I didn’t mean to wear hot pink underwear for my first Chiropractor appointment. It’s been so long since anyone else has seen what lurks beneath my clothing that I didn’t even think about my color selection.
Perhaps today I should wear bright green, with lucky Leprechauns dancing on my butt.
Big victory of the day, this morning I didn’t have to sit on the footstool in the shower – I was able to stand. But while I was on hold with the travel insurance company for thirty-five minutes I realized it’s unlikely I’ll be able to travel in 4 days. I hoped the agent with the serene international accent would tell me the fees to reschedule the flight are covered by my policy.
Today I wore neutral colored, non-lacey underwear and felt worse after the chiropractic adjustment. Not because of the neutral color. Even the back support wasn’t helping the deep muscle pain and weakness. I parked at a Deli to get a sandwich but I couldn’t walk the distance to the front door. No one heard me calling, Hellooooo, from the back door.
I cried on the drive back home. I missed my mom, and thought of how she yoooohoooo’d to get a store clerk’s attention. It used to embarrass me but I would have loved to have her there with me, pack me a lunch and take the pretty way home. She always preferred the back roads through the dappled shade from tall New England summertime trees. Isn’t that what a 1967 Mustang convertible is for? To take the scenic route?
Tears pooled and dropped to my cheeks. I was flushed with insecurity. I wished my ex hadn’t changed and we were still happily married. I wondered who would take care of me if I became incapacitated and how would I pay for that?
The finances are always on my mind. Sometimes I obsess about them and other times I calm myself with my kooky idea of living abroad in a lower cost country, teaching English and freelance writing.
After an hour on the phone with the China Southern Airlines representative, I was able to change my flight plans for a one week delay. I hope that is enough time to get back on my feet. This certainly isn’t the story I wanted to write. But I know how that goes.
Being flat out has curbed me of my typical travel anxiety incessant errand running. I’ve actually had time to read the Elephant's World information I am supposed to study. I didn't know that elephants have very sensitive skin and their feet pick up vibrational information from nine miles away. Aum Pan, one of the older female elephants is described as gentle and loves to swim in the river. She’s also said to still have some of her teeth.
I thought back to when I was abruptly single and how dismal my dating profile would be: great conversationalist who still has her teeth! Today, dating isn't even on my mind. Is that healthy? Is it avoiding intimacy? Who knows. But I’m grateful to not be consumed with missing someone I don’t even know.
I want to meet Spy and Dok Mai, 2 female elephants who are described as being playful, naughty and stubborn. They sound like my kind of gals. I’m ready to play in the water, feed the pachyderms sweet fruit and rest my hand on their trunks with love and compassion for their lives of abuse.
I don’t understand how a sacred animal can be so mistreated. From what I’ve been reading, elephants have held great significance in Thailand. On the night of Lord Buddha’s birth, his mother, Queen Maya, dreamt a six-tusked white elephant presented her with a lotus flower.
The lotus flower symbolizes purity and knowledge; the white elephant symbolized fertility and success. But what about the rest of the elephants who didn’t live in the King’s palace? What about the ones who don’t eat off of gold plates and have a designated staff to attend to them?
The word tamed stands out to me. Articles I’ve been reading use that term to describe making the elephant do what humans want it to do. It doesn’t appear to be praise and reward based.
A Mahout is the person who cares for an elephant throughout its life. Apparently there are three different philosophies in their training approach. The Yukthimah use ingenuity to outsmart their elephants, the Reghawan use love in their training, and the Balwan use cruelty. I still get a wave of nausea as flashes appear in my mind of the video showing a baby elephant being restrained and abused in order to break its spirit and submit to human control. Tamed. I wish I could un-see that flickering cruelty.
I’ve been the person who felt anger toward animal rights groups that post disturbing graphic images and videos. Rather than feel anger that the abuse is taking place, I have displaced it with the group exposing me to images I do not want to see. It’s an assault to my senses.
But imagine how the animal feels?
I’m developing more questions. If Buddha taught peace, love and harmony, why is there such rampant animal abuse in Thailand? The first tenet of Buddhism states: I will be mindful and reverential with all life, I will not be violent nor will I kill.
I ran into a friend the other day who is a strict Vegan because of her belief in the sanctity of all life. How can I feel such protection for the elephant but not the chicken?
My hope is I don’t get arrested for asking questions. It is considered highly offensive to say anything negative about the Kingdom of Thailand. And I’ve been known to be a rule breaker.
Patty Blue Hayes is the award winning author of Wine, Sex and Suicide – My Near Death Divorce and the creator of You Can Heal Your Heartbreak, an audio program based on her book, My Heart is Broken. Now What? Follow her elephant adventure at www.pattybluehayes.com
Help Elephant’s World purchase the sanctuary land.