It is said that in India, baby elephants are chained to train them: The iron chain and silken cord are both equally bonds, Johann Cristoph Friedrich von Schiller.
In countries where elephants are used as working animals, they must be trained when they are very young and ;not yet too powerful. The first thing a trainer does is fasten a heavy manacle and chain to the baby elephant’s leg, securing the other end of the chain to a metal stake driven deep into the ground. When the elephant tries to walk freely about, it cannot move any farther than the end of the chain. Although the animal may try repeatedly to escape, it is held in check by its unyielding restraint. After a period of time, the baby elephant stops testing the strength of the chain. It remains within the circle’s limited circumference, completely passive. It has become thoroughly convinced that it can-not escape. At that point the elephant can be used in the field and easily transferred from one location to another without concern. All it takes to hold the animal, despite its enormous strength, is a light rope and thin wooden stake.
Because once the baby elephant has been conditioned in this manner, he remains convinced for the rest of his life that what was once true will always be true. As she told the story, my heart ached for the elephants, but what I was really saying to myself was that my heart ached for me, being passive for so many years and not acknowledging my own strength. Maybe it was easier to deny my strength, or maybe I felt I didn’t deserve to be me. Either way, guilt and shame were filling my life and forgiveness seemed to get further and further from my reach.
If you know me, you will know that it was impossible for me to think of an elephant being captured and imprisoned so as I was driving home, I stopped pulled over and wrote my own ending to the story that my friend had told me. In my story one of the elephant’s had increased the length of its bonds slowly and gradually, by pulling on the chain and stretching it. Eventually, breaking free of its bonds. The elephant had grown up, it was stronger and it was ready to live its own life, not one chained in slavery.
The point I wanted to make is that nobody is stuck. I was not stuck, no more than the elephant who was conditioned to believe it wasn’t strong enough to move on, to follow its own dreams. That elephant grew, it increased its circle of movement, and it eventually broke free of its mental bond to that stake. Often in life we are conditioned to think we have to be in once certain lifestyle, relationship, religion, job etc.
People place expectations on us and often we make it our own mission to please the programing. We rarely move beyond those thoughts, because we’re too busy just living in that circle, not testing our own limits and increasing our own boundaries. What would the world be like if we did just break the chains, if we demanded nothing less than our heart’s desire or followed that gut instinct that goes against everything we’ve been taught is our reality?
Love and Light and many blessings, ~Teresa