This is part of our guest blog series. Enjoy this blog from Sami Zabner, Manager of Celestial Farms in Jacksonville, Florida, and a 2 Traveling Dogs friend.
When we think of duality we usually think of light and dark, how one follows or compliments the other. But when you work on an animal rescue farm, not many people piece together how duality presents itself amongst the beautiful chaos.
Working with animals who have been previously neglected, ignored, misplaced, dumped, and/or abused creates an atmosphere for dark healing. The story follows the animal on their skin, their actions and reactions, their habits, and their energy. Sometimes you can’t necessarily see their trauma, but upon meeting them I assure you, you can feel it. We offer our farm as a space for healing. A space where these animals can live the rest of their lives, however long that may be, and begin to rebuild their love and their trust towards humans. Our doors are open to the public so that as a community we can work together to give these worthy animals a place to thrive. Duality is forever present. There is birth followed by death. There is hope followed by fear. There is love followed by pain. We cannot avoid it, nor should we try to.
As the manager of this farm and a mother of a young toddler who works hand in hand with me here, I am constantly presented with an opportunity to teach the power of life cycles. Within the same week we see rabbits give birth and a horse pass away, and we are left to continue the work on the farm while processing the large spectrum of emotions.
I often ask myself how I (or we) can teach others how to process emotions and I always come back with a blank answer. There is no answer. There is nothing to teach. Instead, I believe that we can honor the space to feel without directing someone else’s emotions into a space that we deem as comfortable. Grief is a part of love. Whether it be intimate or platonic relationships, pets, ideas, etc. if you energetically place your love into something outside of yourself, you’re likely to be met with grief down the road. Sometimes (from personal experience) we even end up grieving pieces of ourselves that we’ve grown out of. Similar to a death and rebirth cycle. All we can do when we find ourselves in that moment is sit with and move through. To build walls around our pain is only boxing us in to feel it over and over again, but to move through, however slowly you need to move through them, is honoring yourself enough to know that you don’t deserve to sit in a box of pain. And that doesn’t mean that the pain goes away, that means that we find ways of accepting each emotion that arises so we can look at the pain and feel strength for having moved through it.
And how does all of that relate to a rescue farm? How do we allow ourselves to properly process while still opening up our hearts to animals in need? How do we hold the space for our community to grieve with us while we are opening our doors to new visitors who are celebrating life? The duality is thick here and in constant motion. We choose love and whatever comes with it. We choose the present moment. We choose to welcome the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows however messy it may get. And we choose to move through it all together with transparency and grace.