The Obstacle is the Path

What better time to write about obstacles, pain, and suffering than when sick in bed?

In life we have choices: the be miserable or to be content. To complain about unfortunate events or to learn from them. One of my favorite Buddhist sayings as of late reads “The Obstacle is the Path.” Each and every hardship we encounter, on and off the mat, is a chance to grow stronger, wiser, and more compassionate. Though easy, good times are always welcome with open arms, I find that the more discomfort we can endure and survive brighter on the other side, the more understanding we can gain to others pain and suffering.Tiff doing Bakasana

Throughout my life, though only 24 years long, obstacles have always been present. Can you relate? From motor-sensory skill difficulties such as inability to tie my shoes and write with a pencil at a young age, dance injuries with no time or allowance to heal them, to extreme illnesses like mono, strep, and bronchitis several times each year, these are the things that have made me strong, though not right away. There was a point in time when I became hopeless, ridden with the typical teenage angsty question of “Why me?” to the point of depression. Then I learned another way (thank you, yoga and Buddha!) and started noticing others with struggles, hardships, and pains. Gradually “why me” turned into “why them?” and “how can I help?” Compassion became the name of my game as I realized we all struggle with similar obstacles.As I continue to face obstacles, as we all inevitably will, there are naturally ups and downs in attitude. Not every day is the best day ever. In days of clarity, I am grateful to live in a confusing, often painful world. We are all in it together. We are not so different and separate as we believe, and we can help each other using the wisdom gained from our own difficult but full and rich lives.

On a side note, as a teacher, how can I be understanding of the struggles of finding Bakasana (crow pose) with out struggling to get my own feet up for 3 long years?! 😉