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On Elephants and New Beginnings

April 20, 2010


Lately I have been thinking a lot about elephants.  Solid and steady, yet graceful and gentle.  Wise.  A favorite professor in college reminds me of elephants and of an elephant.  He had the same heavy grace and solid gentleness of an elephant.  And the wisdom.  Oh, the wisdom.  Wisdom that still orients me years later.  He stood tall and lean with a straight nose and average size ears, but overtime I came to see him as an elephant.  His long arms had a slow sway and he gathered his students into his reach, protectively and tenderly.  With calm demeanor he taught the coursework and life lessons.

He introduced me to Ganesha, the elephant deity in Hinduism.  I didn’t retain the specifics of Ganesha much longer after turning in my final Rel 210 paper, but I did hold onto some form of Ganesha, combined with the love of my favorite professor.  Somewhere in a deep mental filing cabinet where I keep all the most important college classroom lessons, I must have accurately preserved the specifics, because I have been thinking a lot about elephants, and Ganesha, and Professor Favorite this week.  It’s appropriate.  I’m 75% certain that Ganesha is the god of obstacles and new beginnings.  Rubbing his trunk brings good luck.

Transitions in my life often occur quickly.  I over extend myself too much to allow time for slow transitions.  I devote myself too much to the task at hand to prepare for the next one.  I transition and reflect much, much later.  In some difficult ways, this entire last nine months has become an accidental transition period.  (Talk about a shock and new experience!)  In easier ways, the past few days and upcoming weeks are an intentional transition period.  I’m thrilled that I have the time and space to think about elephants, Ganesh, and Professor Favorite.  I get to plan (or at least try to because, heh, life is what happens while you’re making other plans!) what I want my new beginning to look like, and how I am going to soar past obstacles (strategy #1: positive thinking).

I admit to not knowing a lot about elephants (they live in Africa, right?), or Ganesha (does he have five arms that all symbolize something?), or even all the life wisdom Professor Favorite imparted, but I know enough to let my mind wander over thoughts of elephants.  In some ways, that is more than I could have even hoped for after three years of briefing cases and separating dicta from holdings.  So these days I walk around with elephants in my thoughts all day with comfort and hope.

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