Yesterday we lost a little rescue called Ashling: a calico who did automatic flips to get a belly rub as you passed. She personified sweetness. Losing a rescue plunges your mind back into the ‘what ifs’. Our mind – if given a choice would choose chaos and pain. I guess that’s why working on peace of mind is one of the most difficult and neverending tasks. Sometimes it’s nearly easier to admit defeat and return to what we know best: worrying. But here’s the thing about rescuing & working with animals – ‘the thing’ that reenforces what was taught and practiced way before book shops had a wellness section – distraction and practicalities of life plug that hole you would could sink into and pushes you back out. Yes, as Ashling passed, another little rescue appeared: not even a year old more than likely and pregnant. I often think do some rescues let go knowing another is waiting for a space. And now the tears have started as I give myself these moments to just sit with my sadness. A chair that will be kicked from under me in a minute by ‘time to get going again’. It’s important to feel the feelings but it’s more important to manage their potential to take over you. It’s like breaking a leg, crutches help you continue and in my case here: purpose.
I completed a Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as I found as a Guidance Counsellor in Schools, I fell short when it came to a solution focused way to help students who sat with me from just from one bell to another. Time was short, I might not see them for another week and they have to face a timetable of classes. And yes, as it says on the tin, those pesky (often) irrational thoughts have some crazy control over our feelings and behaviour. What ever you think, you will feel and whatever you feel will write your behaviour. So if there is a student who discloses to you he/she isn’t feeling too great about their life – you try to quickly find the thoughts giving birth to those difficult emotions. And you try reframe the very dark mental picture with a better way of looking at it until you can get them additional help if needed. Their thoughts at that time could create overwhelming feelings that they could act on so scaffolding is needed.
Reframing in rescue is nearly perfected without us realising it. A horse arrives in with all the hallmarks of extreme cruelty and a passer-by might comment ‘what the hell is wrong with people?’ whilst the rescuer might quickly add ‘sure it’s great she gets a new start’. Both looking at the same broken horse but both with different frames to put around him. Reframing gives immediate hope and often necessary blocking.
Ashling should never have been born to live in a burnt out car with her mommy and her sisters. That wasn’t her fate. Someone decided it when they didn’t spay her mum. Her mum was not feral so someone somewhere did handle her at some stage. A Woman/Man could have created another fate. Ashling has died but she should never have been born.
When my mother passed away, I always remember what a lovely nun wrote in a card to us following her death: Anne got well. At the time in my anger and upset, I failed to see her kind reasoning of what was a tragedy for us. In death, she will never suffer again and did get well. She suffered terribly a year prior to her passing.
So Ashling was loved so much whilst here and as she drew her last breaths, I prayed, that her passing would not be painful. It wasn’t. Our new rescue is named Starling in memory of Star (who passed a few months ago) and Ashling. We try to do that now: combine a new name with a rescue we have lost.
At the moment I could say fate has cast a cloud on the sanctuary with recent challenging news we have received but I guess that would be defeatist if we just give up, so we are going to try intervene before anyone might console me with the words ‘sure, everything for a reason’ or ‘that’s your fate!’ And I get those sayings and expressions as they can help you move to that lovely space of acceptance- whether it’s forever or short-lived – the latter at least gives you respite.
Life is certainly complex – but life is akin to the cake you take out of the oven: it just might be perfect because you followed the step by step recipe, or it might be a disaster even after you follow the recipe. The difference is: how you react to each scenario. Gratitude and in the last case, ‘sure, I’ll just try again another time!’
Fixable fate…. no harm in trying again and again as the alternative is ‘no cake’ ever.
Take care x