Adele Leas writes: “African Reflections through the Lens of Jin Shin Jyutsu” in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 72, Spring 2011:
I could not have known by the looks of the email in my box what kind of adventure it held for me. Every few days I get emails from animal lovers with questions about sore backs or itchy skin or separation anxiety. This one was titled “Zoë is sick” with a brief explanation about Zoë not drinking or urinating normally. There were several unanswered questions in my mind…like what species was Zoë and did her person know JSJ? But because of the Universal Energy that is at the center of this Art, I simply wrote back a very general description of the Self-Help Bladder Flow, using body locations instead of Safety Energy Lock numbers in case her “mom”, Melanie, did not know the Art. A Joyful note arrived the next day; subject…”Zoë is better!” The note said that the kitty had really enjoyed the session, rested deeply and awoke happier and more animated. A picture of a small, sweet, elderly cat was attached.
Melanie had indeed taken several JSJ classes and had a good understanding of the Art but simply felt unsure about working with other species. We corresponded several more times and Zoë enjoyed all the attention. One of Mel’s messages was sent from her husband’s email and had his website address on the bottom: http://www.spaceforelephants.com. I had to go look. It was then I found out I had been corresponding with a student from South Africa.
The website posted their mission statement:
“Space For Elephants Foundation as a national organization endeavors to create more space through a network of corridors throughout the country to give back to the elephants their SPACE and to create a sound economic base to the people living along those corridors. Elephants need to be included in the economic equation to become an asset to the people of Africa. We will incorporate the people and wildlife in a vast network of conservation and economic partnership, protecting our natural and cultural heritage for our future.”
I wrote back immediately saying how in awe of elephants I have always been. The response came back, “Come visit.” Due to an entire series of miracles and the help of many wonderful people, my partner Blaine and I departed for a 21-day trip to the northeast province of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, in mid October 2010. The tour books called this “the most African of all parts of South Africa.”
Melanie’s husband, Digs Pascoe, is one of the world’s foremost experts on elephants and rhinos. They had offered to take us with them on his monthly rounds of the various reserves and the Thanda Elephant Research Center. Since Blaine is a gifted massage therapist of 33 years, we offered massages and sessions in trade. The lessons of this trip were very different from those I usually experience when I travel teaching JSJ and how to share it with domesticated animals. While the wild lands and animals surrounding us were much more exotic than I am used to, some of the deepest realizations were about my Self.
To be continued…