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The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part One

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There are two types of commonly known elephants: the African and Asian elephant.  They both used to exist in great numbers across Africa and parts of Asia. Today, both of these gentle giants are endangered. Twenty-five years ago, there were approximately 1.3 million elephants in Africa, but now it is estimated that there are about 500,000. In Asia, the numbers are even less. Loss of habitat and illegal poaching are the reasons sited for their dwindling numbers. (Source:Utah Education Network.)

There is, however, one species of elephant that continues to thrive and multiply:

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These invisible giants have most likely been around since Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. And while I have no biblical proof of such, I’m guessing there was at least one pair on Noah’s Ark.

Over the next few months, I plan to present a few examples of these fabled beasts and show how to ensure your elephants continue to thrive and live indefinitely. While there are a myriad of conditions which result in the creation of an elephant in the room, there is typically commonality to the environments in which they thrive.

  • The owner of the elephant is rarely its master.
  • The elephant cannot survive in an environment of open, honest communication where there are no secrets.
  • “Shoulds” and “ought to haves” are an elephant’s favorite treats.
  • These beasts feed and thrive on guilt, fear, pride and shame.
  • Ancient elephants still exist today; many producing offspring through several generations.
  • The ideal environment for a large, virile elephant is one where secrets are never openly confessed but are known by both the elephant’s owner and its master.
  • Several elephants can co-exist under one roof. The come in many shapes and sizes, as do their masters.

As previously mentioned, over the next few months I will provide examples of healthy and thriving elephants. For now, I wanted to share an example of how to kill one. I could not find a video of this song, but the lyrics provide proof that these beasts can be eliminated. Sadly, in this particular example, it also meant the death of a relationship. But that’s not always the case.

What you didn’t say (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

I can read your eyes just like a book
You tell me different, but I know that look
And I don’t have to guess what’s between the lines

So what in the world am I still doing here
You push me away when I get too near
Saying love’s too simple to analyze

So why do I feel confused
Why do I feel so used
Like a worn-out thought you threw away
It wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say

Where are the windows, where are the doors?
I haven’t the key to your heart anymore
I haven’t a clue to what’s gone wrong

‘Cause you look at me sometimes as if I weren’t there
You say you’re listening, but you never hear
The strains of silence have grown so strong

I never wanted to doubt you
But I’d be better off without you
I’m no good at looking the other way
It wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say

So look at me one last time
With eyes that still know how to shine
Hold me like you won’t let go
But you let go anyway

No one belongs where they’re not wanted
You’re just a ghost, and my heart is haunted
When I said goodbye, you didn’t even beg me to stay
It wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say
No baby, it wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say

So how about you? How well are your elephants thriving?