The Obstacle Is The Path…

MazeI often end up down the Internet rabbit hole, much like a modern day Alice, finding myself in strange digital places reading wildly interesting things that have nothing to do with what I originally went to find. Sometimes it’s a nifty interactive media piece about concrete architecture in Brazil. Sometimes I learn more about a fictional character on TV than I will ever need to know. And sometimes, I come across wisdom that smacks me in the face.

I remember traipsing across Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog years ago, when it was still in its infancy. He now has over a million readers, so obviously he’s saying things that people believe are worth listening. I appreciate the control he has taken over his life and how he’s created a wonderful atmosphere for his family to blossom. I don’t read the blog often, but yesterday, on my Zite iPhone application, I ended up back at Leo’s doorstep. 

His post, The Obstacle is the Path, begins:

Often we’re discouraged because of some tough challenge or obstacle in our way. But a shift in mindset from a Zen proverb can change everything: “The obstacle is the path.”

The obstacle isn’t something standing in our way. It’s the way itself.

Look, I’m not going to discuss religion or spirituality here. (Or politics, but sex, well…. I’ve already gone there.) But I am going to talk about what I realized after I read what he had to share.

There are a lot of things in my life right now that I perceive as obstacles, but the one that has been the biggest obstacle is…

Me. 

I haven’t been able to get out of my own way when it comes to my diabetes and it’s time that I own up to it. 

Better control of my diabetes is the path I want to head down, but without the data (my road math), I don’t know which path will get me there. 

I have the top-of-the-line CGM, my Dexcom G4 Platinum. Have I ever downloaded the data that it’s captured? Nope. My excuse has been that it didn’t have a Mac program for the Dexcom Studio software. I grumbled that a lot of us have Macs, so why can’t they get their act together and make it Mac compatible. I’ve grumbled about this for months, all the while knowing that there is a workaround with the Mac Bootcamp program. John has offered to be my adorable IT tech support and even set it up for me a number of times. I refused. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I have a pump that allows me to download information about my blood glucose readings in relation (or opposition, as it sometimes happens) to my insulin delivery. Have I downloaded that data anytime in the last…um…two or three years? Nope. I know where the CareLink USB is. I’ve done it before. I just have been telling myself that it should be easier to do this. Easy? I remember writing blood sugars and dosages in a log book (but it’s commonly known that a lot of us fudged those at times). It’s easier than that. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I know how to count carbs. Have done it for years. But lately, I’ve been SWAGging (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) it in the biggest way. I complain that I never know how much I will eat at a meal or how fast I’ll digest that meal, so I tend to underdose and then play catchup later. Really? I’m too lazy to turn a box over and look at the carb count half the time. And “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” if I have a low blood sugar at night. I try very hard to follow the 15/wait 15 rule during the day, but it’s game over when the only light shining is from the refrigerator door.  Even my drink of choice is a juice box of 25g of white grape and apple juice. When I’m shaking, it’s hard to tell myself to stop frantically sucking through the straw. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I’m not a lolligagger when it comes to walking down a path. If I have a destination, I’m determined to get there without meandering. (Got to be honest. I don’t like exercise. There’s a story behind my reasons, but Oh! Look! Obstacle! is part of it.) I don’t tiptoe through the tulips, but if I don’t start to follow the right path using the map and the tools I already have but refuse to use, I’ll end up tromping all over myself. And I’m a delicate flower. 

When I continued down the rabbit hole, I found this passage from Paulo Coelho’s book, The Warrior of the Light:


A Warrior of the Light knows that certain moments repeat themselves. 

He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.

“I’ve been through all this before,” he says to his heart.

“Yes, you have been through all this before,” replies his heart.  “But you have never been beyond it.”

Then the Warrior realizes that these repeated experiences have but one aim:  to teach him what he does not want to learn.

 I may not be a Warrior of the Light, but I am a warrior and I need to learn.

It’s time to get the software, download the data, look at what I need to do, make the changes, and get out of my own way. I am the obstacle in the path, but not for long.

0 comments

  1. Reva

    So I know you wrote this post for yourself, but I honestly feel like you could have written it for me. I have the same obstacles when it comes to downloading CGM and pump data or being more exact with my car counting. Thanks for sharing those quotes, it really does put things in perspective. I am my own obstacle as well but I’m ready for some changes.

  2. Mike Hoskins

    This one hits me, just like the others have said. You nailed how I’ve been living and feeling lately myself – actually, not even lately. Just way too long. Thanks for this deep post – right up my Coffee & Conversation alley and something I need to take to heart, too, in order get out of my own way. Thanks, Christel!

  3. StephenS

    How can I not love a post that includes the words traipsing, Heavens to Murgatroyd! and lolligagger in it?

    So insightful of you to look inward for solutions. You may be an obstacle, but you’re also an inspiration and an example for people who read your words.

  4. momof2t1s

    fantastic post. I always seem to read your posts via my phone and it never lets me comment – the screen gets all locked up. Its weird and technology is stupid. Anyway I made it back to comment – outstanding post. You have such insight and self-awareness. I’m not sure that knowing is half the battle but recognizing problems (obstacles) is surly a step in the right dirrection. Lastly I must read “The Warrior of Light”. I thought I had read all of PC’s books (btw 11 Minutes is a fun read). Off to Amazon Kindle store I go. You rock my dear. A real inspiration and I will be so blessed if my daughter grows to be anything like you.

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