Monday, 5 December 2011

The Sheep, The Shepherds and The Horses: A Tale of Life!

I was inspired to write this post after wandering around a page on Facebook and reading a conversation between two men that reminded me of a trip to our local city farm. 

It always fascinates me how people can behave like sheep or shepherds when it comes to their lives. Shepherds have a place to go a direction that leads to new pastures. They are aware of their environment and work in harmony with everything around them to get to new fields in life that offer new opportunities and fresh chances. The pastures may not be greener but they are new and shepherds seek them out. 

Sheep are different!

Sheep blindly follow other sheep gorging on the grass when they are told it is safe to do so by other sheep. They bleat mindlessly and complain in frustration when they run out of pasture or have to face a fence! They get helplessly stuck in ditches and can not free their minds to get out again. They perceive their situation as not of their making. They don't understand what they did to be there. It wasn't their fault after all. They didn't do ANYTHING! They followed the other sheep. They were powerless and didn't know that responsibility for their lives lay with them so they blame every other living creature in the paddock for their misfortune and continue to bleat.

Shepherds keep moving forward regardless. When the rain falls on them they put their heads down, dig in against the wind and keep walking till the sun re emerges and with thanks they lift their heads and shake the water from their hair. Shepherds may return to old pastures in order to reset their compasses but they do not stay long. The pasture is different because their travels have made THEM different. Nothing stays the same even when you go backwards. Sheep look down and see dry earth and bleat "Some sheep has eaten all MY grass. It's not fair. I don't deserve this situation. I can't do anything about it. WHY ME?". They do not move. They do not try. They can not see a positive resolution or an opportunity to learn from their experience. They stand in their own mess and bleat. Sheep are always surrounded by other sheep. Shepherds can find peace in their own counsel.

The irony is most sheep think they're horses!

Horses, similar to sheep and humans are herd animals, however, there's a HUGE difference between a horse and a sheep and how they appear to live their lives! 

Horses are big and strong, they are intelligent, respected and work hard. They are capable of travelling long distances without complaining in order to survive and sustain themselves. They are sociable animals who live in co-operative herds that survive throught mutual understanding. They do not provoke trouble but will fight to defend their young. 

Wild horses roam free and proud and hold their heads up to the sun. Sheep on the other hand are farm animals, domesticated and compliant, manipulated and easy to control. They are not wild or free. They are not expected to think for themselves, they follow.  Subsequently they are seen as food or clothing because they never challenge anything. They never try to live up to their potential. They bleat in repetitive mono syllables in their pens in an attempt to gain the sympathy of other livestock. It is easier not to try and escape and instead be lead by a dog who inevitably turns around and bites them. Such is the nature of a sheep.

However, it is wrong of me to judge sheep so harshly. They are creations of their environment. How can they be expected to be anything more than sheep when they are penned in and never encouraged to express themselves. I'm convinced that deep down inside we are all born with the heart of a Shepherd and the free unbroken spirit of a Horse.


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