Obstacles and Opportunities

Copy of RockRoad

Life presents each of us, at various times throughout, with a number of opposing energies, and depending on how we navigate our paths, the trajectory through which our lives unfold, and what our intentions are as we traverse those paths, we come to view the events which compose our lives as either obstacles or opportunities. There are times when the assignment of the appropriate term to those events is easily made by us, but many times, our initial evaluation ends up being incorrect, in spite of all indications that the event is either one or the other.

In the image above, the boulder in the road is 25 feet high, and it arrived in that location as a result of torrential rains and mudslides in southern California. The road in question was closed for three days, and the only way to remove the boulder was to blast it into smaller pieces using explosives. This immediately gives the impression of being an obstacle. Indeed, for anyone who had intended to drive on that road during those three days, this circumstance clearly must have been viewed as an obstacle. When we review the facts in this case, however, what initially seemed like an obvious obstacle, when viewed from a different perspective, suddenly took on a completely opposite quality.

No one was injured as a result of the arrival of the boulder on the road. The rains which caused the mudslide and the arrival of the boulder in this location, were desperately needed as a result of a prolonged dry spell in the area. The crews which were assigned to the removal of the boulder not only had a good laugh when they first viewed the situation, but received a very unusual opportunity to respond to a circumstance which provided valuable training for dealing with such emergencies, and inspired the engineers called to the site to investigate and analyze the entire length of the road, in order to identify other potential areas where the danger might occur again. At the end of the day, with nothing more than a diversion for traffic, and some challenging work for the road crew who had to remove the “obstacle,” opportunities appeared in a number of ways as a result of what COULD have been a catastrophe.

page-career-opportunities

Over the last six years or so, I have struggled to find opportunities for employment as the result of the sagging economy in the United States. The first three years of the last six provided several “opportunities,” for work, which ended up being more like “obstacles” to gainful employment than opportunities to work. After you spend a fair amount of time without employment, you begin to see any offer as an “opportunity,” but in my case, the offers I explored ended up as obstacles to gainful employment. I nearly gave up several times. Eventually, I was able to locate employment which has sustained me during the last three years, but in truth, this “opportunity,” has actually been an obstacle far more often than not. The demands of the job are daunting, and while I am clearly grateful to be employed, and have benefits which support my family, there is no question that the need to provide income, regardless of how daunting it might be, in this case, is an obstacle to other ambitions and goals. We do what we must in order to survive, but it isn’t always a clear cut case to identify our circumstances as one or the other.

between worlds

Each time we choose a path, for better or worse, we present ourselves with opportunities, and encounter obstacles. As we approach the future, we do not have any clear view of what that future will contain. We do our best to make choices which promote our values and support our goals. As we view the road ahead, we observe the path, consider the variables, and proceed as best we can toward the future we aspire to achieve. We cannot know with certainty how life will unfold, and yet, we move forward with hope, and adjust as we go.

Tomorrow, I will step out into the world, as I have done for so many years, and there may be either obstacles or opportunities awaiting. For me, it will be the beginning of my sixth decade of life, and even though I have no idea how it will unfold, I am optimistic that whatever obstacles I may encounter, if I can view them in the right way, will become opportunities.

Wish me luck….lol

When Life Falls Apart

broken stairway

Those of you who have followed along here with me, and who have read faithfully all along about the various life experiences which took place throughout my accumulation of years so far, know that there has a been a fair amount of diversity in the character and quality of those experiences, and hopefully everyone who visits gets some overall sense of the person who writes all these posts. I’m happy to say that the majority of responses from all of those who chose to respond have been thoughtful, thought-provoking, mostly supportive, and intriguing in many cases. Many of those who visited have inspired me to write more thoughtfully myself, and quite a few of them have blogs here at WordPress.com which inspire and stir the spirit with their own contributions.

Recent events in my life have kept me from participating as frequently as I would otherwise have wished, but today I finally sat down at my desk, determined to share a post which gives back a little of what I have received from my participation here. It is not specifically about consciousness as many of my posts have been, but the connection to the spirit and to my humanity, which are essential component parts of that subject, unavoidably cross over into our broader understanding of the process of sharing ourselves in this way, and I hope you can see the connection without my having to express it in those terms.

work collapse

On the very day of my last most recent post, June 30th, I received a call from a friend at work, who described to me a circumstance that seemed unreal at first, but which became real as I viewed the photo above. We have experienced a series of storms this summer unlike any we could recall within recent memory. Torrential downpours and high winds have battered our shores here on the East Coast just about every week for months. Each time the severity of the storm seemed to be even worse than the last, but there was never any hint that it might be more than just what might be expected for a particularly stormy summer season. On June 30th, it became far worse than anyone expected. The story of this storm will probably be told over and over in the years to come, not because it was an epic downpour, or because it was the worst ever recorded, but because of the miracle which prevented anyone from being injured or killed by the devastation it caused.

work collapse2

Thankfully, there was only a handful of people in the building at the time, which on a normal day would have been a dozen or more, but one of those people in the building had been in the front section of the building less than a minute before the water overwhelmed the structure of the roof, and narrowly escaped the collapse of a large portion of the front of the building. Security cameras in the hallway captured not just the collapse, but also the surge through the building of the tons of water which had accumulated as a result of the deluge. The thought of what could have happened shook us all when we heard of the collapse, and the images hardly portray the feeling of standing next to what used to be a familiar place for us all.

building fall

Very soon after the evaluation of the damage took place, it was apparent that our ability to function normally at work was severely compromised, but more than that, we realized that it wasn’t going to be an easy fix, and it was going to take time. What happened next was equally surprising. Everyone began right away to bring whatever we could to the task of getting the facility up and running once again. The crew on duty at the time, and the ones that immediately followed, began the difficult task of removing the water which had spread throughout the connecting sections of the building, and blocking off the doorways that led to the collapsed portion of the building. Astonishingly, after a tremendous effort by the staff and crews, the processing of products in the facility was only down for one full 12-hour shift, and the computer systems and basic functionality of the business were restored within 48 hours. No one was injured, and even though it was a shock to the system for everyone, the most challenging part of it all has been coming up with a work-around for each of the no longer normal routines to which we had become accustomed.

Reflecting on these events, and facing the challenges they presented, has provided us all with a perspective that clearly was unanticipated, and which likely would not have come in another way. My own circumstances in recent months have also been challenging in ways not anticipated, but as always, reflection on what could have been continues to affect my outlook as the days progress, and I hope to resume sharing my writing and hopefully inspire you all to visit and share your thoughts with me as well.