The breath of sunlight

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“…the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind… forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” from Clothes in Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet

Just a few days ago, I walked barefoot in India, luxuriating in the warm, powdery red earth between my toes while walking to my mother’s home. Today, I am back in blustery Northeast PA, grateful for the watery sunshine as I trudge through cold mud and stubborn ice from one barn to the next, caring for the animals of Indraloka. While I was there, a big part of me was here with my beloveds. While I am here, a part of my heart and soul remains in Mother India. I am a creature divided. I love both of these worlds so very much, and I am so grateful for this life that allows me both blessings.

I am the single mother of 150, the chief poop shoveler at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, an Indian-Dutch-American, a traveler, a romantic, a seeker and a dreamer. I am here to tell you my story.

The most common question I am asked, when people learn about my vocation as founder of an all-species sanctuary dedicated to providing a lifetime home for animals that would otherwise have been euthanized or slaughtered is “Why?” I suppose lots of people love animals, but the question becomes why did you give up everything and move to a remote area to run an animal sanctuary on which you spend all your time and all your money?

Because.

Because they bring me joy.

Because these creatures make me feel as if I am the most-loved woman in the world.

Because each time I connect with a hurt chicken, a once-helpless lamb, a rescued veal calf, an elderly horse that was abandoned after years of service to humans, and all of the rest of them, I experience God, I learn about the true nature of beauty, and I become a better person.

Because I can’t help it. Taking home creatures in need and showering them with love is like breathing for me. It just happens, and it keeps ME alive. If I placed all the animals of Indraloka in new homes today, I’d have the place filled up again by tomorrow.

This is my joyous, maddening compulsion. This is my blessing and my calling. This is my religion. This is my bliss.

Its not all flowers and rainbows. Most of the time it is heavy, dirty labor peppered with boundless heartbreak. And still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So many of you have asked me about what it is like to run an animal sanctuary. I am grateful and humbled by your interest. This blog is an answer to these questions, a search for spiritual enlightment through animal rescue, a chronicle of how the animals of Indraloka do so much more to rescue us then we them, and a manifesto on the joy of an endless quest for lovingkindness. I can only hope it brings forth for you whatever it is that would be the greatest blessing to you today.

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5 thoughts on “The breath of sunlight

    Ana Montes said:
    February 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Like

    Patricia A. Powers said:
    February 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    What a wonderful, special person you are. All the animals and the world is lucky to have you in it. Bless you and all that you do for all God’s creatures who need you…..

    Like

    jen said:
    February 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    what a powerful, moving post.

    Like

    Barbara said:
    February 23, 2011 at 3:43 am

    I’m amazed by how much strength and beauty one young woman’s soul can hold. You inspire me, and I love you.

    Like

    Corine said:
    February 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Seeing firsthand the power of the sanctuary, described so beautifully in your blog, made clear to me that the sanctuary provides healing for beings of all kinds. One day of fence-building filled me with so many life and spiritual lessons, and the people with whom I worked were infused with the mission and calling. I can’t wait to read more.

    Like

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