What do you feel is blocking you in life? If you see an open road ahead, without obstacles, carry on! However, most of us experience serious blocks or obstacles on our life roads, some of which recur again and again, to the point where we may be tearing our hair and moaning, “Why is this happening to me?”
When you reach that point, you may find – when you are able to rise a little above the situation and look at it from a higher perspective – that you have just two satisfactory choices. One is to come at the situation or person that is blocking you with fresh vigor and creativity, giving your best efforts to fixing things and clearing the way so you can go forward. When you succeed in this, you may look back and observe that there was a reason for the block. It was placed in your way as a test, to encourage you to brave up, or find your voice, or draw on your deepest sources of strength and stamina, or to broadcast your need and recruit help from others. The purpose of the block may even have been to make you look up, to sources of support “upstairs” (as Joan Grant liked to call the world-above-the-world).
Alternatively, what blocks you may have been put there to help you wake up to the fact that you are on the wrong track: that you should stop exhausting your energy on something thaty will never satisfy your or nourish you, and that you need to get out of thaty situation, now, and do something different. Because we are frightened of change, or reluctant to give the time and focus that change requires, we may have to blocked – even beaten down to the ground – over and over until we are willing to look for the new way.
Let’s remember, always, that we can choose our reponse to a block, and also that what we encounter outside ourselves is intimately related to the attitude we bring to any day. Thoreau said it well: “A man who stands in his own way will find the whole world stands in his way.”
Then there is that even deeper truth expressed by Emerson in his essay on Spiritual Laws. “There is one direction in which space is open to us.” Mysterious, haunting words. As Emerson explicated them, it goes like this: when you receive a calling, when the Work, the life project reaches to you to make you its vessel, then your forward path will be plain sailing – wind at your back, currents with you – unless you digress from the channel that has been opened for you. Stray from your path, the path of your soul’s calling, and you’ll get stuck in swamps and shallows, or rebuffed by stony cliffs, opposed by block after block.
So: when you find a block in your way, inspect it carefully, from all angles. Is it something you can step around, if you learn the right moves? Is it something you can flatten, or whittle down? Is it something not worth struggling with, when there is an open road for you right there if you will only turn your head and see it? Or can you turn the block into a plaything, like something from a set of a young child’s alphanet or animal blocks?
I am not saying that all your blocks are created by you. Certainly there are people and forces that are stirred to oppose and challenge us, for reasons good, bad and mixed. Then there is that entity whose presence we sometimes feel – when fully awake – when doors in life open or close in ways that escape rational explanation. I call that entity the Gatekeeper. He (or she) has different names in different cultures. By any name, I want to pay close attention to his mood and acknowledge his role on the roads of my life.