Have you ever noticed that things seem to happen in groups of three? Do you pay attention? What do you notice by the third time? Do you think it’s a sign from greater powers? Or maybe your subconscious mind is bringing your awareness to something that needs attention. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs and leanings, many people feel they are being offered a sign when something happens for the third time.
I recently experienced a profoundly spiritual encounter with what I am now convinced is my animal totem: elephants. I admire this gorgeous creature for its strength, peace, love, leadership, connection to ancient wisdom and incredible memory. I developed an affinity for elephants while I was pregnant with my daughter, a time when I transitioned from free and unencumbered to responsible, deeply connected to my own self and profoundly grateful for the power of my femininity. Over the past few months, I have re-connected with elephants in three different ways.
First, at a Reike treatment, I told the master that my intention was to release old thought patterns around money, my relationship with myself in my new role as provider for my family, and fears around the control I allowed money to have over me in the past. I entered the session with open heart and mind, ready to release the things I was tired of talking and worrying about, and just wanted to feel a sense of freedom and acceptance of my life and circumstances, even as I continued working toward painting a better financial picture for myself and my children.
The session was amazing. A number of emotions welled-up, and snap shot moments presented, including an emotional release with tears of gratitude for a life of abundance, and envisioning very distinct colors and images, not least of which was an elephant. This elephant was adorned in jewel tones and golden baubles, and walked toward me slowly, with purpose. As the elephant approached from the upper left quadrant of my view, seemingly floating on air, I felt a sense of calm, knowing that this massively powerful creature, though it was coming directly toward me, was sent for me and that I needed to be courageous and open to receive its message. When it passed by me, I heard a whisper, “Let go. The elephant always knows and will carry it for you. The elephant always remembers.” In that moment, I felt an incredible shift, as if something that had been attached to my insides was released, and I was free to move with ease and comfort, both physically and emotionally.
When the session was finished, I shared the elephant experience with the Reike master and her eyes welled-up with tears. She was quiet for a moment, and then said, “I dreamt last night that I was giving away elephants, and was completely perplexed by it. I understand now that it was for you.” The session was extremely powerful, and I felt tired and exhilarated at the same time. I left with a sense of peace and a clear understanding that I chose to accept and receive the elephant’s message, see the colors and enjoy the release to the fullest extent possible. I was able to give away the old thoughts and beliefs of the past that no longer served me; the elephant would carry it for me. I have continued the practice of releasing the past and letting go of old thought patterns - thru meditation, deep breathing, writing and mindfulness.
The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit. - Jack Kornfield
My elephant experience continues to a more recent time. I met a very nice man while out with friends one night. We exchanged business cards, as all “good” Washingtonians do, even while out on the town, and he called me a few days later. He remembered much more of the details of our conversation than I did (it was girls’ night out and I was not particularly bothered with remembering anyone I spoke to that night, much less the details of any conversations.) In my amazement over how much he remembered from our conversation, I playfully told him he had the memory of an elephant. As our friendship progressed, he remembered the elephant joke on my birthday, and gave me the most adorable stuffed elephant as part of my gift. The moment I opened the package, I felt a rush of energy and felt my heart burst open, as if this little stuffed animal could really carry the memories for me and help lessen my load. In the same moment I felt intense gratitude for meeting a person who paid attention to what I had said, and obviously read my cues much more deeply than I realized. That gift is more precious to me than anything I have ever received, besides my children.
A few weeks later while I was meditating, I was searching for inspiration and focus, and thought to pull a card from the Ask and it is Given deck, and what landed on top after a shuffle or two was a card with the picture of an elephant, reminding me that every request is granted, and there is always enough for all. With that focus in mind, I started reciting the prosperity and abundance mantra I was practicing for 40 days. What happened next amazed me and brings me to tears, even in this moment. I became overcome with a feeling of relief, and release. Tears began to stream down my face, and as I let go of the weight I’d been carrying, I started saying between mantras, “Thank you! I know.” Within a few moments of this immense relief and gratitude, the same elephant from the Reike session approached from the upper left quadrant of my mind’s eye, at the same pace, adorned in the same jewel tones and golden baubles. As it walked past me, I heard the same whisper, ‘Let go. The elephant always knows and will carry it for you. The elephant always remembers.’
That day was a bit of a blur, as I relaxed-in to knowing that I have (finally) allowed myself to release the burden of the past, the fears of the present and the unknown, and have let go of the old thought patterns. I allowed myself to take care of a long list of small tasks that had overwhelmed me before, but I always felt I shouldn’t attend to because I had more pressing things to do. I just took care of business, and released the burden; I knocked-down barriers in my own mind by clearing out the things that were holding me back, now no longer tightly-held inside of me. I felt a sense of calm knowing that all is well in my world; that the affirmation I have breathed into my life is so real and true: I am love, all is well.
The next day the same adorned elephant visited me during my meditation, only this time, it stopped in front of me, bowed its head and I was able to kiss it on the forehead, at the location of the sixth chakra, also called the third eye in yoga, the gate to higher consciousness and perception. The rest of my meditation, I felt as if I was floating on air, that I would soon know the answers to questions I’d been asking, and that I could rest-in to the knowledge that I am supported by my source, my faith and belief in myself, and the tribe I have gathered around me.
The third experience expanded into a greater connection with my daughter, who I recently learned can see auras, or colors, around people. We were talking about it that day and when she saw the stuffed elephant sitting on the dining room table, she said, “That elephant is very special to you, isn’t it?” When I told her that a good friend had given it to me and that it felt very special when I opened the gift, it occurred to me to ask her what color she saw around the fuzzy little inanimate object. She stopped, looked, and declared, “Yellow.”
Here is where it gets just a little “trippy” for me... I confess limited knowledge of Hinduism or the story of Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, Lord of Success and deity that destroys pride and ego, ultimately uniting us with a large, universal ego (i.e. “we are one”). I had looked it up after a discussion with my business partner, who is also my very good friend. She also has an affinity for elephants, in particular Ganesha, after a beautiful spiritual experience in India in her early 20s (I will elaborate on this in my upcoming book, where I tell more detailed stories.)
On reading the story of Ganesha, the man with the head of the elephant, I learned that he is also the guardian of the third chakra, the solar plexus, which corresponds to the color yellow. And, if that isn’t enough to knock your socks off, when I shared this story with the giver of the stuffed elephant (who at this point I was sure would want to run screaming from me, the crazy woman who sees elephants while meditating) said, “Wow... I am amazed and impressed. Did you know my favorite color is yellow?”’
I don’t know what to say about all of this, except that I felt completely humbled after piecing all of this together. First, I believe that my daughter is a gift to me for healing and grounding, and probably also for knocking down barriers; she is totally fearless and beautifully self-assured. Second, I have needed a lot of support and guidance in getting past roadblocks, both real and self-inflicted, and it is not at all surprising to me that elephants would be part of my journey. Elephants are graceful on their feet, strong and have a lot of style. They teach us to hear the truth in our own voices and have the ability to push over large obstacles with a gentle touch, showing us that strength can also be gentle. Elephant matriarchs lead with love and inclusion, and are fiercely loyal. Not only do I relate to the elephant, but I am paying attention to the significance of it appearing to me in three ways, all from what seemed like forces outside of me, and yet, not really.
Finally, I feel blessed. There have been times in my life when I have felt so different that I felt all alone in this world. I now understand that in my awareness, in my willingness to be open to the messages that are sent to me by higher powers, or from me to myself, I am never alone. Ever. So, when you receive a message, in whatever form, three times, will you pay attention? Will you sit up and listen? I invite you to enjoy the message and allow yourself to take inspired action with the wisdom you receive, which is likely your own wisdom.
Are you willing to love yourself enough to listen to your own message?
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.