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The Obstacle Is The Path

The Obstacle is the Path

This simple zen proverb proved incredibly helpful to me this week. It showed me where my invisible thinking was making life harder than it needed to be. There is so much wisdom in these 5 words for me.

Can I illustrate? It is the Easter holidays and my son is home from university. It was supposed to be a nice, relaxing time. But literally as he stepped through the door a building issue emerged. It was discovered that a thermal roof which was half fitted to the conservatory was not in fact thermal. So for 2 weeks instead of enjoying a more usable space we have been living in a building site. Then a few days again said son flooded the bathroom and gallons of water came gushing through the kitchen light fittings. Cue more building work and disruption. In the immediate aftermath of the deluge I was anything but serene.

However the still, small voice within reminded me that no matter how much damage had been done, the flood had no power to dictate what I was feeling. My feelings were being created via the thoughts I had about the event, and about what it might mean practically and financially. And in remembering that I calmed down.

I also noticed a more general tendency that I was often running in my head. A thought that, ‘It shouldn’t be this way.’  A generalised idea that everything should go smoothly, and that such problems got in the way of life. Of course you don’t need to step very far back from that to realise how naive it is to expect a life free of problems, or obstacles. It’s such a waste of life to spend time believing that ‘but for this event I would be happy.’

Coming across the proverb helped me see that I had unwittingly slipped into that toxic belief. And how much better it felt to think of these ‘obstacles’ as part of the adventure. In doing so I can see more deeply how thought creates feeling. Running a belief that, ‘it shouldn’t be this way,’ may be very human but it also saps energy big time. I’ve become much more knowledgeable about thermal glass and found some excellent tradesmen. The repairs have given me an opportunity to make environmental improvements to the lighting and finish the half painted kitchen ceiling.

If you want any assistance in seeing why a particular obstacle may be just the path you need, do get in touch.


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