Updated: Aug 15, 2020
“Horses live in the moment and tune in at three levels, the self, the herd, and the environment.” This is a line from a recent essay written by my colleague, Garet Bedrosian*. I like how she shows us that wisdom from horses can be applied to our current situation of coping with the coronavirus. Here is an excerpt from “Lessons from the Herd”:
“Equines don’t fret about the past or the future but respond immediately to perceived danger.
They conserve their energy unless they need to protect themselves.
When you watch, you will see that they all stop whatever they are doing, use their senses to assess the situation, then either take action or return to a quiet or ‘zero’ stance once the threat has passed.
Each member of the herd has a “job”, such as leader, scout, or defender, and together they depend on the collective herd wisdom to determine the next action.
They don’t waste energy worrying, arguing, or running around in circles.
They survive by cooperating and doing their part to maintain mutual safety.
So, how can we apply that wisdom to our circumstances? Being quarantined can be quite challenging for many of us. It can create a strain on strained relationships and strengthen stable relationships (pun intended!). We can all do our part to maintain the safety of the collective. We all know the drill by now. Take care of yourself and the others in your herd. Whether you live with others or not, be grateful that you belong to a herd and are not out in the wilderness on your own. Practice clear communication while also being patient and kind. Watch out for and help one another, especially if someone is in trouble. Share the resources and be generous whenever possible. Even though there may be greener pastures on the other side of the fence, it’s safer to stay put for now. So, until we can run free, please stay safe.”
Do any of these lessons from the herd in Garet’s essay stand out for you? For me when I read, “we can all do our part to maintain the safety of the collective”, I think of how, when I wear a mask outdoors, I am doing it to protect others. Many people can test positive for Covid19 and be asymptomatic or not show symptoms up to 14 days from exposure. Other people, even young, healthy, people, get symptoms and die within a week. This safety of the collective keeps the number of coronavirus cases lower. I saw a photo of a person, wrapped in an American flag, blocking an ambulance from responding to a life or death emergency. This protest of confinement, while understandable on an emotional level, endangers the collective. In this crisis, we may be in different boats, but need to remember that we are all in the same storm. And the stakes have never been higher. As Governor Cuomo keeps repeating, “The alternative (to maintaining safety measures) is death.” In their eagerness to get out, people have even begun rationalizing that losing some lives is a price worth paying for re-opening the economy. This amounts to condoning human sacrifice for the sake of the perceived power or freedom. Some countries and states have unlocked the paddock door, in phases designed for gradual re-opening of the economy. But we need to tread cautiously. As Garet writes above, “Even though there may be greener pastures on the other side of the fence, It’s safer to stay put for now.”
Garet Bedrosian is an Equus, IMAGO and Bioenergetics therapist. She lives on FeatherHeart Ranch in Ramona, California. She offers therapy and provides workshops for individuals and couples. The excerpt above is from her essay, “Lessons from the Herd”, which can be read in full at https://garetbedrosian.com/lessons-from-the-herd/ .To help practice clear communication in confinement, read my book, “Communication Breakthrough, How Using Brain Science and Listening to Body Cues Can Transform Your Relationships”. https://www.vincentiaschroeterphd.com .