With whimsy, wisdom and heart — Sarah and Alice the Elephant, her spirit animal, dish up daily reflections and a prompt for prayer to heal your life.
I was seated facing the majestic Apu Pachatusan, a mountain of immense spiritual power in the sacred valley of Peru. Assisted by a local shaman, our small group worked with masterful plant medicines to heal. In the first ceremony, beneath the intense Andean sun, I was drawn to a feather that was caught in a tree branch, somehow dangling and spinning freely in the wind. The immense softness and lightness of the feather beckoned to me.
As I sat near the spinning feather, under the healing influence of the ceremony, it felt like the entire Universe embraced me with love. A recent rejection from my literary agent popped into my head. It was a fictional piece I’d been working on for three years on and off. Intellectually, I had come to terms with the fact that they just weren’t interested. Apparently, though, I had suppressed all of the actual grief that came with such an unexpected “no thank you.”
I began to cry and release the pain.
As my tears dried quickly in the dry air, I immediately felt much lighter and a new idea arrived. Yes, I would go back to the fiction at some point, but there was a new project I could begin immediately that felt as soft and light as that spinning feather.
The idea was simple. I would share a daily message from one of my helping spirits.
My heart was now at full sail, billowing with love and anticipation. Just the idea of spending more time with Alice the Elephant daily thrilled me. Alice is a very buoyant and salty beastie and she has been a true friend to me.
Without Alice’s superlative counsel and love, I mused, I’d still be scared, faithless, and frozen in place in my old job at the hospital, afraid to make a move. Alice’s advice hasn’t always been easy to swallow, but it’s served me so well I thought it might help others too. Big transformation is Alice’s specialty.
In my early forties, I was a physician (a pathologist, to be specific). I hunted disease for a living. I loved that career until, unwittingly, I got a call to the hero’s journey. After what I fondly refer to as my ‘radical sabbatical’, I came out the other side as a shamanic healer, a life coach (or as I sometimes refer to myself, a Life Obstacle Assassin), a creative and a writer.
After two decades of disease hunting, I’d grown more curious about what creates health.
After leaving medicine, I decided to dedicate my life to creating wellbeing in myself and others. I found that the shamanic path of spiritual and soul-centric healing offered powerful tools for doing just that: connecting with spiritual realms full of love, singing, dancing, telling stories and being creative in myriad ways.
I’ve discovered a very special subset of people (that’s us!) who are healers, artists, and helpers. We have magical powers, and we have unique challenges too.
With Alice’s blessing, after returning home from Peru, I launched a One Hundred Day project to begin sharing these messages.
As I began to visit Alice every day and share her messages publicly, a marvelous thing happened. People liked it! Especially the healers, creatives and helpers. I made simple art pieces to go with Alice’s missives. The comments keep coming. “I love this!” “Yes, more Alice!” “Thank you, Alice!” It was helping people, which was fun.
One weekend, I stopped posting, because I was busy running a retreat. On Saturday, somebody messaged me, saying, “Where did Alice go? I was counting on her today!”
I realized this was important work. People needed Alice. I felt excited, because feeling useful is the best feeling in the world.
Here are a few samplings of Alice’s daily blessings:
January 1, Alice the Elephant
“If you want to be useful to this world, begin the day with knitting peace in your heart by spending quiet time with your Creator. Meditate. Pray. Over time, you’ll create an afghan of calm to wrap around yourself and others who need it. This is the pinnacle of being useful. Through extended devotion, these serene masterpieces of the heart can bring holy coziness to a mob.”
I had lots of ‘bag lady’ fears when I left my medical practice and began working with Alice and other spirits. I asked my spirits how to find financial freedom. Their response was to teach me how to meditate. I tried it for a few days, but quickly lost interest. I returned to my spirits a month later with the same question. Patiently, they repeated their instruction. Suddenly, I felt embarrassed. I hadn’t honored their message. I became willing to sit more regularly. Thousands of meditations later, I see why they made their recommendation. I’ve found freedom there.
Are you willing to meditate today? When and how?
Dear God, please knit peace in my heart so I may be free.
I decided I’d develop this beloved project into a book of daily inspirations, one for every day of the year. After each day’s Alice lesson, I’d add my own commentary, an invitation or suggestion, and finally a prayer.
As I reread the finished book, a year later, I see many themes: prayer, meditation, humility, moderation, self-love, family, friendship, creativity, pitfalls and quagmires, recovery from addiction, and dealing with fear. I had so much fun reviewing old lessons and learning new ones from Alice.
July 11, It’s All We Really Have
Alice the Elephant
“Never stop chasing love. Even if the po-po are on your tail.”
This advice is a bit extreme, but I think Alice is saying we should never, ever give up on believing that an old wound can be healed or that two warring parties can become friends again or we can have all the love our hearts desire. Reconciliation and higher levels of love are always available. Be willing to keep holding the dream and taking action when it feels right.
Where do you dream of a greater love holding court in your life?
Dear God, open my heart so I may have a greater capacity to both give and receive love.
November 28, Give Attention
Alice the Elephant
“If you want to make a substantial impact — whether you’re making a pot of kitchari for a group cleanse, creating a Moroccan-themed pool party, or conceiving the design for a national monument to Maya Angelou — do it with loving attentiveness and the results will be greater than you could have imagined.”
Sometimes I get into a dither and visit Alice to ask how I can do whatever it is I’m trying to do successfully. She always calmly and patiently explains (again) that I only need to do whatever it is I’m doing with awareness and heart. Whatever it is will be just dandy. I always complicate things. Spirit reminds me it’s always simple.
Would you be willing to stop multitasking and give your whole heart and attention to whatever you’re working on? What, if anything, would need to change?
Dear God, help me focus all my attention on one thing at a time.
Maybe you’ve had some heartbreaking creative rejection or disappointment of another kind recently too? Maybe your heart could use a little of that spinning feather-soft lightness as well?
In this time of the pandemic, so much transformation is possible. It’s going to take willingness on our part if we’re going to get where we want to go. Together we can co-create that beautiful world that we all want to live in and Alice has the wisdom that can help get us there.
I send you lots of love and a freight train fully-loaded with courage and willingness.
P.S. Spirit animals can teach us so much. If you don’t have a connection to yours yet, I highly suggest seeking one out. If you go to www.followyourfeelgood.com and subscribe, you’ll get taken directly to a recording where I will guide you on a drum journey to connect with your spirit animal.
You may also enjoy reading Soul Dog: A Journey into the Spiritual Life of Animals by Elena Mannes