Last night I woke around 2:00 am because the sensor light in my daughter’s room was on. Finding her sound asleep, I touched the lamp to turn it off and went back to bed, but could not fall back to sleep. As I closed my eyes, an image of the elephant exhibit at the Oregon Zoo popped into my head, a place I had visited each year as a child when I would go west to see my birth father.
Soon images of elephants held in captivity for human entertainment filled my mind. I saw their eyes. Have you ever looked into an elephant’s eyes and read the story they tell? Try it. You will be forever changed. I can recall that day, six years ago, when I took my children to the Oregon Zoo and looked into this elephant’s eyes pictured above and read sorrow. I was filled with guilt. What was I doing? What were we all doing? What had we collectively done to these wise beings?
Elephants are highly intelligent animals. Their eyes, and the wisdom they hold, remind me of the eyes of whales. It is widely known and accepted that elephants are deeply empathic creatures who hold the family unit as sacred. They form bonds with others, including humans who show them compassion, which stretch beyond their individual lifetimes. Their psychic connections, along with their ability to remember, surpass our own. When you look into an elephant’s eyes, you get the impression that you will be remembered long after you leave. You, if you are aware of what you are seeing, will never forget the experience. You will be forever changed.
Several weeks ago, while sitting in meditation, the image of that elephant held behind those bars at the Oregon Zoo returned to me. I saw only its eyes and this time I read their plea for help. I had no choice but to remember. Until, once again, I tried to forget.
Sometimes we seek out messengers, sometimes they come to us. Often, these messengers are animals. We all have spirit, or totem animals, who help us along at various stages of our life journeys, and sometimes we are asked to give help in return. In the early hours of this morning, I found myself struggling with the messenger who had come to me again. With the same plea, “Help me.”
Please consider donating to the cause of placing elephants in sanctuaries instead of zoos at In Defense of Animals. In return, if you email me a copy of your donation receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll give you a free, 3-card tarot reading for whatever life question you would like insight on.