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My Elephant

I recently heard an interview with Lewis Howes, of "The School of Greatness", with Price Pritchett, where they discussed why it's more valuable to stop negative thinking instead of just trying to think positively. He uses the analogy that if you have dirty water, and you add clean water to it, it's still going to be dirty, so we need to remove the more challenging thoughts first to have more pure and clean energy.

There will always be the little voice of self-doubt and insecurity that we will all experience to some degree or another, from time to time, no matter how much growth, expansion and healing we have done. Thinking positive seems like such an obvious choice, however, when we are in these low perspective places, trying to change our mindset to optimistic thinking can seem impossible. I mean, let's be real, if we had the ability to think positively, WE WOULD BE! (haha) So when I saw this story, it got me thinking. What if in those moments, we just stopped the negative thinking instead of trying to replace them with positive thoughts? What would that even look like?


This question reminded me of an analogy of stopping the momentum of a train. If it's on the track going 100mph, you can't just change directions from negative to positive, so how do we at least begin to slow down the train? I can visualize and understand the concept when I am balanced and regulated but when I need to show up for myself during the difficult times, it can seem unfathomable that I will be able to see any perspective other than the distorted story I am experiencing in that moment. I pondered this concept for a while and realized, what if I just think about something totally random as almost a pattern breaker? I thought to myself, what is something neutral with no memory, emotion or opinion attached to it and the first image that popped into my head was an elephant.


I began to practice this new technique I created for myself and am so happy to report that I have had incredible results!! As soon as I notice myself beginning to trail into an unproductive, low vibration thought pattern, I just, close my eyes and in my head say elephant while I begin to visualize my elephant. I notice as many details about it as possible but at least 5. The roughness of the skin, the whiskers on its face, the ears flapping, the powerful yet gentle and versatile trunk. By the time I am done listing the 5 qualities, I often don't even remember the original negative thought that got me thinking of my beloved elephant.


“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.”

~ Shirley MacLaine


What we give our attention to, grows and a belief is nothing more than a thought we think over and over again so what if we stopped putting so much pressure on ourselves to do a complete 180 with nothing but positive happy thoughts and saw this experience for what it is? It is an opportunity for us to notice that we have the power to choose that we will no longer carry the same beliefs and thought patterns that have weighted us down and held us back. Here and now, we choose different. Imagine that all you have to do is practice stopping that train, not jump off or turn it around, just gradually slowing it down, one thought at a time. Just like in meditation, every time our thoughts and focus begin to wander, we simple notice with love and non-judgement, then think of our "elephant" and bring our minds back to the present moment. With this simple action, we are allowing space for our mindset to shift and our neurological pathways to redesign.


After a few weeks of this, because I am so into spiritual symbolism, I decided to look up what the elephant represents, and this is what I found.


  • Strength and power: In many African cultures, elephants are revered as symbols of strength and power.

  • Loyalty: Elephants are known for their tight family bonds and loyalty.

  • Wisdom: Elephants represent wisdom gained through experience and the ability to make sound decisions.

  • Patience and endurance: Elephants are associated with patience, endurance, and steady progress.

  • Kindness and empathy: Elephants are known for their gentle and compassionate nature, emphasizing kindness, empathy, and nurturing relationships.

  • Connection and acceptance: Elephants can represent connection and acceptance with family and can be seen as a reminder to stay connected with family and friends even when apart.

  • Luck and prosperity: Elephants are a symbol of luck and prosperity.

  • Knowledge and academic success: Elephants can symbolize knowledge and academic success.

  • Intelligent leadership: Elephants facing out on your work desk can symbolize intelligent leadership, poise under pressure, and cautiousness.

  • God's power and wisdom: In the Bible, elephants symbolize God's power and wisdom, and their ivory tusks highlight abundance and wealth.


I feel even more happy with my random choice of diversion and have even begun coming up with designs for my next tattoo so that I can have the visual reminder.


If you are anything like me, and hold yourself to a high standard, it can be really challenging to allow and accept those moments of struggle and discomfort but over the last few months, I have begun to welcome this practice and experience as my teacher and guide. I find myself feeling less pressure because I know in any moment the stillness and peace of my elephant is always there waiting to bring me back to my center.


I am also finding the phrase "we'll see" so much more comforting and attainable when my only objective is to find the nothingness in that simple moment. Allow the space and pause that my elephant provides. Simply being. Not doing, pushing, healing, growing, or manifesting. Just the stillness of the ordinary yet extraordinary present moment where all potential lies. That breath between what is and what could be. And then from that clean, clear place, we make a choice and take our first step towards love, not fear.


All the love,

Pamela

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