From Obstacle to Opportunity

One of my weekly “musts” is a trek through Quarry Park. I get over there as many times a week as I can, and each time I am held in an incredible state of gratitude for this gift of nature in our community. I am a hiker. Hiking has forever been a love of mine, and when I think of bucket list items there are several hikes that make the list.

Enter in that darned wounded knee again. My hiking game has seriously been stunted since my knee injury/surgery/failure to heal properly. Not just distance, but agility on the trail has been a challenge.

So, on this particular day I’m trucking along enjoying the scenery when my eye catches this down tree across the trail. It’s not a big tree, just a substantially misplaced tree. It’s one of those misplaced trees that fell a little bit too low for me to crawl under, and a little bit too high for me to step over. Goldie Locks would love the placement of this tree.

As I stood there, sizing up my opponent, I began to giggle. Like in my outside voice. My strategy in conquering this tree was so similar to my strategy in conquering so many of life’s challenges; can I move it? Can I go around it? Can I get under it, through it, or over it? My mind goes to the most logical, and usual places to solve the problem.

At some point, I started adding another option. Is this an obstacle or an opportunity? It’s so easy to see a block in our path; something we’re going after gets sidetracked, or derails completely and we feel defeated. Something just became bigger than we are – an obstacle. But here’s a little lesson I’ve learned: Is this an obstacle or an opportunity? What can I see as a gift in this? What am I being asked to change my mind, perspective, desires or goals about? If I changed my mind about what’s in front of me, what would be possible? I’m not going to lie, sometimes this is just plain hard to do. There are plenty of goals I set that when I’ve hit a rough spot, I get mad, or frustrated, or go into tears, feeling ruined. Sometimes it takes the initial emotional dump in order to clear off the windshield and take a different look. No judgment. Feel what you feel. Then, take a deep breath, step back and be willing to see things differently. Teach yourself to ask where you are being presented with an opportunity.

Every time we overcome we learn. When we learn, we grow.  Every time we face adversity and persevere, we build true self confidence. We learn to think and operate from a place of knowing that we can and assuming we will grow, evolve, achieve. It’s a powerful place to operate from.

While my original list of options seemed fairly comprehensive, I have come to realize I was indeed missing many opportunities to gain wisdom and gain something even more powerful, a new perspective. An ability to step outside the usual, walk to a new vantage point, and take a look  from a new angle is a practice and a privilege.  Our ability to ask ourselves powerful questions that allow us to gain the fullness of the experience and benefits available from our challenges. We gain greater, more expansive options and from there, unlimited possibilities start to emerge.

Turns out I was able to scramble over the tree. I’m not saying I looked glamorous doing it, but I wasn’t necessarily looking for style points.

At the end, I was able to pass the down tree and leave it behind.  The obstacle that became the opportunity faded into the past and I moved on with a greater sense of what I can do on the trail. Perhaps I am more capable than I sometimes fear that I am not. And that is a great feeling.

Forever the journey,

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