What does that mean?
What do people need to be happy in life?
The current Corona crisis has given me lots of food for thought...
it has changed our lives radically from one day to the other, implicating almost every human on this planet, and requested us to think about what is most important in our lives:
Me and most of the people surrounding me are very lucky that we are healthy and don't really have to worry about enough food. Yes, there has been some panic shopping, but in most cases, shelves were replenished quickly and everyone had enough food, nobody went to bed hungry.
I know we are very lucky about that, and there are many parts of the world where the "stay at home" tagline meant families could not earn money to buy food, or even if they had, they have no fridge to store food for multiple days, so I am very grateful for the situation I am in.
I am also one of the lucky ones who has a stable family, we have friends and access to internet, and that means when we want to talk to others than just us, we can still chat to our friends and extended family, here and all over the world.
Many of our friends have told us how lucky we are to have the garden where we can spend time, listen to the birds, plant seeds and watch them grown, or even just lay in the hammock and look up to the clouds... what a bliss!
These are the moments when I realize just how important nature is to us. Putting out water and seeds for the animals who don't feel any different to usual - for them, this is how everyday looks like.
For us, the difference is that we start to take in the small things again.
There are less cars driving around, less noises to distract us, and suddenly we become aware of the birds, the ants, the flowers and notice how essential these small things are to the balance - our balance, and the balance of nature.
We still have to experience how our "normal" days after the pandemic will look like and see if everything goes back to how it was before, or if people are able to change and remember.
I guess it will depend how long this situation will last for.
But my hope is that, if we take into consideration Maslow's hierarchy of needs, where obviously the physiological needs have to be met first before we can think about the higher needs (read more details on the happiness page), our connection to nature will become more important in future.
Living in a very urban space and a fast moving city where a lot of human's thoughts in the past years were centered around shopping malls, posh restaurants and bars, fast cars, all things that are closed now, I hope to see a difference after the crisis.
I hope that we can realize that most of these things are not as essential as we were made believe through smart marketing plans and the need of people to satisfy their need for self-realization through the purchase and display of luxury items.
Horses have several healing attributes that we can use for the benefits of people in therapeutic setting, but also for "normal" people who have lost their balance or want to become a better version of themselves.
The mix of being a prey animal, very attuned to it's instincts, and the fact that this huge animal has been domesticated thousands of years ago and has gotten to know us very well (read here a study on how horses can read our emotions and facial expressions) means that they can help us to become aware of our own inner instincts and emotions.
When we are with horses, we can no longer rely on our spoken word and have to communicate non-verbally - through body language and intention.
Horses can live in urban settings - not in our gardens, but there are several riding centers in the proximity of cities.
Unfortunately, most equestrian centers still focus too much on the sport and not on the emotional connection with the animal. If this focus can be changed, and living conditions altered to allow the horses to tap into their own connection to nature, true happiness centers can be built in cities.
There are many examples these days on how happy people are when they are together with horses, and I know a lot of riders who don't feel the isolation of the crisis as much as non-horse people do.
There are also lots of programs these days to help people through the connection with horses - equine therapy, riding for the disabled, corporate leadership training, empowerment courses, horse powered reading, veteran work... the possibilities are endless, but they all tap into the same philosophy:
I hope to see many more of these programs spark up everywhere soon, and look forward to adding my part to it.