Thursday, November 05, 2009

we're all connected

The world is a huge place, and I think we all feel the distance on a daily basis when we read and see footage of war-torn countries, countries reeling with poverty, and moments later, lavish wealth in others.

It's easy to think our personal causes are futile, and our contributions limited. How much can one person really DO?

The world is big, too many people have to act to make big change happen, even if I act I don't see a difference.

I remembered over the past few days something I used to struggle with when I worked with abused and neglected children, many of whom had parents' whose rights had been terminated, which put these children in the custody and care of departments of social services. The children had therapists, case managers, teachers, houseparents, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and more, and even so, it sometimes felt like they had no one, because as hard as this team of people worked, they couldn't always provide exactly what the children needed at the exact moment they needed it.

There is a clear memory in my head of a day I sat in a clinical supervisor's office bemoaning how futile it was. I can see the light falling in through the window behind her head and her very curly long hair silhouetted as she said one sentence: "We're all connected. You do your part and trust that it links up to the next person's part."

I immediately had the image of a ladder, or a bridge, and the accompanying notion that my part was not building the entire ladder, nor was it to build the entire bridge. My part was to put my rung in place, or my plank on the bridge. As long as I kept doing that, and everyone else kept doing that, and we all filled in when needed if someone couldn't do their one part, the bigger structure would get built.

This week I decided my plank in the rollkur bridge is to write an article.

In the past 48 hours I have been in contact with Paul Belasik, Gerd Heuschmann, Sylvia Loch, and now Pepper Ballard of the Humane Society of the United States.

I have no connections to these people, except that of course, I DO.

I have audited Paul's clinics several times and love his beautifully written books. I have read Gerd Heuschmann's book and articles, and felt relief that someone with a degree in veterinary medicine is taking the issue on in such a big, important way. I was thrilled to discover Sylvia's writing and her classical riding group that is and has been for a long while so active in working on this issue. This week I have been reading daily about the Humane Society's work in shutting down an abusive veal processing plant.

And although I write a lot about zen and the peace and calm of my quiet little corner of this big wide world, I also know the power of this thing called the internet, and a more subtle power that we all have but don't always remember:

we are all connected.

(photo credit to dear husband - I used this a few weeks ago but it's so perfect for this post I had to use it again!)


Grey Horse Matters said...

The picture is a perfect symbol to remind us we are all connected. You've really got the ball rolling on this subject of Rollkur. The more people are aware of this and sign the petitions and contact the right people. I do think we can make a difference because in one way or another we are all connected. The ladder/rung - plank/bridge analogy is wonderful. Thanks again for a great post and for all the time and work you are putting into this cause.

Claire said...

you're so right.

governments etc will try to put the internet genie back in the bottle but i don't think they can!

trouble is, of course, other people use it for bad purposes....

Anonymous said...

What you do to further humane treatment of horses will touch the life of a horse. Your posting, your contacts to improve the world are not in vain.

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie - You've done a great job here. And the FEI heard us and are investigating. So, now the question will be whether they have the guts to stand up to the pressures of money and famous riders and trainers and do what's best for the horses. This is what the Internet has given us, a way for our voices to be heard further and a way to connect to each other so we don't feel like a single drop in a big pond. I'm always in favor of celebrating small victories when you achieve them, so congratulations for making the FEI pay attention and take some action.

Michelle said...

Billie, this is profound. I am going to print it out and post it where I can keep reading it. It really touched something in me. Thank you.
You have been doing an excellent job with this difficult topic, and I applaud your efforts to cast a wider net. I know that your plank will be strong, wide, and ready to join the next in line.

billie said...

Arlene, thank you for the post over at your blog - and your ongoing encouragement.

billie said...

Thanks, Claire - and thanks for your regular contributions here and on the FB page.

billie said...

Jack, it's nice to hear that - thank you for stopping by. I went by your site and loved those gorgeous QH's you have!

ponymaid said...

Billie, you show us how to lead by example; and you have inspired me to attempt the calendar project. It won't save all the donkeys in the world but it might be one plank or rung in the process. Down with Rollkur, Up with donkeys!

billie said...

Lots more is happening than just the FEI listening, Victoria - I'll update in a new post later today.

Thanks for your comment.

billie said...

Thanks, Michelle - for your post and your kind words.

billie said...

Sheaffer, you do realize I had ulterior motives with that calendar bug I planted... :)

I just want another picture of you in my tack room! :)