Dancing with elephants

Elephant_dance_at_galleryfullWe’ve all done it. We’ve tiptoed and twirled and tap danced around an elephant. You know the one I mean; she’s the behemoth who sits in the middle of the room and won’t budge. Sometimes it’s hard to see her, but you can feel her presence. If you let her, she’ll suck the life out of the party.

And we do let her.

We cater to her. She feeds off our awkwardness and carefully chosen words and avoidance. She gets bigger and bigger as she gorges on morsels of our discomfort. And we keep dancing around her.

The thing is, she’s a cooperative soul–and a polite one, too. She’ll leave in a heartbeat; all you have to do is ask. That happened to me the other day in such an unexpected, direct way that I was awed by its simplicity.

A friend came to visit and carefully stepped over my elephant. Then he turned to me and said, “Can we get something out of the way?”

Just like that, my pervasive pachyderm disappeared. She left without a whimper, and our real conversation got started.

If we don’t want to dance around an elephant, all we have to do is confront it. Who knew it was that easy?

6 thoughts on “Dancing with elephants

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  1. Love it! I think I’ll forward this to all my family. That seems to be the real “circus” sometimes….instead of asking the elephants to leave we pride ourselves in becoming elephant trainers so they can all dance around each other. Who knew?

  2. What a perfect perfect picture you painted – and this is so true. Unfortunately, we spend way too much time walking around our elephants and looking the other way hoping they just disappear if we don’t look. Amazing how much room there is in our world without those elephants taking up so much space

  3. I’m going to start calling my best friend the elephant whisperer, because she does the same thing. She’s always very loving and calm about it, but she’s never afraid to wrangle the elephant in the room. I loved this post Tammy!!!

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