Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Big Picture

So much of what is wrong with this world is the narrow view people keep. I know I lost a lot of readers right then - making such a bold and self-righteous sounding statement. Acting like I know what is wrong with billions of people I have never met. I truly don't mean it in an arrogant way. I am just trying to justify to myself why people who I know are good at heart can contribute to such cruelty without blinking an eye. It is my belief that we have been conditioned to block out everything that does not pertain directly to us. We see things as only how they impact us, and dismiss the bigger picture. That's because sometimes we may not be strong enough to handle the bigger picture. I know I often am not.

I woke up to a bunch of facebook statuses proclaiming excitement that the circus was in town. I tried to see it from their points of view - glamorous costumes, clowns, the smell of popcorn, regal animals parading around. That is what they see, those that block out the bigger picture. They see only what is immediately in front of them. I struggle because I don't want to always be Debby-Downer, but I also want to shake them until they come to their senses. I want to reach into their heads, grab both sides of that image in their brain and I want to pull until it expands beyond the 3 rings in front of them. I want to expand it until it shows the other 22 hours in the day of these "performers." I want them to acknowledge the bigger picture their money is supporting.

Circus performers choose this nomadic lifestyle, but the animals have no say. They are kept in tiny cages chained up 22 hrs per day. The only time they get out is when they are being "trained" - meaning they are having fear instilled in them. A Tiger does not jump through a hoop of fire for fun. He does it because the alternative is being beaten and starved. And yet these good-hearted people in my life - ones who have pets they love and know how amazing animals can be - they clap! They allow their children elephant rides, even though the handler has a stick with a nail sticking out of it to keep the elephant "under control." They condone this abuse, even enjoy it. They bond with their children over it, and raise a new generation who are taught to ignore The Big Picture.

Why am I the only one who sees the fear in the animals' eyes? Why am I the only one not intoxicated enough by the sparkly costumes to miss the scars on the elephants' skin?

I am starting to get it. Caring is so much harder than not caring. Seeing The Big Picture means putting a crack in the memories from your childhood where you were programmed to see only a narrow view. And that requires immense strength and commitment. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier to just close myself back up to that narrow relearn how to block The Big Picture....cause this path I am choosing, one of compassion and empathy, let me tell you, it is exhausting.

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