Friday, March 2, 2012

The Elephant

Happy Friday to all. I hope your week went well. I was at my brothers on Monday and Tuesday, and then I catch up with my life the rest of the week. Haircut and dentist appointments were on the list this week. Time is going by, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. The reality of our loss is setting in and we are all going forward. I have refused to let my thoughts wonder to things that will make me cry. I am getting tired of crying, so I often don't even let my mind wonder to the sad thoughts, that I know will end up in a sobbing flow of tears. Maybe this is part of the grieving process. You make a choice to not feel sad every  moment, because you know your soul and your mind can't live like that for much longer. That's not to say I still don't have my moments, and it's only been 2 months. But I realize  I just can't let my mind go to certain places, or think certain thoughts. I have to choose what I want to think about, and what I don't want to think about.

  Last weekend I had the chance to watch the movie Water for Elephants. I had read the book, and the movie was very good too. I love animals so much, and it hurt me to see how this poor elephant was treated by some of the cruel circus people. I  never understand people who can inflict cruelty on innocent beings, like children or animals. Years ago, we put an electric fence in our yard to contain our dogs. I wasn't sure I was a believer in this sort of containment system, but we have a large yard, and the dogs were taking to some romps through the neighborhood. We had large, lovely Great Danes, and all it took was one buzz of the electric collar, and they never tried to leave the yard again. In fact we didn't even need to put the collars on on after some time had passed. They knew the limits and were content to stay within the assigned boundaries. What was on the other side of the neighborhood was not worth the unpleasantness of running through the fence. I recently came across this story about an elephant with a similar situation. I wanted to share this with you.

As a man was passing by some elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Thank you to the group Alternative Thinking for this post

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful weekend. Sending love and hugs!

Thought for the day: The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will." Vincent T. Lombardi


  1. I Love-Love-Love this post. First of all - Elephants are my absolute favorite animals besides dogs. I collect them and have tons of them thru-out the house. I loved that movie and always cry when I see animals mistreated too.
    I don't know why, I am just a Wuss I guess.
    Lets video cht again. tell me when :-)

  2. Wow...did you post speak to me this morning? Here I sit at 9:20 and I did not go to Zumba again. What invisible bond encircles my ankle? I have to figure that out? Today was the good instructor too, so that wasn't the issue? Fear of success? Of conquering this demon? Ugh!!!
    My heart still thinks of you often, and I am not living the loss. Bless you and your family!

    1. Great post! Elephants are amazing and I love the story and the moral that came with it. If you haven't already, I recommend reading 'Modoc: The world's most famous elephant'. It's an incredible book :)
      On another note, I work with kids, some of them have lost a parent. We talk a lot about carving out time to think about them and cry or do whatever they need to do, so that they can still take care of doing things like school and having fun. It's such a hard road. Many prayers going up for you and your family.

  3. Oh, Pattie, I feel your pain and wish I could give you a hug. This is a fantastic post! That rope can be so many things, not just a mental or emotional block. For me, figuring out what foods affected me negatively and removing them from my diet was breaking free from what was holding me back. Those foods were affecting me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I could have thought that there was some "reason" that I just wasn't pulling myself together, but I know myself and I instinctively knew that that wasn't it. I knew I didn't have a lack of desire and constantly felt like, "This shouldn't be this hard!" Instead of "pushing myself harder", beyond what's normal, I knew that something else had to be wrong. I guess I don't fall into the category of people who automatically blame themselves. :). I'm very practical and realistic in that way, which led me to figure out what really was wrong, and now I'm feeling great! Now, this is how my relationship with food should be like...relaxed and healthy, not physically, mentally, or emotionally straining.

  4. This is just awesome!

    And I do think that's exactly what you need to do - it's ok that you feel yourself pushing away the hurt.

    xoxo, Dawn

  5. FABULOUS, eloquent post Pattie! LOVED it!! (((hugs)))

  6. A very wise posting indeed...thanks Pattie.

  7. First of all I loved the book "Water for Elephants"! I ALSO can NOT understand people who can inflict cruelty on innocent beings, like children or animals. I can barely watch movies where they get hurt.
    Your analogy about the elephants and what invisible force is holding as back is a good one. With me I don't think it's as deep as fear of failure, or anything, I think it's old fashioned laziness and not being motivated enough. Especially in the exercise department.

  8. That was awesome, Pattie! I haven't read the book nor seen the movie but now I definitely want to :) As to how you've been coping and how you're choosing your thoughts because you know what you can and can't handle is spot on, I think. I think of you often and hope that you're all starting to heal though I know it will take a lifetime of learning to live without Beth. Hugs to you!!!

  9. Great post, Pattie! I loved the movie Water For Elephants and am a huge animal lover! I could barely watch the movie when they were hurting the elephant. I need to remember the Elephants everytime I get stuck in my own head! :)