I bought an embroidered picture from an op shop a while ago. I saw it and was instantly drawn to it. I didn't know what it meant but it was of four animals; an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit and a bird and they were all piled on top of one another with the elephant carrying the others. It was called 'The Four Harmonious Friends'
When I got home, I googled it (good old google) and found that it is a Tibetan / Bhutanese story which signifies unity and social harmony. I found a few explanations of what the picture represents. In brief they tell the story of the animals all working together and using their individual talents to be able to reach the fruit of the tree. There is also a version which has a sort of moral about respecting your elders. In another version, it is suggested that the elephant represents the body, the monkey the restless mind, the rabbit represents emotion and the bird is the soul.
This story appeals to me on so many levels..... (read on if you dare for an insight into my wierd and wonderful mind!)
I guess we all strive for wholeness, for wellness in body and mind and control over our emotions. For a number of years I have worked in addiction and mental health and attempted to use mindfullness, meditation and yoga in order to calm the chatter of my own monkey mind. I have learned that my own mental health is interconnected to my physical body as well as my spiritual self. So I guess this is why the four harmonious friends appeals so much to me. A strong body can support the mind. A stable mind supports the emotions. And these three things feed a healthy, supported, respected soul. All these aspects of a person are interconnected. And who doesn't want a healthy soul?
It also makes me think about how important we all are in one another's lives. Within our communities we may all be different, we may have different habits, have different coloured skin and be of different ages but we we all have a part to play in one anothers' lives. The element of connectedness is so vital to good mental health and within this we all have a very important role as well as a commitment to ourselves to connect where we can.
"Everyone has something to bring to the party". I often remind myself of this both as a way of being kinder to myself and to others too. We all have something to offer; we are all different but these differences are neither superior or inferior to our own. We are all just the same at the end of the day. All people trying to find our way through life and to make it as fulfilling and rewarding as we can.
I know this is a bit of a random post and a lot different to my usual show and tells but I have wanted to post about the picture for a while now. This post was originally going to be about friendship but I guess good mental health is something that I am passionate about.
Please take from this what you will, or don't if that suits you better.
Either way have a fabulous day.