Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Taming Elephants...

Have you heard the analogy of the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about? You know, where the elephant stands for some big issue that everyone sees, but no one wants to acknowledge for one reason or another.

Well, I have some elephants in my interior life that I’ve known were there, but have been reluctant to address for one reason or another. Their names are Woundedness and Bitterness. These two guys are taking up space that I need for other things like faith, compassion, confidence, and joy.

So where did these elephants come from and why did I let them in? That’s a good question that I am beginning to ask in order to show them the door. From what I have learned so far, that obese fella named Woundedness showed up at some point in my early childhood with the divorce of my parents. He was small when he first arrived, but then as the years went on and I continued to ignore him, he grew.

Not only is he heavy to carry around, he’s become so comfortable in me that he invited his friend Bitterness.

About five years he began showing up here and there. Then one day he stayed for good. (That’s what I get for leaving the door open.) Where Woundedness would occasionally make his presence known in response to certain comments or situations, Bitterness was a little more active, making his presence known or felt in situations where it seemed he had no reason to be there, which created situations where Woundedness would join in the fun. If you thought these guys are bad on their own, they can be a dangerous combination!

So now I have this pair of elephants roaming around my interior life. I have been reluctant to address these two for various reasons, the main one is this: have you ever tried to move a 26,000lb elephant with a 175lb frame? At times, that’s the kind of effort it feels like it will take to deal with these guys!

But there is a fact that gives me hope – it is possible to tame elephants! (How do you think they get them to sit on those little stools in the circus?) If you have ever seen the circus, you know what I mean. Tiny people move not just one elephant but a whole group of them. (Thankfully, right now I have just two!)

So now my journey has been to learn how to tame elephants (both those inside me and those in the room). I am sure there are certain steps one takes in order to tame an elephant. To begin with one must give them a name, you can’t have any influence with something when you don’t know what to call it. Then one must become acquainted with the beast, developing an understanding of the thing. For its not until one understands something or someone that one can interact with it effectively. Once this has been accomplished, its time to begin working with the animals to move them. Practice makes perfect and a little work with them each day over time leads to mastery.

I hope to be able to post in the future about my mastery over Bitterness and Woundedness…and hopefully I’ll have pictures of them sitting on those cute little stools.

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