Happy Easter, dear friends. My Ultimate Concierge and my pooch America wish you a day of celebration.
Shelly, Honey, and America
Today is Easter. A few days ago was Passover. Loyalty is on my mind.
I am fiercely devoted to the meaning of the word, loyal, and lately, after my trip to East Africa, she’s come to the forefront of my mind. She heads up my list of important values. I see her letters spelled out on an invisible symbolic gold crown I wear on top of my head.
(If you’d like to read more about my trip to East Africa, please read my Love Letter to East Africa and The Significance of Silence: What I Learned From the Animals of the Serengeti.)
In my opinion, she is a queen of all words because loyalty allows a person to be true to themselves and to others. Without the ability to be loyal, in large doses or small, what type of person would you be?
Disloyalty is shameful. It is fraudulent. Certainly, at times, it is hard to be loyal. But, when you comprehend the significance that loyalty starts with being true to yourself, it becomes easier.
THE POWER OF LOYALTY
The power of loyalty wraps her arms around you. Trust me, when you put your faith in her she will be your safety net. She allows you to sleep at night, enjoy transparency with a clear conscience, be protective of those in need, express wisdom, and take a fierce stand.
BEING PUT TO THE TEST
Loyalty should not be blind-sighted or submissive. As little as six years ago I was blind-sighted. I did not listen to my heart. I was not loyal to myself. To this day I am suffering from my action. Furthermore, I can assure you this did not allow me a better night’s rest! How could I sleep soundly when I was disloyal to myself? As women over 50, I hope most of you are aware.
When faced with the predicament of where your loyalty should lie, question yourself.
1. Can I forgive this person?
2. Does this person deserve respect?
3. Does this person have a moral compass?
4. Will I sleep better at night?
5. Will I sleep better deleting this individual from my life?
6. Am I loyal to myself?
THERE ARE TIMES YOU GET STUCK
What person is not faced with different types of disloyalty? This can happen in one’s career, family, marriage, or friendship.
What do you do when a person is disloyal because of the pressure of others? You explain to them they can be loyal to two people while not being disloyal to either.
IT COMES DOWN TO CHOICES
I have been put to the test, as I am certain you have also.
I have shown loyalty to people who do not deserve it or appreciate it. Boldly speaking, my final decision was based on my values. If it makes me feel good and I will sleep better, I bite the bullet and forgive, not necessarily forgetting.
My last sentence is not written in haste. It is not meant to be spiteful. It warns me to always beware.
In the last analysis, you want to do what is good for you, to feel worthy, and to wear your personal crown of loyalty with honor.
ARE YOU LOYAL?
Acting loyal is showering devotion while presenting a vulnerable but never naive side. Loyalty is based on one’s integrity and consistency with oneself and to the situation. Your loyal manner should not assume to others that you are submissive or blind-sighted. Principles of integrity and consistency demand loyalty to yourself and then to others.
WHAT THE ELEPHANTS TAUGHT ME ON THE SERENGETI PLAIN
The wind was blowing through my hair. The Singita Land Rover was racing over the plain and yet my mind was in slow motion, not wanting to miss a moment capturing the majestic beauty of the Serengeti. I was in awe.
The only voice was Bennie’s, our guide, educating us about the African Elephant. I listened intently.
He began with these words,
“Everything about the Elephant represents loyalty.”
“They are so loyal that they are known to spend time with the remains of their ancestors when they pass through areas where their families’ remains lie!”
As soon as I heard the word loyalty, I was intrigued.
“They have a very close family bond. The Matriarch leads the herd. The calves are raised by the entire herd. Males leave the herd at age twelve years to start their own herd. Females stay with their moms all of their lives. So many elephants become great-grandmothers! Loyalty abounds.
“Elephants are vigilant with their young, even carrying them when necessary. When the baby elephant cries the herd touches and nurtures them. The After the birth there is a ceremony celebrating the birth with trumpeting and touching!
“They are passionate about protecting their young from predators, they bathe them, and shade them from the sun. They help them when they show distress. Their loyalty to family is beyond reproach.”
ELEPHANTS ARE BEYOND LOYAL
We were tuned in to Bennie’s knowledgeable lesson. He didn’t stop for a moment.
“The elephant has strong emotions because he has the largest brain of the land animals. His brain is similar to the chimpanzee and man. They have the ability to retain their loyalties, memories, and experiences. It is said they are the only animal that recognizes themselves in a mirror.”
Suddenly, a huge African male elephant drew our attention.
He was magnificent… He has swagger. He controlled the entire landscape. I saw nothing else but him. I wondered if he heard me breathing. His strength was in his enormity. His hearing. His loyalty. He is not the King of the Jungle. He is the Lord.
He holds the distinction of the largest land animal on earth. He is godly in my eyes. His ears are in the shape of Africa. I know God had a plan. I was mesmerized.
Back to Bennie.
“When an elephant passes away, the herd takes care of the bones. When they are happy they wag their tails, like dogs! When an elephant’s tail is stiff and out to one side, he is feeling anxious.
“Elephants touch to show love by intertwining their trunks and placing their large ears over one another. They bond, they are romantic and very emotional. They stay with their mate their entire lives upwards of 70+ years! They are beyond loyal.”
I associate the elephant with good luck. My Ultimate Concierge and I have an elephant collection. Their trunks must be up.
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF LOYALTY
I no longer have to be reminded of the importance of the first rule of thumb: “to thine own self be true.” I am not selfish when I make this statement… I am wise. I may be small in stature but I am as mighty as the elephant in the loyalty department.
It took me a long time to understand how loyalty works. Darling, there is an equation.
Step #1: One must be loyal to one’s feelings.
Step #2: Then show your loyalty to others.
With several disappointments, several poor decisions, and days of suffering the consequences, I woke up one day to hear a bell ring loudly and clearly in my head — when I am loyal to my feelings, all will be well.
At this, I felt a sense of relief and glory.
I felt that same glory and relief when I watched the loyal Lord of the jungle, the African bull elephant, swagger majestically across the Serengeti Plain in East Africa, Tanzania. I am smiling.
THE EXPERIENCE OF TRAVEL IS LIFE-CHANGING
I have been blessed to travel to every continent. I have, tucked away in my head, experiences that most people including my friends never experience.
I dined with the King and Queen in Malaysia, listened to a speech given by the head of Al Jazeera Broadcast in Saudi Arabia, and dined with an important sheik in Dubai. I’ve been mesmerized by the glaciers in Antarctica, and climbed with my Ultimate Concierge to the top of the Arc d’Triumph in Paris. I met with the Pope at the Vatican, went by night into the oldest synagogue in Aleppo, Syria, walked the beautiful streets of Iran.
I lit a candle at the American cemetery in Normandy, went down into the tunnels in Vietnam, sat at Monet’s lily pond in Giverny. Traveled through India and Napal with a stop at Tiger Tops. I’ve climbed the hundred steps at Angor Wat, and put my wish in the Wall in Jerusalem, to name a few. All with my ultimate concierge. I am blessed.
None of my travels resemble the type of feelings I carried home with me in my head and heart from East Africa. She will always have my adoration and loyalty. I will leave it at that. Amen.