Life presents each of us, at various times throughout, with a number of opposing energies, and depending on how we navigate our paths, the trajectory through which our lives unfold, and what our intentions are as we traverse those paths, we come to view the events which compose our lives as either obstacles or opportunities. There are times when the assignment of the appropriate term to those events is easily made by us, but many times, our initial evaluation ends up being incorrect, in spite of all indications that the event is either one or the other.
In the image above, the boulder in the road is 25 feet high, and it arrived in that location as a result of torrential rains and mudslides in southern California. The road in question was closed for three days, and the only way to remove the boulder was to blast it into smaller pieces using explosives. This immediately gives the impression of being an obstacle. Indeed, for anyone who had intended to drive on that road during those three days, this circumstance clearly must have been viewed as an obstacle. When we review the facts in this case, however, what initially seemed like an obvious obstacle, when viewed from a different perspective, suddenly took on a completely opposite quality.
No one was injured as a result of the arrival of the boulder on the road. The rains which caused the mudslide and the arrival of the boulder in this location, were desperately needed as a result of a prolonged dry spell in the area. The crews which were assigned to the removal of the boulder not only had a good laugh when they first viewed the situation, but received a very unusual opportunity to respond to a circumstance which provided valuable training for dealing with such emergencies, and inspired the engineers called to the site to investigate and analyze the entire length of the road, in order to identify other potential areas where the danger might occur again. At the end of the day, with nothing more than a diversion for traffic, and some challenging work for the road crew who had to remove the “obstacle,” opportunities appeared in a number of ways as a result of what COULD have been a catastrophe.
Over the last six years or so, I have struggled to find opportunities for employment as the result of the sagging economy in the United States. The first three years of the last six provided several “opportunities,” for work, which ended up being more like “obstacles” to gainful employment than opportunities to work. After you spend a fair amount of time without employment, you begin to see any offer as an “opportunity,” but in my case, the offers I explored ended up as obstacles to gainful employment. I nearly gave up several times. Eventually, I was able to locate employment which has sustained me during the last three years, but in truth, this “opportunity,” has actually been an obstacle far more often than not. The demands of the job are daunting, and while I am clearly grateful to be employed, and have benefits which support my family, there is no question that the need to provide income, regardless of how daunting it might be, in this case, is an obstacle to other ambitions and goals. We do what we must in order to survive, but it isn’t always a clear cut case to identify our circumstances as one or the other.
Each time we choose a path, for better or worse, we present ourselves with opportunities, and encounter obstacles. As we approach the future, we do not have any clear view of what that future will contain. We do our best to make choices which promote our values and support our goals. As we view the road ahead, we observe the path, consider the variables, and proceed as best we can toward the future we aspire to achieve. We cannot know with certainty how life will unfold, and yet, we move forward with hope, and adjust as we go.
Tomorrow, I will step out into the world, as I have done for so many years, and there may be either obstacles or opportunities awaiting. For me, it will be the beginning of my sixth decade of life, and even though I have no idea how it will unfold, I am optimistic that whatever obstacles I may encounter, if I can view them in the right way, will become opportunities.
Wish me luck….lol