It’s 6am, and the alarm across the room is going off. My strategy is that if I place my iPhone far away from the bed, I will not hit the snooze button and roll back asleep. I travel often and sometimes wake up not knowing exactly where I am. However, this time, I am staying in a familiar location, knowing the bedroom’s geography well enough to see in the dark.
Rather than flicking on the sobering overhead lights, I decide to use the more subtle natural light cast by my smart phone to make my way towards the bathroom when BAM, I smack into the wall! Not half-assed but full-faced, my nose cushions the impact. Completely stunned, my first thought is “who put this wall in my path?” Now rudely awoken, I flip on the overhead lights to see that I missed the bathroom doorway by a full foot.
With a swollen nose and a crushing headache, I asked myself: how often am I walking into walls believing them to be doorways?
Have you been walking into a situation that has limits, whether obvious or not? Are you moving through thresholds that seem beneficial which end up being conditional and detrimental? And when might your perceived barriers turn out to be the perfect thing to be Ganesha is the elephant-headed Hindu deity who represents thresholds, where we transition from one place to the next. In India, he is placed at the front doorway. He is known as the remover of obstacles, as well as the placer of them. You can choose to embrace the challenges and find the gem hidden within and the bowl of sweets at the end of his trunk. Or you may continue to walk into walls offering the same lesson over and over again. Also known as Ganapati, this “big elephant in the room” offers the chance to practice shifting perspective. Barriers can be physical, mental, or emotional. And Ganesha invites you to see them both as a hinderance and a help, depending on your point of view.
Turning obstacles into opportunities and transmuting breakdowns into breakthroughs is a main component of the yoga practice. This endeavor can be anything but comfortable. Thresholds are not about “shoulding” your way through that which is expected, but rather choosing to venture into the unknown or the scary. This takes courage, trust, and loads of self-connection, and sometimes the occasional aspirin.
According to the pagan tradition, Halloween is the transition into a new year. The fall season reminds you to collect all the fruits of your year’s labor and the lessons learned, holding on to those illuminative lessons as you segue into the darker season. When you ascertain if and how to move forward, you can plant those seeds of wisdom into the fertile autumnal soil.
If you feel like you keep being confronted by the same hurdles or repeating situations, perhaps you are not quite ready to shift just yet into what’s next. Patience and presence are both needed to get a clear message. Walking into walls can help you emerge quickly from a sleep state. The harder the hit, the more impactful the message. Enjoy the wake up call.