It is not news that our world has become increasingly separated. The greatest separation of all is our disconnection from the source of our life, Nature. Our culture has detached us from the rest of the animals because science somehow deemed humans superior. But are we?
There is much documented evidence of animals sharing the same emotions such as fear, resilience, play, care, freedom, and spirituality with humans, especially children, because they have yet to be conditioned by the adult world.
Amongst other separations, humans have also created a hierarchy between different species of animals. There are the beloved pets, who live in very close connection and physical proximity with us. There are the glorified wild animals, that prefer to stay in their world. A world where they live free and authentic to themselves, a world where there is little to no human interference. At the bottom of this animal hierarchy, decided upon by humans, are the barn animals. Farm animals. Animals that are considered to be nothing more than just food, yarn, or whatever else we use them for. In truth, no animal today is living a life without human manipulation or management. How can we go from here to where all animals (humans included) are living a life of equality, quality, and freedom?
Almost all children feel the oneness with all life. There is no separation between them and other animals. Children see them for who they are. And because of that, children can connect deeply with animals. By collaborating with a farm sanctuary, Rancho Compacion, we hope to create opportunities for more children to be with animals, to care for them, and to see them in their own beingness and to open up more room for us adults to reclaim that part of us lost long ago.
Children can come onsite to prepare food for the resident animals at Rancho, they also prepare the stalls for the animals to retire in the evening. A lot of observations and questions come up during the process. These are precious moments where ethics and empathy can be explored: where similar behaviors (physical or emotional) can be seen between the animals and the kids. This is the first step in the attempt to reclaim the animist part of us and also the first step in living in balance and harmony with all life.