I am excited to feature another person for this 365 Kindness project! If you are new to this project, I do my best to find someone who spreads Kindness, empowerment or inspiration in what they do and then feature them here on my website. I usually do this once a week.'
I do my best to feature people from a wide range of backgrounds and professions because I believe kindness, empowerment and inspiration are present everywhere.
Today I am going to be featuring Susan Allan. Susan had a lot of wonderful things to say so this will be part 1 of a 2 part series. I will let her introduce herself below!
Born in Ottawa and while loving to travel, I am happy to still be living here almost 60 years later. Along the way I have had many adventures and plan to have many more. So many of these adventures have been shaped by kindnesses…
Attraction to people and horses have shaped many of my decisions. As a child, my father lived a much shortened life with MS. My mother worked very hard to support my brother and me. I found Silver Spring Farm, which was a farm attached to a residence for people with developmental disabilities and provided a place for them to work around horses. It provided me with a safe haven and gave me a felt sense of how horses could help humans.
I married young and although we are not still together, we had three wonderful children and suffered many miscarriages. The loss of those babies helped to shape my gratefulness for becoming a mother - my biggest blessing. The children came five years apart and allowed me to have separate relationships with each as they developed strong bonds with each other. They remain a large joyous part of my everyday life although they live on the other side of the country.
While trying to go to university, I was told I needed to keep trying to have a baby for medical reasons and I stopped…but it made me a life long learner instead. I worked as a lobbyist, an event planner, executive assistant, salesperson in a clothing store, accounting helper…and then became a Realtor, which I still am after over 30 years. I was attracted to companies with a cultural focus and took many courses in leadership and training and was awarded the title of Cultural Icon. I use these lessons to this day.
The country life held appeal and the children and I moved to a horse farm when the youngest was seven. We spent many years in the car before the youngest went to high school in the area. Many people supported us as we learned about life on a farm…I had been a rider
but had never owned a horse, mucked a stall let alone brought in a load of hay off our own property! The learning curve was enormous and after more than 16 years… it still is!
Along the way I discovered that my “knowing” that horses help people became a goal to
participate in that kind of sharing. I have taken many courses and certifications in Equine
Facilitate Learning and through many interesting twists and turns, have brought Willaway Farm to the point of becoming a Wellness Facility. We have wonderful supportive boarders and great volunteers as well as wellness professionals who choose the special energy of the farm to bring learning to others. I am a great believer in the ripple effect and Willaway and the people it attracts are spreading my goal of making a positive difference to someone every day in ways I never could have imagined.
My life is greatly shaped by three extraordinary women… my three mothers. One came to me when purchasing the farm, Val Willis. She will be 100 this year and has more energy than
someone half her age. Deanna Rutherford has been like a mother/father to me since I was a
child and I am her child. And my wish for everyone is that they have someone who believes
they are wonderful the way Gayle Mullington, my birth mother, believes about me. She now
lives with Dementia and is still sweet and happy. They form a background to my interest in
focussing on seniors, caregivers and people living with Dementia. I am now a Yoga Teacher,
have worked with mindfulness and arrange programs at the farm and at senior residences. The horses add so much, whether they are present or not!
My life story is one that has been shaped by the kindnesses of many and that continues today. I am a partnership person and live my life in many kinds of partnerships. I feel like the most fortunate woman you may ever meet.
What do I do to share/increase kindness in the lives of people around or people I communicate with?
Connection is a big theme in my life and I believe that connection builds better health, attitude and well being. Connection with kindness grows those feelings so it has become a habit to wave a hello or thank you when driving…to sincerely compliment strangers on an article of clothing or the cuteness of their pet…to drop a quick e-mail or text to several people every day just to let them know they are thought of and appreciated … to FaceTime with people so they can see I care … to add a reminder to think of three things we are grateful for at the end of the yoga classes I teach …
We have a sign on our barn door that says “Be nice or leave”. It could read “Be kind” but
already the culture of the farm is kindness. The people we have attracted spread kindnesses to each other and all around them outside of the farm. We offer a safe and kind place for people to be with horses and that seems to increase people’s ability to spread kindness. We provide a venue for other wellness practitioners to advance learning with kindness as a base feature. We model kind behaviour to animals. So what I do is foster the culture of kindness in a way that feels personal but actually multiplies.
What is one message I think the world currently needs to hear?
If there was a focus on health and education world wide, our world would look totally different in a decade. I believe that better, kinder decisions could be made without the fear based, reactive decision making we currently see if the leaders and the people who put them into power based their decisions on whether the answer to most questions/issues increases better health or education. Simplify. The one message I think the world currently needs to hear is “Let us focus our immense pool of talent to further world wide health and education and let the ripple effect change the world vision to one of hope and growth.”
That's it for this Guest Post. Thank you Susan for answering these questions and giving us your insight and views on kindness! The second part of Susans answers will be share on March 25th!
Next week we will meet Kendra from Surprise your spirit!
If you likes this post please feel free to comment or share, you can also join the 365 Kindness Facebook group where all discussions are welcome (as long as they are respectful and kind) and where all bonus content is shared!
Love and Light to you all and until tomorrow.
***Don’t forget! You can nominate someone or something for me to feature by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org ! My goal is to feature someone at least once a week!