Overcoming Obstacles

Every day when I walk into the classroom, I want to set the best example that I can for my students. I want them to be as enraptured in the books that we read as I am; I want them to find the positive in their situations no matter how difficult they seem at the time; I want them to do their best, be their best, try their best.

As we started reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho this week, I was struck by the introduction in a way that felt different this time. If you’ve never read The Alchemist, first of all, you should! But second, one of the most important parts (I think) comes from when Coelho describes the four obstacles we face along the path that is meant for us:

There are four obstacles.

First: we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path.

Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, pages vi-viii

Over the past year, the obstacles that I’ve faced have been brought into a stark light – they seem to jump out and grab at me, trying to pull me down to a place where it can feel like drowning.

However, I also know (no matter how hard it is sometimes to remember) that there are still great things ahead of me. It’s important to keep that dream, that goal, that end destination of the journey in sight. It’s important to remember that no matter what obstacles we meet along the path, there are ways to overcome them. It’s important to remember that while some people might cause the obstacles we face, there are other people in our lives who will help us through them.

As Coelho says, “…once we have overcome the defeats — and we always do — we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight.” I look forward to the day when the obstacles have been overcome. I look to focusing on the simple things and realizing that those are the most extraordinary.

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