You ever do something and then think to yourself, “that was totally nuts and maybe I should keep it a secret?” Well I had one of those moments today, but thankfully I have my blog to spill the beans to you my dear readers. I am looking at this post as a moment of satya and a way of reminding us all to listen to what is “best” for yourself rather than worrying what others might say.
I received this beautiful Ganehsa statue from a dear friend. However several months after I got it, I noticed that the end of the trunk was broken off and was missing. Now Ganesha’s trunk symbolizes viveka (discrimination) and often is thought to be of symbol of OM. My Ganehsa had a broken OM and that bothered me EVERY time I looked at it. I kept wondering if there was some bad juju that was connected to a damaged Ganesha statue, and this thought would not go away from my festering brain.
Today, I found several sources on-line saying that it was bad luck to keep a broken Ganesha in your house and that you needed to get rid of it in a respectful way. All sites said to wrap the statue in red cloth and release it (wishing it good luck on its journey) in a river or body of water. A hour later I grabbed that statue, wrapped it in a red piece of cloth along with some rice and chocolate for the journey and dropped it in a river by my house. The minute I let go I felt a mixture of relief (whew bad juju vamoosing) and insanity (did I really just drive to do this??).
Whether or not I just lost a cool statue or cleared my house of some bad luck omen I was listening at that moment to what I felt I needed to do. Practicing yoga in your own way is really no different. You need to pay attention to what works for you (what feels good in your body, your mind and your spirit) and make that part of your yoga whether someone else thinks it is poppy cock or not.
Several of my students come to my classes and those of another teacher. Both of us approach the mat from a place of safety and spirit, but we teach certain poses differently. The cues, the alignment and the sequencing might be completely at odds, but our intentions are really the same. My students who study with both of us understandably can be confused as to which “way” is correct. So I tell them to try everything they are offered and find the place that is right whether it fits with what either of us told them or not. Their practice, and all of ours, is to let go of the need to find the perfect way to do a pose and instead find a way to do the poses that are perfect for them.
In reality this message is no different whether you are talking yoga or tossing a Ganesha statue into a river. Both require you to look at what will make you feel at home, at ease and in a space where you are you. No practice or moment is perfection for everyone, but as yogis it is our job to find the path to the one that is right for us.
So sitting now writing with my satya and my story, I know that what I did in that moment was perfect for me. Watching that Ganesha packaged respectfully with sweets and blessings, floating along the river in his red wrapping was the right thing for me to do.
If listening to my truth makes me crazy, then crazy I am.
p.s. If you know whether or not this is true (bad luck and damaged statues) let me know…