Elephants, Haiti, and Life Experiences = Growth and Being Alive and Present!

I have been thinking about what topic I might use as my final Rambling for the season. I’ve been waiting for just the right trigger—something that touched my heart in a way that is worthy to write and Ramble about. Once again, this Rambling is being guided by something far greater than myself.

On the surface, the three elements of the title for this Rambling appear to be far ranging elephant whisperand diverse. However, the idea came to me as I was finishing the book, The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony, as I was flying home from Haiti. Perhaps it was a combination of reading this book and reflecting on my trip and my experiences. Or perhaps there was a gentle hand being placed on my shoulder saying, “This is it, Bob!” that triggered this Rambling.

Everyone has their own life path as to how they achieve personal growth. Take this Rambling as a summary of mine and feel free to use what applies to your own life. I write these Ramblings as a reflection of my thoughts and with the desire that they challenge you, the reader, to determine what applies to your own personal life, even if it is just a simple sentence or random thought. I hope these ramblings provide value. Perhaps you can reflect on this in tandem with a significant person in your life. I believe this kind of reflection on life can help create an amazing intimate union. (That in itself is a life lesson I learned, somewhat painfully, due to my own immaturity and being overly prideful.)

Life can hand us some unplanned challenges to the heart and soul. We can be kicked in the head and stabbed in the heart. We retreat into our shell of self-pity and a “woe is me feeling.” However, while I was in Haiti working with a team from Haiti Teen Challenge, I was reminded of my own personal blessings. I was quickly humbled and ashamed of the thoughts and feelings of self-pity I’ve had. I was reminded of the power of faith, selfless acts, compassion, and the heart-healing benefit of servanthood.

IMG_7338IMG_7311Haiti Child




Haiti Teen Challenge brought me back to the greatness of family, devotion, learning, stretching personal boundaries and comfort zones, and standing up for what you believe, not to please those around you, but to stand firm in who you are with grace, vulnerability, and courage. Yup, life experiences do shape your purpose and who you are if you let them. A vulnerable, open, and courageous heart can be filled in a way that you cannot imagine if you let it and rid yourself of shame, guilt, and being prideful and instead, live with courage, transparency, and vulnerability. (Boy is that easy to write and say, but so painfully hard to put into practice.) It takes time to learn how to do this effectively and naturally and to have the courage to accept that there will be mistakes during the learning curve. However, as I am learning, perseverance allows us to take small steps in the right direction that slowly shape who we are and how we live and who we become.

I’ve often heard, “It is who you are, not what you do, that is critical.” (In the past, my family of origin clouded that understanding.) Today I feel so blessed that I understandHaiti Bob and Children the core of this statement as never before. It is now part of my internal mantra—I constantly remind myself of it when I get too caught up with nonmeaningful self-indulgences and prideful beliefs.

As I end this season of Ramblings, let me share some reflections and thoughts I gained from The Elephant Whisperer, thoughts that I am learning to embrace—maybe one of them will resonate with you, or trigger another thought that is critical to your life.

There are no walls between humans and elephants except those we put up ourselves, and until we allow all humans and elephants their place in the sun we can never be whole!

Every wild thing is in tune with its surroundings, awake to its fate and in absolute harmony with the planet, and focuses on what is around them. Humans, on the other hand, tend to focus introspectively on their own lives, too often brooding and magnifying problems that the animal world would not spend a millisecond of energy on!

When communicating with animals, it is critical to understand that their language, their communication, is a two-way flow of energy . . . when it has been received, you must let them know that their communication has arrived. If you do not, there is no communication! It is that simple, just like earthly and Godly relationships!

Always treat those magnificent animals with absolute respect! (Something we need to do with those around us, too!)

I will return later in September. I pray that you have received some value in reading my Ramblings this season.



6 thoughts on “Elephants, Haiti, and Life Experiences = Growth and Being Alive and Present!

  1. “It is who you are not what you do that is critical.”

    I had to read that several times. “It’s who you are not?” “What you do that is critical?” It only made sense when I inserted commas after the words “are”. and “do”.

    I searched for the meaning in this piece, in vain. Should we not put up walls to keep the elephants out of our house? Do we have as much right to be free of elephants as they do to be free of us?

    Can we really be in communication with elephants–or any other animal? Some would argue that animals react to sound and intonation–not words. Communication is defined as “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

    Can information (the essence of communication) be exchanged with elephants? Can elephants have thoughts? Opinions? Information? Can they convey them if they did? If so–not by speech. Not by writing. Not by signs.

    No–I don’t believe that elephants have these attributes. Instead, we ASCRIBE these attributes to them–the term is “anthropomorphic”–defined as “ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human.” It is the “Disneyfication” of animals–where they “think”, “talk”, “dance”. There is no Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or Wile E. Coyote. There may be warning signs, grunts, or whistles–but not “communication”.

    As demonstrated by the first line, we have a hard time with language between HUMANS–and humans that SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE –let alone interspecies communication. Those two little commas make all of the difference in the world. Heck, I have a hard time communicating with my WIFE! We “speak the same language”–it’s just that the MEANING is perceived differently by each of us! Perhaps that was your point all along! (laugh)

    Have a great summer!


    • Gosh Jim, I sure enjoy and appreciate your comments and observations. You are so right, two simple, appropriately placed comas dramatically enhances communication and understanding. How could I have missed that?!

      Part of the message as to communication was yo highlight importance of communication and the difficulty due to simple, overlooked actions, like my missing comas!

      Thanks you for bring a diligent follower and commenting yo my Ramblings



  2. Bob, it’s been a long time since I’ve replied with any Comments to your blog and I may have messed up my attempt today. I typed in what turned out to be a lengthier response than I originally intended into the Comment section. When I attempted to “Post” my comments, I was asked for my WordPress login password. I entered it and received confirmation that I was logged in; however, I could see no evidence of my posting and my original entry had also disappeared – or I would have simply pasted it in to your comment section. Perhaps it’s just temporarily in the ether and will show up later. Please let me know if you receive it. If not, I may try to remember it and re-enter it. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and have a great summer. Ronn

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


  3. I believe that all Animals have Souls. Our Souls Love, Learn and Grow. Life in All it’s Splendor teaches us The Lessons that our Souls need. I look into the eyes of an animal, be it Cat, Dog or Elephant and know that a Soul is in there learning the Lessons they need to increase their Knowledge. And in the End, The Lesson is Simple. Love.


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