One of the basic survival skills a horse possess is the ability to create harmony. A herd that cannot work and live together simply would not survive. This would make it much easier for predators to pick them off. To survive, they must each take on the responsibility of their roles. The stallion protects the herd, the lead mare keeps the peace and knows where to go for food and water. The other mares in the herd help watch over the young, each other, and keep a constant lookout for danger.
The harmony of the herd is their safety. Now, there are times when that harmony is interrupted, as the natural cycle of life continues, but for the most part, the herd works towards interdependence. An independent horse in the wild is a dead horse. Without the herd to watch out for danger and increase his odds of being singled out by a predator, it's only a matter of time before he's someone's lunch.
Nature, it seems, holds many answers to modern problems we face today. Being strong and independent has been a mantra for years now. But what do we really gain from this? Humans are not designed to be isolated. If we were, solitary confinement wouldn't be a punishment. Yet how have we, bit by bit, separated ourselves from each other? We seem to have more digital conversations than actual face to face discussions. Removing ourselves from the space of others also reduces our consideration of each other. We've all seen comments made online that many people wouldn't have the courage to say in person.
But swing too far the other way, and we get into codependence. Our world revolves around someone else. We lose the uniqueness of the individual and who we are. Should that other person ever not be there someday, what are we left with? Our purpose is gone. Codependence cripples a person and gives them a very small world to live in.
I believe the horses give us the answer: interdependence. Interdependence doesn't stand alone and doesn't give up the sense of self. Healthy relationships thrive when boundaries are respected, the group works together for the good of the whole and can shoulder burdens a single member could not carry on their own. We already know old sayings that point to this such as: "It take a village to raise a child" or "Many hands make light work".
What kind of harmony could we create if we truly worked towards an interdependent way of life? Parents would feel supported. Families would thrive. Communities would blossom. Young people would have mentors to look up to. Our elderly would be integrated instead of separated. The list of benefits goes on.
A horse in a herd does not exist solely for it's own personal survival. When the herd thrives, it includes the individual horses as well. Nature has given us an example of living in harmony and using our differences as strengths to fill in where others may be weak. Remarkably, we find joy, fulfillment and support when we are willing to give and serve each other. Choosing to create harmony is up to each of us.
So let's ask ourselves: what can we do today to move towards interdependent relationships? How can each of us step up where others need help? Will we be brave enough to admit when we need someone to step up for us? Let's start having these conversations and let's be willing to help and support each other. Let's create harmony in our own families and communities.