The Obstacle is the Gift
You only get obstacles when you are moving forward.
I had to remind myself of this today.
If you want to hear the full podcast version of this, it is on my podcast, No Worries Wednesdays. That link is here.
I was determined to record a meditation and realized quickly that over the July 4th weekend in the States I was going to have to be very strategic about my timing.
I decided that the most strategic location would be inside of my closet with the door closed and I would read my meditation script off of one screen while I simultaneously recorded directly to my audio program.
The closet was less than the ideal location to record a peaceful meditation. It was dark and hot and I could barely breathe. It was ridiculous. I shifted gears and took a chance on recording in my bedroom with the door shut to the world outside. I could breathe again!
Somehow the timing of this recording was in perfect alignment with the flight schedule of the airport and at that moment every airplane in Chicago chose to fly over the sky just above my home. Hoping the recording would not pick up on that sound I persisted. I paused after a few minutes to make sure the sound was unaffected but unfortunately, after instructing my audience to take a deep breath in, there was a huge thunderous sound to accompany the request. Sigh. I had to redo the recording.
I had to go back into the closet. It was the only way.
I decided to go back into my makeshift sound booth and found it was somehow not as bad as it was a few minutes ago (pure self brainwashing here). I was ready to go.
"Meeeeeeow Meeeeeeow Meeeeeeeow…." All of a sudden my cat is crying out for food 3 hours before dinner. His shrill voice nearly sends me over the edge as I stop the recording for the 9876th time. I pick him up and bring him to another side of the home where I can shut him in a room with everything he needs as I pray for peace.
I begin the recording again and am finding an internal zen I never even knew I had at this point. The recording is going well. The words are flowing, only a few mistakes I can easily edit later and only a few desperate gasps for air on the side.
I reach the part of the creative visualization where the listener would be surrounded by nature feeling the warm wind in the air. It is at this moment when my upstairs neighbor, who is usually the quietest person on the planet, decides to rearrange furniture directly above my head.
Honestly, it's me who needs the meditation now. I pause. I wait for the noise to end and finally reach the end of the recording.
By the end of this experience, I realized a few things.
One: I need to move.
Two: my resolve is enormous.
I glanced at the possibility of quitting today so many times. But I would have been disappointed in myself if I had not achieved my goal. I was faced with obstacle after obstacle and each came with a decision: find a way or find an exit. I consistently found a way.
I think it is an important story because it is about self-invention and the decision to consistently commit to creating yourself. There will always be obstacles and unforeseen challenges when you are growing because by sheer definition growth involves change and stepping into the unknown. You can't plan for what you don't know.
By giving up and resigning to your obstacles you allow yourself to remain where you. You are committing to your plateau, not your growth. But by overcoming your obstacles are you fully moving forward. You are moving towards growth and the birth of the new self.
The feeling of determination within me today came from facing my restrictions. What started as a goal became a mission. The obstacles I met today cultivated a deeper sense of tenacity that I will utilize as I move towards new goals.
Often the obstacle is the weight that builds the muscle you are going to need to reach the next part of the journey. Who you are today and who you will be tomorrow are not the same. Aspects of yourself that fully develop later are being born and tested now.
No matter how small or large the obstacle it is a catalyst to the growth you need on the path to becoming your next self.
This reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago about a scientist and a butterfly:
A scientist was working in his lab growing butterflies. While most cocoons in the lab opened successfully revealing new butterflies, he noticed there was a chrysalis with life inside of it appearing to struggle.
He knew inside the cocoon was a butterfly trying to emerge but after watching it suffer for hours he decided to help. He cut a hole into the cocoon intending to help the butterfly easily slip through and fly free.
The butterfly did crawl out but its success had been altered. The butterfly's body was bloated and its wings were shrivelled. It was unable to fly and died soon after.
The scientist had wanted to help ease the struggle of the insect by making its journey more comfortable. What he didn't realize was that it is the struggle to emerge from the cocoon that eventually frees the butterfly. Through that enormous challenge, the butterfly develops the strength it needs to fly.
While it may be easier to choose the path of comfort or ease, it is not what makes us stronger, more resilient, and ready for growth. Like the butterfly in the story, we need to face and overcome our challenges so that we not only have the strength to fly but the power to rise higher and higher.
How about you? I would love to know what new sky you are moving towards and what is giving your wings new strength right now.
Ps: If you want to hear that meditation, check out my page on Insight Timer. It should be there soon.