Animal lover Jordaan van Romburgh and I grew up in the same small South African town of Paarl and have been friends for ages. For as long as I have know her, she has been a true steward of the earth and all its creatures.
- Photo Courtesy of Jordaan Van Romburgh
What is your Soul Work and how did you find it?
I grew up on farm and always felt a strong connection with the animals. They were like my imaginary or special friends. This was so important as it helped me survive because I felt different.
I have to connect this with being gay and living in a small town where it wasn't ok to be different. But with the animals it was ok - they accepted me for who I was. In a way I was feeding my little soul.
Later I worked as a gardener and landscaper and thought that was my Soul Work as I loved being outdoors and being with the earth. But I realized that it was more than that, that I also wanted to work with animals. I began volunteering at the SPCA and found my passion.
My main concern is animal abuse and neglect. It hurts me to my core. My Soul Work is being an advocate for animals who can't speak for themselves. I work at the San Francisco City Shelter for animals that have nowhere else to go. I am most needed here.
What brings you the most joy in your Soul Work?
When I work with an aggressive or scared animal and can make an impact in their life; when they begin to trust me; when they make behavioral changes so that they can be adopted; that makes my day.
- Photo Courtesy of Jordaan van Romburgh
What challenges you most?
Euthanasia is the most challenging. Even though the reasons may be valid, it hard to see an animal so full of life and have to take that away.
I have to totally put my feelings aside and be in the moment. If I am calm and present, then I can be there for the animal and make it as comfortable as possible for them. I focus on doing the procedure as painlessly as possible. But it's hard as it’s so final.
Do your spiritual beliefs or practice influence your Soul Work?
I am spiritual as I believe in an energy or higher power. I don’t really know what to call it but I believe that there is a higher spirit guiding me.
I also believe love is at the core and that if you love something you won’t hurt it. So I feel if there are other beings out there, then I need to do my part being compassionate to them.
How has your Soul Work impacted you?
It has hardened me towards people. I see so much human neglect and mistreatment of other beings. I feel more connected to the animals than the people in these situations. I try to understand their histories and their tough childhoods that led them to hurt others, but it is hard when you see such daily neglect.
- Photo Courtesy of Jordaan van Romburgh
What is your most precious dream for your Soul Work?
If money was not an issue, I would like to buy a farm and set it up as an animal retreat. A retreat where people come to be with animals or help take care of animals as a form of stress release. Instead of just sitting in a hot tub at a spa, you get to scoop some poop to release your stress.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking to manifest their Soul Work or passion project?
You know how Oprah she says to follow your passion and to do what you love? Well, she's right. Even though you may not make money at first, as soon as you do what you love, doors open up. Start volunteering or pursue a hobby and watch the doors start to open.
Any last words?
In South Africa we have this saying, "Don’t go looking for the baboon on the other side of the mountain." You see in South Africa baboons are a menace and arrive in packs to steal your food. So the message is, "Don't go looking for trouble." We all go through hard times but it's best not to dwell on it. If we can focus on things we are grateful for, then good things come along.
Jordaan van Romburgh and her housemate, Ellie, live in San Francisco with their 2 dogs, 4 cats, 2 chickens, lizard and frog. Jordaan loves her work at the San Francisco Animal Care and Control, which could use your donations to support their services. She asks that you adopt your next pet from your local shelter instead of a pet store or puppy mill.
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