DAY 147: HOW MUCH EGO IS INVOLVED IN HELPING OTHERS?
Which is stronger, EGO or COMPASSION??
As I fly off to Spain to help the Spanish Hunting dogs (read my last blog to know more) I’ve been thinking a little about my motivations.
When I was on (local) TV the other day I wondered if my helping oily birds made me more attractive to women. (it was a passing thought, Ann). I wondered if the wind that brushed my hair was in the right direction. And when I was chasing those oily guillemots around the wet rocks of Dorset I felt real compassion, yes, but also a sense I was racking up a serious score. I’d see a guillemot perched on a rock and think:
1) THAT POOR COLD BIRD
2) ANOTHER POINT!
But this latter thought is probably the same motivation that drives people to shoot elephants with large bore shot guns. Or that motivates young boys to have unprotected sex at the back of a beer-stained nightclub. They want a memento for their efforts, an ego-confirmation. When I saw other rescuers catching a Guillemot that I had seen before them I wanted to say ‘piss off, that’s my bird’ before realizing I’d sound like a drunk protecting his girlfriend in a bar.
But this is all part of the story of being human and therefore, if I am to tell it straight, must be part of my story of helping animals.
As I dig into my soul I’ll feed you the dirt as well as the nuggets. I just hope you have a fine sieve.
For every new location I go to, Ann, my wife (new !!!), looks up the temperature for my destination and then looks out of our London window and asks me, with a drop in her tone, how long I will be away for. Ann has been on a few trips with me but we can’t justify her coming on every one.
When I set off for Spain this morning, to go help the plight of the hunting dogs, I realized that not only am I leaving Ann behind but also two of my own dogs, recently clipped and who now shiver in the cold like rats with mange (they had so much mud and dirt on their belly hair that the groomer charged extra). I also leave behind a photography business that doesn’t take many pictures when I’m not there.
Is this the sort of compromise required to really ‘follow your heart’?
Am I making the world a better place or leaving behind an unmade bed?
Perhaps this is why more people don’t help: it’s not laziness that’s stopping them, it’s simple common sense.
Who wins? EGO or compassion?
My dearest friend hits me with the baseball bat of truth
Last night I met with my dearest, oldest friend, Harry. He’s the sort of friend I love so unconditionally that if he were to go insane, hit me in the face with a bat it woudn’t hurt in th slightest. The thing is…I know he never will. I’ve known him since I was 18 days old (when he was born and unable to lift a bat) and he’s stood by me ever since, even when at the age of five I tried to crawl through the cat flap and got stuck half way.
Harry happens to be a brilliant writer and editor
‘I like your blog Martin, but something’s missing’
‘I don’t think you are fully … well, I’m not sure you are fully committing’
‘Really!?’ This pricked my ears.
‘I’m not sure you are truly following your heart’ It’s what my therapist said to me years ago when I was struggling in a relationship.
‘You’re worrying too much about what will make a good story. Don’t. Just go for it. Try and just help the animals’
Damn. He’d hit me with a bat in the face. The bat of TRUTH!! That’s what this is all about…just keep opening your heart Martin. Keep going deeper. Don’t worry what the story is, don’t worry how many animals you save just respond with your heart and screw everything else. Martin, you see that video of a cow being killed with a hammer ,that’s what matters. Respond to it anyway you can.
I have arrived in Malaga, Spain and am off to meet Charl Del Rio just outside the town who with her husband, and very little money, is rescuing Galgos hunting dogs from near-death. Perhaps she can show me how to open my heart yet further.