My Year With Elephant Journal.

Via on Feb 23, 2012

Oh elephant you special little devil of a publication!

It’s our anniversary! Elephant and I have been going strong for a year today. My entire life has altered course in that year and I think it’s incredibly special that my very first post here on elephant marks the beginning of that change. I set out on this extremely personal journey one year ago today and haven’t looked back since.

Last winter I lived in my bed. I literally could not physically force myself to get up. I slept the days away and stared off into space at night. Zombie doesn’t even come close to an accurate description. Then I started taking my depression meds again and began to come out of my room slowly but surely.

I was so angry with myself when I broke down and started seeing the doctor again, and this community really helped me through that hard time. Total strangers stopped to offer me advice and helped me to realize that needing medication to stabilize my moods wasn’t a weakness and didn’t make me any less of a person.

I began to live again.

It was through this website that I have made some lifelong friends. Friends that I am closer with than many of the people I have known for years and years. Elephant is the first place I heard about Where Is My Guru and now, a year later, not only are Jessica Durivage and Diane Ferraro two women whom I consider to be my sisters in every sense of the word, I work for Where Is My Guru as well.

It has been fulfilling in ways I didn’t even know existed to become a part of something I believe in with every fiber of my being.

Spiritually elephant has been like this online plethora of learning for me. I have studied and can now understand, even if not fully, The Bhagavad Gita. I have discovered different methods of meditation and found some incredible mentors. People who stopped to explain things to me and took genuine interest in helping me not only to develop an understanding but they’ve also helped me to relate all of these different things to my life.

This spiritual part of me is still embryonic. There is so much I still want to know and comprehend, but my point is that it was previously nonexistent, and the space inside of me that this spiritual baby now occupies feels so good and burns so bright, there are really no words I could use that would adequately describe how I feel.

My practice has developed as well. In the last year yoga has taken over my life completely. I am a broke stay at home mother of three but because of the internet I am able to practice at home whenever I want. It goes way beyond asanas though. The very ways in which I live my life have changed. My views on the world around me are different.

I no longer see everything as a threat. I lived a large portion of my life hating everything and everyone. I gave no one the opportunity to get close and had a perpetual, impenetrable guard up. Yoga has changed that, I have changed that.

I have found my voice. I know what I want and more importantly what I don’t. I feel like I have value now, self-worth. No longer will I stand by idly and be treated in ways that make me uncomfortable, or devalue me as a human being. I am strong and I am beautiful, and I fully intend to shine my light anywhere and everywhere I possibly can. Belonging to a community of like-minded people has helped me to realize these things.

I am now an editor here at elephant and I can not tell you how many times people ask me how much money I make. The surprising looks I get or incredulous realizations people express when I tell them I volunteer here makes me sad. This is about connection and you can’t put a price on that.

I will never forget when Waylon asked me to write something for elephant. I was over the friggin moon. That day will always be remembered. To be able to give that to other people, and know how good it feels, has been so rewarding.

Not everything in life is about money. I can never get people to fully understand how much I have received and how genuinely I look at my time spent as giving back. It’s the least I can do to lend a hand where it is needed for the people who have done nothing but give in the most unselfish of ways.

So happy anniversary elephant. Thank you for providing me with friends and family. Thank you for always being a constant in this fast moving, always changing world. Thank you for giving me a platform where my voice means something and can be heard. Thank you for helping me grow and find direction.

Most importantly though, when I started this journey a year ago I was in search of myself. I felt like I was just going through the motions, never really living, in a constant cycle of sadness and anger. Thank you for showing me how to forgive and let go, and while I am aware that I am the one doing the work, thank you for always having your hand out to guide me.

Peace Y’all,

Jenn

About Jennifer Cusano

Jennifer Cusano, social media aficionado, research connoisseur, and writer du jour, is a Yogi on a path of personal exploration and long overdue healing. Managing Editor for YOGANONYMOUS, Producer for Where Is My Guru, Director of Social Media for YOGASCAPES and TumericALIVE, wife and mother of three, Jenn is really a superhero in disguise—or so she likes to think. In her spare time Jenn likes to read about and search for vampires, so if you happen to know or come across one, please do send them her way. Hit her up on Facebook or Twitter to discuss the various methods of tracking down said vampires. Also she is more than a little uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person, it may just be the hardest thing she's had to do, and that's saying something...

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33 Responses to “My Year With Elephant Journal.”

  1. happy birthday Jenn & ej :)) Wonderful piece, lovely to read….

  2. Andrea Balt Andréa Balt says:

    Loved this, Jennifer. I was in a similar "rabbit hole" a few months ago. I remember moving for the fifth time in three months and getting to the point of not unpacking anymore but keeping all my stuff in in boxes just in case. Reading and writing for elephant felt more like home than my physical house/s. This place is a magnet for brokenhearted people.

  3. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Happy anniversary baby.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  4. livingfrombalance says:

    GREAT article and one I can relate to oh so well. Feel glad you are figuring this out at a young age.. I am 45 and still working on it!!
    LOVE IT!!

  5. TMC says:

    love this!

  6. Rich K. says:

    Jennifer,
    Thanks so much for sharing your self and your story with us. I love your posts and comments and I am glad to hear that you have begun the process of healing. Lots of love and hugs!

  7. theresa saia says:

    Wonderful piece and you've come a very long way on this journey in the last year – keep up the good work! Love you,

  8. Carol Horton carolhortonbooks says:

    wow – you write with such passion – and it feels very real, and important. that's very unusual and beautiful. thanks.

  9. Brianna says:

    This is so touching. What a wonderful and honest blog you've shared. Thanks Jenn. Really enjoyed this. Makes me just want to break through this cyber world even more and have you all over to my house for dinner! Hugs!

  10. What a wonderful article, Jennifer.

    I can assure you that you've given back to elephant at least as much as elephant has given you.

    We love having you here.

    Bob W.
    Associate Publisher

  11. Jessica Durivage Jessica says:

    Jen!!! Happy Birthday soul sister. How you do it, we will never know. Mother of three, spirit fingers, cheer coach, wife, writer, editor, social media director and now social media specialist. You wear all these hats with grace and you make it look easy. I am inspired by you each and everyday and I am so grateful to get to work alongside you. Here is to many more years!

    I love you!
    Jess

  12. integralhack says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is such a sweet, open, inspiring post! Congratulations, Jennifer! What an unexpected journey of healing and strengthening this community has taken you on. I have to say that I can relate. My first article was also my rock-bottom and it's just been uphill posts ever since. Thanx for sharing. LOVED! And we love YOU! big hug! xoxoxox :-))

  14. Thanks so much fr your lovely comment and suggestion. The Gita in a Nutshell series I am talking about in this piece was done using Mitchell's translation so I am definitely partial to him and will totally check it out. Thanks again!

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