Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen

Since it’s just you and me here, I’ll speak in whispers from my soul and seal this strange pocket of sanctuary with all the peace in my suburban farmgirl heart.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Whenever I pause to reflect on the inner landscape of my soul and act upon the desire to bless this blog with life-giving inspiration, I do wonder if what I have to offer even belongs.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

After all, just how are such mystically charged reflections related to the balance of interior design inspiration shared more often?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

It’s my hope that all feel welcomed into the fullness of these pauses. I’m not writing for a particular avatar in spite of how often as a business blogger I’m advised to do so.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Like you, I’m just muddling through in wonder.

Hopefully, these personal musings about life behind the blog will resonate in harmony with melodious notes of peaceful beauty, timeless charm, and tranquil atmospheric loveliness found elsewhere.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

While I’m piling on the disclaimers, I may as well add another.

Please know, in spite of the whispering, I don’t take myself overly seriously. Laughing is my favorite. That part of my Instagram bio’s description reading ‘peaceful home guru?’ It’s there with a lighthearted smile, not puffed up delusion.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

My hope is that a measure of the glowing warmth at the center of my being will penetrate any words patched together here. Will somehow meet those divine embers crackling in you.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

A little history about me and goats seems in order (and is proof I have always struggled with my hearing). I maybe thought about goats more than the average Chicago suburban kid in early childhood.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

The 1930’s humble home of my early childhood was located smack dab (I mean, maybe 96 inches) next to a tiny Pentecostal church where rousing services took place. My bedroom window lined up with a church window so I could see flashes of movement and hear music and shouting. My parents referred to the congregants there as ‘holy rollers’ which I misheard as ‘goat ropers.’

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Yep. Goat ropers.

Can you picture the innocence of my sweet, five-year-young self, peering through her window, desperate to spot a single goat or lasso? I dreamed about those goats and do not recall feeling anxious about the actual leaping ropers in the church.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

After we moved away from the goat ropers and closer to downtown Chicago, I hardly thought about goats beyond a couple of petting zoo visits.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Goats returned to my radar in midlife when our eldest son was in high school since his steady girlfriend was a farmgirl. She ‘showed’ goats, a hobby I found exotic and delightful. Hers is such a loving soul, and the notion of rising early in the morning to tend to them and spend weekends devoted to their care, warmed me to the core.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

The other day, I visited Gretta’s Goats, a paradise of a farmstead near my Northern Illinois home and was sort of swept up in the pastoral loveliness and sweetness found there on the prairie.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Indeed, I may have even ‘grown down’ into a small child as I snuggled a baby goat brought to my arms. ‘Grow down’ is an expression our youngest son made up when for a season, he imagined since one could grow UP, the reverse direction was also possible. He would ask, “Someday, mama, when you grow down, can we play Elmo together?”

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Oh the wisdom of a child. That his mama might not dry up and wither with time, but shed maturity and dissolve into a child’s fresh form.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

All of these years on the planet, so much lovely innocence lost, and yet there can be all of these sweet firsts…like snuggling a baby goat.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

The baby let out a little cry and initially wrestled before getting comfy. I’m a bit of a lightweight at the moment, and she was MUCH heavier than she appears here!

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

After relaxing, this creature became the picture of calm–far more still than any dog or cat I have cradled. Then she fell asleep in my arms.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

How does a sweet baby goat fully surrender and become remarkably still in the arms of a stranger? I said those words out loud, and a woman nearby answered.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

“All they have known is pure love and kindness so they’ve nothing to fear.”

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

It turns out the voice belonged to the parent of the handsome goat herder who delivered the peaceful kid to my arms. She wasn’t just speculating; she knew the inside scoop.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Baby goats put people at ease, and the air around me felt charged with an uncommonly heartful optimism I need more of.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

I’m still sort of glowing from the richness of the serenity and deep peace swirling about the goats, Great Pyrenees, hens, and hives. If Gretta is reading, I’d like to again bow in gratitude, for welcoming the public to this retreat humming with true earthy goodness.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

The goats reminded me.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

When creatures and children of Love feel safety, belonging, dignity, and mercy, hidden wholeness springing from a lighter realm is perceivable. The veil gets pulled back a little.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

More than answers, there are questions and longings that linger in my chest since I knelt at that little goat altar in the world.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Safety

Are there gestures and new ways of being, right where I am, which have the potential to create a safer atmosphere for souls in my path?

Can I live as Mother Earth’s beloved with less fear, as a baby goat in the arms of a strange giant?

How might insignificant, imperfect, earnest blog posts filled with heartspeak provide safety in cyberspace?

Is it possible to evolve and soften as a source of tranquility even when the encounter begins with a bit of weeping and wrestling?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Surely I cannot become an instrument of peace and a messenger of safety without grace. Let me seek such grace daily and receive it gladly.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Belonging

Belonging is a tender topic for me since a long term struggle with it has colored my days. My personality developed in such a way that historically, I equated my worthiness with rigid individualism. My sense of worth seemed tied to lots of verbs, moral behavior, and my capacity to innovate, produce, and create…with a smile.

But carefully crafting and clinging to identity has never served me that well. Perceiving yourself as an ‘outsider’ may yield a production of powerful art. But it can be hazardous, lonely, and too costly.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

The range of colorful relational interactions I observed among the diverse tribe of goats was striking. I witnessed aggressive challenges, PDA, and more playfulness than I can say. I especially loved when a pair would diverge from the herd to sit, kiss, lounge on each other, and drink the wild air.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

What rhythms in my life contribute to the separateness I feel and how might they give way to more sacred ones connecting me to nature and community? How might I become community for those seeking belonging?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Are there practical ways to invest more heartfully into relationships, heal destructive interpersonal dynamics, and recover from past wounds?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Surely I cannot become an instrument of peace and a messenger of belonging without grace. Let me seek such grace daily and receive it gladly.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

Dignity

Dignity is such a beautiful gift we can share with each other. Especially at a time in history when social media makes it far too easy to strip others of it and in the process, remain locked out of love’s flow.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Some of the visitors to this goat lovelyland gathered in the center of a field for baby goat yoga. The instructor was gentle and encouraging, and the mood was otherworldly. Humans bowed, and little goats milled about happily and only mildly curious, as if somehow they knew the party was all about them.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soulful Reflections: Of Goats & Zen – Inspired Thoughts and Longings After a Visit to a Decidedly Peaceful Farmstead in Pecatonica, Illinois. Personal reflections about faith, hope, love, and baby goats…certainly lovely indeed.

How might I nurture a greater sense of dignity for myself and others? There must be a million creative ways to clothe my neighbor in more beauty and honor, to greet discouraged souls with a more encouraging, HELLO, LOVELY .

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Surely I cannot become an instrument of peace and a messenger of dignity without grace. Let me seek such grace daily and receive it gladly.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Mercy

Oh, mercy. Just speaking the word can sometimes shift my countenance. Is it any surprise that in Hebrew, ‘mercy’ and ‘womb’ share the same root?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

How might I begin to become a haven of mercy, trusting the trustworthy energy within me to light the way?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Can I humbly step over my small self to transform daily, so that love’s pure light may reveal hidden mercy in every curse? What if I put on a new mind of mercy and decide this heart will do more resting than ranting?

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Surely I cannot become an instrument of peace and a messenger of mercy without grace. Let me seek such grace daily and receive it gladly.

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

I wish you safety, friends. Belonging, dignity, and mercy too…

Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio
Beautiful inspiration from Gretta's Goats - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Video at Gretta’s Goats

The quote below struck a chord and powerfully captured attention when I shared it on FB – do pin its gentle reminder to embrace reality.

Inspirational quote from John Piper about letting go on Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Read more soulful reflections HERE.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shopping for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE (not just items mentioned in posts) keeps decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

DISCLOSURE: Many of the links on this blog are affiliate links which do not cost you more yet earn Hello Lovely a small commission. Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Click HERE to discover lovely cost conscious furniture and home decor!

Follow:

14 Comments

  1. Carole
    June 15, 2019 / 2:36 pm

    Michele, through God’s grace you ARE an instrument of peace. And, through God’s grace I gladly received your message of safety, belonging, dignity and mercy… which boil down to Loving. Thank you for sharing your experience at Gretta’s Goats with us. So relaxing. I almost felt like I was there with you.

    • Michele
      Author
      June 15, 2019 / 2:43 pm

      That makes me feel so happy to hear – thank you so much. My pleasure to spread the love and bring you along. xox

  2. June 16, 2019 / 8:06 am

    Loved the adventure into goat land! They’re so sweet, well most of the time. We have a little ramshackle goat farm about a half mile away and I often walk there. I realized that there’s definitely a pecking order among them! The babies are adorable though! Thanks for sharing your soulful words with us, Michele!
    xo

    • Michele
      Author
      June 16, 2019 / 10:34 am

      That pecking order stuff falls under the category of what I was calling ‘colorful behavior’…hahahahaha. I’m sure there is much to learn about ourselves from looking at that side of goat life too. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  3. Karen H.
    June 16, 2019 / 10:41 am

    Loved this post! Thank you Michele for sharing your light and inspiration here. Xoxo

    • Michele
      Author
      June 16, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      I’m so glad! So grateful to have you hear reading – peace to you, friend.

  4. Alanah
    June 16, 2019 / 4:13 pm

    …so beautiful & eloquent. Touched my soul.

    • Michele
      Author
      June 16, 2019 / 4:51 pm

      Thanks for being here – peace to you right where you are.

  5. Amy
    June 19, 2019 / 11:22 am

    Simple lovely and uplifting! Always encouraged and challenged by your words from the heart! Your son’s ‘grow down’ expression is precious…I think I will be using that in the future! My 27 year old daughter once called our family…’flamy’…and to this day that’s how we refer to our ‘flamy’!

    • Michele
      Author
      June 19, 2019 / 11:30 am

      Flamy is so cute, and I can see why it endures. Isn’t it special to have your own family vocabulary? We say ‘my choke hurts’ when we have a sore throat since one of our sons came up with that at a young age. And we’ll say we are ‘carbohydrated’ when we’re dehydrated–such a fun mix up!

  6. June 23, 2019 / 9:01 am

    Michele,
    I always enjoy reading your posts. You have a way of reaching my heart. Your trip with the goats is so beautiful. My daughter and her friend have given yoga classes with goats. it is such a fun and relaxing time.
    I want to get some goats but my husband is not on board with it yet.
    Keep sharing your posts, I love them.
    Hugs,
    Bev

    • Michele
      Author
      June 23, 2019 / 10:25 am

      Thank you so much for reading these reflections, Bev. How wonderful that you have experienced goat yoga – something very new to me. I’m also contemplating adding a few goats to the farmhouse I dream about for retirement. They have much to teach. xox

  7. June 27, 2019 / 8:06 am

    Michelle, I loved your wonderfully descriptive rememberances of your childhood, your beautiful visit with the goats and your always beautiful perspective. Yes, you make a difference. Please keep sharing!
    Blessings and peace to you where you are right now.
    Sorry it took me so long to get over here this week but I’m so grateful I made it.
    Theresa. xo

    • Michele
      Author
      June 27, 2019 / 12:05 pm

      Thank you so much for reading the reflections, Theresa. I appreciate that so much and am grateful for your generous words. I accept the blessing and the peace gladly with a heart wide open. May you feel the warmth in these words and find cooling rest even in rising temperatures. xox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *