From time to time I've been called (to my face) a 'do-gooder.'
 I've heard things like, "Oh, you're one of those," or "So you're a tree-hugger, crazy animal person, etc.'
Dozens of people have said these things to me over the years.
Maybe you've heard similar comments a time or two yourself.
When I hear these words from someone's mouth I'm always a bit taken aback, surprised and caught off guard.
Why am I so shocked to hear these comments? What's the big deal?
Perhaps I find it offensive when someone treats issues I view as important, even fundamental to life as we know it, as if they're silly or meaningless. I guess this shocks me and catches me completely off guard every  time it happens.
Maybe I'm so taken aback when these terms are used because they reveal a complete void, a complete lack of empathy on the other person's side.
And I don't mean empathy for me, I mean empathy relating to the issues, whether it's drilling for oil in some of our country's last sacred places, or the fact that we euthanize millions of pets every year (as a country), or knowing that most major cosmetic and cleaning companies still test on animals, or the fact that most of our waterways are severely contaminated with mercury (what would Marvin Gaye say nowadays?!).
When discussing these types of issues there are many people who are in fact not capable of empathizing with those suffering (the land, the dog, the cat, the air, the neighboring communities, the rabbit, the water, our very planet, etc.).
There, I figured it out. Now I understand why it shocks me, catches me so off guard, when people use nonchalant, dismissive terms to 'sum me up' when I speak of issues of importance to me.
-It's the painful lack of empathy.
If you're a 'do-gooder' like me, whether your cause be: raising awareness about poverty, children's cancer, women's rights, abortion, the pivotal increase in rhino and elephant poaching over the past year, the manatee, the Tibetan regime, etc., I'm sure you've experienced similar frustration when discussing 'your cause,' 'your passion' with certain individuals.
It's almost as if we ('do-gooders') are predisposition-ed in our DNA to be empathetic whereas others are not.
And you know, oftentimes I envy those who are not cursed with this blessing of extreme empathy and sensitivity.
They have an invisible boundary line where sensitive material stops, a natural censor on disturbing sights, sounds or facts that surround us. They often live in a pleasant, dumb state of denial... must be nice. Many of these people are very successful, bothersome emotions don't get in the way of them climbing the ladder. Many of them are happy. And, they're not necessarily bad people. In complete sincerity I say I envy this disconnect many humans enjoy.
It begs the question- why bother caring?
Why should I care when my neighbors, 3 doors down, surrender their two, cute puppies at the shelter where I work?
They're not losing sleep over these innocent, now-confused, 3 month old girls sitting in a cold, lonely, small cage that are used to being able to pee and poop outside, so why should I?
Or the couple that turned in their adult American Bulldog yesterday because it was too big for their condo association and proceeded to adopt a 5 week old lab mix right after turning in their family pet of 2 years.
 I talked to this couple. I told them what they were doing was unfair.
 "A pet is for life, no one can 'make you' get rid of your dog. You always have a choice... to move... to be homeless for a while if necessary. The fact you're adopting another puppy, that will grow, the same day you turn in your own dog is very worrisome and is not o.k.," I said.
They stared at me, went to the front and proceeded to adopt the 5 week old puppy. Why should I feel sorry for their adult bulldog dumped at the shelter. They certainly weren't shedding tears over him.
I spoke with my neighbors this morning on the walk with my dogs.
 "I saw your puppies at the shelter where I work. That really should have been your absolute last option. The pups could easily get sick in the shelter and be put to sleep. Are you going to get the mother dog spayed now so she doesn't have more puppies you're unable to care for?"
They also stared at me and said, "Um I don't know, maybe."
These are a couple of examples of situations I deal with daily.
Does it take a toll?
Of course.
What do I do about it?
I'm figuring that out.
I know how to be centered, enlightened, content, peaceful, happy. I've achieved it time and time again but it takes work. I have my moments of sheer enlightenment, they typically come through meditation, reading the works of enlightened authors, prayer, being still.
A few days ago I said to my boyfriend, "I live on a spiritual plane now. None of this here matters. It's the spiritual, energetic field that matters. I am aligned with that." And I meant it. I looked and felt better.
I suppose I should write only when I'm in that state and all my blogs will be positive, profound, enlightening. But, that's not how life is lived for most of us. It's a series of ups and downs, sadness and joy, confusion and confidence. We experience periods of knowing, connection, insight just as we experience periods of fear, disconnect and depression. My goal is to learn to live in a peaceful, mostly happy state most of the time. We are here to learn.
As Deepak says (not verbatim), "If we were all already enlightened we wouldn't be here."
Related Affirmation:
I feel God/Universal Light and Energy. There is a limitless source of divine intelligence and love surrounding me at all times, waiting for me to tap into it. It's there for all of us. This powerful energy and force is infinite, eternal therefore there's no need to be stingy with it... everyone can tap it, drink from this fountain of eternal knowledge. It lives in me and you. I now allow divine light and intelligence to work with and through me. Love radiates from me. I only see the good in life and have loving thoughts and words to share.

Psalm 46: Be still, and know that I am God.