Knowing When to Keep Going...
Yesterday was my first therapy dog visit at a local hospital for the first time in several months. I had been going regularly to do therapy visits but suffered some burn out partly caused by overextending myself in other parts of my life, and partly because I was thinking too much about the patients we visited after we left. You might wonder why this would cause burn out but you need to understand that I didn't know these people in most cases not even their names or why they are in the hospital. And it is really none of my business to know those things - I was there with my dog to volunteer and to make their day a little better by spending some time with an animal, receiving unconditional love. But for me walking away and not thinking about people especially if we had connected through my dog or some other shared interest in the 15 to 20 minutes that I spent with them is something that was and continues to be hard. In truth I know this is an issue for most people - letting go of things that people say or do or thoughts that you have. It's been an issue for me in almost all areas of my life until a couple of years ago when I really started honing in on my intuitive skills and realized that to be better at intuiting information from animals I really needed to keep my head clear and be in a good space and most importantly after I had finished my connecting with the animal to disconnect from them completely and let them go and not carry their energy around with me all day. The exercises that I do for this have been so useful not only for my animal connections but also with my family and friends and people I meet in day-to-day life. And I'm now finding it is easier to have the balance between really being involved invested in a conversation with a person (not intuitively) and caring and showing compassion and empathy in that moment, but then after we leave each other being able to let thoughts of them and their situation go. It doesn't mean, however, that I have stopped paying attention or stopped caring or stopped being compassionate or empathetic. But it seems like that's what a lot of people do these days to protect themselves; instead of being compassionate and showing empathy for people, we build up walls and kick people out and look away and keep going.
As I was leaving the hospital yesterday I was driving out of the parking lot and came to the stop light in front of the entrance. There was a man who looked like he wanted to cross the street and he was walking very strangely - so strange I couldn't tell if he was physically disabled, having a seizure, or perhaps really intoxicated. I waited to let him cross the street in front of me as it seemed like that was what we was planning to do, but there were cars coming the other way that would have prevented him from crossing, so I continued on but I looked in my rearview mirror after I passed by and I watched him fall backwards onto the sidewalk onto his back. A couple of cars slowed down, one even pullover and I thought the person was going to get out and then they started going again so I kept looking in my rearview mirror. I was at another stoplight to looking to see if he got up onto his feet but he didn't. And I kept driving. Then I thought, "I can't keep driving, what if he was actually trying to get himself to the hospital because he has some medical issue that needs to be taken care of". Then I remembered that the hospital security office is right next to the parking lot I had just come from, so I turned around. I noticed the man was still laying on the sidewalk but I didn't feel comfortable on my own stopping and taking care of him myself - first of all he was a very large man and I would never have been able to right him by myself and he wasn't in any shape to be standing on his own and also for my own safety I wasn't comfortable stopping by myself. So I drove on when into the security office told one of the security guards where he was and they said they'd send someone. I waited in my car until I saw security been a security car pass by me and I followed him out. He did indeed stop and pull over next to the man and I kept driving and I thought OK that's good he's got help you need to go home and get on with your day. Then I drove around the block one more time. The guard was still standing there with him. This time, I kept going. I'm still a work in progress, but I'll take that as opposed to driving off without trying to help at all any day.