December 31, 2016

All of Elephant’s Best Wisdom of 2016…in One little Blog.

A lot of people are calling 2016 the worst year of late. That just isn’t true.

The next few years are gonna make 2016 look peachy. We haven’t yet felt the effects of climate change fully. We had a sane, kind, respectful, humane President in the Oval Office. Healthcare, for the first time, as imperfect as it was, was available to millions of previously uninsured human beings who, when ignoring their very real needs failed, resulted in lost productivity, lost lives, and (ironically) far higher healthcare bills when they went to the emergency room.

2016 was a good year, soured by the man we will soon call President Trump and his willingness to use his bully pulpit (twitter, rallies) to blame the weak, the “other,” the media, the liberals—i.e., anyone who wasn’t white, male, rich…anyone who wasn’t him or with him. But even Mr. Trump had some good points to him: he showed that Americans (sick as we are of political rhetoric, empty promises and careful messaging) are ready for a leader who says whatever he wants. Sadly, what he wanted to say was full of lies (his Politifact lie percentage was upwards of 70 percent, which is astounding if you think about it) and blame, with only the vaguest of promises he was shown himself happy to forget again and again.

So, we’re f##ked.

For elephant, we collapsed this year, readership-wise—thanks to Facebook’s algorithm changes which prioritized fake news and grabby headlines over journalism and quality writing for the first time. A few years ago, I blogged about environmental issues. Now, I rarely bother—because if I write about anything “nichey,” you won’t see it (on Facebook. Our quality writing lives on via our free online magazine).

But business-wise, we doubled in size, and are now up to 30 staff. How? We’d never bothered to get real advertising. Now, we have to, just to stay alive. In the new year, we’ll have our own social media “ecosystem” so we will, finally, be free of Facebook, where 75% of media is now read. It’s a monopoly unlike anything the world’s ever seen, and its platform’s support of highly-profitable fake news helped determine the outcome of the recent U.S. election.

So my outlook isn’t sunny—but it is honest. And I think we’re in for it. For the next four years, we’ll see our already weak EPA (remember China’s polluted air or Flint’s dirty water any time you question the need for our EPA) and other agencies cut off at the knees, or worse. We’ll see wars and diplomacy inspired by Donald’s 3 a.m. twitter bursts. We’ll see a just society torn into two halves, with enemies viewing one another as…enemies, not as fellow Americans. And the shadows of fascism draw over Europe, too—with only Angela Merkel standing tall.

So what can we do? Stand up. Get up off the couch. As after 9/11, when so many Americans on both sides of the aisle resolved to do more than they ever thought they would otherwise, we need to volunteer, serve, communicate, to be peaceful activists, to subscribe to real journalism that adheres to truth not merely opinion, to donate to social justice and environmental causes. There’s a lot we can do—there’s a lot you can do—there’s a lot I can do.

I, for one, will continue to work night and day (literally, my ex-girlfriend is sad to report) to make elephant a truly first-tier platform for change, for insight, for empathy, for humor and wisdom. If you’d like to support elephant in this effort, there’s three things you can do:

Get our free online magazine. It’s our best stuff. Every time you read a newsletter or any article on elephant, you help reduce our dependency on Facebook’s algorithm, which promotes sexy astrology articles but not important articles, generally.

Subscribe to read unlimited elephant: elephantjournal.com/read. Your $2/month goes to pay for our editors and best consistent writers to do good work for you.

Write. Send in your article, poetry, art, photograph: elephantjournal.com/submit

May we survive and thrive in 2017—and may we do so by being active, not merely hoping.

Yours in creating Enlightened Society,

Waylon, elephant journal founder & editor in chief

The Blogs, Quotes & Videos that Kept Us Going in 2016.

Reboot your Resolutions (& Stick with Them) with Just One Word.

The Mindful Life Illustrated: The One Truth we all Like to Ignore.

Eat the Marshmallow: How I learned to Stop Waiting for something More.

Cheating: 2 Uncomfortable Truths about it that We Need to Hear.

For Those Who would Like to Love Themselves More.

Things I Want You to Know When Your Husband Comes Out of the Closet.

White Privilege: Lessons from a White Mama of Black Children.

How to Raise a Boy.

It’s Okay to Argue in Relationships: 4 Tips for Healthy Conflict.

This Macklemore song is F*cking Poignant. {Video}

Let’s Get Intimate: Meditation for Lost Lovers. {Adult Q&A}

I Got Rid of Almost Everything I Owned—3 Times.

4 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me After My Dad Died.

I Blamed my Anxiety on Being an Empath, but Here’s the Not so Pretty Truth.

F*ck Happiness.

This is What Equality Looks Like.

Not all Relationships are Meant for Love: Finding Simplicity in Connection.

What Pets Can Teach Us about Love & the Hook-up Itch.

5 Attributes of Emotionally Intelligent People.

The Bubble in American Egos.

What if Death is a Grand Adventure?

Why I Want My Teenage Daughter to Have Sex.

Why “Do What Makes You Happy” is Bullsh*t.

How I Unstuck the Grief from My Body.

Meditation is Essentially Addressing this One Point.

The 3 Most Important Words we can say to Our Partner.

My Chicken Challenge. A Single Mom’s Reminder to be Brave.

Nobody Wants You To Read These Quotes: They Set You Free from Being Brainwashed.

“Yoga After 40 Will Kill You.”

7 Tiny Ways to Love Your Body More.

5 Signs that it’s Really Over.

7 Hardcore life lessons Travel teaches Faster.

A Whole New Way to look at Jealousy & Moving On (After a Break-Up, Death, or any Other Kind of Ending).

Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar: Chakras vs. Science.

Understanding our Feelings & Why we Lie to Ourselves.

The most Meaningful Commitment I’ve ever Made.

5 Things Depression is Not.

The Awakening that happens at 40.

When our Hearts & Souls Find Exactly the Right People, we Transform.

How Motherhood Morphs Us.

A Deceptively Simple Practice to see Beauty in our Lives.

An Instruction Manual for Putting Yourself Back Together.

How to Recover the Sweetness in Relationships after a Bitter End.

A Badass, Truth-Soaked Manifesto to Help us Live Like we Really Mean It.

What Kurt Vonnegut Taught Us about the Science of Happiness.

The Strength in Needing & Being Needed.

Things I Hope You Know.

Sometimes, we Lose Ourselves.

Make a Life List. It’s not a Vision Board. Here’s a photo of Mine.

Brexit: the Lessons for All of Us.

Visual Yoga Blog: Refresh your Eyes the Yoga Way.

Radical Love: How to Hold on to Love while Doing “Life” Together.

Does the Buddha set Boundaries? {Illustrated!}

The Best Explanation Ever for Why Black Lives Matter still Matters.

One of the Guys: Lessons on Love & Karma from a Recovering “Cool Girl.”

How to Offend Authentic People.

Don’t be an A**hole & Other Life Skills.

Donald Trump’s Tremendous Adventure in Buddhist Hell.

A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home.

Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right later in Life—a Breathtaking Poem.

The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce.

10 Love Notes—for when Life feels like a Hot Mess.

Why we Self-Medicate, Punish & Reward ourselves with Food—Healing Disordered Eating.

Dear Woman in the White Car at Margaritas Mexican Grill in West Memphis, Arkansas on July 15th, 2012.

Sometimes, I (Still) Hate Being a Mom.

How to Survive the Loss of Someone we Can’t Live Without.

This is one story of 9/11. A human story.

I was Made for Loving You, Even if I Can’t Have You.

11 Tips to Stay Sane Around People who are “Wrong” about Politics.

To Have our Needs Met—Without Apology.

David Bowie & his Meditation Teacher.

Choose the Mandala that Calls to You & Discover the Meaning.

Because One Day, we’ll be Whole Again. {Poem}

How we can Rewrite our Stories after Loving a Narcissist.

Why the Self-Help Movement Needs to Die.

This is What it’s Like to Live with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Why Hurt People Hurt People.

Crossing Paths—We are here to Awaken Each Other.

A Homemade Buddhist Ritual for Letting Go.

Dear Non-Vegan: There’s Something you Won’t let me Say.

10 Things We Do to Prevent Happiness.

Muhammad Ali & Prince: My Brief Encounters with 2 Great Men.

The Best Advice ever from the Dalai Lama about Trump.

Powerful Native American Quotes: Standing Rock, you are Not Standing Alone.

When your Old Life becomes someone else’s Internet Sensation.

A 75-Year Harvard Study on Men Concludes this One Thing.

Loving the Country we Thought we Knew.

These are the Most Powerful Words (Really).

To my Friend, on the Day she Remembers her Worth.

Each Step is an Arrival: The Beauty in Not Knowing what’s Next.

What do we tell our Children about President Trump?

Buddhism is not a Religion—It’s Something Much Better.


There is one good thing about a President Trump.

What I Learned about the Art of Holding Hands from the Dalai Lama.

This is How you Know it’s Time to Say Goodbye.

We Only Fall in Love with 3 People in Our Lifetime—Each One for a Specific Reason.

Seven Quotes from Ernest Hemingway to Teach us how to Live.

How to Survive the Holidays when a Loved One is Missing.

Scientific Facts that Make me want to start Smudging right Now.

Send out the Raven: Leonard Cohen’s Striking Last Interview.

Flirting with Mary Jane. (With Honorable Intention.)

A Buddhist Principle that helps us be more Successful in Life.

Letting Go of Things kept Hurting until I Realized…I had it Backward.

Freedom from Attachment: Viewing the Glass as if it’s Already Broken.

Finding the Wisdom in Aloneness: The Buddha’s Final Teaching.

Goodbye 2016: Thank You for Kicking my A** & Bringing me to my Heart.


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Editors: Catherine Monkman, Khara-Jade Warren, Lindsey Block

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