[success]Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them.  You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. ~ Norman Vincent Peale.[/success]

What if I told you that last week I had an experience that didn’t show me in a very good light?

What if I told you that there are days when practicing what I preach can be hard?  And sometimes I miss the mark, sometimes I’m…well…a little off?

What if I told you that there are times when growth can turn right round and smack us squarely between the eyes? We want it, we’re moving happily along the road to experiencing a more wonderful and noble us, experimenting with our life on the path to growth, when wham, out of the clear blue sky, lightening strikes.

Metaphorically speaking.

Has it ever happened to you?  I can’t be in this all by my lonesome, can I?

You know me.  I’m one of those happy, clappy, usually optimistic, pollyanas.  And still there are times when I have to remember that a bad day for my ego usually turns out to be a good day for my soul, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

An example

Last Wednesday found me about to park at our Super Target which has an abundance of parking.  There I was slowly waltzing into a space virtually outside the store when a car zoomed right in front of me.  Obviously this space was special and someone desperately needed to have it.  Boy was I grateful for some fine brakes.  Not to mention my reflexes, of the super hero kind.

Crash averted, and I was only slightly miffed.  After all there were tons of spaces and I found one a couple of cars up.

Despite this, it would seem that I wasn’t showing up as my best self, because when I saw a baby and small child getting out of the ‘parking space stealing car’…well the nicest thing  I can say about myself is I became more than a tad miffed at the prospect of those little mites being put in danger.

An inconvenient emotion

My anger grew and I found myself having words with the driver of the car…and no…they weren’t of the uplifting kind.

My best self would have been feeling gratitude that no-one was hurt.  Feeling happy that those little mites were safe and what a blessing that was.

My best self would have done an instant release on anger or upset and continued on her happy, clappy way.

Where was my best self when I needed her?  Out faffing around, no doubt being transformed into some beautiful being that I could be proud of, leaving me, not so good self, to flounder and flail and get stuck in my angry state.


The unsexy truth

Is that growth is cyclical.  Just as nature operates in cycles, just as we operate in our daily life with each day a new start, a new opportunity, so does our consciousness.  There’s a ebb and a flow in living…not forgetting the ‘gap that I wrote about recently.

There are times when we’re totally in tune with the highest and best within.  In tune with the Divine. We’re awake to our fullest potential, alert to every creative concept and intuitive insight and it’s magnificent.  Then there are times when we stumble and fall, when we hit a brick wall, when we react instead of respond, when it seems as though we’ve lost our way.

Don’t fight obstacles, use them

If you’re struggling with something in your life.  If you keep stumbling over obstacles to personal growth, or success or joy or that great new job or experience, or anything you truly desire…stop pushing and start looking.

Our life is a wonderful feedback system, reflecting to us where we are, giving us an opportunity to let go or change.

Did you ever play blindman’s buff as a kid…getting warmer…getting colder?  Maybe it’s called something different this side of the pond and if I were a writer worth my salt I’d use my google machine…but what the heck…I reckon you know just what I mean.

My little ‘Target situation’ told me I was getting colder.  In other words I was moving away from my desire for greater spiritual expansion, and being given an opportunity to let go of what was currently standing between me and my wishes still unfulfilled.

I had no intention of letting obstacles get in my way.

So I spoke to myself.  Yes out loud.  Okay, you’re feeling angry…I get that.  So do you want to feel like this for the next five minutes?  Or maybe you want to feel like this for the next hour?  Hmm…how about the rest of the day.  Even better thought, why not feel angry for the rest of the week?

Honestly, I said this out loud and by the time I got to being angry for the rest of the week I was laughing at how ridiculous I was being and the anger fizzled away like some lack lustre firework without a spark.

This is the path

Don’t underestimate the enormity of the task of spiritual growth.  We don’t experience it through reading one book, or taking one class, or even a hundred.

We’re going to stumble and fall and sometimes fail.  We could get mightily discouraged, feel doubt, and self pity and wonder what the heck has happened.

It doesn’t mean we’re on the wrong path.  It doesn’t mean we’ve fallen off the path.  Let this truth be clear…this is the path.

We can bounce between states of consciousness. We can thrill to the ecstasy of a joyful cosmic aha, the brilliance of those dazzling moments of bliss, where inner peace and joy and confidence of our awareness of our role and connection to spirit dwell; and then we can enter the state where suddenly it disappears, like a puff of smoke, leaving us hollowly wondering if it were only a dream.

This is where persistence is needed.  I’ve learned that desperately seeking the light doesn’t help, nor does pushing against the darkness, but persistently staying faithful to my desire, to be the one I imagine I can be, makes all the difference.

We don’t need to have pain and struggle to grow…we can choose to grow through joy…but we do have to be willing to let go, we do have to remain conscious of where we are in the cycle if we want to make it easier on ourself.  And I’m all in favour of moving through life with ease and grace.

I’d love to hear your experience in dealing with obstacles.  What strategies do you have that work?  Share in the comments below and you’ll help us all see that those obstacles don’t ‘have have the strength we think they have.’

Encourage one another.


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Elle-
    You are like a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and homemade cookies.
    Your words are like music to my ear – I am so in sync with what you are saying that sometimes I feel like we’ve just had a conversation after reading your posts.

    When the ‘angry’ me shows her face – and I’m not able to maintain control-
    I try not to judge myself. All of these ‘shadow’ pieces of ourselves are important to recognize and use as tools in our spiritual growth. They serve a purpose and need to be respected ( and worked on).

    I used to think of ‘spiritual growth’ as a continuum. No more – which is a whole other conversation….xxoo-Fran

    • Elle

      Oh Fran, you are so delicious. How great to be likened to a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows…and I so appreciate your thoughts and perspectives as I know do others who read your comments. This, my dear friend, is our e-conversation and I love it. 🙂

  2. It’s unfortunate we have to see our own beasts sometimes. I deal with my obstacles by slowing down and try not to let my “auto-pilot” get carried away. Once I can step outside of my auto-pilot, my actions, words, and thoughts are all under more of my control.

    • Elle

      Great thought Vincent, stepping outside of our auto pilot is a wonderful way to change to ‘state’ we occupy. Thanks for contributing to the conversation…your insights are much appreciated. 🙂

  3. what i love most about this post…you share your set backs, which puts us on equal ground. being on equal ground, learning to grow from joy doesn’t seem so difficult. hugs sistah!

    • Elle

      And it’s so true Vanita…we’re all pilgrims passing through this life…and we can make it even lovelier when we share our journey with its successes and fails. Knowing we’re all in it together makes it more fun, don’t you think? 🙂

      • and interesting! especially for those nosy ones among us 😀 For years, when I commuted to work, I’d catch myself looking around the train, at the other commuters, wondering what their lives were like. Where were they going? What did they go home to? How different were their lives from mine? How was it similar? It’s nice to be able to look around the web and find so many like me who have similar triumphs and similar set backs. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one and if others can make it through, so can I.

  4. Dore Patlian

    Fran put it well,Elle. You are comfort food for the heart and mind. It’s refreshing to read your posts. A real talent!

  5. I love the idea of moving through life with ease and grace, Elle. I’ve been in similar situations where I was less that graceful with my comments or my actions, and honestly wished I could have handled the situation better. We do try to do the best we can with the situation at hand. We must have the same driving karma, as I felt a few days ago, I was just short of a bumper car ride, swerving and dodging. Some are in such a rush, I guess it’s best if we just stay out of their way. Thanks!

    • Elle

      Sounds like an interesting ride Cathy. Perhaps we both have some revising to do regarding our driving experiences. I think the good news is that we’re always heading to our next great wonderful experience, and these types of incidents are simply there to show us where we need to let go of the old, the stuff we can’t take with us to the new. Thanks for sharing Cathy…it’s always good to hear we’re not alone in our experiences…even the ones that didn’t turn out so well…actually especially the ones that didn’t turn out so well. 🙂

  6. Elle, Are you ever not alone!! Just last night I had an absolute fit of a meltdown when the goat got in the house. The kids (human version) tried to get him out but I let it go too long and he got spooked. I was chasing him and he was hiding under the pool table, running around in circles, just too low to the ground to catch and too heavy to pick up. This went on for about 20 minutes until my heart was pounding and I was getting into heart attack range. That’s when I lost my cool and just started yelling about how we weren’t supposed to have a stupid goat in the first place, how this was ridiculous, and how if the goat didn’t go I would. When I saw the look on the kids’ faces I realized I had said all this out loud. So no one is immune to a fit! I suppose it’s in how fast we can recover and maybe a lesson in what we’re willing to tolerate and what we’re not.

    • Elle

      You have the greatest stories Julie…in your shoes my best self would probably not be showing up. I think you did a great job, kiddo and I’d put money on it you moved into a happier state of mind pretty darn quickly 🙂

  7. Just call me A.

    Since my palate prefers salty over sweet (sweets trigger anxiety in me) you are more like mac and cheese. I like the comparison to food!

    Ah, yes, it is through these states that we can move to much higher ones. I find that a fit is at times necessary to move the most energy instead of swallowing it whole and dealing with the anvil left behind in our heart that takes a while to go away.

    I, too, had a 2 similar experiences. One with another driver who stole a parking space for which my husband and I waited for a while, but we just let him take it and were “rewarded” with a space right outside our destination. And just yesterday right before my eyes I saw my neighbor sweeping the front of our houses (they are stuck together) and putting all the stuff in our front garden. Well, I had to say something to that, because it is double the work for me to get it clean and I have so much more to balance than she does. well, it turns out she got really angry with me, after which I said she can do whatever she wants, even sweep stuff there, I did not care. Well, she stormed off as if I were the bad guy, which I probably was, but I just felt sorry for myself because I have so much to do. Then I thought that the fact I am so busy is actually a blessing, and that I should just keep my mouth shut. But that other part of my had something to say.

    Sometimes, however, it is great to just explode, to prevent an implosion and to get people and things moving rather than remaining silent and stagnant, festering.

    And yes, we are always heading to the next great thing, and these instances are simply there to show us to release the old stuff to make room for the new wonderful things.

    As for obstacles in general, I’ve got tons to face, but that makes me all the more blessed. I am beginning to understand this concept more and more each day. I know bumps on a log seem like they are in bliss, but are they really?

    • Elle

      Welcome and thanks for sharing your experiences…every time we get to hear how we all experience and deal with similar life situations it becomes ever clearer that we’re all in this together. It’s not always easy to get that our ‘challenges’ are opportunities to keep moving onward and upward so kudos to you kiddo. 🙂

  8. Whenever a moment is getting out of control, it is wise to ask yourself what is this moment teaching me?

    We will constantly fail. That is true, but slowly and surely if you continue on the path you will grow and become better. I am so much different than who I was two years ago and I am still far from the man I want to be.

    It takes time. Thanks for sharing this post. : D

    • Elle

      Thanks Sebastian for sharing your perspective and your techniques…since we’re all in this together it’s always a joy to learn what works in life for others. 🙂

  9. I love how today’s spiritual dudes and dudettes take the mystique out of the ‘journey’ and are happy to bare warts and all, for the good of all, of course!

    Me, I get frustrated, very frustrated, not so much angry, and often when I feel like I’ve just climbed a mountain in consciousness and what I’m looking to deal with pops up again. Most of the time it’s immediate! What? Was the work I just did no use?!

    I’ve come to see this always as a gift (painful but highly beneficial road!) and that it’s now time to drop the fear and practice what I believe in … supposedly. Else, there’s more ‘work’ to do in dissolving limiting beliefs, etc.

    There’s always goodness under the ‘obstacle’ and that always, always leads to the finest of clarity within 24 hours. That’s what I look forward too in these times.

    • Elle

      Thank you Alba for sharing your insights with us.

      I like to think of us as always being on the path to where we’ve decided to go and just like any physical path, it might not be a straight line, but that’s okay..I’m wandering the path anyway, so I might just as well have as much fun as possible along the way.

      Don’t you find when the same thing pops up again, it’s got a bit less power every time? It’s being vaporized by you! 🙂

  10. I agree that growth is cyclical. I always say it comes and goes in waves. I believe it’s part of life AND part of our self-development journey. If we can stay on track even when we experience unpleasant emotions, we can master anything, right?

    • Elle

      Well said Anne-Sophie…I think we’re always at choice…and it’s finding those little ways to help remind us that we can choose to stay in a place that doesn’t feel so good, or keep on moving. 🙂

  11. Hi Elle – as a new reader to your blog I though I’d just jump in and leave a quick comment here to say I’ve been enjoying it very much. Thanks! Shaun

    • Elle

      Welcome Shaun and thanks for the kind words. So glad you enjoying my musings. 🙂

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