The Hindu religion tells the story of Lord Ganesh, lord of success and destroyer of evil and pride.
The story goes that the goddess Parvati created a boy out of the dirt of her body and told him to guard the entrance of her house while she bathed.
When her husband, Lord Shiva, came home, the boy Ganesh would not let him in, like he was instructed. Unimpressed and growing madder and madder as the boy continued to refuse him entry, he took a sword and in his rage, cut the boy's head off.
When Parvati saw what had happened she broke down in grief, for she loved this boy as her son. To make amends, Shiva sent his guards out to search the lands for a any child who was sleeping facing north, not facing his mother.
The guards returned with the severed head of an elephant.
Lord Shiva started to protest but Parvati stepped in. It didn't matter if Ganesh had the head of an elephant, he was her son, and she would love him, no matter what he looked like.
It is a reminder that we should not judge others by appearances. And this is the biggest take away from my weekend yoga retreat at Swami's.
The place was not luxurious, the reviews were less than encouraging, and Swami, her son Sanjay and Gavin the masseuse did not on first glance appear to be the gurus/mentors/spiritual guides we were looking for.
I could not have been more wrong. The weekend was enriching, nurturing and relaxing. The people were warm, welcoming and insightful.
Sure there were some funny moments, when dear Swami who seems to be suffering the ailments of old age told the same stories over and over, when she almost forgot to feed us dinner and when we were woken every 15 minutes by smoke alarms with low batteries.
But when the retreat was over, I felt something had shifted. And I left feeling clearer and calmer. I left feeling loved. I don't think I will forget my weekend at Swami's.
(Image via Pinterest)