I’m interested in people who have to overcome obstacles, people who are not sheltered by the umbrella of the establishment, marginals.

Isabel Allende

As we age, obstacles and obstructions are prevalent and harder to bear. We trip over a blade of grass or slip on wet ground and our healing happens slower. Our partners and friends die … We’ve stiffened our spines before yet, paradoxically, made them more flexible; and continue to do so as we observe and digest and make our way through this particular stage of our lives.

We hit brick walls which cast their shadows  –

Leonardo da Vinci ‘Shadow is the obstruction of light … necessary …’

 Life continues to throw us slings and arrows even as we age and as they have throughout our life span. We feel at times as if this ‘opposition’ will never lessen and we will never be free of it.

Obstruction – of justice; fallen trees in the road; burning tyres on roads in protest of bad service delivery; our work colleagues obstruct us in some way; our partners oppose or friends ostracise us; ideas meet opposition; we find something objectionable in what so-and-so said or what we ourselves feel ..

Obstacles – can they be stepping stones as we tackle and manoeuvre through them? We learn how to manoeuvre around obstacles and obstructions with our knowledge gained as we age along the way. We know that each manoeuvre will be different to the last. Each experience and manoeuvre brings forth a new attitude, a stripping away or an adding on.

 The lotus flower emerges so beautifully from the mud (its natural and fertile habitat) and its petals open slowly one by one, a thousand of them.  We can be like the lotus flower emerging from the mud of our past and present obstacles and open, one by one, like the petals, in the moment, as we learn to live with ambiguity, uncertainty and paradox.

 ‘Certainty’ has no movement; uncertainty allows for possibilities of the unknown.

We can write about the mud, dance about it, paint it, cook it, heat it up, shape it, observe and engage in it, wonder about our reaction to it and how we overcame it, what opportunity actually arose from being in the mud.

 We can be like the orchid, which can even thrive on neglect; sometimes it needs dryness. Yet, it needs an occasional drop of water to feed it. We can add that drop of water to what has been neglected within, and let ourselves continue to blossom, until we fall back into the earth, to be renewed yet again. Like the rose that in order to be complete, has and needs thorns on its stem.

Do you think shadows can provide stepping stones? Are we sometimes our own worst obstruction?


37 comments on “O – Obstacles and Obstructions”

  1. I am definitely my own worst obstruction. It never seems to get easier navigating these obstacles and obstructions. Shall I allow these obstacles to obstruct me? Yet, there’s the thought: When the time is right. –Noting life’s ebbs and flows and riding those waves, as Patricia so aptly shows us in her A-Zs with the Prophet and the Child on the lily pad.

    Beautifully written, Susans.

  2. Your post is very thought provoking for me today– I think of the mud and neglect, the shadows, obstacles and obstructions that fill my life and I wonder what it would be like if none of these were here. I don’t think I would turn into the lovely lotus or orchid. I’d be more like a dandelion that pops up where it wills, is not desired by most lawn-owners and that quickly dries up and blows away. I hate to admit it but much of the complexity and beauty of our lives stem from our struggles.
    Mary @ The View from my World

  3. Life is a journey, yes filled with obstacles and obstructions. The challenges we face and tackle can make us stronger, or we can look upon them and let them crush us. The journey offers many metaphors, often beautiful. Like a child in that mud, will we see it for the joy it offers or will we see it as the mess it can be. Whether we rise out of it with joy or sorrow depends on us. Thanks for a thought provoking post. Enjoy the challenge. Maria from http://delightdirectedliving.blogspot.com/

  4. Turning 60 this year. A lot of obstacles and being my worst enemy have gone by. I suppose I still will have many more. Just makes me better. Being alive and living is great isn’t it!? Enjoyed the post. Visiting on A-Z
    Katy Did

    Life’s Ride In Between

  5. Hi,
    A very thoughtful posting on obstacles and obstructions. As I thought about what you wrote, I felt the same way as Patricia Brown, because I believe the biggest obstacles in anyone’s life are their ‘can’t’ and ‘don’t.
    Many people stop limit their opportunities with these two words as they grow older. Yes, we do have limits but we have limits throughout our lives. Babies can’t do what a six year old can do. So it is my opinion that our biggest obstacles lie within us.

    • Dear Patricia;
      Yes, the obstacles are within and therefore well defended and hard to get at. The journey to them and through them is the adventure of a heroine.
      Thank you,

  6. Aging causes a lot of reflection. My greatest regrets concern what I didn’t do,and that made all the difference. The obstacles of “what if?” or “I’m afraid to do that,” or ” what will they think?” are killers of movement and progress. The times when I took on challenges and just darted into the fray were the times of developing my talents and helping others. I love the quote: “We have met the enemy and it is us.” And so we take arms against our fears that would capture and defeat us and press onward.

    • Thank you so much for coming by Patricia. Those are hard: the ‘what if’s’ or fears that holds us back. I love that quote : is it Jung’s? Just jumping in sometimes and trusting to a hopefully provident Fate can be enlightening indeed, when we overcome and press onward and upward!

  7. Boy, I certainly agree with everyone’s comments. I do find that I have to get out of the way of myself sometimes either that or I’m stuck in the mud like the people at Oso. Life does create challenges and fun too. We simply have to look for the fun in life so we don’t stay stuck in the mud to wither and die. Thank you for the interesting post. Wise as always.

    • Dear Gwynn;
      Not just opposites but the range from death in the mud to finding some way through and out into sunshine. A process, task, and work out–but worth it…
      Thank you,

  8. Oh, the shadows can most certainly be our stepping stones if we let them. Life is messy but from personal experience, I’m learning as I get older and getting through the mires of mud and fallen trees, that they do not need to become obstacles and obstructions but rather opportunities. Of course, that’s if I get out of my own way! Wonderful post. Thank you!

    • If we let them … Thank you Renata … befriend the shadow and know that the face that is turned to the mirror is the one that is reflected back. And the endless task of us getting out of our own way.

  9. ‘Certainty’ has no movement; uncertainty allows for possibilities of the unknown. Love the way you have used this… Even just saying the words offers a sense of the energy apparent, the mystery.

    • Thank you for sharing this Damyanti … it’s true we can be our worst obstruction … until the time comes when even that doesn’t ‘work’ anymore.

  10. Hi Susan – thanks for coming over – and yes I have connections with SA having lived there for a number of years and met new blogging friends there too ..

    Obstacles and obstructions – they’re for working our way round, not being overshadowed by them or cowed .. Leonardo’s quote is an excellent one and so true ..

    Good to meet you and see you again soon .. cheers Hilary

  11. A lovely post, Susan, thank you and for the beautiful imagery of the lotus flower. Life is full of obstacles and obstructions, different ones as we age and when we may need another sort of help to overcome them. There’s lots more changes yet for us to go through as we age 🙂

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