Forgetting Fear and Finding Freedom

Written by Judy Klipin

Sometimes it takes an animal to show you how you are.

I have just come back from a blissful five days in Botswana.   Five days of warmth and sunshine, good food, good company and excellent game viewing.  The moon was new, so the nights were dark and the stars spectacular.

There is something about getting up close and personal with nature in general, and wild animals in particular, that really puts things into perspective. Every afternoon before the evening game drive I watched the goings-on at the water hole which is about 10 metres away from the verandah of the lodge.  Every afternoon a family of elephants come for tea and a bath before moving on.  Impala came for a drink and snack.  Kudu, Klipspringers, Squirrels and Mongoose stopped in, as did a family of Warthog; Mom, Dad and Baby.

While I was drinking this all in and feeling incredibly grateful and blessed, I became aware that I was noticing the Impala and Elephants in particular.  I appreciated all the other animals but something about the Impala and Elephant was hooking me.

I came to realize that it is because Impala represent how I used to be, and Elephant represent how I am now.

Impala are always on high alert – constantly on guard for danger and attack.  They permanently quiver with anxiety.

Imapala need to be aware of everything that is going on around them all the time in order to survive.  Just like many adult children.  Just like I used to be for most of my life, before I discovered coaching and the adult child work I now do.

Elephants, on the other hand, are calm, centred and confident creatures; Zen-like in their movements and energy.  They are so large and so powerful – and have such strong family structures – that they have little to fear.

Zen Ellies Eating

Elephants Eating in Peace


I love Elephants and always have.  I cannot even remember the first time I saw one, but it must have been when I was very little.  When I am in the presence of Elephants (and in the Tuli Block where I have just been I found myself within two metres of them every day) I am washed over with calm, relaxation and love.

While I cannot claim to have the fearlessness of an animal that has very few natural enemies and can weigh up to 6 tons, I do have a calm and centredness to me now that was unimaginable some years ago.

By learning and applying the tools and skills I have created for my coaching practice, I have been able to move away from an Impala-like fear and hyper-vigilance and towards a more Elephantine sense of peace and confidence – in myself and in the world around me.

A few weeks after I came back from my life coach training in America some years ago, I had a very up close and personal encounter with an enormous (and I do mean enormous – he was one of the 6 tonners) male Elephant which should have been terrifying but was strangely energizing and invigorating for me.  I have often thought about that incident and wondered why it had such an impact in me.

Last week in Botswana, watching and observing the Impala and the Elephant, I found the answer; he was showing me a glimpse of my future self.

What lessons have you learned from animals?  I would love to know.

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4 people commented on this

Hi Judy, thanks for sharing. I guess you will receive quite a few comments about dogs. My dog Krismas has been an enormous blessing to me. Not because he “feels my pain” but because he doesn’t. He is energetic, cheerful and just himself, a joy to have around. X Vanessa HB

Hi Vanessa
Pets (especially dogs) are really our best friends, aren’t they? Always seeing the best in us and helping us to see the best in ourselves…
Thanks for sharing about Krismas – great name by the way!
Love Judy

H Judy,
Funny, I have had a love of elephants and a fascination with them all my life and especially recently. In addition to their soulful calm, I’ve always been amazed by their compassion, hearing stories of how they grieve their dead as we do, among other things, and protect their young so emotionally. Now I have a nice way to connect to them in my mind, as the symbol of the self I am becoming! Thanks!

Hi Leslie
They are amazing, incredible creatures. Have you read “The Elephant Whisperer” by Lawrence Anthony? If not I suggest you get hold of it – you will love them even more!
Also, “Elephantoms”by Lyall Watson is another delight.
Enjoy becoming more like and Elephant.
Love Judy xx

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