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February 24, 2012

My Year With Elephant Journal.

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

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