The outstanding quality of the camel is its ability for endurance.
Desert dwellers have used the camel for thousands of years because of ability to survive well in the harsh conditions of the desert.
Since immersing myself in all things ‘camel’ this week, including endurance, here are a few treasured associations the camel unlocked for me:
- The Camel’s beautiful and yet funny face makes me laugh and want to ‘lighten up’ when I am feeling too serious.
- The Camel’s size and capability makes me feel safe.
- Camels (the one humped dromedary variety) evoke rich thoughts and memories of all things Middle Eastern.
- The camel and the desert go together like the moon and the tides.
What’s it like being a camel?
OK lets imagine for a moment that you are a camel.
You are big and strong, probably smelly- but you don’t care. You love exercising your grumbly voice. You have a most amazing physiology that allows you to survive well in very hostile conditions for many days. You are built for the desert.
You are known as a ‘Ship of the desert’ because you move gracefully over mountains of hot desert sand, the leathery pads on your large feet spreading wide when they hit the ground.
Blasted by a fierce wind storm of sand but you are able to withstand such force and inconvenience. You can endure like this for days without sufferance. You know how to protect yourself. You store what we need for difficult times.
Bringing your inner camel to meet your human endurance
Ok let’s be human again!
If you really got into being a camel, at this point you may want to take a bath and wax your ears to feel human again.
Do you ever feel like you’re being blasted by outside forces? If not at the moment, try to think of an example of something you have endured before.
- It might be a physical ordeal such as an illness; fighting an infection or virus.
- Or your ordeal might be a mental assault; such as being bullied by others or personal attacks of some sort.
- Or you might simply be having a bad day where everything is going wrong.
Let’s try mapping our camel ‘selves’ onto these situations and see if we can arm ourselves with more endurance to move into and through the desert of our experience.
I’m having a rotten time. Thanks for asking!
The camel doesn’t hold anything in. If it wants to grumble it does. If it wants to fart or burp, it does. It doesn’t give a cracker what anyone else thinks (kind of goes for most other animals).
When you are enduring some sort of hardship do you let it out, admit to it, tell someone what you are going through?
Pretending that all is well can worsen experiences we need to endure .
Double protection for the important bits
Doubly long, double layer of eyelashes- Yes!
Inner ear fur- Nah maybe not!
The camel has a double row of the longest eyelashes as well as strong muscles in its nasal passages that can can completely close at will which protect its precious lungs from the blasting particles of sand. It also has fur-lined ears that keep the sand out of its ear canal.
What are your greatest assets in this situation and how can you make sure that it is doubly protected?
- Is it your ability to see the funny side in most situations?
It is hard to keep your sense of humour at times. If it’s something you are good at though, your humour is probably not that far below the surface. Have a look at a camels face that might help.
- Is it your capacity for concentration or focus on other things?
I’m not talking about running away here but more about maintaining equanimity (a balanced mind) whilst enduring. Meditation is a good practice to start with to achieve equanimity.
- Or your ability to protect yourself using creative imagination?
You can use your creative imagination to really look closely at what you are going through. There are many wonderful ways you can exercise your imagination from journalling, writing and visual, many forms of creative art therapy and craft. I will talk a lot more about these ideas in future posts.
In my example of fighting an illness, the greatest asset might me the immune system and allowing it to fight the invading infection by making sure your body gets plenty of rest and nutrients.
Pack your bags
Camels don’t store water in their humps, but they do have several other things going on internally that allow them to go for many days without water. Their humps store fat which allows them to also go without food for many days.
Storing up the good stuff is definitely something you can attend to when you are in good mental and physical shape.
An example of this might be knowing what things give you personal energy or lift your spirits when you are feeling under the weather or your self-esteem is under attack.
You wouldn’t set off on any big journey without arming yourself with supplies. The difference is that we usually don’t know we are about to embark on most personal ordeals so maybe we could create ourselves a virtual rucksack of survival goodies for when we are catapulted out into the desert of endurance.
I stand on the edge of the world and gaze out to the heavens,
entrée the world of vast nothingness,
Fragments and voices fades away,
into the hell of forever.
I rule, contained.
Unfazed by pace or place,
I grumble so you know my voice.
My spirit shines whilst others fade away.
Heaven is what I know.
Is there another side?
It hangs for the self to ponder,
existence is but a bad breath away.
Tell me a story about your experiences with camels?
Do you have or use any other symbols that remind you of endurance?