There is one gift appropriate in any season or on any occasion. It is the gift of relationship. After all, we are always in relationship, one of the many miracles we experience every day.
Most miracles have a certain sparkle, and relationship is no exception. Eckhart Tolle says in this amazing miracle “ultimately, you are not a person but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself.”
Here we are, having this remarkable experience as human beings, born with this and without that but physically each of us travels the life cycle from two major states, birth and death. What happens in-between those two events is the unique, individual experience of you and me.
It is not as if we reside in existence, it is that we are existence having these individual experiences. And it is not just about humans, either. It’s everything we can imagine and all we cannot.
The flower is aware of the fact that it contains everything within it, the whole cosmos, and it does not try to become something else.
Thich Nhat Hanh
No matter how many ways I write about relationship or how many quotes I find, I am astounded by the reality of always being in relationship. Often, its immensity is beyond my grasp.
I look to the elephant as the creature that most embodies relationship.
Elephants define family beyond any words we have ever written. For elephants, relationship is forever, absolutely essential to life and not broken with death. Elephants remember their dead, travelling miles to visit graveyards.
It seems a miracle that elephants maintain this richness of relationship as they come closer and closer to extinction. Yet, these loving and compassionate beings know what we have not learned: they are always in relationship for everywhere they go, there they are.
“They can read your heart” are the words of Daphne Sheldrick, a woman who has, for 50 years, given love and created family for orphaned elephants. It is the kind of story that always opens our hearts—giving season or no—sometimes, we donate to such a cause but what of learning to read hearts?
Not living as separate from existence but as existence experiencing itself is learning to read each other’s heart. Like the elephants, we must have the physical touch, comfort, and compassion of family—no matter how family is defined.
We must learn to read hearts so that when family is lost, family is created again, and we are not orphans. We have role models such as Daphne Sheldrick. We need not be orphans. We need only to read hearts.
Note: This writer and this blog thank Zen Flash for the post and video on Daphne Sheldrick and the orphan elephants.