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Vacation, Obstacles and Ganesha

yoga/yoga philosophy and lessons from my dog Jul 09, 2022

I thought I would blog about the post-vacation blah’s this week. You know, that feeling of, “Ugh, I’m back already?” We were on vacation last week and, after a year and a half of COVID restrictions, it was a big treat. But as I got to writing, I started to think, “But why? Why do I have vacation the blahs? What’s stopping me from feeling relaxed all the time?” 


Obstacles. That’s what was stopping me. The obstacle of my mind. And of course, whenever I think of obstacles, I think of Ganesha, the Elephant headed son of Lord Siva.


What? Wait. Stay with me here…it’s all going to come together, I promise.


Ganesha is the elephant-headed son of Lord Siva. (If you want me to write a blog about how he got his elephant head, comment below). He is known as the “remover of obstacles.” But he doesn’t just remove obstacles, he can also place obstacles in our path. Ganesha reigns over our beginnings, our changes, earthly decisions & problems – always there when needed. Ganesha is the god closest to the earthly plane, making him the easiest to access. Ganesha also stands for the thresholds, whenever we are at a threshold, and we need to peek over, Ganesha is there, peeking with us.


Here’s the fun part, the biggest obstacle we all navigate: Ourselves. I am my own biggest obstacle. Our thoughts, our drama, our ideas about what should and shouldn’t be...These are the biggest obstacles. Thoughts of not-enoughness. Thoughts of Doubt. Fear. Thoughts, of, “I have to be on vacation to feel peaceful and calm.”  What thoughts hold you back? How can embodying the myth of Ganesha help you with your thoughts, doubts, fears? In the yogic tradition, you are every character and every character is you. Therefore, how can you embody Ganesha to remove the obstacles (thoughts) that keep you from your vacation bliss?Imagine you embody Ganesha...... 


Ganesha of course has large, elephant ears. These ears allow him to listen, deeply, and tune in to the subtlest of clues. What if you listened deeply to your inner voice? Every day? Tuning into your inner wisdom and tuning out the ego. Ganesha has a large, twisted elephant trunk. The trunk represents the path of life, with all its twists and turns. Ganesha would no more straighten out his trunk than Shirley Temple would straighten out her curls. Why? Because twists and turns in life are inevitable. They are part of the dance. Part of Ganesha’s own face. What if we embraced each twist and turn as not good or bad, but, inevitable? Designed for our own delight? How would that look? Ganesha also has a large, pot belly:  “Lambodara” (Meaning “pot belly”).  His belly represents the universe, the whole cosmos. The teaching is similar to “as above so below.” Meaning everything that is without is also within. What if you considered life as a mirror for your own inner world? Your own worst fears and deepest desires? How would it be if you could find yourself in everything the Universe offers you? Ganesha carries a noose in one hand. He can use the noose to either hold you close, or capture your obstacles and confine them. What if you decided, today, to hold your loved ones close, all the time, and take things you perceive as obstacles: Scarcity, doubt, fear….and trap them in a noose and hold them at arm’s length. Inspect them and see them for what they are, merely thoughts in your way. Neither good nor bad. Just obstacles to be captured or, stricken with the Goad that Ganesha holds in his other hand. You see, Ganesha can capture obstacles with is noose OR strike them down with his goad. What will you do with your biggest obstacles (meaning the thoughts that serve you the LEAST). Capture? Hold Close? Strike? Repel? The choices are endless.


And one last thing…Ganesha’s noose is not just for capturing obstacles. He can also capture blessings. So how about this, hold your loved ones close, capture your blessings, acknowledge your obstacles and decide: Capture? Hold Close? Strike? Repel?


And remember, you are your own biggest obstacle.



OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA - The Mantra used to invoke Ganesha

(One possible Meaning: I bow down to Ganapati with all my existence and accept all his great qualities within me. )

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