The spiritual obstacle course


I think that most adults have been on a physical obstacle course at some point in their lives. They can be fun and interesting — and extremely frustrating if they are very challenging. For me, if the course was too easy, I was a little disappointed, wondering if that was all there was. I love challenges and overcoming obstacles that are very difficult. If I skied, I’d probably go for the black diamond slopes. However, the thought of hurling myself down a slippery mountain on two slats of wood (or whatever skis are made of) is not appealing.

I remember doing the Army wives’ Air Assault obstacle course once. It was the actual Air Assault obstacle course, and we each earned out Air Assault wings for completing it. I remember learning how to low crawl, which was kind of fun and a good preparation for playing on the floor with my kids. I also remember rappelling off the Air Assault tower, which was frightening. The course operators gave us all the option of not jumping off the tower, but I had rappelled before and actually enjoyed it. However, I was also 21 and still young, dumb, and bulletproof. I have my Air Assault wings somewhere.

The obstacles that I remember never being able to overcome were the pull-up and the one where you have to use a rope to climb over a wall. On each one, I could get very, very close to succeeding, but just could not quite complete the task. It still haunts me now that those two tasks, which seemed easy for my peers, beat me.

I find myself at a spiritual obstacle similar to the pull-up or rope climb. I have been working to overcome the feeling of diminished self-worth and dignity inherent to my current living situation. I feel like I’m so close to overcoming the issues, then slip backwards again. Unlike the physical obstacle courses, I can’t just bypass the obstacle by ignoring it. This one has a different feel. I have to complete and overcome the obstacle this time. I’ve had similar challenging obstacles at different times: my doctorate, RA, a black belt in martial arts, loneliness, weight loss, etc. Each time, persistence and sheer stubbornness got me through the challenge.

This spiritual obstacle has a different feel. I think I have to some to terms with the real me: Who am I, beyond the worldly labels of doctor, mother, wife, teacher? What is it that underlies all the different facets that the world sees?

I cannot give up. This obstacles has such beauty on the other side and it’s long past the time when I should discover it.


One thought on “The spiritual obstacle course

  1. I agree; tapping into what the inner self is truly about, is nothing but an amazing experience! Good luck on your journey, and I can’t wait to hear how it’s going:)

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