Why the Elephant? And why are there elephants all over LEY?
One of our lovely instructors, “Downtown” Coral Brown , threw that at me before she sauntered into class on Wednesday. ‘Write about that’.
She made me laugh. Easy to answer, but not so easy to explain. The easy answer to why the elephant: Instructor Debbie Valois’ husband Dave threw the idea out there over a night of drinking (thanks Dave). We also love Ganesha, the Hindu God with the elephant head who is the remover of obstacles and the bringer of new beginnings. An informal poll of our students shows that elephants represent wisdom, loyalty, family, quiet strength, and tenacity, and heck, who doesn’t love an elephant?
Why are there elephants displayed all over LEY? They are thoughtful gifts from members of our community. Coral gifted the first elephant picture, a beautifully decorated pachaderm from her trip to India . It hangs over our altar. Our much loved student Cheryl Mcgiveny, who has been with us since day 1, went on a safari in Africa to celebrate a birthday and brought back stunning photos of elephants at watering holes. And the staggeringly thoughtful painting in our waiting area? An original that faithful student Danielle Donehew had commissioned for us by a local artist.
As time went on, elephants of all types started appearing. Our community excitedly offered stuffed elephants, stone elephants, glass elephants and an infinite number of Ganeshas. It absolutely blows my mind that students will be on vacation and think to bring something back for us.
And therein lies the why…
We proudly display these gifts because they quietly hold the energy of the gifter and that energy in turn infuses our studio. They are our own silent Avatars…Avatars are incarnations, embodiments, or manifestations of a person or idea. The Bhavagad Gita talks about avatars or avatara literally meaning descent. The Lord Krishna incarnated as a charioteer to guide the warrior Arjuna in battle. As the Lord, Krishna explains, he dwells in every being.
So it is with our elephants…They are infused with life, wisdom, memories and the best of our generous community. The elephants are outward reminders of milestone trips and now they quietly hold our space. Look at the photos; Coral’s elephant kindly stares at you and holds her quiet strength, beauty and talent . That wise elephant watches over us during our practice, willing us through our asanas. Cheryl’s majestic elephants stand strong together, a reminder of how tight our community is and how we are better together. And Danielle’s painting of the watering hole? A subtle depiction that this is our meeting place…to play, to learn, to laugh, to just be.
It’s our community’s energy, their vision, their true essence that hangs on the wall, sits on a ledge or perches on a desk. They are and will always be the elephant in the room and we proudly acknowledge them.