I wrote this some time ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t publish it at the time, because of the uncertainty and tumultuous emotions that came up for us both. The treatments are over now and life is beginning to get back to normal. We are grateful.

When I read this post today, I was moved at the energy in the message.

the obstacle is the path

“Right now I am having a difficult time facing a truth that I don’t like. It is causing me some distress, and I just don’t like it at all. My heart is closed. My ego is determined not to accept the unacceptable. It is very resilient and strong, so taming this battle queen is never easy as long as I resist her.

The Zen proverb “The obstacle is the path” came to me this morning. Often we’re discouraged because of some tough challenge or obstacle in our way. But a shift in mindset from a Zen proverb can change everything: “The obstacle is the path.”

The obstacle isn’t something standing in our way. It’s showing us the way.

Embrace this moment, don’t fight it. Give gratitude for these moments, these challenging moments are what make you come alive as a human being. There is beauty in every step along the journey, gratitude in your experiences. Give thanks for the ability to experience these real raw moments no matter how painful they may be.

They become less daunting, less intimidating, and maybe your attitude towards them can subtly shift from fighting with them, (and getting angry or frustrated or bitter), towards seeing and dealing with them as just another part of the path you’re already on.

This is growth. This expands your circle of compassion and your connection to all living beings. This is putting your heart out, fully open and vulnerable.

Find gratitude as you face this reality.

There is a gift here. Ask yourself, “What is this showing me”?

Be grateful that you can feel so much and allow your heart to open once more … just a little bit.

When there’s an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it or create a strategic plan to beat it, or go into battle for revenge against it.

Go into it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it. Listen to it.  Embrace it.

Feel the everlasting love that is always there beyond the fear. This will carry you forward on your path.”

34 comments on “* The Obstacle is the Path

  1. Extremely powerful, Val. H ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    I’m with Hariod. Extremely powerful!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. soulspeak2013

    This powerful proverb hangs in my bedroom, living room, and Reiki room…it indeed came into my life…when my husband had cancer. It sent me to my knees and yet it lifted me to Grace…and indeed….meeting it all with unconditional acceptance…brought a strength I could not have known…without the obstacle…Thank you so much for posting this Val…it’s a keeper in our home…..Namaste’ and Blessings always

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is sooooo good Val, thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is very good Val, but it seems hard. I hope I can remember this when the next obstacle appears.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is hard Dan, to face things that unnerve us and cause anxiety and worry. The first instinct is to escape and feel better.
      When you are aware of this reaction, then you are ready to ask, do I want to be free and grow, or repeat the inherent and inherited patterns from the past? What is the gift here?
      Not an easy question to wrap our slippery ego minds around that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. soulspeak2013

    Immense energy in your words Val…very powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful post and such wise words. Too often we become overwhelmed by life changes and difficult situations and fail to see the Teaching it gives us.

    I keep a poster on my fridge that says “The Difference between Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones is how you use them” and your post reminds me of this too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Vicki for adding to the conversation! The part of us that so strongly wants to avoid these feelings of overwhelm, sadness, loss etc is not the part that is ready to shift. Its our conscious awareness and higher self that recognizes there is something beyond the anxiety, anger and fear. When we open to that, we open to all possibilities … And real growth. 🙏


  8. The obstacle IS the path. I love it. So often my distress comes when I realized I’ve expected life to be smooth, when I forget that suffering is also a part of what’s normal, what can be expected. Thank you for the reminder. I celebrate your good news, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Janet 🌞 So well said.
      When we stop resisting life as it is, especially in the toughest times, and pause to consider how we can continue to evolve, we fin clarity.


  9. Thank you Val. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. As always, Val, I appreciate what you are showing us.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh Val, that is so moving! Big hugs to both of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I am so glad things are starting to feel normal again for you both. These obstacles along our journey certainly stop us in our tracks but as you say, “There is a gift here. Ask yourself, “What is this showing me”? This takes time to see or understand this gift when we are feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable, but there is indeed a gift to be found. Thanks for sharing your gift with us Val.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. suzicate

    So much wisdom in this. It’s often difficult to share words such as these while in the midst of a trial. So glad you husband is well and you shared this.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Brilliant! So happy your hubs is okay. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Beautiful and inspiring words to live by Val. We humans for some reason think we are all owed this perfect life. Sometimes in the depths of great challenges we experience earth moving moments and we are changed forever. So happy to hear your husband is healing.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I felt it was a huge obstacle until I came to understand that the earlier I accepted it, the more I could treasure the time we had left together.

    (I am glad that your husband is now doing OK).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing Elizabeth. This inner shift to acceptance allows us to feel gratitude for what is here. I’m glad you and your mother were able to enjoy the time together. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

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