AT principles applied to daunting project

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on March 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

As has been noted previously in posts, I am dedicating time, attention and intention to a campaign to re-home local elephants drearily confined in the zoo to much more humane sanctuary.  The zoo industry brings huge political and financial resources to bear in preventing this compassionate outcome.  Our campaign faces enormous resistance.

The task I have agreed to complete in service to the campaign involves viewing and documenting zoo keeper records of many years.  The information in these records is deeply upsetting.  It is one thing to imagine  Chai, Bamboo and Watoto’s discomforts, and quite another to see all their continuously serious health issues (mostly due to lack of space for movement) spelled out in black and white.  They have suffered and are suffering terribly.

Initially, as I began this task, I became so depressed that sleep was disrupted and daily energy was diminished.  The details haunted and hounded me, and a furious anger at the zoo industry overwhelmed me.  This was a bad combination for living fully or remaining effective in the project!

So, I have begun to apply AT principles of attending to the whole use of self, and prioritizing the means-whereby.  I am in no way suppressing or repressing emotional response, as that would be both impossible and also personally disastrous.  Instead, I attend to the larger picture of self with an intention of being effective in my task.

I ask my ribs in back to continue moving while I type out distressing information.  I take breaks to walk and cook and play with my cat.   I stop viewing the records when my neck tightens and my jaw clenches and attend to the spring bird songs, the weather moving through the skies.  I widen my view so I can attend to specifics.  I attend to my self, allow time, so I can bring my own instrument to bear in a refined manner.  I balance dismay in a momentary fashion.  I sink into despair, then rise again with my only hope:  bringing my best use of self to the task at hand