December 28

The Memory of an Elephant

December 28, 2016

Stress Management

I have a good friend who flies planes and helicopters on large game preserves in Africa, including parts of the Serengeti. On occasion he is required to herd elephants with a helicopter, urging them to move to places that are safer from poachers, or sometimes to dart an elephant with a sedative, so that the animal can be treated for illness or wounds.

He described to me that sometimes he has easily herded the elephants along until, suddenly, they refused to move along the desired path and suddenly veered off in another—and more dangerous—direction. Initially he found this puzzling, so he asked a native why the elephants behaved as they did.

It seems that years before, there had been an electric fence at the location where the elephants changed direction. As the elephants approached the location, they were overcome by fear, which followed their memories of the electric shocks they had once received—in some cases, decades before. My friend mused about how such a large creature as an elephant could be turned from his lumbering path by the memories of a fence that no longer existed.

It is at least as striking that the decisions we make as human beings often are determined almost entirely by past events, which are buried deep in our memories—often entirely unknown to us consciously. Over and over, as children and as adults we touched electric fences that since have seriously frightened and affected us for the rest of our lives.

Unlike elephants, we can learn to see the old fences and can make choices unaffected by these ancient and unseen influences.

PCSD

Recover from your past events and make new choices!

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