My shortcut to the grocery store this last year had road closures and detours as they built a new bridge. I’ve had to allow for extra commute time each time I go. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I get frustrated that it’s taking so long, but other times I think about what the experience is teaching me. For one, I’ve gained a better sense of alternate routes and an appreciation of different areas in my community. I’m seeing more of the world, as a friend put it. But I’ve also gained immense gratitude for my usual shortcut and eagerly anticipate its opening. As I pondered the situation, I thought about other areas of life where obstacles are presented and what they are here to teach us.
Do you have an obstacle you are presently facing? How are you approaching it? From a negative place of resentment or fear, or are you open to the positive aspects and the potential growth? Some obstacles are meant to challenge you, and others are there to push you. How about those obstacles that are there to test you? Overachievers and people pleasers, this one’s for you- the obstacles that force you to lighten your load. Right?
We get so caught up in the obstacle and trying to get past it to return to some form of normalcy that we often fail to recognize the lesson. Do you know what happens then? We either suffer because we resist what is, OR we will see the obstacle in a different flavor until we learn the lesson.
Looking back on your life, I’m sure you’ve faced many obstacles. The small ones prepare you for the bigger ones, wouldn’t you agree? And the more difficult the obstacle is, the stronger you are when you finally overcome them. But man, is it a bear when you are in the middle of one. And what about the ones that are just too big? They are impossible to overcome. What happens? It forces you to choose something different.
I remember one of my big obstacles that forced me onto a new path. It was 2001, and I was climbing the corporate ladder as hard as possible. Relationships, health, fun – everything went on the back burner. I was pure focus. Then 9/11 happened, and it was a wake-up call. I think many people during that time took a second look at what was important in life and realized how fragile things were and how everything could change instantly.
I wasn’t prepared for the changes that came after that day, but I can tell you I am much stronger for it. And in hindsight, the change in direction was a blessing in disguise because I was on the wrong path.
What obstacles have you encountered that forced you to change who you were and where you were going? Change can be scary, especially since most of us weren’t taught to expect it. We fight like crazy to keep that status quo. Falling apart isn’t fun. Looking back on a past obstacle, I invite you to explore how your life is better for the change? In hindsight, it’s much easier to see how everything in our life has led us to this moment.
In my coaching practice, many people come seeking clarity. Maybe they’ve been through a major event like losing a loved one or a job. Perhaps they’ve been struggling with an illness or a decision that will impact their life immensely. Sometimes they want comfort in knowing they are on the right path. They are essentially back at Square One in an area of their life. You’ve heard that saying, Back to square one,” I’m sure.
Maybe they are seeking their purpose or want to understand the reason for the struggle they are experiencing. Regardless of why they come, I share the change cycle with them based on the matrix Martha Beck shares in her book Finding Your Own North Star . In her book, she shares the first square; everything is a mess, and it’s like starting over.
And a good metaphor is the caterpillar. To become a butterfly, it withdraws into its chrysalis, that cocoon-like home. When it’s in there, you know what happens? It completely breaks down. The conditions are ideal for preparing for the next phase for it to emerge as a butterfly. The caterpillar turns into a liquid soup. Square one isn’t comfortable. It involves surrendering and letting go of everything you thought you knew before you can move on. Martha has an excellent mantra for Square One “ I don’t know what the hell is going on, and that’s ok.” I love it.
So when you hit an obstacle and are back at square one, you can sit defeated. You can wallow in self-pity. Or, you can figure out a way over or around it. Much more positive, right?
Today, I’d like to share a few ways to make change and life obstacles less painful.
One way to prepare for overcoming obstacles is to gain clarity, and that involves getting still and quiet. You need to insulate your body and mind from chaos, negativity, and stress so your true self, or your higher self, whichever way you phrase it, can point the way around the obstacle. Instead of dwelling on fears, hopes, and uncertainty, focus on the present moment. The secret is you become what you think, so change your thoughts around the circumstances.
The next step to making obstacles less painful to overcome is nurturing and protecting yourself along the way. Rest, recover. Wrap yourself in a blanket, and make yourself some tea – or some hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.:) Take a bath. Do what you need to comfort yourself. We talk about the physical body in the clarity club and how it is so interconnected to our mind and spirit. Change is hard on the physical body, so care for it.
The third step is to comfort the mind. The best way to do this is to talk to others that have been through a similar change. Whether that’s friends, family, a colleague, a physician, or even doing clarity Coaching with an experienced coach. For every thought in your mind is a reaction in the body and vice versa, so in addition to taking care of your body, you also want to take care of your mind.
The other thing about obstacles and change is you are usually leaving something behind. Not all obstacles and changes are bad. It can be positive too. You may be starting a new job or a new relationship. You are still leaving something behind. And there might be some grief around the old life, the good old days.
A friend was telling me about a recent surgery she had. It was a positive change with many health benefits, but she said she was “blue in the shoes” for three days. Allowing yourself to grieve and experience the feeling will help it pass much more quickly. I’ve talked about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor in previous episodes and how she says the body takes 90 seconds to chemically go through an emotion. Allow yourself to cycle through the feeling as many times as you need to. Relax and trust the process because you are on the right path.
As I leave you today, I hope you understand obstacles are necessary to get us where we want to go. They can involve radical change and lifelong transformation or be a little nudge to get you to look at things differently. Either way, in the process, we either learn something new or get set on a completely different path.
Change is part of life; even in positive situations, it involves being kind to ourselves to get through. Acknowledge that. Stop being hard on yourself. Realize this is part of your journey and know it’s ok to throw your hands up and say, “I don’t know what the hell is going on, and that’s ok.”
Until next week I invite you to find a bit of stillness in your day and know that an obstacle may break you down, but it also prepares you for a breakthrough. If you want guidance as you go through your breakthrough, contact me at https://truebasishealth.com/clarity-coaching-2/