Their Glowing Hands

I’m walking home along the narrow road to the guesthouse after a long day in the field, and a motorbike cannot avoid the cat that darted from the thick undergrowth into its path, not 20 steps in front of me.  In a surreal moment, I watched myself running up to the cat that was covered in blood, staggering and convulsing. I don’t speak any of the languages here and I plead with them in English “doctor? vet? help?” And they shake/nod their heads and take off on their bike.

Carrying the shuddering cat into the shade, I just don’t know what to do. Are the boys coming back? She can’t drink water, and the only place she will let me touch her in her agony is her head. So I gently stroke her head. I chant the Gayatri Mantra, a comfort for me which I can only hope then offers a comfort for her. Watching her begin to cross over makes me so mad, just so seethingly mad at the suffering of the other animals (captive elephants and monkeys) witnessed over the  last 36 hours.  5 minutes that felt like hours and she’s starting to cough and I can feel her fading and I can’t do anything for her crumpled little body except gently stroke her head.

Then I heard a bike, and the boys have brought some men. They were not vets or doctors, in fact, due to language, I don’t who they were. But they gently placed their hands upon her—their GLOWING hands, so gently—and she crossed over, free from her pain. We covered her in flowers and laid her in the underbrush. They left without a word. I walked up the steep hill to where I’m staying. 

I went back and forth about posting the photo, well-blurred, of their gentle glowing hands resting so tenderly upon her, yet wanted to share how even without a common spoken language, their Compassionate Action was felt by her, and by me, and radiated outwards. There is simply no limit to the energetic shift of suffering when we willingly shine our light directly upon whatever suffering may be In front of us. All together now…

The challenges reveal themselves…

It’s been a very gut-wrenching week, filled with deep sadness at the suffering of so many animals, and the recognition of what it will take to start the shift towards kindness and compassion.  It’s easy to give up when the road ahead seems impossible to navigate, and those are the times we reach for poetry, music, or meditation (usually all 3), to keep the Heart awake to the potential for positive change, even when it is hidden, deeply, from view.

Today we sat at the foot of this temple to reconnect to why we do what we do, and how all great change has always necessitated believing in hope when there seemed to be little about.  The tiny bells topping all of the spires created a music in the breeze, and remembered how faith and hope go hand in hand, and action follows suit.  

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”.

Following Leonard Cohen around this week, with a song and a ?. 

The Heart in Myanmar

We’ve arrived in Myanmar, and and although current governmental humanitarian issues challenge visiting, it’s a country filled with friendly people, expansive and impressive mountain ranges, and stunning temples.  And yet sadly, as often is the case, greed in the government offers  next to no welfare laws (if any at all) for wild and captive elephants, to catastrophic ends.  With juvenile elphants being gifted to Russia scores of elephants sent to China for circuses and Thailand for tourism, and a quiet transport of elephants with Sri Lanka, the elephants of this country have a long fight ahead for freedom.

The individual people we have met, however, have been relentlessly kind, eager to learn about the rest of the world, and generous in their time and smiles.  The work ahead is filled with challenges, but along the way there is colorful goodness to be treasured as well.