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Understanding Animals Viewpoints
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The Animal Communicator Blog

Does Caring Mean We Have To Hurt?

I often hear from people who love animals and wonder what to do when they witness animal suffering on social media or experience it in their lives. They may get very upset and be disturbed or depressed for a long time. How can sensitive people who care about animals protect themselves from cruelty that feels overwhelming?

When facing the horrors of the world or the dark side of humanity, there is a balance to be maintained. When we move to the center of our being, we can realize what it is that we are meant to do in our own unique way to shine light in this world and embrace the darkness with the light.

Sinking into the darkness by fixedly contemplating the brutality of life drains our life force and adds to the malaise. Uniting with our deepest goodness and that of others while putting our energy into positive action is uplifting and energizing.

How to Move Out of Devastation
Teresa Wagner outlines specific steps to prevent being knocked over from our own pain and offer the fullness of our loving compassion to animals in peril:

1. Accept that pain and suffering exist in the world and that exposure to the trauma of animals is likely to trigger pain in us (whether that exposure involves being a first hand witness, in direct communication with them, hearing about it, or reading about it).

Dog lying on street
This acceptance is the opposite of resistance, and it is resistance to what is that deepens our suffering. Accepting what is, even as we are working to improve it, reduces the vibration of suffering, and increases the vibration of peace. So when we learn of animal suffering, if we can accept the facts of what is happening and resolve to to do something about it, we will have far more peace than if we stay immobilized in a state of shock and disbelief, anger, or pretend that suffering doesn't exist.

2. Learn to manage our own discomfort that comes from seeing or hearing about their pain. Learning to manage our pain in response others' trauma is a critical competency to develop for anyone providing either professional healing work or simply wanting to be as useful as possible when someone else is in trauma. One of the best descriptions I've ever read about this is from Robin Norwood in her book, Why Me, Why This, Why Now:

When we are able to conquer our need for immediate relief from our own discomfort from witnessing another’s painful condition, we can then offer Love.

Nothing better promotes true healing than an atmosphere of this very high level of love.

Some of the most effective strategies to help us cope with and heal our pain include: creating a support system with others who care similarly about the same issues so you can be there for one another to vent, to listen, to share and to heal together; taking the flower essences, Glassy Hyacinth and Green Cross Gentian to help with issues of shock, disbelief, anger, overwhelm and a sense of defeat when witnessing cruelty; and connecting with sources of spiritual and divine support that have personal meaning for us.

3. Use energetic boundaries to protect ourselves from potential overwhelm and compassion fatigue. Without being energetically prepared and protected, we are vulnerable to being overwhelmed or depleted by others' energies. Unprepared and unprotected, we are susceptible to taking in the pain of those we help as our own pain. This depletes us and diminishes our ability to help.

Energetic Protection is the conscious, intentional protection of ourselves from taking in others' emotional or physical pain, their energy, or problems and allowing these things to become our own.

I visualize my own energetic protection as a beautiful and powerful boundary of light all around me, a veil of light representing my intention to allow only positive energy to flow in. Everything else about others--their pain, their energies, the ownership of their issues--all stop at my boundary of this energetic protection of light.

I can still see, feel, understand, and perceive everything about the animal or person I am  working with, and I can still shower the others' pain or issues with great love, empathy and skillful help. All those things can pour from me, or be channeled through me, to reach and help the other. And I can clearly see and perceive all I need to understand and help the other.

My own energetic protection boundary simply does not allow any negative energy from another to come in. What energetic protection stops, and this is the whole point of it, is the pain or negative energy that belongs to another from entering us. All pain and negativity simply stops at our energetic boundary of protection. That's all.

Love and good can come in. Love and healing can go out. With energetic protection, the heart stays wide open and we are empowered to be fully present with another's pain or trauma, to help with great effectiveness, and to not burn out.

4. Consciously choose the order in which we send love and healing energy to everyone involved--a process taught to me by a whale as I was having difficulty witnessing the death of a whale calf.

This process is not about ignoring our emotional reactions to animal suffering. It's about dealing with it after first offering love and compassion to those directly impacted.

The process is not about pretending suffering does not exist, that people on earth do not harm animals, or condoning what they do. The process is also not about sending love instead of helping practically.

It's about sending love in addition to important activism, direct rescue efforts, making donations and other activities in which we choose to get involved. A summary of the steps are described below.

Step One: Send to the animal or animals who have been harmed, killed or are in peril the energy of calm, of tenderness and of great love. Be in a place of calmness yourself when you do this.

Step Two: Send to those closest to the animals who have been harmed the energy of calm, compassionate  support, acknowledgement of the trauma or their loss (when one has occurred), and great love.

Examples of those closest to the animals harmed may be other animals or people who are their family or other animals or people who love them, who may be scared, grieving or distraught. When a trauma or loss is occurring, those closest to to the ones who have been harmed are the primary grievers, caregivers or loved ones--not us. Their reaction to what has happened takes precedence over our reaction to what has happened. We are the secondary grievers. We should also never, ever expect the people or animals in these primary roles to take care of us and our reactions. We need to take care of ourselves and go elsewhere for support as needed.

Step Three: Send abundant love to the hearts of the perpetrators of the harm, for it is only from a place of love that those who perpetrate harm against others have a chance to change internally.

It's hard, very hard, to feel love for and send love to those who harm and kill animals. I think of it as sending love to their soul on a deeply spiritual level and not in any way condoning their behavior and not connecting with them at a personality level. Sometimes even that is hard for me to do directly, so I ask the angels and spiritual guides I work with to send that love to them for me.

Step Four: Send lovingkindness and compassion to yourself, filling your own heart with healing energy for any grief, upset or pain you may have.

Honor your own feelings, however strong, dark, confusing or contradictory they may be at any moment. Ask for help from those you trust to understand, those on earth and in Spirit, to help you fully express and release any pain. Reach out and ask for ongoing support, love, and care from those you pray to, and from those who are your support system on earth.

Using these steps and processes has allowed my level of compassion to mature and has increased my ability to help the animals I love so much. My whale guide who helped me learn most of this described it best:

"It's about transforming our overwhelming, natural energy of grief and anger in response to harm, into powerful support for the actual animals who are harmed, for their loved ones, those who have caused the harm, and ourselves.”

It's about showering suffering with Love. Everyone's suffering.

Know that by sending calming and healing energy and love to all of these parties, you have just taken powerful action to serve animals, and that you have added more love and peace to the world. And while the above order of sending love may be ideal, sometimes a particular act of horror toward animals so thoroughly throws us out of balance that we must tend to our own meltdown of shock, outrage, or devastating heartbreak first. We need to be in a place of calm and centeredness ourselves to be able to send love and healing to the others. Sometimes we need to care for ourselves first so we neither deny or get stuck in our own pain, and that's ok. Doing so, we can get back to the love for everyone.
5. Do something practical, on the ground, to alleviate the root cause of an animal suffering issue you care about.

One of the most respectful things we can do for animals who suffer is to become educated, stay informed, and inform others about the issues of concern to us. Read articles, sign petitions, follow Facebook pages and Twitter messages that cover the issues of concern to you, make lifestyle choices that do not harm animals, boycott companies that harm animals. These individual decisions and actions may be the most holy work we can do.

Choosing to be part of the solution is very empowering and can lessen our own overwhelm that the problems exist. When we're part of "fixing it," however small our role may be, it means we have risen above the passivity of being an overwhelmed onlooker and have become part of sacred activism to make the world a better place for animals.

Love heals on the emotional and spiritual level. Action heals on the grounded physical level. Action in the outer world and sending love, healing energy, and prayer from the inner world both create change. These are not mutually exclusive strategies, they merely employ different energies. To resolve the complex issues of cruelty to animals
they are both needed. In addition to sending love, take a stand. Stand up for the animals you love and feel the power of your compassion spreading to change the world for animals.

Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
~ Robert Kennedy

May our own hearts be both open and protected as we send compassion and love to animals in peril, and as we are involved in grounded, sacred activism to change their circumstances. May the hearts of all people who don't yet see the souls of animals be opened to see them and treat them with the love, kindness, protection and respect they deserve.

May love prevail.

Opening Hearts
Dawn Hayman offers animal wisdom on the subject.

As an animal communicator at Spring Farm Cares, often on the front lines of animal cruelty cases, there are days that I start to go nuts. For me, this journey of animal communication has been about opening my heart more and more. With that open heart, and experiencing animal cruelty almost daily, it often feels like my heart will burst with sadness and hopelessness. When I feel that, it’s my first clue that I need to go be with the animals and spend time with them.

We have some animals here at SFC that have been through horrendous abuse. Yet they welcome each human who walks onto this farm with the same unconditional love and open heart. One of our horses once said to me, “If I can let it go, and I'm the one who lived through it, why can't you?” I remember that almost daily and I strive to achieve it. 
Leo of Spring Farm Cares

As an animal communicator, I learned long ago that vengeance wasn't the answer. I needed to put my energy where the animals were asking me to go: to the healing side of the equation. When we hear about such horrendous animal cruelty, the first thing we all want to do is GET the person who did it. For two reasons: to prosecute them, and more than that, to prevent it from happening again.

As communicators, we can have an impact on opening hearts. The more hearts that open, the less people will be able to abuse animals. I know it seems idealistic but the animals are right. It is the only way. Having felt the helplessness, despair, and anger about these tragic cases repeatedly, I can say that we need to channel our energy into the prayers, healings, and the work we are doing to spread the messages of the animals and all their love. It makes a huge difference. I've seen it, felt it, and experienced it first hand. Each heart opened changes the world in amazing ways. I'm not saying we shut our eyes to the animal abuse. I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't prosecute it. However, we must use our energy to aid the healing side of the story and not add to the anger and hopelessness of the abusive side.

It is my observation that people do such horrible animal abuse out of complete lack of self worth. People who feel they have no place to go, no self worth, and are filled with hopelessness often lash out at animals who are more helpless than they are. That is something we CAN do something about. The animals tell me constantly that
it’s about healing the human heart and setting it free.

More animal communicators’ thoughts and practical solutions on the subject are found on this webpage.

Some animal communicators focus on this subject.
Nancy Windheart has a class called Ethics and Energetic Boundaries for Animal Communicators and Animal Energy Workers and a two-part blog, Tools for Empaths. Teresa Wagner offers classes on compassion fatigue.

My CDs
Animal Intelligence and Awareness, Understanding Animals’ Viewpoints, and Healing and Counseling with Animals in the Animal Communication Mastery Series can help you receive the wise, compassionate views of our fellow animal species on the Earth to give you a broader perspective.

May all beings be happy. May all beings be at peace.

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