Monday, April 5, 2010

My Elephant Friend


On April Fool's Day of this year, I did something daring. It was something of a rights of passage for me. I wore a piece of jewelry that I had been gifted over 15 years ago. It was a birthday present from my daughter, and while I had chosen the gift, I could not bring myself to wear it until recently. It is a hard piece to wear because it has such power. It's a huge pewter piece of an elephant. It is not a profile view, and it is hinged so it has a very puppet like quality which makes it almost like a hologram of it's real life counterpart.

I remember when I first encountered this special item. I knew it was more than a trinket for me. Everything about it felt magical to my eye, but I wasn't one to make bold pieces like this part of my wardrobe. The salesperson said I could put it on the wall, but still I wasn't sure. I couldn't seem to justify it, but I left it there thinking if it's meant to be it'll still be there when I come back. I mentioned it to my daughter, and she decided to get it for me for my 41st birthday. I was so pleased, but still it was merely hung on the wall in my home.

For years, I would go to hang this piece around my neck, but I felt self conscious, almost as if I wasn't worthy of this kind of adornment, or maybe it was that I felt a little funny about any humorous associations that might be made between myself and the elephant (always been insecure about my weight issues). But suddenly I found myself picking out clothing to showcase this piece. I chose a beautiful tan, and brown print shirt with a charcoal gray cardigan. I put on a comfortable pair of jeans, with my Merrell slip-ons. It was a humble outfit, but it carried the piece well. It wasn't too flamboyant, but had just enough humph to let the piece sing a little on my chest. For some reason, I knew this elephant was a teacher. I got so many compliments, so many stares, and they were sincere, respectful and thoughtful responses. I told the story of the piece to a young woman on the street who inquired about my necklace as I passed by, and she congratulated me. She too recognized the significance of my finally being able to wear this beautiful object.

I was always compelled to wear it, but on this day, I was finally up for it. When I came home I looked up what the elephant stood for as a totem: "An Elephant totem gives you ancient wisdom and power to draw upon. It embodies strength and power". I needed a dose of this kind of talisman. I think as we get older, it is wise to look to this kind of help. Beautiful objects that don't just adorn, but connect us to the natural world, and to the world of spirit. On this day, I felt like a grandmother, who was learning to own her age, to command respect for the wisdom gained, and let go of the girl, who has long disappeared.

2 comments:

annie said...

Nancy, we will always be girls as well as wise old women, everything we have ever been is contained in who we are now, and is part of the gift. I am still a little kid in so many ways, and it is an integral part of my wisdom. Honoring this innocence keeps me from becoming brittle and jaded by hard experiences.

Anonymous said...

Annie B said: I think this is so representative of owning our power. Not the domination/victim power but the stand and be as you are power. The fact that you were unable to wear this gift is interesting to me. When I married Matt we used a matched pair of wedding rings that were in my stash of stuff. (How handy!) A few months later I had to admit that I wanted a "rock" and it was important to me that Matt get it for me, to show the world how he valued me as his wife and to satisfy my desire. 13 months after our wedding he had enough money to get me a "rock". For months, in preparation, I had been looking, eyeing, envying, scorning, evaluating suitable diamond rings that I liked and that matched our wedding bands. We found the right one and brought it home. For nearly 3 weeks I wasn't sure I had made the right decision. Maybe I had chosen too quickly as if the opportunity would expire like a carton of milk, never to be had again. I could hardly wear it. It felt odd, foreign, like someone else's ring instead of mine. Embarrassed, I went back to the store and looked again at the selection and discovered that there was NO other better ring. The sweet, patient store clerk said "don't worry, you'll really like it after you get it sized". She was right. I just had to "expand to receive it" and own the depth and power of Matt's love and commitment to me and our marriage. Now the question was can I truly match that?

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