Flowing around Obstacles

Sometimes when I encounter an obstacle I sit down and say, “That’s it. I’m done. Thwarted.” I treat challenges like a 50-foot brick wall with no handholds – insurmountable, daunting, and immovable. However, lately the new metaphor I’m working with is a rock in a river.

Have you seen boulders in rivers? The water just moves around them, changing direction, perhaps slowing down a little, but it keeps going. That metaphor is pertinent to my life right now because as I’m starting my business, I hear a lot of “no’s” or rather I don’t hear anything at all. Instead of wallowing – OK, I’m wallowing a little – I’m moving on. I mean, I have feelings about it. Every “no” stings, but I also say, “On to the next one.” Not only am I hearing “no’s,” but I feel a bit blocked because I want to show people an example of my service, but it doesn’t exist yet online. However, in order to entice people to work with me, I want to show them a sample so I’m in a bit a catch-22. What did I do? I interviewed a friend of mine who is under chiropractic care and as soon as she approves the text, I’ll post it to my own website. Moving around obstacles baby!

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Look at how the water moves around this rock. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

My spiritual teacher says obstacles are helping forces. I don’t know if I believe that, except I notice obstacles keep my mind sharp. I’m flexing my creative muscle and becoming more resourceful, so there’s that. I’m also learning and growing in ways I never anticipated so maybe obstacles are helping forces? My spiritual teacher also says, “When one sets out to complete a great task, innumerable difficulties must be confronted. The greater the task, the mightier the obstacles. That is why the person who wants to perform noble deeds must be ready to face opposition from the very outset. Those who are not prepared for these mighty obstacles begin to falter and ultimately surrender in the face of opposition.”

I certainly understand that. It’s easier to give up, to give in, especially when the obstacles are vast. I told you at the beginning of this post sometimes challenges feel like a 50-foot brick wall. But again, what I’m learning is how to circumnavigate obstacles, and I think we as a society are learning the same thing. The government not providing enough money in the form of aid? Start a fundraiser. Too much trash on the beach? Clean it up yourself. I could write pages and pages about the delinquency of government and how individuals and nonprofit organizations stepping in demonstrates the government’s inefficiency, but that’s another post for another day. What I want to focus on today is how nothing is as insurmountable as we think.

I read stories all the time of people accomplishing seemingly impossible things. A quadriplegic painting using their mouth, for instance, or a mother lifting a car to save her child. Living beings show their resilience every day as well as their cooperation and that’s something I find inspiring in these challenging times. May we all learn to flow around our obstacles and help one another when it feels too great.

I dream of a world where we flow around our obstacles like a river around a rock. A world where we realize obstacles are temporary stumbling blocks, and when they’re not, when they challenge us for too long, we link up with others and ask for help, or push to make greater changes in society. A world where we understand sometimes we move past an obstacle quickly and sometimes slowly, but in the end we do move past it.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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