My hope was that by writing down and acknowledging my obstacles, they would somehow be magically vanquished.
Have you ever had the maddening experience of getting a song stuck in your head? Hearing the same line or melody repeating over and over and over again until you are just about ready to go crazy?
That has been my experience for the last couple of days. Except it’s not a song that is on perpetual replay in my head, it’s a quote. All I keep hearing is:
What stands in the way becomes the way.
This is actually part of a larger quote by Marcus Aurelius. I came across it while searching for help with another one of my life’s conundrums. And for some unknown reason, it seems to have lodged itself front and center in my consciousness. And I just cannot shake it.
Initially, I hoped it was stuck for an unknown reason and it would just fade way. But it didn’t. Which only left me with the fact that the quote was standing in my way to get my attention.
As I thought about the quote, all I could think about were barriers. What barriers was I facing? Or was this a foreshadow of barriers yet to be, a warning of barriers lurking in my life just waiting for the right opportunity to make themselves known and block my way? Either way, trusting in the knowledge I already possessed, the only direction I could come up with was a quote by Rumi:
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. —Rumi
Find all of the barriers ... got it.
So, I sat down to make a list of all of the barriers I could think of that were obstructing and impeding my search for “More.” My belief (okay, more like hope) was that by writing down and acknowledging these barriers, they would somehow be magically vanquished. If only…
With my list complete, I read over the Rumi quote one more time to make sure I didn’t miss anything. At first, I didn’t really want to admit feeling somewhat courageous and fearless for honestly identifying and acknowledging the barriers in the first place. But as the adage goes, you can run, but you cannot hide. I had totally missed the point.
Find all the barriers within yourself …
All of the barriers I had so carefully deconstructed and listed were external barriers.
Having stood at this very crossroads many times before, having been presented with a better question, I knew the risk of ignoring it and just sallying forth on the easier path. I needed to rise above my fears, which would no doubt be bound to my answers, and meet the internal barriers, or demons or doubts standing in my way.
Not to mention that, having come this far in my life, to ignore the hard question would only mean it would keep reappearing. And the last thing that I needed was for my life to become a series of repetitive experiences.
As I have done throughout my entire journey, when I need help, I quiet my mind and pray the universal prayer for assistance—Help! And as always happens, but usually not in ways that I am looking for, Help! comes. Typically, at least lately, in the form of a Crumb.
As an aside, as I define them in Pathways to Possibilities, crumbs, at their most basic, are clues. Crumbs masquerade as the opportunities, people, and experiences that come into our lives. Crumbs inspire us to look at the world in new ways, guide us toward opportunities to learn and grow, and even nudge us in the right direction when we are lost.
And just like that, synchronicity happened.
I received an email notifying me a book I reserved at the library was available for pickup. I couldn’t even remember what book I had reserved, but any book waiting for me at the library was cause for celebration. So off I went. And the book that was waiting for me?
How to Change. Well ok. But, Creation, what I really need Help! with, what I was looking for, was understanding how to identify my interior barriers. I could always change them later, but first I needed to identify them.
Though I hesitated, wanting to put the book aside until I was able to see my barriers, I read no further than the Table of Contents before I got my answer.
Tackling Obstacles ...
It felt as though a mirror was being help up to my life. Though only six internal obstacles were identified in the book, I knew with time and introspection, my list would grow.
All along I had understood What stands in the way to be tangible and external things. It was so easy to identify people, circumstance, and experiences to blame for the barriers in my life. But the truth was, I was the obstacle all along.
What stood in the way? Impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness, confidence, conformity, and whatever else I was going to add to the list, was going to become the way unless I acted.
I am my own obstacle. That truth hurt.
And with that, I had to laugh, remembering an obscure line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
Hoist with his own petard.
Its meaning is that a bomb-maker is lifted off the ground with his own bomb, implying an ironic reversal, or poetic justice.
I am off in search of my own petards. And isn’t that poetic justice! Good to know Creation has a sense of humor.