Sunday, November 8, 2009


Yesterday I spent time at the local Wild Animal Park. It is so soothing to walk in nature and see and hear the animals. True they are captive, and I ‘get’ the arguments against animal captivity, but the WAP is a fairly tranquil place and the animals are in natural surroundings with plenty of room and socialization. Even the elephants, who start their day in their dormitory, have their gates opened and they can roam all day on the acreage the WAP provides. It’s a beautiful sight to see them head out in the morning: the Grande Dames with their babies carefully sheltered in the middle of the group.

Yesterday I received two messages while walking. The animals teach us by their example.

The first was at the aforementioned elephant enclosure. We always beeline there as soon as we enter the Park, in order to watch the elephants come out, stretch, have some hay, have a piddle and a poo, and then head out for their day on the savannah. Frequently the keepers ‘wrangle’ them by preoccupying some of them with hand fed treats to distract while others of their group are moved around and by this corralling all personalities are indulged.

One of the wranglers had an elephant at the edge of the enclosure just where we were standing and was feeding him pellets, which must be delicious Ganeshe versions of chocolate truffles or something. Up would come the trunk, in the most supplicating manner: the edges of his moist snout undulating in sheer ‘Gimme, Gimme’ wriggling. Pellets produced. Pellets ingested. Up comes the trunk again: Gimme, Gimme. More pellets produced. The elephant endlessly asked; the keeper endlessly provided. No games; no ‘qualifying’ for the treat.

Elephant Asks. Elephant Gets.

Eventually, after about ten minutes, the episode concluded and the elephant stopped asking and ambled out toward the fields.

Note: it was the elephant who stopped asking; not the keeper who stopped giving.

I think we must keep this in mind as to the Universe. If we ask, we get. We don’t have to justify. We don’t have to feel bad or undeserving. And we don’t have to feel as though the supply is limited. Just ask. Ask with total confidence. Know that the response will come (therein lies the challenge for most of us). Those so-called sages who sell a lot of product by writing that you have to ask in a certain way are a little skewed. You’ll get what you ask for, so be mindful of what you ask for…. But that’s about it in the direction department.

The second message was at the lion enclosure. We were walking about a quarter mile away and heard the most immense ROARING. It was deafening and certainly caught our attention in an awe inspiring way. ROAR!

We went trotting over to the window that looks out to where the lions live, and there was a young male.

He was sitting there roaring. Just roaring. He didn’t seem remotely upset. He was just roaring. Then he would sit and look at the crowd and pose for pictures. He really would pose – he was smiling and would turn his head here and there just as surely as if he were a young star emerging from dinner at Mr. Chow’s in Los Angeles to face the paparazzi. And then he would sit down and ROAR some more. This was not a pacing, sad lion. This was a proud personality who was having a bit of fun with the humans who had gathered to look at his wonderfulness.

He put me in mind of my old cat Radames, now passed, who lived with me for twenty-one years. He roared every morning. He would get up, stretch, grab a bite, and then walk around the house roaring before settling down in a sunbeam. I think it was just love of life he was expressing.

The message I got from this young lion was that it doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter whether you are in your natural environment in Africa or in an artificial construct in North America. You Are. You Matter. And you can roar. You can be yourself and do your thing- and indeed you should do your thing-no matter where life, circumstances, or you have placed yourself.

So it doesn’t matter that you have lost resources in this current depression. It doesn’t matter if you are weakened with injury or chronic illness. You Are. You Matter. It’s important to roar and to smile at those who appreciate your wonderfulness.

Ask. Roar. See what happens.


  1. I love the messages you received! I think both messages were something I needed to hear and I plan on passing them on as well. Thank you. :)

  2. That's something to ponder....and ponder....and do.