This week is the celebration of the Hindu god Ganesha’s birthday. Ganesha is one of the more widely known deities because of his elephant head. He is known as the remover of obstacles.
The story of Ganesha is a super sweet one. To celebrate his birthday in India, huge statues of the elephant god are constructed, paraded through the streets and then at the end of the holiday they are immersed in a river to represent the God returning to his home. I connected with his story when I first went to Bali 14 years ago and brought home a little one-tusked elephant statue: Ganesha. As Ganesha removes any potential obstacles he enables us to succeed in our endeavors.
I’ve been celebrating Ganesh Chaturhi here in New York at Broome Street Temple. Listening to the sanskrit being chanted and watching the pujas, or ceremonies, helped crystallize a theory that has taken over my thoughts lately. Obstacles can take many forms - literal, metaphorical, emotional, theoretical. And if an obstacle is being removed, what takes its place? Us! There will be plenty of room for us to step forward and get in the path of the success, good fortune, blessings, and grace that is coming our way.
The universe is full of opportunity flying around ready to land on someone. Why not you? Why not me? Often times we play it safe, we stay small. We even hide behind our obstacles. We get so attached to them we can hardly imagine what life would be like if they weren’t there. I believe there is only one Lisa Adams, (actually there are 2 others that I know, a famous artist and a sweet prison warden that found me on Facebook whose life purpose is to find all of the Lisa Adams in the world, but there’s only one me) so I better be as big and bold as I can so what is meant for me won’t pass me by.
I believe good magnetizes good. I think we can help Ganesha push some obstacles aside by being proud of our accomplishments, even brag about them a little bit. It will stir up the energy of success and attract more good. It will also help with our inner obstacles of our belief systems. You know, the things we tell ourselves, “I’m too old, too short, too loud, not enough this, etc.” My prayers to Ganesha this year are for him to quiet my inner obstacles, so I can show up. I want to show up better for others, I want to show up for the next opportunity. I want to inspire people, I want to make my parents proud. I want to show up for myself.
Ganesha’s birthday is celebrated all week long. Whatever we believe or practice, we can all benefit from a week of pondering our obstacles, making wishes, praying for others, making offerings and special requests to the universe. This is a holiday of renewal!
Like me, Ganesha has a sweet tooth. He is known to gobble up sweet treats called modak and ladoos, rich snacks made of jaggery and coconut. I've made my own sweet offering to the elephant god this week.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, plus a few more
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Line the pan with crackers, all touching and fit together like a puzzle. Break some in half to fit the last little row. Melt the sugar and butter in a sauce pan on the stove until bubbly. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread with a spatula to generously coat them. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes. The caramel will still be bubbling. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the top. Let sit for 30 seconds until the chips begin to melt and then spread them to cover the whole pan with chocolate. Stick the pan in the freezer for an hour until the chocolate hardens. Remove from freezer and break into pieces. Store the candy in an airtight bag or container and store in the freezer until you are ready to serve.
*Learn more about Gene Manuel's art at http://www.gene-manuelart.com