April 18th, 2017
My dance with Ganesha
I have been participating in Ganesha practices for probably 18 years. At first, my attraction to this energy was about removing obstacles, particulary the one that stared me in the face daily (and scared me daily!)- childbirth.
A few years ago my teacher suggested we look at Ganesha as a mischievous little boy who takes great delight is playing with how we look at what we considered our obstacles only to reveal with glee their true meaning. I will use a game my kids used to play with pretzels and cookies as an example. They would hold one up with two hands and ask "broken or not". Often times it looked quite whole, but was in fact cracked and the way they held it together made it impossible to tell. They were most excited and giggly when you guessed broken, and it was in fact whole. So I translated this into my Ganesha practice by asking myself "obstacle or not?" and waiting for the follow up Ganesha-giggle.
I recently took on a new Ganesha practice with the studio move. This time, Ganesha is not just giggling, he is in full belly laugh. I planned to put up walls and carve out a room in the new space and hit (hard!) the first 5 blockages in the form of a seemingly impossible construction permit procedure. That translated into "let's see how the space is already laid out" and now the "green room" is a cozy "green nook", and there is no prop room. Ok, but still we can remove this pillar in the middle of the floor that is literally an obstacle for viewing the whole room! Nope, that can't happen either, (water pipes run thru it) so now it will create a nice cozy mat space while doubling as a balancing pose assistant. What about this little piece of wall that doesn't seem to serve any purpose? Apparently, it's a structural element, so now it's a shelf. Leave the floors a natural finish? Not so fast, chortles Ganesha! Water damage requires we reconsider that, and go with a rich, dark stain. I did get a nice surprise when I found beautiful old tile under the linoleum in the bathroom, but it doesn't cover the whole floor, so now we have an opportunity to have a fun, painted floor design when you enter the wash room. I am sure this is not the end of the list.
I don't mean to imply that all of these deviations from the original plan have been easy and faced with a bright smile. There have been some sleepless nights and gnashing of teeth. However, I recognize that the grace I have received from Ganesha is the faith that what now seems insurmountable, or just plain old inconvenient, is a path towards another way of being, another way of thinking, another way of operating.This other way, whatever it is, will expand my universe, like the continously expanding belly of Ganesha. I will no longer approach this strong energy with the intention to make everything go the way I have planned it. Rather I set my intention towards having the ability to see that what is, is how it is going to be. My biggest obstacle is denying the "what is-ness" of a situation and not being able to weave that into my life and my well laid out plans.
I probably should have learned this years ago when my kids where playing "broken or not". Whatever the answer was, and whether or not I guessed correctly, they still ate the cookie.