“We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal." Bhagavad Gita
God has this been true in my life!
In fact, I would go so far to say that the obstacles have been there to make me prove that I really want something and how committed I am to that goal. Am I willing to do the work to achieve the goal? Or am I willing to just quit the effort as soon as something impedes my progress?
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an obstacle clearer. I see them, I figure out how to address them and then I get around them. I am a head banger. I will keep going at something long after most people would have just gone around or changed directions. As with most things, this has been one of my greatest strengths and largest defects. The issue I have always had was discernment...when to keep at something, and when to let go?
For me, I didn’t really start making any progress here until I came to rely upon divine guidance. I needed some help in discerning when I should keep chipping away at something and when I should just walk away. Coming to rely on the divine has gotten me around and out of some pretty hard stuff in the past couple of decades. It has also landed me squarely with the belief that obstacles are things to be overcome not avoided and clear paths, not so much green lights but signs for caution.
I believe that most worthwhile things require effort. Even if I land in something completely fortuitous, there will be work and effort required on my part if I want to keep whatever I have landed in.
When I was early on in recovery, I would ask my sponsor how I was supposed to intuit universal will over my own...she said “if it is incredibly painful, likely your will. Less painful, likely universal.” I have used that as a guideline and it has never steered me wrong.
But going back to today’s topic, I have to acknowledge that I have ended up pursuing a lot of lesser goals simply because they were easy and didn’t require much effort on my part. I have been distractable to be certain. I might have had a goal, but then some other thing, person or idea enters and off I go in that direction simply because the path is easier or feels good at the time.
The Mansbatical is a glaring example...
I intended almost a year ago to take an entire year off of dating. No dating, no sex, a year without men. I didn’t make that goal and that had nothing to do with obstacles...and everything to do with a clearer paths to a lesser goals.
Now I am not saying that any of the men that I have gone out with this past year were lesser! Quite the contrary, all of them teachers who I have learned a great deal from. What I mean is that their presence in my life created a clear path to a familiar, contrary goal...partnering. I am also not saying that I believe that partnering is a lesser goal in general but in this case, with the intention that I set, to remain alone for a year, dating was a lesser goal. To which I found clear paths a couple of times...
So the year is almost up and I am faced with my failure to achieve the stated goal of remaining alone for an entire year. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this which you will be hearing quite a lot about in the coming days as we wind this up...
What is most important to me right at this moment is that I have realized that clear paths are in fact obstacles and obstacles often present as clear paths. They are one in the same.
But what I have learned over this past year is that it doesn’t really matter what we call them, they are all teachers. Whether I take the clear path or choose to do the work to overcome the obstacle, I am learning whatever I am supposed to learn either way. Always.
It is great to have goals but the older I get the more I feel like goals are kind of stupid. They are just self imposed rules or guides to getting me somewhere I think I want to go...but I have enough life experience at this point in time to realize that I often, end up wanting something that is not good for me, not helpful to my life and not really in my best interest...still.
One of the things I have learned this past year doing the Mansbatical poorly is that what is best for me is often what is happening in the moment. If I am present and can notice what is going on, there are lessons galore and I can use those immediate lessons to wake up and learn about myself and others. For me, goals have often been an impediment to me really learning anything. They are a rigid structure that causes me to focus so much on the destination that I miss the journey.
Of course this could just my ego’s way of saving face given my failure to spend an entire year alone. That is totally plausible.
But I can tell you that I have learned a great deal from the limited dating that I did do this year. Every man has taught me something new about myself and about men that I wouldn’t have learned if I would have spent the time completely alone. So I am grateful for the obstacles and the clear paths because they have led me to a greater understanding of myself. And I believe that I have been able to share that knowledge with others in an effort to help them along their journey to obstacle, goal or path. And that was kind of the whole point to begin with...to learn and love and share. And that has totally happened.
So I guess I am going to conclude that it doesn’t really matter what you call it, clear path, obstacle, or goal. They all have something to teach you if you endeavor to stay awake on whatever path you are on moving towards or away from whatever goal you have set. It is the effort in moving forward daily that matters most, not where you finally end up. The footwork will forever be mine, the destination belongs to the universe always.