Have you challenged yourself lately? Sometimes perceived obstacles can present unique challenges that ask us to learn and grow. About a year and a half ago I began searching for someone who could build a wooden case for me to hold my singing crystal pyramid. My first possibility came in the form of an antique salesman who doubled as a box builder by night. Despite his enthusiasm and promise to create something for me within a week, his promises quickly fell through. It then took me half a year more to find my second possibility. Yet again, despite the new builder's promise to create something quickly, he too fell off. So, there I was a year later with this unique challenge and opportunity to build my own carry case. After much humming, hawing and deliberation, I went for it! I made my measurements, purchased my wood from the hardware store, sought out unique brass fittings from antique shops and got started.
Are you making progress?
Sometimes on our path to discovery we can feel as though we get lost along the way. But are we making progress? As I was diligently constructing my singing crystal pyramid case, I came up against some road blocks. For one, I made a bunch of annoying mis-measurements that were just a fraction off, causing things to not be in alignment. After all of my hard work, things just didn’t line up. Sound familiar? After dealing with that issue I stood in the hardware store looking at a sea of nails for every purpose under the sun. I deliberated for about twenty minutes before choosing nails that I would eventually exchange for different ones.
In my gut I felt that the new nails were too big and as it turned out my intuition was not only right (surprised?), but the original nails would have been just the right size for my project. Now, disaster was on my hands! I had hammered these long nails right through the box. So, what to do? I could have been really miserable about this but I recognized that it was necessary to be gentle with myself. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing and was basically winging this project. So I decided to step back, breathe, relax and ask myself, “Am I making progress?” “Am I learning, growing and being reminded to always trust my intuition?” The answer was a resounding “Yes!” “Why?” because with every setback I encountered along the way, I had to learn to work with it. Starting over was not an option. So instead, I was challenged to come up with creative solutions. For example, I had a great idea for placing scrap leather on the back of the box and some embossed wood trim around the other three sides to cover up all of the nail damage. Now, I was feeling more inspired than I did before!
Is it ever complete?
After two weeks of blood, sweat and tears, there was finally joy and much rejoicing at my mostly finished carry case. I say, “mostly finished” because I had resolved to temporarily (if ever) not put a clear coat on it, and I accepted that the fabric, cushioned lining I made was a wacky disaster. All and all, I just didn't care. It was as complete as it could be and absolutely beautiful in my eyes (but also maybe a little garish). So, I reached for my precious Singing Crystal Pyramid to place inside my grandiose case and what was I to find? A hairline crack! Ah! How could it be?! Nooooo!!! This, of course was the whole point of creating a case for it in the first place, to avoid any possible damage. Well, after my initial shock laughter burst from my mouth. Oh, the hilarity of it! After all the heart and soul I had put into this silly case, it had now been rendered useless! But does it matter? Perhaps I was taking it all a little too seriously. Some of you may wish to flick me on the nose when I say this, but it truly is the journey that matters and not necessarily the outcome. Sure, it would have been great to have an undamaged pyramid and an immaculate case to put it in, but either way, I had fun along the way and I learned a great deal. Plus, if I ever need to create a similar project it will be way easier next time. And besides, is it ever really complete? This journey that is, and anything we do along the way. There’s always ‘more’ we strive for. Once we attain or accomplish something, we look for bigger and better. So is it ever complete? I say, “No, it certainly is not!” Learn - Grow - Accomplish; Learn -Grow - Accomplish, and so on…
So, if there's something going on in your life right now that you can utilize as an opportunity for growth I say, "Step up to the challenge and see what you are made of!" Or if you feel things aren’t quite lining up in your life or you are troubled by unforeseen setbacks, I challenge you to pause, take a breather and tap into your unique brilliance to come up with inspiring, creative solutions! And the next time you feel things are falling apart in your life, step back and ask yourself if you are taking it all too seriously. If you are, have a big, long laugh about it!