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Janet nurtures and helps deepen the animistic bond between humans and all sentient beings, helping to build right relationship that fosters understanding, agency and well-being for all.

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Fierce Compassion in Animal Communication

heart stick person fierce compassion

This post (originally published February 3, 2009 and updated November 20, 2018) will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some people will be uncomfortable, some people will be shocked and in denial, some people will be angry.

That’s OK.

Is Compassion Ever Not A Good Thing?

For the sake of all sentient beings, the topic of compassion needs to be brought to the table and discussed openly and honestly.  Is there such a thing as too much compassion?  When is compassion not a good thing?

Here’s there definition of compassion from my online dictionary:

compassion |k?m?pa sh ?n|
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others : the victims should be treated with compassion. See note at mercy.
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with.’

I can’t help but notice that the words victims and compassion are used in the same sentence above.

Growing up, I learned the term “bleeding-heart compassion.”  Most of us are taught compassion from an early age.  We are taught compassion is a good quality to have, to display, to use.  Sometimes we are taught when we are compassionate, we consider the sufferings of others as our own – or at least I was taught that.

Not true.

My suffering is not another creature’s, another creature’s suffering is not mine.

When I take on another’s suffering as my own, I am diluting and dissipating the strengths, talents and abilities I have that can help.  When, “out of compassion”,  I allow my strengths and abilities to be weakened, I am no help to the creature, and I am certainly no help to myself.  I am even crippling myself, which is of no good to anyone.

Have there been times when you have expressed compassion with someone, animal or human, leaving you past exhausted and the situation was no better or possibly even worse?  That exhaustion is a symptom you either gave your energy away or you allowed it to be taken form you.

It is not possible to give enough of yourself away to make someone else better.

So What Is Fierce Compassion? 

Let’s start by what it is not. Fierce compassion is not mild, yielding or enabling, nor is it a display of sentimentality. It does not mean bypassing our responsibility to other sentient beings through the delusional thinking of ‘thoughts and prayers’.

Fierce compassion is a tool for transformation that is both active and courageous as well as strong and challenging. It is a component of right relationship, where we recognize we are all connected, and that connected is based on reciprocal, respectful relationship.

It is at times a giving up of time, comfort and privilege so others don’t suffer needlessly.

Fierce compassion requires we set up boundaries and uphold those boundaries, holding ourselves and others accountable to them.

Whether we’re connecting with animals and other sentient beings intuitively or working with them in real life, it is essential we keep ourselves clean, clear and free of anything that stands between us and being in right relationship with them.  That means we need to be sagacious enough to keep our energy as our own own, and not allow it to leak out or be siphoned off.  We cannot afford to have “bleeding heart compassion” if our goal is to help and to be effective in that help.

While at first this might seem awkward, learn to think of compassion in terms of “fierce compassion.”  Learn to come from a place of action and stamina instead of bypass and fragility.

I look forward to hearing your comments on this!

Here’s To New Beginnings

Janet Roper


  1. billie February 3, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I heartily agree.

    I remember when I was a therapist in a public mental health clinic, and when I was sick, I took a sick day. A few colleagues poopoo’ed that, saying they came in no matter what because their clients needed them.

    My response was that I wanted not only to take care of myself so I wouldn’t burn out, but I wanted to role model FOR my clients what a healthy person does. Not to mention that I disagreed with the notion that having clients “need” me set up a dynamic that wasn’t a good thing in the long run.

    I just took a week away from my menagerie to write, the longest time I’ve taken away thus far since owning horses. It was very interesting to me that this time I was the most comfortable about leaving them and didn’t have one of my “they can’t do without me” until the last night of my trip. When I got back, Keil Bay was the most relaxed he’s ever been. In the past, he’s often been distant and mildly angry with me (and has done some uncharacteristically destructive things in my absence).

    This time, my comfort level and my feeling that I needed this time, deserved it, and knew they were going to be well cared for must have transmitted to him. I feel like that’s progress for us here. It’s a lot of work, but knowing I can get away when I need to or even just want to makes me stronger.

    Thanks, Janet, for continuing to make me think and look at these important issues. This was a perfect post to read upon my return!


  2. billie February 3, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Whoops – left out a word – one of my “they can’t do without me” DREAMS is what I meant to type in!


  3. janet February 3, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    Hi billie,
    Great comment, billie. Loved what you said about being a healthy role model FOR your clients, and not having clients ‘need’ you.

    I think it boils down to letting the animal/person be free to their own experience; we help, support, but NOT interfere.

    Sounds like you had a marvelous time writing!


  4. Ming February 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Dear Janet,
    I completely agree and commend you on writing this. I was just talking about this the other day in terms of reiki. There has to be a karmic balance. I wish I could reiki all the animals in the world and heal them all. But I can’t. I was also taught by my reiki master not to give my energy away. There is even a term called an “energy vampire”. We are practitioners of energy so we need to protect ourselves. That is why when I do a reiki session there has to be some exchange. You are totally right in not crippling your self. I know that when I am in balance, the others around me benefit and in turn the animals that I treat benefit the most and I believe I’m here to help them!


  5. janet February 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    Hi Ming,
    Thank for stopping by and leaving your comment. It’s great hearing about energy from a reiki practitioner. Most people aren’t aware of energy, much less energy vampires, that which sucks life out of us. I appreciate you sharing that term!


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