Two years ago I decided to open a home based studio for healing and creativity through yoga, art and music. Very simply, my goal was to provide an affordable rental space for yogis, artists, musicians and wellness practitioners that would help them offer their gifts to the community. I had no experience in running a studio, let alone owning my own, and I had a pretty demanding 8am to 5pm job as well, but I was determined to give it a go. It was my dream to have my studio and its teachers and students become a significant part of my life, and for a while it all seemed possible.
But after two years I had to face some hard facts. Time, money and a necessary change of address became obstacles on my path and I had to decide whether or not to close my studio. That realization was breaking my heart. I was concerned that if I closed I would not start up again. I wondered what to do with the little community we had built around the studio. I questioned whether or not this was the path I was meant to walk.
Around that time I happened to catch the film Evan Almighty on cable. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a funny and endearing movie about a newly elected US congressman, who seems to have everything he wants: a supportive wife, great kids, dream career, a huge new house, and a great new position in Congress based on his electoral slogan which promised he would ‘Change the World’. God appears to Evan, and gently commands him to build an ark. Needless to say, through funny mishaps and a little faith, Evan eventually believes in his new mission and forges ahead despite losing favour with Congress, the public and his family. I won’t give away the outcome of the movie but one scene in particular made me sit up and listen that night.
God (posing as a waiter named Al Mighty):
“I love that story, Noah and the Ark. You know, a lot of people miss the point of that story. They think it’s about God’s wrath and anger. They love it when God gets angry.”
Joan (Evan’s wife):
“What is the story about then? The ark?”
“Well I think it’s a love story about believing in each other. You know, the animals showed up in pairs. They stood by each other, side by side, just like Noah and his family. Everybody entered the ark side by side.”
“But my husband says God told him to do it. What do you do with that?”
“Sounds like an opportunity. Let me ask you something. If one prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If one prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
Makes sense doesn’t it?
So, I decided to look for the opportunities around the closing of my studio. Even though my studio was not as successful as it will one day be, I already know with absolute certainty that such a venture is supposed to be a part of my life. I made many good friends and connections, and teachers as well as students felt that our studio had a good energy and feel to it. It was a great space.
On a personal level, I had come to understand that the mission of my studio represented the truest parts of me. It reflected the best in me and even though it was a difficult choice to put everything on hold, perhaps this was an opportunity to spread my wings a bit and explore other avenues of my mission. Deciding to draw on the positives of the experience, I chose to see the obstacles to keeping the studio open as a physical space as opportunities for future development by building a more secure foundation and growing as a virtual space for now. I chose to see the whole experience as life lessons about drive, practicality and business; and faith, commitment and patience.
“Obstacles can be our greatest opportunities for character development and transformation. Often it seems the universe conspires to create a challenging environment, a set of constraints that call on our core essence, our higher purpose, our innate strengths to propel us towards a greater destiny.” ~ Michael Margolis
What do you do when a major obstacle shows up on your path? Do you acknowledge the situation and take a good, objective look? Life can certainly be exciting, challenging and stressful. It can even be full of drama. What we do when we encounter obstacles on our path determines our quality of life and success. Even the worst situations contain within them the seed of an equal or greater benefit. We can look for solutions or we can complain and focus on the problem. One way creates growth and opportunity; the other creates dis-ease, pain and more problems.
Wherever you focus your attention that is where your energy will go. You are more powerful than you know. Be open, be calm and listen to your intuition. Trust yourself, trust the universe and ask for guidance. Stay open to life, accept the obstacles, breathe and keep an eye out for those opportunities.