The stability of an elephant

It has been said that elephants, even as they grow in size and strength, do not attempt to pull away from their tether, not realizing they have the ability. They remain immobilized by a tiny stake placed there in their infancy. Staked to the past, a past that is no longer relevant to who they are or how strong they have become.

Ever since I watched Jungle Book as a child elephants have been my token animal. I would stomp around the house singing, “HUP, two, three, four!” pretending I was the baby at the end of the line attempting to keep up by hanging onto his mama’s tail. As my family and friends learned of my disposition towards the lumbering but beautiful creatures, statuettes and stuffed animals began coming my way. My collection grew large and varied; from delicate glass figurines of my grandmother’s from the 1940s to a full ivory troop handmade in Nigeria gifted as a wedding present.

As a symbol, the elephant represents Power of Kingship, able to grant your heart’s desire. It is the icon of Unchanging Stability, Beginning and End, Piety, Knowledge and Wisdom, Strength, Long life, and Prosperity.* When picking out my wedding jewelry at an Asian import store almost 10 years ago, the owner gave me a tiny elephant to place in my kitchen as a blessing for a happy marriage.

But this King of animals is so stable it doesn’t recognize its own strength or wisdom when it is pinned to the ground, stuck in place, by a memory of the past.

As I look at the remaining favorites from my elephant collection, ruling from atop a high shelf, I am struck by the story of the baby elephant which still resides in the soul of her adult self. If only she would step forward, away from that which holds her captive, she would see how free she can be. Yes, the stake would still be attached to her physical body, but by a string – it could no longer tie her down. Her new stability would be based on her will for the future not that of the past.

What is staking you to the past and not permitting you from moving on? Do you believe you don’t have the strength or ability to detach yourself from unhelpful, or even harmful memories, and old coping methods? Do you doubt that the stake will shift and allow you to roam free and independently?

Do you choose to remain stable in your discontent? A perpetual baby elephant who must always hang onto to someone else’s tail to get through the jungle (of life)? Or are you ready to become the King/Queen Elephant who brings long life, prosperity, strength, and wisdom, and stable in your own heart’s desire?

Prompt: I am staked to my past by….

* Source: Chevalier, Jean & Alain Gheerbrant. Dictionary of Symbols. Penguin, 1994.


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4 thoughts on “The stability of an elephant

  1. Love it, Jo! Ashamed to admit this is the first time I’ve read your blog, but I’m now hooked! Every once in a while I read something (or hear lyrics in a song) that so resonate with me that I wish deeply in my heart that I had had the wisdom, creativity and inspiration to have written it myself. That is what I feel about “elephant.” You and I are definitely soul-sisters on the path of self-discovery. I knew that, but I guess I needed reminding. That and I seem to wander off the trail more than you do! 😉 I’ll be following your posts from now on!
    Love and Peace,

    • Thank you, Lana! Yes, we were always on the same page and that is why we clicked so long ago. I’m so glad you are on the trail too…

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