“The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.” – Woodrow Wilson
Invariably It Begins With A Journey
I was out running this morning in the parkland near home. I live close to a creek which makes its way into our state’s major river bed. The creek is long and winding, as it courses through various inner suburbs. There is a designated running track which traverses the creek at the level of the water. Your almost running along the rock bed as the stream passes close to your feet.
I usually run this track on Monday morning as it allows me to commune with nature – an aspect of exercising outdoor which I appreciate. It’s been humid here over the last few days with intermittent rain and today was no exception. If you’ve paying attention to international news, you’ll no doubt hear about the El Nina weather patterns wreaking havoc on the eastern border of Australia in Queensland. The weather has brought torrential floods, with many people regretfully losing their homes.
As I was running, it started raining. I could recall mum’s words echoing in my mind as I continued running along the path by the water. Growing up as kids with my two sisters, she developed an ambivalent relationship with rain. She would always cry out to ‘get out of the rain’, ‘don’t get caught in the rain.’ I believe her reasoning was based on getting wet and becoming getting sick as a consequence. Her words came flooding back (if you’ll pardon the pun) this time as I was running.
The Experience Always Precedes The Lesson
Challenging what you’ve accepted all your life is an interesting exercise in personal growth. Assuredly, this isn’t the first time I’ve been caught in the rain. However, It’s the first time I saw an entirely new perspective on rain and the accompanying metaphor for navigating through life. Often when you’re moving forward, life throws a set of circumstances which may obscure or challenge your journey. Rain is akin to that example. How you choose to navigate through those situations determines the comfort of your path and the inner growth you experience.
Rain may be regarded as a change in external situations which may obscure your path ahead. Do you stop and wait for the rain to pass? Do you continue moving forward through the rain, pushing through the uncomfortable state of being wet, cold and miserable? What does one gain by pushing through challenging times? Hopefully inner growth to navigate circumstances which are beyond one’s control.
In your quest to become whatever you wish to be; a poet, a dancer, an artist, actor, comedian – you’ll undoubtedly be faced with situations that will challenge and rock the foundations of your being. I may have mentioned previously in a lifetime long ago, I worked in the fashion industry, having studying design at university (both my parents were involved in the trade). I recall the first time I produced a collection which was critiqued by my superiors. I completely fell apart as they dissected my work, criticising every aspect of my creation.
At the time I saw it as an attack on my character. In hindsight, I needed to have that experience in order to move forward and not be so invested in what other people thought of me. To be fair, they were reviewing my work and not judging me (which was the meaning I assigned to it at the time) – there’s a rather large distinction which I failed to acknowledge at the time. Those years paved the way for me to be more creative and not be so invested in what others thought of me – since it really didn’t matter.
Whatever you’re facing as a challenge in your life, ask yourself this question – will my life become better if I choose to continue moving forward through it or stop and wait it out? The rain failing has a beautiful message if we allow ourselves to tune into it. Choose one area of your life which you believe is causing you concern. How might another person look at the same scenario? What might their advice be on the topic? When you’re living your life, you become the Jim Carrey character from The Truman Show. You’re caught up in the drama and the day to day saga of it, rarely stopping to seeing the big picture – why am I here? What have I been sent to do, achieve or become?
Is my life really about my friends, Facebook, twitter, drinking, watching TV, eating, sleeping, work, school, relationships etc? And then doing it all again the following day. How do I assign meaning and purpose to my life? Is it through my job, my family and friends? The people who mean something to me?
Whatever stage in life you’re at right now – begin asking empowering questions which move you closer to your imagined reality. Start with a question, since it has the power to ignite your mind to search for answers. J.K. Rowling in an interview with Oprah asked herself ‘how can I get out of poverty, put food on the table and live my bliss of writing books?’ Her subconscious mind never gave up searching for the how’s, until it became greater than her need to merely exist.
Make a decision to move THROUGH your perceived pain. You may choose to WAIT it out until life brings something more desirable – whether it’s love, a job offer, a car, more money, your ideal weight. You get to choose – either way you are always right.