Life’s Stepping Stones

life obstacles

Obstacles are the stepping stones of life.

To a younger mind, most obstacles are seen as problems that prevent us from getting what we want. Or worse, blocking our vision for our future.

What if each obstacle is there so we can recognize it and face it, rather than avoiding or wishing it away?

What if this is the opportunity to look at the struggle we are feeling and bring a new perspective and understanding?

What if this will bring you closer to a future that is right for you?

What if this is the gateway to real growth in our adult lives?

When we place our foot firmly on the stepping stone, and then the other, we can find our balance in uncertainty.

Stepping forward with awareness and readiness takes us along the path.

Embrace the discomfort and the growth that is to be revealed.






* Meet Yourself in Your Heart


self compassion

The obstacle you are facing is a special gift

It is there to bring clarity and new understanding

Instead of finding ways around it or fixing it

And creating stories to make you feel right and in control

Take time to face the challenge

To ask your intuition and heart

“What wants to be known?”

Let the answer reveal itself.

There is freedom beyond this pain

When you meet yourself in your own heart


* Pivotal Moment in my Teacher’s Journey

Val's yoga class

One of the most pivotal moments for me was when I was taking an advanced yoga teaching module at Kripalu. One morning I was in class and it became clear that the teacher’s intention was to energize. She chose standing sequences then back bends. She was working to a pinnacle pose of Camel.

This dreaded realization began  like a lead weight in the pit of my stomach. This would be everything I knew I had difficulty with because of misplaced vertebrae.

I got really upset with her for “putting me through this torture”, and then myself for not being able to do it. I couldn’t do what she was asking of me because I knew I would hurt myself.

It was a real struggle for me. To calm myself, I began a BRWFA practice and went into child’s pose for the rest of the class.

On reflection, what was missing was that the teacher did not take into account that someone would not be able to do the postures.

She didn’t give me permission to modify and adapt. Or find my own practice. I felt left out, not good enough, and a failure.

At that point I was ready to give up on teaching yoga. However, with support from a wonderful yogi, I realized that what was an obstacle, was my way forward.

I vowed to do all I could, so that my students would never feel this way.

We take so much for granted based on our own experience. As yoga teachers we must reach beyond our own experience and connect to our students with empathy and understanding.

We must hold that safe and nurturing space for each and everyone of them.

In the next Yoga Teachers Mentoring group we will be diving into this.


* The Obstacle is the Path

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.”