Why I Want Elephant to Survive.

Via Patricia Busbee
on Apr 29, 2010
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“As long as people are communicating there is the potential  for change.”

“Dialogue aims to increase mutual understanding and respect, not only among those with different political convictions, social positions and economic power, but also among people of different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. At its best, dialogue can result in a collective sense of shared goals, enabling us to address the most important issues of all: What kind of future world do we want to live in? How can we work together to solve the problems facing humankind today, and begin creating that future? This does not necessarily imply a common approach to every issue, but without such a constructive dialogue the future is less likely to become one that we would want.” (United Nations University, 2001)

Elephant Journal is a diverse group of people speaking up and speaking out. I imagine it as a mosaic of voices. Each voice is a tile and when the tiles are placed together patterns emerge and shapes take form.

These voices are not just those of the writers.

“Elephant includes and fosters the unique voice of the reader.”

When the readers and the writers exchange thoughts and ideas they begin to sew seeds of change. Communication and dialogue nurture  the seeds and encourages them  to grow to fruition. Elephant Journal provides  fertile ground for interaction.  It is up to the readers and writers to decide what they want to plant, cultivate and harvest.

Elephant Journal is a community, but the word community does not always translate into like-mindedness. Elephant Journal informs, challenges and asks that we look at life through many different lenses and perspectives.

The following paragraph by Terry Tempest Williams is from her book Leap. It is a favorite of mine because it addresses the complexities of being in community and the importance of dialogue/communication.

“The middle path makes me wary. It can be frightening, mistaken for a place of safety and moderation. I am not entirely comfortable here. Never having been attracted to moderation of any kind. I have courted an intensity of extremes where I know what I am facing and where I chose to stand. But in the middle of my life, I am coming to see the middle path as a walk with wisdom where conversations of complexity can be found, that the middle path is the path of movement. This interests me. Life is not so predictable. I am forced to listen more carefully. In the right and left worlds, the stories are largely set; there is much to defend at the expense of the other. We become missionaries for a position, yes, exactly, no doubt about it, practioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.” (P188-189)

Elephant Journal invites conversations that are complex.

This is why Elephant is necessary.

This is why I want Elephant to survive.


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About Patricia Busbee

Thoughtful Yogini. Reflective Writer. Editor. Blogger. Artist. I was first introduced to Yoga at the Kripalu Yoga Center in 1998. I continue to study Yogic philosophy. I will always be a student. My other love is creative writing. I recently completed my MFA. My manuscript is a hybrid—a blending of memoir, creative non-fiction and poetry. My spiritual practice is similar to my writing, a blending of all my studies. Goddess Devotee. Kali’s Daughter. Bhakti. Working on seeing the sacred in all things.


4 Responses to “Why I Want Elephant to Survive.”

  1. diana mercer says:


  2. Thanks for this, Mahita. It's personally powerful to hear why ele should survive from other people than those on our staff, or myself. I do think elephant has a deeply rooted tolerance, nay enthusiasm for disagreement and dialogue. Often someone (who I generally agree with) will get angry at us, and threaten to leave our Facebook Page or what-have-you, because they disagree with an article about veganism or feminism or one of the many, many subjects I and our many great writers cover.

    That's always sad to me. We have such a limited ability, as TTW says above, to rest in that in-between place, these days, to let go of our rigteousness but not our convictions.

    I'm wrong, often, and often I realize I'm wrong because of the illuminating comments I get on an article I've posted. I watched 10 QUESTIONS FOR THE DALAI LAMA, last night, and it was confusing to see such a strong leader, with deep convictions re his country and non-violence, laugh throughout the interview. The Dalai Lama enjoys life. He makes a point of doing so. Given the millions of dead countrymen and what he's up against, and the lack of success on some level, he could be excused for crying bloody murder. Instead, he continually councils a "middle way." He sets an example for all of us: we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can stay true to our convictions without making those we disagree with the enemy. And we can have fun all along the way, no matter our circumstances.

  3. Linda says:

    Ditto. Well said.

  4. Mahita Devi says:

    The last paragraph of the response is a powerful and thought provoking short article. It could easily be developed into a longer piece. It's chocked full of truth. I am learning and re-learning this "middle way." An intersection comes to mind. If I can just bring myself to stay there long enough to explore the dualities, the dichotomies, and complexities that make up the human condition I just might learn something.