectly placed ways.

  2. #3 by Mandy Allen on January 18, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    Hi Joy, Gentle Barn sounds like a great place. I used to volunteer here in the UK for a horse rescue project. Some of the histories were heart wrenching. Being a healer no doubt you brought something quite special to these animals on your visit.

    Enjoy the journey.


    • #4 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 1:56 pm

      Hi Mandy,
      I love your energy! Thank you.
      Yes, some histories are heart wrenching..of animals and humans. I have learned to see past that history into this pour love into this moment and allow it to heal the wounded areas. Magical:)
      As I said in reply to Keith, I find that opening my heart to this adventure by volunteering regularly, has brought great joy already in all areas. Whenever I open my heart to love, what I receive back is far more than I could imagine or ask for.
      My love affair with the World continues..

  3. #5 by Alison Elliot on January 18, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    What a beautiful site you have and such a heart-felt post. I feel blessed to have found you. Animals have always been near and dear to my heart. When I was a child I had so much emotional pain to work through and the grown ups did not, or could not understand. The animals were the ones I turned to for heart and life support.

    Your pictures are delightful. I too have visited Llama farms and found these animals to be amoung the most dear and sweet of God’s creatures. As a child I frequented petting zoos and now, the older I get and the more time I have, the more guided I am to engage with helping homeless animals find refuge. I have a dear feline soul companion named Leo that I’ve shared 14 years with, and hope to share many more. My life would be so incomplete without him.

    Thank you for your post. I will include your link in my blog post next Monday, when I share w/my readers the exceptional posts I’ve been inspired by and gained value from the previous week.

    • #6 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 2:02 pm

      Hi Alison,
      Thank you for visiting:) I am blessed that you are here to share energy with.
      Childhood pain, like any other, may serve as motivation or a barrier..I am glad that you were surrounded by love and could tap into this force through the animals around you. Often we think of Love in one form..when truly it is a force in myriad forms..
      As far as animals and children, people have many different views, but I believe that while we may choose our place, we don’t choose pain…I think we choose our place based on the information we are given at the time, and sometimes that information is erroneous or misleading. Sometimes it is perfect. As I expressed in my post, I wish that pain did not exist; since it does, I am glad that Love is power filled and we have healers and guides to allow us to lessen the impact pain has on our Being.
      I am sure the bond that you have with Leo is magical indeed…

  4. #7 by Jenny Mannion on January 18, 2011 - 9:11 pm

    Hi Joy,

    WHAT a beautiful post! Thanks for including me in it and your words on LOVE were simply gorgeous and so true. I love the work I do but I look forward to the day everyone realizes they have the capacity to heal themselves instantly.. and it IS with love. Self love is the most challenging and I often tell my clients to think about “their challenge” as if their best friend was coming to them with it… it evokes a much different reaction than when we are knee deep in our programmed negative self talk. If we can treat others with kindness and unconditional love, why not ourselves?

    I had heard of The Gentle Barn because it is a favorite place of Reconnective Healing Practitioners and I have seen events there where they bring children there to work on the animals. I LOVED your pictures and that’s “SOME Pig”. 😉

    I also love Evelyn and am so glad you featured her post too! And You know I LOVVVVE Simon! 🙂

    Much Love and huge hugs Joy. Thanks for all the love and JOY you bring to the world! It is a gift to call you a friend. xoxo

    • #8 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 2:05 pm

      Hi Jenny,
      Thank you.
      Culture has many opinions about self-love, and people have many fears about it. When I love and care for my self, the fountain I share from is whole and balanced so all that I share is whole and balanced and life enriching. When I compromise, I share compromise and that doesn’t do much for the World.
      The Gentle Barn has many programs around healing..the energy shared there is amazing when you open your heart to it.
      You are full of vibrant, exuberant Love..makes my heart smile..:)

  5. #9 by Evelyn Lim on January 19, 2011 - 3:48 am

    Joy, you exude amazing energy. Even the animals love you too! And they are sensitive creatures, able to pick up your vibes. Love the pictures that you’ve put up and the words of healing on your post. The space on your site is a place of comfort, warmth and compassion.

    Also, I’m happy to see Alison and Jenny here as well – two awesome ladies with wonderful energy! Love to all!

    • #10 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 2:09 pm

      Hi Evelyn,
      The energy within this site from those who guest author and share as well as those who comment…is amazing! It is a pleasure to create within this space! I liken it to sitting at a table at my clubhouse and welcoming friends as they come in and go about their evening..a great joy!
      When I open my heart, past fear, barriers, what if’s, unknowns..just open it..the Universe swoops in with magnificent magic. Touches every area of my life. The Gentle Barn is a wonderful place for me..for my children..and I interact with the animals as I do with people, then take what I’ve learned there and apply it to life:)
      Thank you for your article..reminders of how joy filled and ease filled it is to love on my self and care for my self as generously as I do with others.

  6. #11 by Simon Hay on January 19, 2011 - 8:01 am

    Hi Joy. Thanks for mentioning me. I think I need my belly rubbed 😉 I’m not 1000lbs, so you should be safe. Peaceful post. Soul-whispering is pretty cool. There really is no reason to harm farm animals, they rely on us to nurture them, and trust us so much. I’ve been a farmer, and even though livestock is farmed to be eaten, we were always kind and honoured the land and the animals in our care. Hugs 🙂

    • #12 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 19, 2011 - 2:14 pm

      Hi Simon,
      I appreciate the love that you share and the work that you do. As long as pain exists, I will mention you. When pain no longer exists I will mention your retirement spot:)
      I’m thinking although you are not 1000 lbs, you would nestle right in to a belly rub..Self care is important for you because you care so much for you rarely get a belly rub:)
      I do understand farming, some of these animals are exotic..such as the peacock, emu, llamas..some are domestic..such as the dogs, cats, chickens. And some were for entertainment…race horses, animals used on movie sets. Used for pleasure then abused out of fear..And I think how each animal story represents a human story..How I wish we could love fearlessly and fully with delight and joy..

  7. #13 by Rand on January 19, 2011 - 5:17 pm

    Morning Joy!

    I don’t have much time so this will be short…need to get ready for work.

    Interesting that I mentioned The San Diego Wild Animal Park the other day.

    Yes…a commercial institution , but one the has worked positively in saving endangered species.

    I would like to leave this link pertaining to a real “healing” process for certain women…something besides the animals we are concerned with:


    • #14 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 9:48 am

      Hi Rand,
      Thank you:) The people that I mention in my article and the concepts I cover all involve *real* healing … there are many different healing modalities and these were just a few I chose to share..

      • #15 by Rand on January 25, 2011 - 5:15 am

        Yes Joy the concepts and people you share do involve “real” healing. I was in a big rush to go to work and did not mean to be insensitive. I would not even be at this or any other post if I did not truely care. Like everyone else I am just another ‘almost normal’ human being.

        Thanks for all your good …and thanks for being you.

  8. #16 by Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord on January 19, 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Absolutely beautiful post, and incredible metaphors used throughout. Thank you, friend!

    • #17 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 9:49 am

      Hi Megan,
      Thank you for the kind words:) May something within what was shared touch *your* heart..

  9. #18 by Peggy Nolan on January 19, 2011 - 8:58 pm

    Dear Joy,

    I loved the pictures you posted and now the post behind the pictures! what a beautiful love story to the rescued animals who share the same earth with us and breathe the same air we breathe. We are caretakers of this planet. Thank you for sharing the Gentle Barn.


    • #19 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 9:51 am

      Hi Peggy,
      I do wish “the stories” did not exist, but since they do, it is my pleasure to share them. We *are* caretakers of this planet..and we do chose how to invest our energy and love. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

  10. #20 by Bryan Thompson on January 20, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    Joy, great post. And so true. Our walls (which we create) often block love from coming to us – not because the other person doesn’t give it to us, but because we can’t receive it. We’re not in a position to be healed. We have to ultimately decide to receive healing from our wounds and hurts. Thanks for sharing this!

    • #21 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 9:54 am

      Hi Bryan,
      Welcome to “Unfolding Your Path to Joy” 🙂
      You touch on a very significant point..*we have to ultimately decide*..This is a tough period for those who love us to watch, as we make decisions that may not be conducive to healing or receiving love. Opening our hearts to love as it is presented means that we continue to love perhaps especially that which we do not understand in others, and our selves. Too often this is the moment we turn away, instead of allow for…
      Thank you for your insight!

  11. #22 by Tess The Bold Life on January 21, 2011 - 11:54 pm

    Wow the Gentle Barn sounds amazing. Beautiful words. Beautiful animals. Beautiful you.

    • #23 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 9:55 am

      Hi Tess,
      Beauty filled words from a beauty filled person–thank *you* for your comment:)

  12. #24 by Evita on January 22, 2011 - 4:05 pm

    Hi Joy,

    It took me a while to read this post, as I had a feeling within that on some levels it may sadden me. However, everything within me wanted to share in this experience of yours and get to know Gentle Barn more. I have to say, I wish so much we had a chance to go while we visited, but the timing wasn’t right for that for greater reasons which I choose to respect.

    I hear you Joy about everything you are saying, and I know love, truly loving someone to see into them like you see, to feel their heart is such an integral part of healing.

    However, everything within my being is saying yes, we can heal, but why don’t we do more to prevent it in the first place? Whether it is a human heart, a disease or an animal, preventing the undesirable from happening is always much easier than healing or treating it. Prevention takes one choice, healing can take days, weeks, months or even years, whether we are talking about humans or animals.

    Every one of our choices in life matters and adds to the greater collective of hurting or healing. Just as these and millions of other animals don’t have to be hurt, so too millions of people can be saved from having their hearts broken on various levels, just based on the actions and decisions we choose to make.

    So yes, may we heal with love, may we open our hearts to others, even when we don’t understand them, but may we also be conscious of our actions and words daily, so that we shower more beings in this world with love, not harm.

    • #25 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 23, 2011 - 10:01 am

      Hi Evita,
      Thank you for working through your discomfort and reading. It truly means a lot to me to share this with you, even through written form and photos.
      I agree, prevention is essential. To Answer your question, in general we don’t do more to prevent it because Fear is rampant in society and sometimes shadows Love. I also know that while hurt and pain exists, I am thankful for Gentle Barn for the animals and healers for humans…It is my wish that as the healers heal, and the teachers teach..mainstream will “catch up” and one day we shall all be retired soaking up the sunshine at the beach..or wherever it is we want to be….
      Until then, may we invest our energy into mindful you say..opening our hearts to other centered and self-love and using that as a foundation for our choices. May we support and encourage each other on this path, rather than judge or criticize..May we peacefully embrace the moment as it is presented and allow love to guide us All…
      I Feel your Spirit through your words and I say yes!…

  13. #26 by Tony Single on January 24, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    That is one ginormous piggie! I’d be fearful of it rolling and me getting crushed! 😦

    I was attracted to today’s post title: ‘Lessons From the Gentle Barn’. I’m trying to be gentle with m’self at the moment, as a matter of fact. Thank you for your gentle words, Moonbeam.

    • #27 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on January 25, 2011 - 8:36 pm

      Hi Tony,
      I am so glad to see you here!! Yay:)
      Yep, he is one giant, very content pig.. When he nestled in for the belly rub, I was a bit afraid he’d accidentally hurt me..he was calm as can be!
      I’m glad you are being gentle with your self…Much love to you and Cass:)

  14. #28 by W J Corbett on February 9, 2011 - 4:48 pm

    Your name is very fitting. We have many friends in common and that brought me to your blog. I,too,have a blog with wordpress and I hope to reach as you do,one day. Shine2day…
    Anywho…I love your writing and the feeling you pass in the blog. I have subscribed and look forward to reading more of,and feeling more of your Blessed work.
    Thank you for sharing!
    I wish you peace!

    • #29 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on February 11, 2011 - 4:41 am

      Hi W J Corbett,
      Welcome to my blog:)
      I believe I may have met you briefly through New Moon…I love the friends that we share in common, I am truly blessed by their energy!
      Thank you for your kind words..
      May you experience abundant peace and joy:)

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