When packing up my desk on my last day before retirement, I scooped up a small statue of Ganesha. He had been placed there many years before, in such a way that he was continually in my line of sight. I’ve always felt drawn to Ganesha, although I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was the elephant head, the cute rat at his feet or that he always looked so happy. I knew a bit about his attributes so when I felt like obstacles were constantly being thrown in my path, professionally and personally, turning to Ganesha for some much needed help just felt right.
If you are not familiar with Ganesha, he is the Hindu God of success, wealth, the remover of obstacles, and on the flip side, can place obstacles in your path should you become vain and overly ambitious. He is called upon when beginning any new venture, such as a new project or business. Unbeknownst to me before I began writing this blog, he is also seen as the patron of authors. How cool is that?
Ganesha sat there on my desk, day after day, looking out over the chaos that was my work life. I would silently talk to him, asking that he move the obstacles in my path so I could move ahead, get out of my current job, become the writer and witch I needed to be. He would sit there, smiling, his eyes seeming to sparkle, but he never answered. Or so I thought.
One particularly bad day I excused myself and went into the restroom. Seeing that no one else was there, I entered a stall and promptly began to cry. Not just a little, but big gut wrenching sobs. Ganesha, I thought, why did I feel blocked at every turn? Why did I feel so bad, so stressed, so done? I wanted, no needed, to be out of that place but I kept hitting a proverbial brick wall. Suddenly a picture of a caricature me flashed before my inner eye. In the vision I stood, trowel and mortar board in hand, in front of a tall red brick wall. Slowly my cartoon self looked up just as the bricks began to break free from the highest point of the wall. They fell, cartoon style, on my head as a dialog balloon popped up, filled with $%&* (cartoon cursing). My tears dried up and I began to laugh. Loudly, nearly hysterically.
Drying my eyes and composing myself, I exited the stall, realizing that I’d just received a rather poignant, if not comical, message. The world wasn’t giving me obstacles, I was building them myself. Wow, talk about an “AHA” moment. I’d been looking at the big picture all wrong. The obstacles weren’t something that the Universe had placed in front of me, they were of my own making. I sent up a silent “thank you” to Ganesha and went back in to work.
Sitting down at my desk and smiling at the happy statue once again in front of me, I jotted down what had just happened. I did my best to identify those obstacles I’d built and then some ideas on how I would go about demolishing my obstacles. Needless to say the list was quite lengthy. Once finished, I felt an incredible weight lift off of my shoulders. I had a list and a plan. As any Virgo knows, those two things are what get us off our butts and moving forward. Every. Single. Day.
That evening, list and plan in hand, I began taking that edifice down brick by brick. It took several weeks, a lot of research, number crunching and soul-searching, but cracks began to appear in the wall. When all was prepared I sat down for a long talk with the husband, four different spreadsheets in hand, each with a different scenario and budget carefully planned out. I was going to retire – not quit – my current job, and write and teach full time. He looked them over, picked one, and my wall tumbled down.
Since I have retired Ganesha has received an honored place on my bedroom altar, the altar I look to every morning. He reminds me to be careful of what I am building in my life. Do my plans keep me happy, my options open and energy flowing? Or have I become the architect of a new wall, constructing another obstacle to once again trap myself in a situation or place I could have easily moved around? I am hoping I have learned my lesson and retired my trowel and mortar for good. If not, I know Ganesha is there, ready to teach me another lesson in obstacle demolition.