“May we awaken here, on this sharp edge of uncertainty” is an offering made by Kaye Jones and one that resonates with a deep longing within me. How do we cultivate courage – and not forget kindness – in these times? How do we move forward together in skillful ways while fully engaging with the rising challenges? These are inquiries I am brought back to daily. Like many benefitting from white privilege, actively deconstructing the consciousness and practices that sustain and protect that privilege moves me to take action. This letter is part of that action and it is long overdue.
No matter how I offer this message, no matter what references I draw from – historical, economic, social, personal, environmental – the landing place is the same. We humans, racialized white, have work to do. And the work we have to do is not work to do alone.
With an understanding that there is no person, group or organization that is beyond the reach and roots of systemic racism and understanding that we influence and shape one another as well as the systems we are a part of I am inviting a response from the members and Pro-EFW as a whole. Will we purposefully incorporate into our association – our relationships with horses and humans– deeper understandings and processes to uncover and deconstruct systemic injustices, inequities and unearned advantages?
This question does not diminish the work already done in the field of equine facilitated wellness, in fact, there is much we have learned from our relationships with the horses we live and/or work with that can help with the steps ahead. The very commitment, however, to examine the understory of systemic racism – revealing underlying beliefs; identifying how it functions; what has allowed it to remain; how to interrupt it and make needed changes – are practices that, in spite of being difficult, benefit us all. They can be extended to any of the inequities embedded in the relational and dynamic systems of which we are a part, including our relationships with the rest of nature, even horses.
I submit this invitation as just one opening in this time of uncertainty, with the awareness that countless openings are arising right now and within them opportunities to shift into deeper and much needed change. We each start – or continue – where we are. We are the seedlings for the future at the same time we are tending each other’s growth. How do we cultivate courage – and not forget kindness – in these times? I am reaching out in many places to see who is interested and what we might do together.
If you have a question or would like to contact Kate – please leave it in the comments and we will make sure she gets them.
Kate Burns Bio
Each year, without fail, I experience a deeper appreciation for the innate wisdom and attunement Generation Farm horses bring to their relationships and how that calls forth the same from the people that come here
Kate has been a member of the Generation Farms team since 2008, contributing to the development and facilitation of a variety of EFW workshops, trainings and offering EFW counselling to adults. Kate also offers mentoring to EFW candidates in the process of completing Pro-EFW certification. With 35 years of experience in a wide range of social work, social action and nature-valuing endeavors she brings an inclusive and liberatory approach to her Equine Facilitated Wellness practices. Kate is committed to the transformational powers held within life-giving and life-sustaining relationships, that is, between aspects of our selves, with others – human and more-than-human, and with the earth.
It is in our joining together we create opportunities to grow the collective courage we need to face these uncertain times, explore new ways of seeing and find new ways to go forth. Joining with equine partners is a deep and integral part of this journey forward.
I know that Equusoma (Sarah Schlote) and The Herd Institute (Veronica Lac) both address systemic oppression in their values and training materials. It might be worth consulting with them.
Thank you Kate,
We are so fortunate to have you as part of our Pro-EFW team and herd. Your wisdom and insights are highly valued as we look to you for guidance in how we can be more active in our efforts to be inclusive and compassionate.