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Maya Angelou’s quote, and this picture are so integral to the metaphor of my intrinsic nature!!  I thought it was just me, and although I am no doubt a special creature of God as we all are, I feel less “one-of-a-kind” in the lone survivor sense in  the world after seeing this, and that has always felt like a sharp two-edged sword to me-like being unique but can feel lonely at times.  Thanks, Maya..reminder I’m not the last of my kind, perhaps I have distant cousins in nature!!!

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Always knew WHO I was; knowing the WHAT was key to making sense of it, and my connections in life. That took longer; blind hookah-smoking doctors kept trying to feed me poisoned mushrooms and I, naively followed their lead, till one day I realized they were blind, and hadn’t a clue what an elephant was, much less a Mer-elephant!! Ha ha!!

After so many blind dates with a parade of Lilliputian medicine men that invariably ended badly, I paused in 2008/9, to consider how long ago I first suspected, and later confirmed, that I was, and have always been, an–if not THE–elephant in the room.

It took me much longer to realize just how many blind Lilliputians, all strangely named “Dr.” (vs THE DOCTOR), there are in the world. THE DOCTOR would have been a much more attractive adventure, to be sure, but mine was replete with spills, granted, but great thrills, as well!! How can I be disappointed about that??

The blind Dr. years were not such great moments in my history by some accounts, but not so for me. They were painful, yes, and some parts don’t work anymore because they couldn’t see what they were doing, but I gained and learned much from them, too, that became part of my strength and tenacity, and resilience, and passion for many great things.

I figured out, among other things, that it is not so bad to be an elephant of any variety, and I have no desire to try to be anything or anyone else ever again, however awkward that may be for the blind, or for “elephantophobes”! Trying to fit into others’ mirrors has never appealed to me, nor worked anyway, and the blind men taught me the folly of that while trying to convince me that elephants were broken by definition!! Try telling that to a free, grown, natural elephant and they’ll laugh loudly whilst they flatten your notions!!

I’ve survived it all, haven’t I? No lessis wonder, as all those naysayers, touting their blind opinions as taunts or whispers from the darkness as their “good times band wagon” pulled away from my house and out into their dark dusty paths, and all th while they just kept riding around in endless circles, so obsessed about an elephant that they forgot where they were trying to go!!.

I’m told that my survival was a miracle many times. Life is a miracle, so I’ll buy that, but there’s more to it, and no doubt more to come! I have gone on so many adventures, and am now an older but a wee bit wiser elephant now!

And not all of those called Dr. proved to be blind Lilliputians, or even men!! So life as an elephant, albeit more often the elephant in the room, is not such a bad thing, even though sometimes others may not quite know how to relate to me, and vice versa, but that’s okay. When necessary enough, and motivation is there, we have found ways to connect and build some kind of common dialogue. If not, it probably was not important enough for both of us to put in the effort, or else it was just not meant to be. Not all species are, after all, compatible.

And there have been great benefits to being an elephant, especially a Mer-elephant, though at times I imagine Mars to be a more hospitable and compatible place to call home vs here, but there’s such good stuff and peeps here and now here and there, and niches where I was welcome and accepted, and there will always be places, in a sense, for most any kind of elephant to be accepted! And there will be benefits and adventures in my future again, for myself and for the world. I am patiently waiting for my next adventure! Ok not always patient, but eager and ready to see what tomorrow has to show me!

After all, since I am, not just an elephant in some room, but a Mer – elephant, I am a very special kind of elephant! I have flowed in many ways in my life, touched many places, many things, and many people, sometimes for the benefit of many, or for a few, or for one, or for myself, or the effort, at least was there, however it played out. Sit gave me great pleasure to give and get benefit from flowing!!

Since being in this cage over the last few years, I’ve learned that I can flow from wherever I am, under the right circumstances! How very delightful!! I hate confinement, but then again, there is no cage yet whose walls could hold back this flow for long–only I, surrendering to what I could not control, chose that as necessity for a while to gather my strength, grow, and prepare to let loose a mighty storm!! I have always been considered a force to be reckoned with, whatever the reckoning might involve. I see no reason to suppress the force, just adjust the flow at times.

So I say, why stop now? Life is ahead! Elephants, and Mer– elephants: go ever forward! All of us! No matter what the blind men may say, we belong in the world, too , and the world needs the elephants!! Remember that!! :-).

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At the risk of beating on this worn-out and well-intended (in its sharing) statement to death, consider that secular humanists articulate well (some would argue better) “the golden rule” as an ethical and moral guiding principle independent of organized or God-based religion, irrespective of cultural or ethnic differences, or rather equally accepting of all while subjecting all to scrutiny, without the need for imposition of particular cultural or belief systems as a yardstick for the world.

While I personally do embrace religious beliefs, for valid reasons (for me), I do not believe that the only way to arrive at a moral and ethical harmony/peaceful mutual coexistence with others requires either specific enculturation, nor a particular belief in God/deity/higher being. It’s universal inclusion in most organized religion rather reflects the universality of the principle itself, IMHO.

**Excerpted from A” Secular Humanist Declaration”, issued in 1980 by The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (now the Council for Secular Humanism:

“…for secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior.
….Secular humanist ethics maintains that it is possible for human beings to lead meaningful and wholesome lives for themselves and in service to their fellow human beings
……secular humanists attempt to approach the human situation in realistic terms: human beings are responsible for their own destinies. We believe that it is possible to bring about a more humane world, one based upon the methods of reason and the principles of tolerance, compromise, and the negotiations of difference.”

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    A Poem for My Children

(A True Story)
by Donna Earley

When I was young, I yearned to be
More like my forest family.
Anchored, bowing toward the creek,
My roots, so strong, would reach so deep.
I asked my trees to show to me
What I could do to be a tree.

“Precious child, we love you so,
You do belong, but you must know
Because your nature is to flow,
You must be free to come and go.
And though so small you still may be,
Someday a river you can be.

Then, when you’ve grown to your full flow,
Into the ocean you may go!
Imagine all that you might see
And how connected you’d then be!
Sometimes, you can return again
When heavens bring you back with rain.

Though anchored here we must remain
The times that you come back again,
Then tell us all that you did see
While you were flowing wild and free!
We’ll feel as if we went along,
And here you’ll always have a home,

Looking back each time, I knew….that what they said was right and true.

But flowing free did have a price,
And many things were sacrificed.
For every time I came back home,
A few more precious trees were gone.
Then one day, I grieved to see,
Apartments where my trees should be!

Now, not a single sapling left,
Tears flooded every place I wept.
Bricks, concrete, and asphalt too
Had taken what I loved and knew.
With grief so great, for years I flowed
Not caring more of where I’d go.

But time did slow me for a while,
And twice gave me a precious child.
While each one carried parts from me,
Each also had some traits of trees.
While little, they did gladly go
Wherever Mother chose to flow.

But each, in turn, declared to me,
“I feel.. I need to be a tree.
Your flowing life, inland or sea
May be what you are meant to be,
But Mother, we are not the same;
At times your flowing gives me pain.

I am part tree, and so I need
A place where roots can grow and breathe.
A forest is where I belong,
Where future saplings can grow strong.
Oh, don’t be sad, and please don’t cry.
My love for you will never die.

Go-be the river that you are,
But just don’t drift away too far.
You’re part of us, as we are you,
There’s still important work for you.
No matter what we choose to be,
Our Mother you will always be.

Just one request we have of you,
If you would try your best to do:
Your flow feeds us in many ways,
But floods can wash the soil away!
A gentle flow would be so kind,
And give us all much peace of mind!”

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This is a quick 10 min pencil sketch of me last night.

Then I read this post that our lives are the products of our choices. Partly true but not entirely.

Some days JUST SUCK and there’s not much you can do sometimes to Prevent the sucky part, and you just have to ride it out. Yesterday and the day before I’d like to erase from my calendar, but eventually I won’t feel the same. For now, still in the SUCK zone till I’m done.

Ok I’m responsible for MY choices, including how I feel/what I do within my ability, about others’ choices that affect me, but unless blaming & judgment actually contributes to solution (now or future), that’s the extent of its value for me. But it also depends on the tools that I have to work with and most people don’t l know how to change their toolbox.

Important not to discount perspective about how injustice kept hidden can shape a human being profoundly. The right to articulate one’s perspective about a happening is very important–and more, to be heard. Sometimes that can make a problem a non-problem or prevent getting stuck with hard-wired blame/shame reflexes.

Theoretically, one can CHOOSE, provided their brain is physically hard-wired intuitively to do that; if not, it is possible to rewire, but only with intrinsic motivation and a minimum of ~ 6 months of relentless practice, step by step over and over. Worth it?? For me yes, but I’m not hard-wired to fall back on cognitive distortions as much as other people. Always open to an impressed when I see people develop this who didn’t develop it growing up.

Even then, cog biases as like muscle memory–your brain WANTS to do what it’s used to doing-unless something has tipped the scale that changes the priority, we fall back on defaults and still do when we’re tired and hurting and no resource to focus energy on doing something vastly different. And it’s why I forgive daily other people who do things in ignorance when the red flags and clear facts were in their hands. Eyes can’t see what filters block.

Bottom line: it’s not quite that simple to weather a storm by ordering up a sunny disposition–can’t hurt, and if authentic it helps when you’ve got nothing else. But it just doesn’t show up like fast food; it’s like an acquired taste for a dish that takes a long time to prepare, and skill of a fine Japanese sword maker. Great ideal, though, and the journey for me is worth it however close I get.

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