Q: I suffer daily because I work with animals – wildlife and domesticated. I see their suffering as a result of human beings every day. I don’t know how to live my life without being in pain emotionally. How can I continue helping without suffering 24/7?
ToddAnswers: You are a warrior and a very kind-hearted empath. I know it can be so hard to be a warrior and defender of love and peace on this planet. While understanding on an intellectual level can help, it certainly is not enough. Like becoming a doctor or an expert in anything else, we need to understand the concepts, and we need the experience and practice too.
When working in stressful jobs like yours, such as people who work in corrections or social workers, it’s more important than ever to release stress so it doesn’t accumulate. We need to set aside time not just to recharge, but to help us reframe how we see the stressful situations in our lives so that they don’t cause excessive and unmanageable stress.
It really takes giving yourself the time each day to process these experiences in a healthy way by meditating on the present moment (either your breath or a mantra), and practicing letting go of the past so you can be at your best in the present moment. The weight of the world and the weight of time is too much to bear for anyone.
As stressful thoughts arise, simply notice the thoughts and the tension in the body. Don’t judge or resist it. Just notice it. And then, bring your attention back to this moment. Notice your tendency to hold on to it. Then let it go. This is the art of letting go of negative feelings so we can be present and more there for those who need us — even those fuzzy and furry little animal friends of ours. It just takes a few minutes a day, the more you can spare the better. This will put into practice the concepts and allow for real change to occur.