Obstacles for Change

obstacle9.jpgI have been sick this week with a never-ending virus…   I’ve had an on going fever and headache, and haven’t felt up to doing much of anything.  Luckily, I’m off from work in the summer and can rest.  It got me thinking about something though.

The last thing you want to do when you feel terrible is go to a bright crowded place like the grocery store.  My sweet brother did bring me some essentials for the first few days that I had a fever (soup, pop-cycles, etc).  When that ran out and I was still sick, I didn’t want to bother my friends or family that are near by too much.  (side note: living alone is mainly wonderful, until you are sick)

I decided that I would have to make do with the food that I already had at home until I felt better.  I’m sure you’ve said it before too, “I have nothing to eat”.  And sometimes that truly is the case, but most of the time not.  Instead of convenience, I decided to finish up cooking my veggies, made rice and beans, and tried out that butternut squash soup.   PLENTY to eat!

This is just a small example of something special about obstacles that push us towards something better for us.  Whether that be more awareness, softness, appreciation, drive, creativity, invention, etc.  The thing about these obstacles is that we have to be more allowing of them, instead of being resistant or getting taken over.

When things are easy or always go smoothly, we don’t have to learn.  We can stay in auto pilot mode.  This safe and comfortable mode of being is fine and needed, but I think that we become our best and most resilient self, when we face challenges.

These challenges don’t have to be terribly difficult things, but sometimes they are.  And sometimes the challenges we bring on ourselves, and other times we have no control.   Did I forget to put gas in the car and now I’m stranded?  Now I can learn how important it is to be responsible for myself and be aware of my surroundings.   Did someone I love lose their job?  Now I can be supportive in whatever they need.  Instant increase in awareness and empathy in those situations.

This openness to learning from obstacles allows for the greatest and most genuine growth.  It’s the resistance that I mentioned that constricts the mind and body and tries to keep you from being in the reality of the present moment and keeps you from moving forward.

This week I had no control over being sick (Obstacle #1).  I did however create a new obstacle for myself of not going to the grocery store (Obstacle #2).  I could have very well dragged myself to the store to stock up, but part of me knew that I needed to use what I already had.  I wanted to see if I could do it.  Instant increase in self reliance and appreciation for what I have.

Can we create obstacles in our lives to help us grow?  Would we even want to do that?? Would we decide not fill our car up with gas, so that we were forced to ride our bike to work? Would we decide not to use the internet for a week (maybe just outside of work if that is needed) so that we can choose genuine interaction?  Would we be willing to initiate a difficult conversation with someone, in order to help move things in a more positive direction?

Whether you have an obstacle in your life that you did or did not put there, it’s important to remember that the goal is to be open to learning from them.  Take a deep breath and allow yourself to find your way through.  You are still you, but you are a stronger you.