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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Our Obstacles

Hokkaido, Japan
Our obstacles are our problems. They are what stand in our way to an easy life. Our obstacles make our life difficult, and we just know, that the day we manage to get rid of them all, everything will be so much better...or will it?

Obstacles really have a bad rap. Life's burdens. Our crosses. (Someone once announced that I was his cross...don´t ask).

The very connotation of obstacle is something grim, gloomy, foreboding, awful, and the dictionary tells us that it is a barrier and a hindrance, an impediment, an interference, a difficulty and an inconvenience.

And yet, obstacles, by their very nature, precisely because they must be overcome if we are to surmount them, offer an innate opportunity. If we allow ourselves to view obstacles from another standpoint, we might just come to the conclusion that obstacles are our friends.

Huh?

Yes. Our friends. That old business about every cloud having a silver lining...there is actually some merit in it. If you can look at your obstacles as opportunities for growth, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that you will find something of value in your moment of difficulty, and furthermore, you may even find that in some measure, the obstacle proves easier to overcome than others in the past, simply because of this new viewpoint.

When my mother died when I was 19, while I was traveling abroad without the faintest idea that she was even ill, I was hurled headfirst into a bottomless black pit of gut-wrenching despair. I thought at first that I would never come back out of it. I imagined her having known that she was dying of a very fast-moving cancer, letting me go on my trip, taking the decision not to tell me so that I did not have to watch her die, and I felt myself tear into pieces. I could not imagine that I would ever be able to leave that black subterranean place that accosted me with its ferocious pain as I woke up every morning, and held me in its gelid embrace as I fell asleep at night.

After only a few days, out of some deep place inside of me, I knew that this had to serve a greater purpose. She could not have died in the manner in which she did, without it coming to mean something valuable in my life. I had to make something of it. And I did. I began to realize the importance of the now moment. I began to appreciate the utmost wonder of every moment we have that we can share with those we love. I recognized how important it was to tell those we love that we love them. It's not enough to know that they know...it's also necessary to put it into words every so often.

Those early lessons didn't make me perfect. I fell by the wayside many times, and certainly will again, but they placed me firmly on a road from which I have not side-tracked for decades. And they taught me that all our obstacles, or our challenges, if we make the choice to view them through this new prism, can indeed become our friends, teach us important lessons about life, and thus bring us to a place where we actually live life more authentically and in a much better way.

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