Though it may seem unlikely that an elephant could know anything about navigating the wild and woolly holiday season that is now upon us – you might be surprised. These thoughtful beasties have much soft, gray, and wrinkly wisdom to share with humans. Alice the Elephant, an elephant in spirit form, is a wonderful companion of mine and she has generously agreed to share 5 aligning tips to help you have the most meaningful experience possible this holiday season.
- Grace is an attitude. Have you ever seen elephants swimming under water? We are capable of balletic flow and majesty! It’s as if we have no idea that we weigh as much as a car! We embody buoyancy. So, remember, when you are trying desperately to find a gluten-free, vegan, fair trade, sustain-ably harvested, dairy-free entree on Pinterest to serve at Thanksgiving and despite how heavy that might seem — you can choose to float. Breathe and even try a pirouette.
- Rely on your posse. We elephants lean heavily on one another for emotional support and make it a point to linger together at our favorite watering holes. It keeps us strong. The holidays are no time to skimp on time with friends. I lovingly insist that you double down on phone calls, caring texts, walking/coffee dates, and nights out with your girls/boys. You’ll be having such a good time you won’t even worry about the fact that your holiday cards never even got ordered in the first place.
- Show your heart. When we elephants feel something, we aren’t afraid to express it. We cry. We reach out and touch each other with our trunks to trace the beautiful curves of our friend’s cheeks. I implore you this holiday season to say what you need to say and – a good place to start is “I’m sorry” or “I love you,” or, “I appreciate you.” These simple gifts trump any kind of shark attack survival kit or three-piece, minty melon bath set from T.J. Maxx.
- Clear a path for yourself. We elephants aren’t afraid to do what it takes to get what we need. If the last juicy marula fruit is dangling from a tree’s tip top branch, just out of reach, we will wrap our trunk around the tree and pull it out from the ground to get that fruit. What is standing between you and your marula fruit (a.k.a your peaceful holiday season)? Too many commitments? Too many gifts to shop for? A holiday letter you have dreaded writing for twenty years? It’s time to pull out (by the roots) what stands between you and that juicy fruit! Jettison the letter. Go gift-free for a year or agree to exchange books for that matter. And, for elephant’s sake, say no to the office party that gives you hives!
- Never forget. Above all: Commit to believing that you deserve to experience all of the love and connection your heart desires. No earning or repenting or serving time is required. Elephants never forget this.
Looking for more great reads?
Excerpted from The Book of Beasties by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann.
Sarah Bamford Seidelmann was a physician living a nature-starved, hectic lifestyle until a walrus entered her life and changed everything. She has trained at the Martha Beck Institute and Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and is author of Swimming with Elephants (Conari Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Book of Beasties (Sounds True, 2018). She lives in northern Minnesota.