Friday, September 6, 2013

photographs from the amazing elephant sanctuary in chiang mai, thailand

 we found that elephants way prefer their fruits over their vegetables.

we were told this elephant is wearing a chain because he is "naughty."  he still seemed pretty happy.

after having the nicest, most relaxed week--and realizing that next week will probably be the opposite of relaxing--i buckled down and edited the rest of the photographs from my trip!  i'll post them in sections and today it's all about elephants.  visiting the elephant nature park outside of chiang mai was a huge highlight of my trip. it seems like everyone who goes to thailand wants to see elephants, but what most people don't know is that a lot of these elephants are mistreated.  elephants are strong and sensitive creatures and the training process their owners put them through to break their spirits is really awful.  many elephants are brought to big cities like bangkok so their owners can earn money from tourists but they are not built for the busy life (they pick up sensations from miles away through their feet and are totally overwhelmed by traffic).  also, they eat a lot--like over 1,000 lbs of food a day and people rarely feed them enough.

seeing these problems, a little but brave lady named lek decided to start rescuing elephants.  it started with one and today it's almost 30.  mostly these elephants have been bought out of bad situations after they've been trained but she has been able to train one completely wild elephant just through love and positive reinforcement. also, they have rescued over 200 dogs who all lounge around the center like they own the place.  it's an expensive visit and definitely very touristy but so worth it.  plus, i really like to see places like this find a strong income stream (although i think they could always use more if you want to donate).  this bustling business keeps the elephants eating plenty of bananas and cucumbers and tourists happy to have seen such peaceful elephants. 

 also, i've been loving the five kundalini yoga sutras from yogi bhajan.  the second and third ones have been particularly helpful to me in the past couple of weeks.

1. Recognize that the other person is you.
2. There is a way through every block.
3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
5. Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path.

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