Sometimes when I am speaking or writing I refer to “oneness” - which at the very basic level means we are ALL connected, we are all part of the whole, and we all have a part to play in humanity. Many seem to understand this in their own way, but many tell me I am being to “woo woo” or not real enough for them.
I just got this beautiful email from my good friend Jessica Rappe who is in Thailand helping the elephants (she does many things in her life, but her heart belongs to animal rights). I felt she touched on oneness in a way we can all understand, and she gave me permission to share our personal exchange.
Good morning! I'm 12 hours ahead so timing is a little wacky. The elephants are part of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Chiang Rai Thailand. We have lost more than 50 percent of the elephant population in the last 50 years, and at this pace they will be extinct in the next few decades.
Can you imagine your children or grandchildren never knowing an elephant? Although there are efforts to protect the animals, wildlife trade and poaching is at an all time high -- so this foundation and it's U.S. partner, called Think Elephants, has brought elephants and their caretakers from the streets of Bangkok where they are begging, or rescued them from tour operations that abuse the animals in the name of tourism to westerners.
In conjunction with giving the elephants and their human families a good place to live, the project also has an educational component --- they are developing curriculum to take into Thai and US classrooms, so school kids can learn about the animals, understand the global challenges and Skype with the elephants to get to know them and have a personal experience.
The goal is to get the next generation of Asian children to respect the wildlife, think about solutions that can support both human needs and be good for the animals, reduce the demand for ivory and start to rebuild culture of respect for the elephants. Elephants are not meant to be in captivity --- but until they can live safely in the wild there is much work to do.
It's been such an interesting discussion -- how to make people understand the delicacy and relationship of our entire ecosystem. Losing an entire species has huge global implications.....but that requires people to be able to see the world as one living organism.
Not easy when their families are hungry and killing an elephant and selling the ivory to greedy people who want to show off their wealth can feed their family for years. Such a tragic, short sighted cycle that seems so enormous. Much admiration for people who dedicate their lives to what can seem so hopeless. As with most problems -- education is the hope!!
That's way more than you probably wanted to know, but on my mind this morning and so connected to the quest for "oneness" that is at the heart of it all.....the elephants certainly understand! You can see it in their eyes. So wise! Our species, humans, not so smart :-)