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June 9, 2014

My Year as an Elephant.

elephant

Relephant read: Dana was our featured guest with Byron Katie on Walk the Talk Show, recently! > Byron Katie walks us through The Work.

I have been an elephant for a year—an apprentice for elephant journal.

It all happened quite fast and spontaneously.

You see, I have always wanted to be a writer. Big deal, some might say, lots of people want to be writers. Those people would be right and that’s one of the reasons I never pursued it. With so many talented authors and journalists out there, how could I ever compete with that?

So I took my love of language a different direction and became a sign language interpreter.

That worked for awhile—satisfying my zest for taking language and shaping it into something different.

And then life did its job of doing what life does. I had curve balls thrown at me. Some of these were completely unexpected and some created, but I was knocked off my feet a few times and when I found myself ready to stand up again, I looked around and asked what was next.

That is when I stumbled on elephant journal. In my quest to find answers to parenting dilemmas that cropped up more often than I would like, I ran across an article about Buddhism and parenting. The more I explored, the more I liked about this unique publication.

How could I describe it? It wasn’t Tricycle, and it wasn’t Mind Body Green. It wasn’t Huffington Post either. It was everything I was interested in, or at least mostly. It covered topics like yoga, meditation, green living, parenting and—holy crap—it had vegan recipes too!

I was in love.

So when I scrolled to the bottom and saw the tagline offering to write or volunteer for them, my interest peaked. Could I do it? Could I write for, and work for, a real magazine?

I took a chance, sent in a resume and received an email back from a guy named Waylon. Must be an intern, I thought.

Soon Skype meetings became a regular thing and I learned that Waylon was indeed not an intern. I met editors that blew my mind with their promptness in handling issues and fielding questions, and most of all their unending compassion and kindness. This was no ordinary online magazine. This was a place of growth.

The months flew by and our internship was coming to a close. I was a published writer for the first time in my life and I had helped edit and shape other people’s writings. I was filled with gratitude for this opportunity and told the entire staff that over and over again.

I connected with other interns and found friendships. We laughed at each other’s jokes, cried over some of our heart exposing writings together, complained about the dreaded double spaces we had to take out and shared our inner worries and doubts about our futures.

When the opportunity came to stay on and mentor I took it with gusto. I didn’t want this to end. Before long I was helping new interns and sharing how to fix those frustrating double spaces. I was editing breathtaking pieces and meeting phenomenal writers. I had a writer Facebook page and learned how to use Twitter.

The gratitude grew.

You see, this was so much more than learning whether to use serial commas or not. This was so much more than using social media as a publication or being taught how to write clickable titles. This was beyond more.

It was here that I learned how to trust my instincts again after they had been long buried under insecurities and doubts. It was here that I chipped away at that dream I had locked up so long ago, thinking it was nothing but castles in the sky. It was here that I met people that shared the same ideas and morals, and it was here I formed connections.

Most of all, it was here that I found my tribe.

It’s been a year. It went by so quickly and has changed me for the better. I will forever be touched by these amazing people and hope to continue working with all of them.

I heard a phrase at my daughter’s graduation a couple of weeks ago that left chills down my spine because it summed up how it is here at elephant—perfectly.

From the outside looking in, you can never understand it; and from the inside looking out, you can never explain it.

Thank you, (bow).

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Editor: Travis May

Photo Credit: Flickr/Lazurite

 

Dana Gornall

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