Compassion fatigue

Working in a public hospital has its own set of pros and cons. The pro is that you get exposed to a huge bulk of patients. You have hands on cases and you get to practice and learn how to manage patients on your own.

I am grateful that I get to help patients and learn along the process. I am amazed with the medical profession overall but again, as someone who cares deeply about so many things, handling poverty-stricken patients still breaks my heart.

Patients who don’t have money to buy sutures for his wife’s cesarian section because the hospital doesn’t have enough supplies. Hypertensive disorders in pregnant women who chose not to seek prenatal care because they don’t have money. Women who keep on giving birth even if they obviously couldn’t afford another child anymore. Living in a country with backward laws for women. Needing the permission of the husband for tubal ligation consent. Grand multiparity patients who have chronic diseases but since they are not using any form of contraception, they keep on getting pregnant even to the risk of their own lives. Violence against women and children.

I am absorbing all these frustrating energy. I am having compassion fatigue. I feel like our country is just so far away from ideal. It hurts me that day in and day out it’s almost always like this.

Should I stop caring about things that I get upset about? Should I just be okay with how the system is. I know that in my own way, I am doing my part. I am helping by living a life of service. But until when will circumstances change?

My Philippines

When I moved to Thailand,  the first thing I found really cool was that the street dogs here are so fat and cute. I couldn’t believe they were street dogs because in the Philippines, street dogs are so skinny and they fight a lot. Another thing that I noticed was even if we don’t lock our office, nothing ever gets stolen. I was also curious why strangers are kind enough to help me here especially when I get lost, all the time. I get so curious why I see this everywhere in Thailand but sadly back in the Philippines, kindness in that form is like a rare piece of gem.

The way I saw things back home was like everybody has an ulterior motive. Many people do anything for money. Family members fight each other. A lot of politicians get everything that they can from the people. Some people borrow money and they don’t pay you back (a lot of times actually). People like making snarky comments and love arguments. Kindness and compassion is perceived as weakness. A need for control is present anywhere you go. And it seems like many Filipinos lost their soul, their humanity. For a country dominated by Christians, it truly breaks my heart.

I kept on looking for answers. How can Filipinos change? What happened to our race that we became this screwed up people? How do we make love and compassion come alive again? How do we solve our tons of problems, individually so that it becomes so infectious that there will be a shift in our state of consciousness as a nation?

My Philippine History professor taught us about the root of all of this mess. Knowing that information,  it got me thinking why things are so messed up. We’re a country that has undergone war after war. We were always in survival mode. We almost had no rest. And amazingly, how did we survive from oppression from the Spanish, American, and Japanese?

Of course, when your brain is in survival mode, what is behind your actions? FEAR.

Biologically speaking, we evolved to survive. We need to adapt to the changes in our environment so that our DNA will survive. So that we won’t perish. The drive for survival, in the case of Filipinos is so intense because foreigners were invading us, trying to change us, and if we don’t do what is necessary, we die. So naturally, that’s the cause of all that is happening. Ever since, we were a race driven by fear. That negative collective energy of war, death, and violence for a long time is still engraved in our DNA.

We got that DNA from our ancestors. So our instinct is to behave with fear whispering our next actions at the back of our mind. Fear driven actions created the fiasco that is in the Philippines.  This got Filipinos thinking that the cake isn’t big enough for everyone. So everybody is doing whatever they can to get a piece, and even more because we were so used to our resources running out. Survival mode.

Several leaders are pushing for death penalty. But will death penalty change the state of our country? Yes, it will change the statistics, for now, I have no doubt. I even believe that things will improve within our President’s term.

But for every person killed, there will be a negative ramification. Maybe we won’t see it in our lifetime, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And if we’re thinking of long term solutions, that is not the way to go. Because it only cures the symptoms, but not the real cause.

Acting out of fear is the Filipino norm. Sometimes my friends and I would engage in a discourse about our country. We kept on thinking about why is it like this. From an intellectual perspective, there seems to be no logical solution at all. Another dictatorship would also collapse our nation. So what are we supposed to do if we want long lasting change that can save our nation and at the same time provide a safe and peaceful environment for the next generation of Filipinos?

We have to accept first that the rowdy, argumentative attitude is our current identity. Maybe you’ll think, what? I should just accept that? What I mean by acceptance is, knowing the reality and not resisting it. So it’s a fiasco, accept. You need to accept that, that is us, FOR NOW. Any form of resistance creates another negative energy that will fuel negative circumstances. Our country is poor, accept. People are unfair, accept. Right at this very moment that you are reading this, accept what is. Because, that is the only thing that can give you peace right now.

Acceptance will release the cloud of negativity inside your head. When you remove the resistance, ideas flow. And that’s what  we need, ideas. We don’t need more arguments because we already have tons of that. We need creative, long-lasting, and transcending actions if we want to make any change that is of impact.

Once that you let go of resistance, which, by the way takes a lot of practice, things will be in flow. You will notice changes in you and the people surrounding you. You will not be affected by negativity, or if you were, then you know that you can come back to that place of accepting the present. That’s all you have to care about, the present.

From that place of acceptance, you can act. When you have accepted that for now, this is how things are, you will have clarity for your next actions towards that vision that you want for our country. Those little actions are the vital ones. We don’t see its instant impact but as time goes by, it adds up.

If our actions were once driven by fear, then shift it to love. Do things out of love. Try it and you’ll see what I am saying. When love is the foundation of your life, you can’t go wrong. Anything that is done out of love circumvents. Any love that you put out in this world will create a miracle.

I was once too engorged with watching news. I would get into arguments with my friends because I have to be right. But this did not give me any peace of mind, so now, I watch less TV. I still read news but not to the point of wasting time in it. Take control of what you can in your life. Be more present in your life and be the light in the circle of people that you influence.

Act on the creative ideas that you have. Don’t just laze around and wait for the government to solve your problems. Do something. Get a job, write, make your art, be the person you want Filipinos to be. Express yourself in the most uplifting way as possible. Follow your bliss and do what is right no matter what the other people say, and no matter what is the norm.

Let us refuse to accept that being overly critical is all that we can be. For every criticism that you are pointing out, make sure that you are also promoting an action that solves the problem. And please, stop adding up to the haters on the internet. We are still a bunch of people who are finding their way towards progress, and we have to understand that we need to undergo this madness first before our race truly awakens.

I have met a lot of amazing Filipinos outside our country. There are many who have such a big heart for helping. Because of them, I have so much hope. I pray that this attitude of kindness and compassion becomes viral. Maybe we’ve been so clouded with the ulterior motive behind every ego-driven leader that controls our country, but hey, this is your life. Take charge of it. You don’t need power to get what you want. You just have to radiate your authentic self to whoever you meet and trust with the ripple effect of that kindness.  Accept the now and act on the future that you want.

If we do this, things will change. If you made a difference to even just one person, that is enough. But to a lot more? That is phenomenal.

I know that someday, probably when I’m an old lady I’ll also see that in my country, people are feeding stray dogs, kindness is the norm, and compassion is the new trending. I’ll work on that every day even with the little sphere of influence that I have. I hope you do too.

Of Being a Love Warrior

Today’s post is very timely with what’s happening in the world. This is a way, personally, for me to release the sadness that I’ve been feeling. Two days ago, our Supreme Court’s decision regarding the late President Marcos’ burial was released. A brief Philippine history background here, he was a famous dictator. For some reason that up until now, my brain couldn’t fathom, they agreed on burying his remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Philippine Heroes). Inhale. Exhale. That was news number one.

Then yesterday, Donald Trump won the presidency in the recent US elections. Again, inhale, exhale. I can give you a million reasons why these events are affecting me emotionally. I know that it will affect Filipinos so much. There’s no need to elaborate how, but it definitely will. This is not just about my countrymen, but for every race that has faced discrimination, simply because of their color.

I was affected because, I am afraid. I feel the energy of separation and this vibe could cause a cascade of events that could either make or break the world’s history. I dream of a world wherein people don’t judge you because of your color or your gender. Martin Luther King fought for black lives with all his heart to give the freedom that many men and women of color were yearning for.

I am afraid of history being twisted and planted to our children. We may feel a sense of freedom right now, but do you know how we got here? We fight for democracy so much and yet it seems like we’re taking a step backward.

These events are happening right now. But, if there’s one thing that we shouldn’t dive into, it is being too caught up with this whole political fiasco up to the point that we are stirring negativity. Hate is an energy that we must not cultivate.  Therefore, let’s accept what has happened and take control of what we can. We are in a democracy after all, and part of this system is, respecting the decision of the majority.

Let us ask the right questions and stop being fault finders. The question for us is, “how do we, as global citizens, grow from this?”. Should we just let it be? Should we just be okay with hate and separation? No. Never in this lifetime will apathy solve anything.

Despite all these external noise, let’s go back to the core. Let us let love guide our decisions. I was having quite a bit of a heated conversation a while ago with a workmate who has a different take on the recent events. Still, I paused and asked myself, if this is the kind of energy I would like to release in the universe. I went back to my core. Nope, this is not.

We need awareness especially at these times. We have to constantly monitor the kind of energy that we are emitting. Is it coming from a place of love or fear? I still feel the fear. But whenever it arises, I ask for guidance, that I may not be lost in this political whirlwind, that my fear wouldn’t overpower the love that is inside me.

We need to speak and act our truth.  Most importantly, we need to go back to our essence of love, compassion, and kindness. We need to be united more than ever to spread this message to every person that we meet. We need to be fierce love warriors.

We don’t fight to be right, we fight for awakening.