Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good times. Bad times. It's up to me to weather the storms

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark
I took a path to well-being. It was long and circuitous, filled with giant potholes to navigate, mountains of dirt to dig through and oceans of turbulent seas to cross. And then I arrived here. In this place of finding myself beneath the muck of unease that had unsettled my peace of mind and inhibited me from living the life of my dreams.

After 'Him whose name I do not speak' was arrested six+ years ago, I realized I needed help. Desperately. I started seeing a therapist and in one of our sessions asked, "So, I know I'm an experiential learning but did I have to take such a circuitous path to get here?"

"There were a thousand paths you could have taken, Louise," he replied. "This just happens to be the one you took. It's not about how you got to where you want to be, it's about being happy with who you are, where you are, now."

I'm not on the side of Frank A. Clarke's path, I don't believe a path needs obstacles to take me somewhere. The obstacles don't determine my journey. They are not a measure of whether or not I'm going in the right direction -- sometimes, if the obstacles are too big, or hard to get through the best course of action is to take another path, even find another destination. I believe the obstacles are often an opportunity for me to stop, look, listen and feel whether or not this is the right path for me to be on.

As in the case of "Him, whose name...." that path wasn't a good path. It was fraught with peril. Replete with terror and abuse. But I was committed to that relationship. I'd learned through my marriage that I needed to be the one to be committed -- it was important for me that I not quit. In sticking to it, the very strength that got me through many other aspects of my life and brought me success, became the weakness that brought me to my knees. My determination. My stick-to-it-ness.

My strength became my weakness.

In believing I could 'get through anything', 'handle any adversity', I payed the price of hubris. My pride wouldn't let me fall. My ego wouldn't let me back up and walk away.

I didn't need to get through anything to find myself. I needed to stand up and be counted -- for holding true to my values, beliefs, principles.

And that was what I wasn't willing to do.

Today, that's the beauty of the path I took to get here. The obstacles on that path, and the steps I took to get through, or over, or under, or around them no longer determine my value and happiness today. I do.

Today, I know that regardless of what is happening on this path, I am okay. I have the power and the courage to change direction if I need. I have the strength to make choices that love and support me, where ever I am on the path. Whatever path I'm on.

Obstacles that appear do not deter me -- they are no longer set in stone. I don't go out looking for obstacles. I look for adventure. For opportunity to be me without fear that who I am will not measure up to the difficulty, or ease, found along the path.

I am not measured by the obstacles on my journey. I am measured by who I am, how I stand up and be counted. How I breathe life into each moment, moving with grace and ease through good times and bad, hardship and adventure.

The question is: Are you looking for obstacles to prove you're worthy of the path? Or, are you accepting what comes with grace and ease, joyfully moving in the direction of your dreams without letting adversity hold you back?


Anonymous said...


I've been doing some thinking, and some writing [ ] lately about obstacles. If the obstacle is a log on your path, it is an easy step-over for you . . not so easy for the ant or some little bitty mite . . .and hardly noticed by a giraffe; I think it is all about perspective ... because every obstacle can be an obstacle or it can be a nothing. That doesn't make it go away, just cuts it down to size . .

... as I see it

keep writing!! ..


M.L. Gallagher said...

Great observation Mark. I love the perspective of 'my size' makes the obstacle size -- a step over or a log mighty oak.