What To Do Next (When Obstacles Seem To Block Your Way)

Working with Obstacles

Sometimes life throws up obstacles in the form of uncertainty. We don’t know where to head next and the signs are unclear. Skillfully working with obstacles is a major part of establishing a solid foundation on a spiritual path, and an essential component of emotional well-being.

Often those obstacles are man/woman-made.

One of my clients recently expressed doubt at her ability to negotiate curves in her professional life. She is an expat and is unsure whether to return to her homeland when her current contract is up. The stress of her job, plus the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next is causing her to suffer a variety of unpleasant symptoms. So I asked her a simple question. You could ask yourself this.

Do you really need to make this decision yet?

Some of us like to do what I call Pre-Worrying. We worry about a situation before there is anything we can do about it. It’s a useless activity at best, a waste of time, and at its worst, can bring on a whole host of ailments, including anxiety, migraines and panic attacks.

Obstacles are merely temporary blocks to where we think we are headed. Here is the clincher: they are often the good news we seek, guiding us somewhere we might not have imagined. If you are open to and pay attention to obstacles that arise in your life, you may be surprised by the serendipitous outcome.

Here’s the quick path to successfully working with obstacles :

1. Relax

Learn a skill to relax the nervous system. Establish a routine of making relaxation a regular feature of your day.

2. Get Present

Develop or deepen your relationship with an awareness practice. Sitting meditation and yoga are excellent tools for this.

3. Practice Resting In The Present Moment

Make your meditation practice a priority. Treat it like you would any responsibility you have. Be accountable to yourself. If you want an excellent resource for this, watch this short video of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche on training the mind.

4. Make Friends With The Situation

Let go of expectations and become curious about what new vistas will arise. Be open to new possibilities and see where life takes you.

Working with obstacles is a life-long skill, and IMHO well worth learning. Life doesn’t always go our way, and often choosing our course feels haphazard. When you learn to relax into uncertainty, obstacles may appear not as difficulties or blocks, but rather as beacons on the horizon.

Check out this fun resource for working with obstacles.

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