Gajah Fairy Princess
Every once in a while, I read a story that touches my heart. I read something that relates to who I am, and what I hold dear. The following guest blog is by a good friend of mine Sara Stein. Like many of us, her story is still being written. I hope you enjoy the story of the Gajah Fairy Princess. – Leon Logothetis
Elephants. Who knew? In Indonesian, the word is “Gajah.” Sure, I had seen them at the zoo when I was a kid but there was something profound that happened to me that October, 2013 when I took my first trip to Bali and stepped foot onto the Elephant Sanctuary. They took my breath away in all their majesty and splendidness. They didn’t have to say or utter a word or sound. They were so regal and God-like. I felt humbled and moved by their presence. Something grand was happening.
So I moved to Bali on a whim. Well, it was more a calling – a calling I couldn’t logically explain, but I knew I had to be with those elephants. As “out there” as it sounded, I imagined myself being an elephant trainer, learning how to commune with them, riding and caring for them. It felt exhilarating and majestic, and yet natural at the same time. Like I should have been doing this all along. I was home.
However, not everyone saw or understood my vision, not even myself at times. I mean, who did I think I was? Wasn’t I just a regular girl from Cleveland, Ohio? My high school graduating class was a mere 165 people or so. Nothing fancy and flash like growing up in the circus or wining and dining in the Hollywood Hills (although I have experienced this, the Hollywood Hills that is). So how on earth does one’s story end up involving elephants? Wasn’t I supposed to get a job, get married and have kids and stuff? Maybe I was just royally screwing up my life. Or maybe, just maybe I was onto something good…
Inspiration – The Road Less Traveled
One of my all-time favorite movies and scenes is from The Matrix (and oddly enough, it was playing on my plane ride that first trip to Bali). In this scene, the main character Neo, who started out as this average guy, is proposing a plan to save a very important person’s life. He has no guarantee it’s going to work. In fact, there’s way more evidence to suggest it’ll be a total, catastrophic disaster. Something in his heart though knows that he has to do this. A “colleague” of his is beyond herself with this idea. She says to him, “Neo, nothing like this has ever been done before.” To which he so divinely replies, “That’s why it’s going to work.”
So, back to the elephants. A week after I arrived in Bali (this time to live there), I wrote a letter to the owner of the elephant park. I told him my story how I had been living in Los Angeles for a long time, working at the same job, living a simple, regimented life. Then one day everything changed. Suddenly I didn’t have that job anymore and I had all this space in my life. I planned a two week trip to Bali in October 2013 and when I arrived at the elephant park, in some strange way, I felt I was home. I had never even met elephants before. And something about the people who worked at the park, they were so delightful and easy to talk to. We just clicked and instantly bonded. It was as if we knew each other from some other existence. I don’t know why it was this way, I wrote. Maybe people are just more open and susceptible when they’re on vacation.
In my letter, I continued to share that the wheels began turning upon my return to the US and long story short, I moved to Bali. Since I was in Los Angeles trying to figure out my next steps in life anyway, why not try to figure it out in Bali? A place I felt greatly inspired and awed. I fortunately had some savings stashed away, didn’t have the job anymore, nor was I married or had children. Maybe this was just one of those perfect moments in life where the stars aligned and it was a-go to take a leap. And leapt, I did.
Somewhere in my letter to the park owner, I proposed that I wanted to work at the elephant park and learn how to commune and be with elephants. I even asked if I could live there and work as a way of paying rent! I just pitched all sorts of wild ideas. I mean, why not? I was already in Bali after having sold and donated most of my belongings, leaving behind a lifestyle of many years. What did it really matter to ask one more wild question?
A Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone
Well his response wasn’t exactly the response of my dreams (it was slightly discouraging at the time), however I knew he taken the time to read my letter and was moved by it. So even though his response was a “no”, some sort of connection had been made. He described the complexities of hiring a westerner to work in Bali and also how the park is comprised of employees from the neighboring village – it ultimately supports and sustains the village which is incredibly beautiful.
Needless to say, I didn’t give up. I may have had my initial idea of how I’d get my foot in the door but the universe fortunately has many ways to bring a destiny about. One particular visit to the elephant sanctuary with a friend set some stars in motion.
I had decided to ease the pressure of “making things happen” and just enjoy myself with my friend. One morning at the complimentary breakfast, one of the managers came over and said hello to us. She remembered me from my visit back in October while on vacation. I hadn’t seen her since. When she inquired about me being in Bali, some weird courage took over and I said, “I came to Bali because of the elephants. I want to work with the elephants.” She laughed and said, “Oh you couldn’t do it, you’re too soft” and explained how one has to be really firm with the elephants. Again some weird courage took root and I simply and calmly stated again, “No, I can do it. I know I can do it.”
I don’t remember exactly how she replied after that but what morphed was…my angel cards. See, I had been doing angel card readings for several years now. I loved sharing them with others and doing mini-readings for people. I relished being in tune with that “magic” and infusing this magic and hope into others’ lives. I suppose I had my cards out on the breakfast table and they caught her eye. Naturally, she asked about them. I told her a bit about myself as a card-reader and she was oddly curious about it. She turned into this delighted innocent child right before my eyes exclaiming, “Ooh! Can I do one please?!”Suddenly something very interesting was unfolding. What I witnessed was this woman (the manager) who initially appeared tough and closed, melt right before my eyes. She became vulnerable and open. I could see her pain, her tenderness, her radiance, her humanness. It was beautiful.
The contents of the reading aren’t important and after all, they are private. However, what transpired was the beginning of a friendship. She point blank told me to call her anytime I wanted to come to the park. We exchanged phone numbers.
And The Magic Begins
What unfolded over the course of my 15 months in Bali was on the one hand quite enchanting and otherworldly. I found myself visiting the park often, sometimes staying overnight, giving Angel Readings to my manager-friend and other staff members. She introduced me to everyone and I was able to touch these people with some inspiration and grace through a moment shared over angel cards. One time a tour group was visiting and the group’s owner thought we should exchange numbers so I could be a reader for company events. Another time the park owner himself showed up (the one I wrote the letter to). He remembered me. I sat with him, his children and my manager-friend over lunch. On another occassion, I asked my manager friend if she would allow me to me give an Energy Blessing called Deeksha to the elephants. I later found myself in the pen with a baby and mother elephant giving Deeksha.
These massive, gorgeous creatures towered in front of me, so beautiful and clearly buckets of love. In a moment of comedy, as I conducted the hands-on blessing for the mother-elephant, the baby found her way into my purse and was munching on some papers stashed inside! They were actually documents that deemed me as “certified” regarding energy work. I figured I should bring them to prove my credibility. So much for seriousness. It was as if the Universe was saying, “You’re funny, Sara. These papers don’t determine your worth. You just ARE this.”
Other times at the park, I’d hang out in my manager-friend’s office and the veterinarian would pop by (and of course there were angel cards). Often, I’d find myself following the manager on her daily runs; once venturing into the staff break room. In some strange way, I felt I WAS working there in spirit. Just not “officially” or in the way I imagined. Oh but I was being called upon nonetheless. No one could tell me different. Maybe the elephants just liked me and wanted me there. Or in a more playful version of my imagination, maybe in some other lifetime I had been a Fairy Princess to the Kingdom of Elephants – whatever that means. You can feel it though right?
I did try several times in the future to get my foot in the door as an employee. Whenever I used a straightforward conventional method, it was usually rebuffed. So, I just enjoyed the experience as it was at the park. And waited patiently. And sometimes not so patiently. It always felt and flowed better however when I let it be what it was and enjoyed.
A Divine, Affirming Encounter
One evening at the elephant park something splendid happened. I was graciously picked up from my room by an elephant (no joke) and whisked away to dinner. The outdoor charming dining area directly in the middle of the park was to be our setting for that night’s feast. The stars were delightfully twinkling in the sky as a warm breeze rustled through the palm trees.
I arrived at my table set for one. I had eaten there solo many times yet never felt alone because the staff were like family and made me feel at home. And I was right in the midst of the jungle with the elephants which was of course so incredible.
Anyway, on this particular night I noticed another woman dining alone so I asked if she cared for company. She did! I joined her table. Her name was Kim from Australia enjoying a nice holiday on Bali. We chatted and shared a bit about ourselves. At one point, I took out my angel cards and asked if she’d like to do a reading, just because. She was thrilled. I can’t remember the contents of the reading (and again, that’s confidential) but whatever it was, it deeply touched her. She looked at me in awe and said, “You have to know how incredibly gifted you are.” She said she was going to pay me and even though I refused she wouldn’t have it. She couldn’t get over how helpful this had been for her and thanked me profusely.
The next morning I saw Kim at the elephant “pond” for swim time (yes, you can swim with the elephants). I waved to her as I crossed through the gates so to wait my turn. The sun shimmered golden sparkles on the pond. The cicadas displayed their vocal symphony similar to the revving up of a locomotive, as tropical birds called out in the distance. The setting was perfect.
One of my favorite elephant-friends Daisy was present that morning, doing the honors, taking guests out for a ride and swim. I was delighted. Daisy was so cute – she had this spikey, wiry hair on her head. I just loved it. Kim, after saying good morning, look at me wide-eyed, leaned over and said, “Hey, that elephant KNOWS you. When you walked by, I swear she recognized you and her eyes followed you the entire time.” It really warmed my heart and soul. It was a beautiful reminder that a special bond had perhaps been formed. Gajah Fairy Princess forever, right?
To Be Continued…
Even though I’m not in Bali right now, I still haven’t given up nor do I feel like this is the end of the story. And even if it seems like that chapter of my life is “closed”, I definitely know some fine seeds were planted and that YES, there still is more flourishing to be had. I’ve heard somewhere that if your story hasn’t yet concluded in “all is well”, then it’s not the end of the story. So from across the universe, I send love to my gentle giant friends and will continue to inwardly call forth the grandest version of myself – as well as the best of the best of what’s possible to unfold, all with ease and grace. And it just so happens, I have a short venture scheduled soon to Bali and will no doubt stop by the elephant park. I mean after all, what kind of Fairy Princess would I be if I didn’t stop by to tend to my Elephant Kingdom? I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Sara Stein is a Writer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Craniosacral Therapist. She has a healing practice based out of Cleveland, Ohio and online.
She has written a memoir which is in the editing process about her travels, healing from an eating disorder and loss and finding magic in the day to day.
She helps and inspires people to gently and imperfectly move through their fears and take leaps in the direction of their dreams. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit her blog at www.urbanfairy77.wordpress.com