Ganesha On My Mind. ~ Linda Maria Sperl

Via elephant journal
on Mar 26, 2012
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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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16 Responses to “Ganesha On My Mind. ~ Linda Maria Sperl”

  1. ValCarruthers says:

    I too love Ganesha and the philosophy of wabi-sabi. Now I also love the way you have woven them together.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  3. entrpreneur says:

    Wow I so liked reading your blog. I’m thinking about writing my own blog in the near future Best Wishes.

  4. Linda Maria says:

    This is my first post here at elephant and I wanted to say how joyful I am that I was given the opportunity to share my story with you (Thank you Tanya!) !I I would also like to thank Susanna Harwood Rubin for her incredible teachings at "Writing My Practice". Her wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement have truly supported my writing and helped it (and me) to grow.

  5. Teri says:

    Beautiful words and insights. Honored to be in Susanna's class with you.

  6. Linda Maria says:

    Thank you Tanya!

  7. Linda Maria says:

    Thanks! Looking forward to reading one of your posts as well!

  8. Linda Maria says:

    Grateful to you Teri! Thank you for stopping by and reading the article!

  9. […] She recognized this voice. It has visited before. It burrows deep into the throat until she thought she would faint and die if she did not scream, even a […]

  10. susus7 says:

    just yesterday I spoke with a Japanese woman and ( because of your article) asked her about the phrase "wabi-sabi". She looked at me funny at first, most likely wondering how I could have known such a term, and then described the meaning to me. She explained that it compared to the beauty of a flower blossom BEFORE it opens or just AFTER the flower dies back. Most people think of the perfection of the bloom itself being of value, but it is seeing the beauty and importance of the hope and struggle to bloom and then the letting go and reward of the fulfillment that comes after the glory.
    We can not be perfect, but we can strive to be the best possible humans we can in the way we love each other and share the hope in us. Being created in the image of God is an awesome responsibility. We have chances every day to choose our path and what we make of the gift of the life that has been given to us. We are imperfect on the inside and the outside and we should not judge each other because of any perceived or known faults.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stories through your writings. Although I can not relate to a statue of a half man half animal, I appreciate the message of your article. And there is such beauty in being caught between two cultures ! Because of your back ground and experiences, it has shaped you to become the unique and beautiful person that you are..Wabi- Sabi !!!!

  11. Janice says:

    my dear friend from yoga teacher training, I just love your words and I am SO glad to read your piece. You have such a gift for words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words.

  12. Linda Maria says:

    Wow! I love the story that your acquaintance shared wtih you about the beauty of the flower in all of its phases. So, so true, really. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Linda Maria says:

    How wonderful to see you here Janice! Thank you for your sweet encouragement! With deep gratitude, Linda

  14. Katy S says:

    Linda, Thank you for yet again giving me something to ponder and think about. I have never heard of this story or the Wabi-Sabi. I can totally relate to how you have experienced the world. I too often have missed out on an experience because I was afraid to engage and do whatever "it" was wrong or not be good (perfect) at it. What a wonderful way to look at un-sticking ones self to move into a world of opportunities and do them all imperfectly perfect. Love, Katy PS Congratulations on being published.

  15. […] held that statue for a long time, knowing that only the love of a mother could match the […]

  16. How did I miss this earlier? Or did I? I just wrote a Ganesh story & it linked to your article in the "If you liked this.." area! YAY! I remember this piece & loved your thoughtfulness & as ever, your sensibility. Post a link to this in a comment under my piece!
    And send me your links! xox