The Watering Hole Blog

Obstacles ARE the Path

landslide boulder

Obstacles ARE the Path

Say What?

“Obstacles do not block the path. They are the path.”

Zen proverb

It has taken me decades to wrap my wee mind around this simple concept. But once I did, my life changed dramatically because I changed…for the better.


Because once I finally began to perceive obstacles (internal and external) as integral components of my journey – versus annoying barriers holding me back from getting where I wanted to go – I was able to understand that obstacles were in my path for a reason.

“Every obstacle is there to teach you, rather than bring you down.”

Brittany Lynne, “You Got This,” meditation on Insight Timer

Obstacles teach us what we need to know, when we need to know it, so that we CAN get to where we want to go…by becoming the person we need to be for when we get there.  

“But obstacles slow me down!” perhaps you’re saying. Yes…and that’s probably a very good thing. You may need to be slowed down – either to stop you from moving in a certain direction that isn’t in your best interest, or maybe so that you can learn a critical lesson, skill, or tidbit of intel before moving on to the next leg of your journey.

Sometimes, as perhaps you’ve noticed, the obstacle in your path is the size of a friggin’ boulder. Click To Tweet

And much to your dismay, there is no obvious way to go around it…or over it. So what do you do? Well, it is probably prudent to STOP.

Since the boulder is there anyway, you may as well sit down, lean up against it, rest your weary soul awhile and look back at just how far you’ve come.

It’s been quite a hike!

Eat some trail mix, drink some water…regroup, make a new plan (or tweak an existing one), pitch a tent, and stay the night if you like. But whatever you do, just be sure to get up again and get moving.

Perhaps, in the light of a new day, you’ll suddenly see a way to safely squeeze past the boulder (without falling off the edge of a cliff). Or perhaps you’ll realize (now that you have a little more energy in your system), that there is a way you could climb up and over the boulder?

Or (don’t scream), maybe you realize that there really is no way around this big bad boulder, so you’ll have to (gasp!) walk back down the path again from whence you came…but just for a little bit!

Because fear not, there is ALWAYS another path you can take to get you where you want to go. Click To Tweet

Sure, it might take a little longer…but it could also be more scenic.

Whatever you do, promise me this: do not stay sitting at the boulder for the rest of your life.


Because a boulder-sized obstacle is meant to be temporary rest stop – not a final destination.

Alas, it shocks and saddens me how many people come across a big obstacle (or not so big) on the path to achieving their dream, then sit down to take a break – and never get up again.

Instead, they become one with their boulder (their excuse, habit, addiction…or a lack of money, time, education, knowledge, skills, opportunity, support, encouragement, self worth, self confidence, etc) and spend the rest of their life, gazing at the past and wasting their precious time…instead of getting up (or crawling on all fours if need be) and moving again.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Henry Ford

Mindset is everything. Quite often the best way to handle an obstacle is to get out of your own head and do what you know needs to be done, and CAN be done…within the confines of your current circumstances. Sure, it might be difficult, uncomfortable, challenging and not particularly pleasant. But that’s kinda the point.

As Louis Menand wrote in “The Metaphysical Club”:

“Organisms don’t struggle because they must evolve; they evolve because they must struggle.”

Because here’s the thing: when we learn how to effectively handle an obstacle in our own lives, then we are in a far better position to be able to help other people deal with their obstacles.

“No matter what crosses your path, no matter what life throws your way, no matter what challenges you face, you’ve got this.”

Brittany Lynne, “You Got This,” meditation on Insight Timer

To start my day with a boost of encouragement to help me hurdle whatever obstacles I might be facing, I listen to this 2-minute meditation, “You Got This,” on the Insight Timer app every morning.

“Barrier Removed” Inspirational Quote Cards (30 per set) were compiled to to help people achieve their dreams. Available in our Etsy shop.

Happy Hurdling! 

Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.

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2 thoughts on “Obstacles ARE the Path”

  1. Getting over the hurdles of boxes filled with memories and just stuff! This is my path right now and almost settled into my new home! Thanks for your insight!!! Louise

  2. You are very welcome, Louise! Glad this blog hit home for you…pun intended 🙂

    So happy to hear you are almost all settled into your new home!

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