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The Obstacle is the Way
November 19, 2017
Have you ever had a vision of something you want to accomplish in your life that fills you with joy and excitement? A goal that gets your heart racing? Perhaps you’ve spent long hours working on a project, new business, artistic endeavor only to find obstacle after obstacle get in your way? Have you ever felt so discouraged you just want to give up? Have you interpreted those difficulties to mean you’re just not supposed to do what you so passionately long for?
What if those obstacles weren’t there to impede your way but rather to give you wisdom and persistence? What if they were there so you could learn the true meaning of commitment?
I recently listened to a talk given by yoga teacher Anand Mehrota. He said that if he looks out his window he sees a river running by. The river doesn’t stop because a rock gets in the way. It flows over it. The river flows around trees, steering a new course as it passes by them.
The obstacles aren’t a hindrance that prevent you from reaching your goals. They are part of the journey. Perhaps they will bring you some unexpected delight if you are open to them.
This year I attended Rosh HaShana services in a new location. As I was driving I missed a turn and found myself going deeper and deeper into unknown woods. At first I was anxious and irritated. I just had to get to the services! I realized I was so busy worrying about where I wanted to be that I wasn’t enjoying what was happening in the moment.
A lovely breeze rustled over my face and body. I was in gloriously beautiful woods surrounded by old and wise trees. The river flowed by and I could hear the soothing sound of its waves. The scent of the forest and summer’s end filled my nostrils. I was immersed in profound beauty. I realized this wasn’t an obstacle at all, it was a gift!
What I had wanted to happen was much smaller than what I had been led to. I experienced a serendipitous moment when I let go of thinking it was an impediment. Instead, it was my journey.
I’m learning to appreciate unexpected bends and turns. There is so much wonder in the world, especially in things that are quite different than I imagined them to be. I’m learning to open in gratitude. And that makes all the difference.