My ideal clients are those who are on a trajectory to realize their true calling and step into their authentic power, though many don't consciously know this when signing up with me.

Intriguingly, this statement applies to organizations as well as individuals. Such is the case for Equine Aid, the horse and donkey rescue organization that I've been volunteering with for the past two months (see my post on Healing with Horses for more information about my involvement with the organization).

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Equine Aid is an all-volunteer organization. The founders, Geri and Doug, are a retired couple who rescue equines for the love of it (they manage all operations and volunteer coordination, pull no salary, and fill in the financial gaps when necessary); the volunteers muck stalls, feed, train, massage and hang out with the horses; and the Board pitches in as-needed to keep operations (and cash) flowing. While this arrangement has worked for the past 8 years, recently the model has begun to falter. In addition to finances being a constant state of concern (the organization exists on $50K/year, between individual donations, horse adoptions, equine sponsorships, material donations, and fundraisers); Doug's health has been variable; Geri's time is maxed, and both are starting to experience burn-out. 

When I signed up to be a volunteer, I did so for purely selfish reasons: I wanted to work with horses. From my first day, however, I knew that Spirit had a bigger plan in store, and that this organization and I would profoundly influence one another. In keeping with this feeling, I started to notice the healing effect the horses had on me, and I on them; I also noticed this with other volunteers. Indeed, anyone I mentioned my observations to affirmed that no matter what mood they showed up in, they always ended up happy after being around the horses (see my Healing with Horses post to find out why).  I also saw the amount of work, love and resources the founders pour into the organization, and found myself wanting to help lighten their load at a bigger level.

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I approached Geri about a potential marketing trade (a horse for a marketing plan, development and execution), but it became quickly clear that Equine Aid first needed something more tangible. After some discussion (as well as a prolonged consultation with my organizational strategist father), it was decided that we'd hold a strategic workshop for the board to determine Equine Aid's strategy for dealing with founder burnout and limited financial resources. The board and founders filled out a strategic questionnaire in advance, which we reviewed in-session. While discussing the inputs from these questionnaires, the energy seemed to go out of the room. Everyone agreed that "love" is the thing that sets Equine Aid apart from other rescues ("we genuinely care about our animals, and the humans who adopt them"), but couldn't see a way past the problems the organization is facing.

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So when we got to the part of the workshop reserved for envisioning what a successful Equine Aid looks like in three years' time, the responses were very survival-oriented and uninspiring. Noticing this, I suggested we do a quick guided meditation to get into a more heart-inspired place, and led the group in visualizing – from a place of joy and excitement – what it felt like to be a part of Equine Aid in three years' time, assuming all challenges had been resolved. This changed everything.

Suddenly, people were speaking passionately about what changes they'd like to make, and what components would be in-place to make the organization successful. We talked about our personal connection to the animals, and how we felt we do something "more than just rehabilitate equines". And then it hit us: Equine Rescue wasn't just about healing the horses and donkeys. It was about healing humans, too. And an entirely new, inspiring direction was born: the facilitation of horse and human healing through equine therapy.

As luck would have it, one of the board members is a certified equine therapist, so this is a real and viable option for Equine Aid. And lo, the doors have already started opening.

While this vision is only in infancy, I share this with you so that you too can begin to dream about what potential lies within you, waiting to be realized. When you find the spark that ignites the flame of passion within you, the Universe conspires to help you realize your full potential. I invite you to follow this journey with me, with the intention that it inspires your own ability to dream bigger. 

[If you are moved by this story and would like to sponsor an equine, adopt an equine, donate materials or financial contributions, or volunteer, you can do so at www.equineaid.org].