It isn't just horses that are fight or flight, it is people too. The last couple of days have yet again been an internal battle for me, personally. I had no idea how hard it was and would be to run a non profit. A friend of mine has a non profit dog rescue, who I remember watching him be so incredibly stressed out and overwhelmed and upset at the responses and comments people made towards and at him. My advice to him would always be to ignore them and look the other way. Focus on all of the positive. Fast forward 7 years, and now I find myself heading my own advice.
The thing is, it is incredibly hard to ignore the negative. The positive, yes, gives me strength to move forward, to work harder, to push the boundaries of what is possible, to take chances and to trust in the loyalty of the people supporting you. The negative, doesn't get me down in the way that you think. It doesn't make me want to stop. It makes me frustrated because I care. I care WHY they are saying that. I care WHY they think that. When you work your tail end off to build something and you believe in it SO MUCH, and you know and understand it from the inside out, when someone assumes or accuses or says hurtful things it hurts in the sense that I wish that they would reach out with questions, so that I can provide answers. So that I can at least have a chance to have a discussion and can invite them out to see and feel and touch what is actually going on.
I feel like it doesn't matter what you are doing or working towards in life, if someone is negative towards you, you care. If you have a heart, you care. None of us actually know what we are doing, we learn day by day and make changes and evolve as we grow and go. We learn. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. I sure as heck make mistakes every single day to own up to those mistakes so that I can grow as a person.
The point is, the negative has GOT to stop. Right now, everyone is struggling. So many people have lost their jobs, have anxiety, are contemplating suicide, have lost loved ones, are petrified of losing loved ones, can't feed their families, cant feed their animals, they have no idea what is coming or what is next and that can almost be scarier then dealing with the present. Right now is when everyone should be coming together, holding hands (not literally), and supporting one another. Right now is when change HAS GOT TO HAPPEN! THE NEGATIVE HAS GOT TO STOP!
The month of April, that is what we as a barn are going to focus on. Stopping the negative. Stopping the hate. Stopping the judgement. It starts with all of us personally and challenges every single person that is out there to really look at themselves and how they are responding to not only their OWN actions, their OWN thoughts, their OWN responses, but also those around them. It challenges you to wonder WHY they might be responding that way and WHAT can you do to help?
Do you remember the movie Pay it Forward? I cried. I think everyone cried, but, wasn't the point of the movie brilliant? Pay it forward. Kindness creates kindness. Love creates love. What you put out you get back. Well, today, we/ASIAB, choose to Pay it Forward, and we hope you will also.
So what are we going to do? We are going to donate $200, which is a lot of money for us right now, but you cannot reap what you don't sow; pay it forward. We will be donating the money to a smaller non profit who needs and can use the extra money to go towards wherever they need the most. We are then going to challenge our supporters to do the same and donate to that one small non profit and post about them on their social media AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHY they are doing it. I then challenge THAT non profit to do the same thing and to reach out and make a donation, whatever they can afford to another non profit who needs it. Imagine if we all did this. Imagine if we all challenged one another to take action and pay it forward, how much happier and how much more supported, and how much more pressure would be lifted off of our shoulders!?
How can you pay it forward if you are not a non profit? Buy an extra packet of toilet paper and place it on your neighbors door step. Make a post about something positive that happened and challenge someone to do the same. Bake cookies for your friend (a friend of mine just baked me cookies and let me tell you my stomach is grateful). Buy a couple boxes of granola bars or dog food for the homeless person sitting on the corner. Buy the coffee for the person behind you at the drive threw and post about what you did. Who knows, maybe you will inspire someone who reads it to do the same thing. It isn't bragging, it is inspiring.
We/ASIAB are also going to start surprising kids, families, grandparents etc by doing a ride by in front of their house. We won't be able to do everyone, and we will keep our distance, but if we can make one person each day, day a little bit brighter, more positive, then so be it. Kindness creates kindness. Just like laughs are contagious, right?
I hope, I truly hope, you join me in changing what is happening with the mentality of everyone who is scared right now. Let us work together as a community, and by that I do not mean just locally, I mean EVERYONE. Let us fight, not flight. Let us stand together. Let us work TOGETHER to get through this.