What Seems Like an Obstacle is Really Just a Detour

One of my creative detours: It started as a “mess up” and turned into this.

Yesterday I went for a walk with one of my friends that I haven’t had a chance to catch up with in a while.  As I was telling her about my latest ups and downs she said, “you’ve got to remember that sometimes what seems like an obstacle is really just a detour – you may not understand it at the time, but it’s taking you a better way.  You just have to keep going.”  (ok, that may not be what she said verbatim, but that’s basically how it registered for me.)  It was a great reminder and the timing was perfect.  It helped me shift from discouragement to possibility.  Suddenly I was looking for the ways that everything had worked out.  I think we all have moments when something unexpected happens that seems like a problem, but it all turns out great in the end.  I love it when I can spot these in my life.

I actually had one of these moments while driving my brother to the airport on Saturday.  We were running late, and I felt responsible for getting everyone there on time.  My daughter was in the car helping me navigate, but there was a miscommunication and I missed my exit.  Uh oh!  I was instantly stressed out.  We were cutting it close and now I had no idea how to get there.  My brother and his wife seemed perfectly calm which I very much appreciated, but I was battling anxiety.  Even when we found an alternate route I was still unable to relax.  I could feel myself getting jittery with adrenaline, and my brain wanted to start running all the “what if” scenarios, but I just kept driving.  Finally we were there.  They ended up having plenty of time and made their plane no problem.  I was relieved, but I have to admit that I was beating myself up a little for having missed the exit in the first place.  We decided to drive home on the more direct interstate route, and as I pulled onto the highway we looked over to the northbound lane and saw miles of stand-still traffic.  It dawned on me then that I literally had been been given a detour – a better way.  We got to the airport much quicker because we missed the exit.  I said a little thank you prayer and immediately dispensed with my internal brow beating.  I also realized that I could have skipped the anxiety and bad feelings all together.  I thought of this story when my friend spoke to me about detours, and I realized that I was in a struggle with myself.  Sometimes the universe is trying to hand me a gift and I don’t see it.

Later, I kept thinking about the book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.  I’ve read it several times over the years but not recently.  As I was going to bed last night I found my copy and immediately saw:   “When you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”  I believe this, but I also forget sometimes.  So I’m grateful for the reminder to look for the ways that the universe is helping me.  I’m able to re-frame my perspective and choose to be an adventurer looking for treasure instead of a victim.  There is gold to be found just about anywhere.  Sometimes is shows up in a harried trip to the airport. a warm chat with a dear friend. or a beloved book.  Have fun on your own treasure hunt today.