The story of Ganesha fascinated me.
So much so, that I went out before my trip to purchase a Ganesha for my home altar and one for my pocket. When I was at the shop, my eyes caught a view of a Ganesha in the showcase. There, almost out of view and in the shadows, it stood. I fell in love with it. The vendor came over to remark on the beauty of it. I nodded. In the spirit of honesty, however, he gently pointed out a tiny imperfection in the Ganesha. There, at the crown of his elephant head. So small, that I hadn’t even noticed it until his truthfulness exposed its secret. I was disappointed. I had wanted that Ganesha, but now the small, broken chip marred it. I looked at other Ganesha statues in the showcase, but I didn’t see any that caught my attention or my heart like this one. My eyes kept returning to the imperfect one. The vendor saw my attachment to it and offered a discount. The gesture was kind, but I was still hesitating.
Why buy a “not as good as new” Ganesha?
But something kept my feet firmly planted in front of that showcase. That something told me that this was the Ganesha for me. As much as my mind kept resisting, my heart kept its focus on the imperfect statuette. Then, quite suddenly really, two words fluttered from my lips: Wabi-Sabi. And my spirit knew. Wabi-Sabi is my theme word for 2012. It is a Japanese concept that implies the idea of “the beauty of imperfection.” It is an acceptance of what is and the simplicity and elegance of all things not perfect.
I had chosen Wabi-Sabi as a word guide for this year because much of the time my personal history prevented movement because of those required desires of perfection: the best, the most timely, the perfect word, the right moment, the absolute certainty that this is ‘the’ right answer. The list could go on and on. It is a rut that blocks movement of any kind. That Ganesha in me does not allow me to move through the threshold. I become locked in the space between two worlds. I stay there, in the doorway and shadows, but there is not much to see, experience, and love. I stay, waiting.
There in the tiny Indian shop, Wabi-Sabi lit up this Ganesha, two cultures, Japanese and Indian, connecting my spirit to both.
My mind wandered in and in and remembered. My childhood was a lot like that. Raised by ‘off the boat’ parents in an American culture, I had often felt poised in the doorway of both cultures, Waiting to choose. As a child, feeling un-whole if one did not include the other, and feeling imperfect in both. It had taken me years to bring them together in who I am today. Some days, the memory of that struggle reappears. Like now, in that little Indian shop.
That statuette sits on my home altar now. Waiting and ready to break through the next barriers that silently surround me. Wabi-Sabi will be my light, my guide. Teaching me to look and see the beauty and uniqueness of all that is imperfect—and this amazing Ganesha, with the chip in its head? It will propel me through that door, not waiting anymore. And it will be imperfectly perfect.
Linda Maria Sperl is a practicing yogini who believes in the deep, healing powers of women’s intuition, yoga, writing, and the moon. She teaches a gentle, meditative yoga flow and weaves poetry, journaling, philosophy, and breath consciousness into her yoga classes. She believes that a yoga practice is a spiritual journey and strives to create themes that are nourishing and soothing to the soul. Linda Maria is deeply grateful for the practice of yoga and the enriching experiences it has given her in life. She lives in New York with her amazing hubby Rich and Sophie, her sweet, little cocker spaniel.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul
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