the Presence Point

Transforming Obstacles

Magnolia in bloom by Sarah Lipton

Magnolia in bloom, by Sarah Lipton

Spring has finally sprung here in Northern Vermont. The grass is vivid and the leaves are beginning to unfurl.

We’ve just come through an intense period of time, at least myself and most people I know have felt that way. I found that for me, the whole process could be summed up by the metaphor of a bulb in frozen ground working hard to push through the frozen soil up into the light and begin the journey towards blooming. The thaw of winter’s icy grip, the realization that the irritating process of growing means transforming obstacles into nutrients.

Transforming obstacle into nutrient.


Take that in for a moment. This means that the irritation we feel needs to be listened to, learned from and worked with. That if we actually slow down enough to pay attention to the messages of our irritation, we will learn and grow and eventually bloom.

The cycle of learning is a good way to describe this process: going frostages of learningm unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence then to conscious competence and finally to unconscious competence. This is about building our awareness and allowing ourselves to walk through the journey of learning, without judging ourselves in the process. Once we have accomplished the learning of a particular thing, we move on to learning the next thing - and we always start with unconscious incompetence.

We can therefore apply ourselves to the process of transforming obstacles into nutrients just the way we approach any learning journey - we apply awareness.

First, we can ask ourselves, what am I not aware of? What are the messages coming in about this issue or situation? Where does this information reside in my body? Through this self-reflection, we become familiar with our experience - we are moving from unconscious to conscious incompetence.

Once we have arrived at awareness, or consciousness, we can begin to lean in even further and learn the tactics, tools and skills we need to deal with our new knowledge and begin to turn that into wisdom. In my tradition, wisdom is unconscious competence - we have moved from knowing what we know to being informed by what we know and now have the ability, flexibility, agility and deeper knowing that we need in order to move through change and do the work of transformation.

What do we need for this journey of transformation? We need grit. We need tolerance. We need adaptability and flexibility. We need strength and confidence. We need vision and mission and purpose.

Are those tall orders? Perhaps. This is not a journey for the unwilling. And yet, this is a journey we are all already innately prepared to take on. So, it’s up to you to decide - are you ready to rouse the awareness to walk the path of transforming obstacles into nutrients? If so, then go for it!

And share your experience with us!




Article dedicated to all of my clients I’ve been guiding on this journey over the last few months - you know who you are!





learning cycle photo thanks to http://thepeakperformancecenter.com/