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May 5, 2017

How I fell in Love with an Elephant.

 

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” ~ Rumi 

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I’m in love, and my writing is blossoming.

This time, I’m not in love with a man (or a woman), but I’ve come into a new world and my passion is reawakened.

I’m an apprentice for the online magazine elephant journal.

When the ad for Elephant Academy first caught my eye, I felt the same rush as when I see a handsome man who makes my fluids move.

The kind of man who looks into my eyes and sees me, not just my pretty.

The kind of man I casually touch on the shoulder so I can feel the rush of his energy igniting mine. The kind worth standing still for so I can be present and invite him into my orbit.

I was seduced reading the description of elephant journal’s Academy—the kind of place that holds its tribe to high standards and offers the opportunity to expand.

Yes, my gut said, that’s for me. My ego asked, are you really going to do it?

I applied, and I’ve been applying myself since the day it began—rearranging my life to make room the way we do for relationships that matter.

Before my first elephant journal online meeting, I drove from my home in Columbus, Ohio to visit a friend in Madison, Wisconsin. I just arrived at her house when I popped open my computer for my first date with the elephant.

I saw the founder, Waylon Lewis‘ weirdness, and I respected it.

Isn’t it odd how in some relationships we’re bothered by the smallest ticks, but when we’re falling in love, we don’t care about messy hair or eating habits?

In the early stages of engaging with the elephant, I craved to know more. I was open and eager to receive.

Like asking a new man his middle name, I learned how elephant’s name came about.

The fresh knowledge gives me a little rush.

I lean into social media, our Facebook pages, and its insights as if I’m learning about my lover’s family. I try to comprehend the connections.

Day after day, I stalk elephant’s pages like I’m reading an enlightened man’s poetry. I taste the language as if it belongs to me and I thirst for more.

I stay up late reading—Young Elephants, Elephant Journal Australia, Mindful Gentleman, Elephant Spirituality, Elephant Yoga, and, of course, the main page. All roll into me like a new lover’s words.

I’m honored and my curiosity springs boundless. I dream of chapters together and awaken hot with ideas. I’m overwhelmed, overstimulated, over my head, and high on learning.

When I first considered this mad affair, I told no one. It felt pure and I wanted no other opinion to taint it. Now, I can’t shut up about the elephant, social media, and ethical journalism.

Have you seen “All the President’s Men”?!

Did you know Ben Bradlee, Jr.—the editor who oversaw The Boston Globe’s exposure of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal—is the son of Ben Bradlee, Sr.—the executive editor of The Washington Post when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal? Isn’t that fascinating?

Also, what could be more empowering than the idea of being of benefit? It’s elephant journal’s motto. God, that’s sexy. I might even go green!

My girlfriends laugh, saying I’m lit up, and I can’t shut up about the elephant in the room. It all feels relephant! (Yes, we even have our own pet words.)

Conscious consumerism is no longer simply a phrase I agree with, but an everyday look into the mirror—and not with the judgement of yesterday, but guided by that simple question: How may I be of benefit?

Now, I’m a consumer becoming conscious.

I’m picking up trash on my daily walks in the woods. I’m considering ways to reduce the mass of recycling from my home alone. Where does it go? What does that plastic do to our environment and our bodies—which I never even considered before?

I’m rethinking everything.

This benefit concept resonates with my rebel status more smoothly than “being of service” or “making a difference,” as I attempted in the past.

That’s the power of words; words I speak and put on the page offer me, yes me, the opportunity to influence. We choose our words with that in mind. We want our words to matter.

I want my words to be read like I want my lover to listen.

Like when we learn to take note of jazz and the story within the music teaches us a new way to sway our hips.

Here with the elephant, I roll out my words with the intention of a woman coming into herself, as we do in the presence of the right man.

I submit. I submit. I submit. I’m a new woman. It shows in my poetry and prose.

Finding my name in elephant’s Popular Lately is like the first time a sweet man—a real man, not just laying it on for effect—calls me something I’ve never been called before, something I never imagined would suit me.

He calls me angel and it’s not corny. It’s solid and I like it, the way I like seeing my name next to my new title: author.

Sometimes, it’s the simplest shift which changes our perception, like when our small group leader tells us the “assignments” are simply “suggestions.”

Well, say hello to my open mind.

Mindfulness, another elephant ideal, and being of benefit have shifted how I walk in this world. I’m more present and less resistant.

It’s not something I shout or talk about, but it’s as sweet as the heat of my lover’s words whispered on my neck.

I throw off restraint like saying yes to a ride on a man’s bike, tattoos be damned. I just want my hands around his waist as we roll around corners at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, in the rain. I say yes.

Since I’ve hooked up with the elephant, I’m saying no to girlfriends, drinking less beer, and watching less TV—not in the pursuit of being better—but so I have more of me, more time and energy to feed this insatiable passion to learn, write, and be mindful.

It’s the same reason I’m doing more yoga and drinking more water—an unquenchable thirst.

Like a new lover, the Academy opens me to something I’m destined for but didn’t know where to find. I was looking everywhere, and also not looking at all, because maybe love like this wouldn’t happen for me. But, I wanted to believe.

In January, I made a vision board. The vision is mostly about my writing, how to shape, upgrade, keep it personal, and get it published, which I’ve done. Check.

In some ways, the Academy brings up things I don’t like about myself.

I confront my procrastination and egotistical tendencies, and truth be told, I taste a tinge of jealousy when the other lovelies’ words shine on elephant’s pages after I’ve been given feedback that feels like rejection.

It’s like watching my lover, even knowing how much he likes me, but then another lady leans a little close, so they’re shoulder to shoulder and I shudder wondering where I fit.

It’s silly, I know. So, I go to my girlfriends to say how I feel and they help put things in perspective. That’s what our weekly small group meetings in the Academy are like.

We admit our personal challenges without emotionalism—another new word in my vocabulary and a foreign concept for my writing.

Basically, it means my depth, sensitivity, and heart-wrenching experiences are gifts, and my feelings have power—but not in the way of “poor me.”

Elephant readers, like real men, don’t want to be manipulated by sad stories, but seduced with truth, feeling, and character. And yeah, throw in a little sexy.

With the elephant, it’s like hey, we’re in this together: in this group, Academy, environment, country, and world.

How can we show up for each other and for ourselves?

Can we laugh? Oh, yes, and we do!

Can we be of benefit? Yes, if we’re mindful.

But, what the heck does that actually mean?

For me, it’s something I’m growing into—a way of being fully present in a lifestyle of awareness, taking into account my thoughts, words, and actions in an enlightened, purposeful, serious, yet light-hearted manner.

I’m being kind to myself and others. Like every time I’ve fallen in love.

I’m seeing the world anew—complex, striking, and worth writing about.

I’m realizing my place in life, in the Academy, and in love.

This time, it’s sustainable. This time, I fell in love with an elephant.

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Author: Alice Lundy
Image: elephant journal Instagram
Editor: Travis May

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