Ganesha is the elephant-headed Hindu deity, who is commonly known as the remover of obstacles. He and his energy have been on my mind a lot in the last week.
More properly, Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles; not only does he remove them, but he also creates them. It is this aspect of Ganesha’s energy that has captured my attention.
Three weeks ago, I started a new job. My reasons for accepting it were largely to position myself better financially for my transition into the practice massage and meditation, to avoid the issue of having faith that the universe will provide for me as I jump off a precipice into the unknown, to try to make the transition a little more secure and a little less scary. Trust, or faith, is a weak area for me, and delaying this transition seemed to me buy time to work on that issue.
A week into the job, I knew I had made a wrong decision. Not being one to act impulsively, I decided to give it another week, just in case it might get better. A week ago, last Saturday, I decided to quit. Never in my life – not since I was old enough to legally work – have I been without a source of income. Whole parts of my identity are tied up in “being a socially responsible citizen” which includes being self-supporting (by means of a job, since I’m not lucky enough to have won the lottery).
The decision, even a week later, feels wild and a little reckless and at the same time solidly right. How can something that superficially appears so wrong feel in my heart so right? It’s as if I have thrown my gauntlet down and challenged the universe: Bring it on.
And so my attention settles on Ganesha, Lord of Obstacles. Merriam-Webster defines an obstacle as “something that impedes progress or achievement, something that blocks your path.” My idea of financial security was an obstacle, an idea that I hid inside of the safety of, and now that obstacle has been removed from my path. I’ve jumped off that precipice into the unknown. The crumbling bits of that idea that are stuck in the skin of my grasping hands are useless on my path forward.
From my perspective, not having an income is also an obstacle, but it is an obstacle that creates fire and drive and demands that I overcome it, instead of hiding inside of the safety of an idea. The job I had would have left me with neither time nor energy to fully purse massage or teaching meditation. Now I have time and energy, and the motivation, to make my time and energy fruitful. There is not enough safety or certainty to be lazy, and so Ganesh has given me a double-whammy: one obstacle gone, another created. The challenge: to build a path forward that is true to this passion, and trust that it will be enough.