Sunday 12th August is World Elephant Day. I know that this isn’t a day that most people would even be aware of but as you will know if you have been reading my posts for a while, I adore elephants.
Since I was a very little girl I have loved these gentle giants, I had soft toys as a child and as a teenager I collected elephants; ornaments, rubbers, postcards… anything I saw with an elephant on I loved.
I don’t remember the first time I saw an elephant but I know that they have always been a special part of who I am. I believe that people identify with particular animals for a reason. Spirit Animals or Totem Animals if you like. I have friends who love everything from horses and bears to pigs and frogs. They are just naturally drawn to them.
I love discovering what the mythology is behind different animals because it can often be very clear why someone is drawn to that animal when you do a little research.
So what do elephants represent?
Well, they represent strength, patience, power and wisdom. They are very family oriented, they protect the youngest members of the herd, they are loving and loyal. Despite their physical strength they are incredibly gentle creatures. They are very community spirited.
Elephants are often seen as the removers of blocks too and are associated with good fortune and good luck, as demonstrated by Ganesh the Hindu deity.
If you have ever watched a wildlife programme about elephants you will have seen all these traits demonstrated. They are truly beautiful, sentient creatures.
This photo was taken many years ago when I was on honeymoon in Thailand. I was so excited to be able to get so close to an elephant and I’m slightly ashamed to admit now we did have a quick ride, which at the time I loved but which now makes me a little sad.
Unfortunately elephants are still used for our entertainment around the world, and sometimes they are treated less than respectfully, I hope this one had a good life, it doesn’t seem like a very big elephant to be carrying people some how.
Why am I writing about elephants on a website about teaching mindfulness and relaxation in schools?
Well, because Mojo, our mascot, is an elephant and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explain why he was chosen.
Mojo, is a very special elephant. He teaches children how to stay calm and be happy. As you have seen from the character traits associated with elephants, they are a beautiful choice to be associated with my work.
Strength, patience, power, wisdom, family oriented, loving, loyal, gentle and community spirited. What more could we want for our children and our schools? On top of all those amazing traits THEY prioritise their young, just as we do. I hope you agree an elephant was the perfect choice.
He was also chosen because I have the original MOJO in my garden. He is a garden ornament I bought when my Grandma Mary died as a memorial to her and my Grandad Joe. Their surname was Outhwaite so their initials were MO and JO, MOJO. As we associate the word mojo with mental wellbeing anyway it was the perfect mascot for Calmer Classrooms when I needed one.
I am a big believer in giving back and in helping as many people as I can and as well as supporting children’s charities I have always supported the Born Free Foundation, who work with elephants and lions in Africa. Their work is so important.
Elephants have been endangered all my life, and we don’t seem to be learning any lessons. How we can kill such beautiful, majestic creatures for a couple of over sized teeth I will never understand.
I am currently taking a break from reading my usual psychology and self improvement books and reading The Elephant Whisperer by Anthony Lawrence. He owns Thula Thula in Zululand and this book describes how he is given a herd of rebellious elephants and connects with them on a deep level and gains their trust. He has amazing insights about their thought processes and priorities. It really is a wonderful book, if you are a wildlife lover, or even if you are interested in psychology in a wider arena.
The future of elephants is in our hands
We can help to ensure that our grandchildren and great grandchildren can experience the wonder of these peaceful pachyderms by making sure they are adequately protected. I know there are so many priorities in the world today and there seems to be so much that needs saving or protecting; the polar ice caps, bees, the oceans, the ozone layer, pandas… the list seems never ending. By protecting ever living thing and really respecting the world we live in we can make sure we all have this beautiful blue planet to live on for generations to come.