Never Waste an Obstacle

An obstacle does not prevent you from reaching your goal, it only changes the path you take to get there.

fallen treeAn obstacle measures what your dreams are worth

An obstacle reminds you where you are going

An obstacle gives character to your journey

An obstacle fosters growth and change

An obstacle gives perspective

“The obstacle is the path”  – Zen Proverb

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Understanding Our Stories

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh

There are a lot of things about myself that I would like to change.  My eating habits, my organizational habits, my tendency to put things off, my fear of failure.  I have been going about the process with the idea that I just need more self control, or I just need more grit, or a commitment, or a magic word, or a rubber band around my wrist that I can snap every time I reach for a brownie.  And while these can be good things, they aren’t really working for me.  In fact, they never have.  Why then, would I continue to use methods that do not work?  Because I believe they work.  I have written them into my story.

From the moment we are born, we are writing a story, the story of our perception of reality.  This story covers every aspect of our lives, and answers questions such as “Can people be trusted?”  “Am I worth loving?”  “What is Truth?”  “What is Justice?” or “What will it take to make me happy?”  Most of the important questions are answered before we even know we are asking them.  Each of us has written a unique story, and none of them are perfect reflections of reality.

In the parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant, each man experiences a different part of the elephant, and each man comes away with a different idea of what the elephant is, and what it’s for.  Each man possesses the same amount of truth regarding the elephant, but what they have to gain from each other is perspective.  So it is with our stories.  None is any more or less true than the other.  We do not need to seek truth from others, we have it within ourselves, but what we do need to seek is perspective.  With understanding, and without judgement, there is much that we can learn from our fellow humans, about life, and about ourselves.

But other people are not the only ones who need our understanding.  We need to stop judging and blaming ourselves.  There is a reason for our behavior, and if our behavior needs to change, it is easier done with love and understanding than with any amount of self control.

Top Ten Quotes From “Anne Of Green Gables”

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The kids and I are reading Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and I just can’t get enough of Anne’s little sayings.  She has a wonderfully marvelous perspective, and a very unique and often humorous way of expressing herself.  That being said, here are my top ten quotes from Anne of Green Gables.

10.  “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

9.  “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?

8.  “There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

7.  “Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

6.  “Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”

5.  “It’s so hard to get up again—although of course the harder it is the more satisfaction you have when you do get up, haven’t you?”

4.  “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”

3.  “We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self denial, anxiety and discouragement.”

2.  “It has always seemed to me. ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, i was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond-only a glimpse-but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.”

1.  “Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

I’ve Got Problems

This morning was terrible. I woke up1 and walked2 downstairs3.  I was extremely tired, as my four kids4 are constantly interrupting my sleep5 schedule.  I went to the sink, and started washing6 all the dishes that were left from dinner7 last night. It was then that I heard8 a noise coming from the refrigerator. Click click…Click click. With a little trouble shooting, I discovered that the refrigerator was turning itself on9 and off, and was failing to keep our food10 cold/frozen.

It just so happened that about a month ago, my brother-in-law lost his house. He was moving into an apartment, and needed a place to store his refrigerator11. We offered that he could keep it in our back room12, and we would use it for a little extra cold storage. I spent the next half hour moving all of the food13 out of the broken machine, and into the one that was functioning properly.  Late for work14,15, I ran out the door, and locked it behind me.  At the same moment, I realized I left my phone16 and keys17 inside.  I managed to break in without waking everyone up, and I was on my way.  As I said, My morning was terrible, and I hope the rest of the day doesn’t turn out the same.  I have it pretty rough.

Footnotes:

  1. I am alive!  I have been given a brand new day to experience life and enjoy the best of what planet earth has to offer
  2. I have legs, and good health!  I can run, walk, dance, skip, and jump!
  3. I live in a house!  I am not out on the street, and my house even has multiple levels!
  4. I have four kids!  How amazing is that?  Four small people to watch as they grow and learn.
  5. I sleep in a bed, by the way, safe from the elements, grizzly bears, cougars, venomous snakes, and the like.
  6. I have instant access to water that I can drink and wash things with
  7. I ate dinner last night!  not everyone can say that.
  8. I have ears! and I can experience a vast array of auditory pleasures.
  9. I have electricity!
  10. I have an abundance of food!  probably enough to last my family and me a month if rationed carefully.
  11. How convenient is that?  A back-up refrigerator?
  12. Did I mention I live in a house?  It has all kinds of rooms, even a “back room”
  13. See number 10
  14. I have a job, where I get to help people, and the work is not terribly difficult.
  15. I am able to leave for work, and know that my children are in the capable hands of my lovely wife!
  16. I have a phone!  I can contact anyone easily and simply from anywhere I may be
  17. I have a vehicle!  (Well technically it is my father-in-law’s.  He is letting me borrow it since my vehicle is out of commission.)

It is amazing how easy it is to find things to complain about.  Problems.  I can’t believe that these are the kinds of things that leave me frustrated.  Most of my problems really aren’t that severe, and I have much to be thankful for.