Be the Elephant



Every Monday morning, I meet with my accountability partners (which I highly, highly recommend). We go over our weekly accomplishments and struggles and make commitments for the upcoming week. It is a fantastic way to stay connected to the things in life that are important and to make sure you are continuing to move toward them. But that’s not the point of today’s musings….

This morning as I listened to my accountability partners (I have two) energetically discuss their successes, I realized I’ve been in a bit of a funk. A mild case of the blahs if you will. Which is totally and completely understandable given the state of the world. But it’s also a very weird place for me to be in personally. I generally have a chipper, upbeat (some would say annoyingly so), “nothing can pierce my happy bubble” attitude that I feel and believe down to my core. I also strongly believe that we create our own realities, so if I’m down all it takes is a decision to lift myself up. I almost always live this.

Lately, it has been harder to pull myself out of the quicksand though. The wildfires, climate change, racial injustice, political turmoil, and pandemic have been a series of body blows that just make it tough to take a deep breath. And, I realize upon deeper review, that it has become harder to believe my own stories when I try to soothe myself with rainbows and unicorns. Things are monumentally difficult for millions of people right now – regardless of how much I want to shape my reality and to see hope, positivity, and purpose in all things.

So what do I do with that? Do I just accept this state of my psyche? Is this uncomfortable and deflated place simply where I will be for awhile?

Maybe. And maybe that’s appropriate. But also, maybe not. Perhaps I still owe it to myself to keep inching toward being the best version of myself I can be. For myself. For my wife. For all of us. Perhaps this is my responsibility as a conscious human… even more so when things are difficult? Man, I have to admit that it’s hard to go there. I really want an excuse to drink beer, watch The Office, and gradually tune everything else out.

While meditating this morning (look at meditation doing its job!) I briefly touched the playful spark that moves through all things and thought about the baby elephant that I have written about occasionally. You know the elephant? He’s boisterous, wonderfully in the moment, and amazed and surprised by everything. When he comes across a muddy pond on a hot, dusty day he charges in without a second thought and sends a long arc of water shooting out his snout.

I haven’t thought about this allegory for a while, but when I can remember to do so I consciously attempt to approach my life (especially challenges in my life) like this elephant. No worries about getting cold or muddy. No fears about the predators lurking in the shadows. No reservations about protecting the water hole and making it mine. Just joy.

Just joy. That spark I mentioned above. That energy that connects us all and lights the world. I think that’s joy. And it is a renewable and inexhaustible resource. There to touch, use, and share. Joy is what lifts us up. It gives us purpose, passion, and hope. It’s the DNA of all things. But, so hard to see sometimes.

Hard to see, but the truth is even when the world is hurting as it is right now, there is still so much goodness. So much beauty. So many awesome people doing awesome things. The joy is there smiling at us, waiting to be noticed.

So, today I invite myself to channel the elephant. I invite you as well. When we come to the waterhole this afternoon or tomorrow morning, let us run into it with carefree abandon and splash our friends and family in a giant cannonball of joy.


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© 2017 Josh Mathe