The Obstacles Are the Path

The past few weeks, the following quote has come across my path a lot –

“Obstacles don’t block the path. They are the path.” ~ Zen Proverb

Yes, I resonate with it, however I also needed to unpack it further. Following are a couple of my brief reflections.


What Does It Mean – the Obstacles Are the Path?

The “obstacles” that are standing in our way to living our whole-hearted life, are actually the way. They are the path. Yes, challenges are part of life. These challenges can be referred to as stumbling blocks, obstacles or maybe you described them in another way? Some examples of challenges including being stressed or overwhelmed at work, challenges with relationships, criticism from other people for doing things differently than them or feelings of grief, fear etc.

When obstacles along we have choices – we can either live in DENIAL (i.e. pretend they are not happening), run from it or accept them, work with them, deal with them to transform them. For me, I tried the DENIAL approach and it didn’t work very well (so grateful I learn to see things clearly). Subsequently, I started making different choices to change my life. I started living above the line.


What is Living Above the Line?

As you can see in the diagram below, living above the line is about –

  • Taking ownership of your life,
  • Being accountable for it, and
  • Being responsible.


It is recognising you have the power to change you and the results in your life.

Yes sometimes this is easier said than done (especially when you have had challenging situations occur in your past), however it is possible and is far better than living below the line. Living below the line essentially means giving your power away to other people and external situations. It is –

  • Blaming others for your situation,
  • Making excuses,
  • Living in denial, and/or
  • A sense of entitlement.


How Can You Identify If You Are Living Above the Line?

Next time you start a project or activity at work or home, ask yourself –

  • Are you ready to take ownership of the project entirely?
  • Are you ready to do your best and make yourself accountable for the quality of work you produce? and
  • Are you going to hold yourself responsible for the end product?


One of the most challenging parts of living above the line is acknowledging when things don’t go the way I would like or had hoped. However, I also acknowledge that is my responsibility, which then provides a great opportunity for growth! This approach is about turning within and discovering your own answers from the wisdom inside of you, not looking for the answers on the outside (which was hard for a recovering people-pleaser) 🙂 However, when we know better, we can do better.


“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Over to You…

Are you ready to start to live above the line and be responsible for your own life? If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit.



  • Rozroz

    Reply Reply December 26, 2019

    It’s so nice, it has changed my mindset

    • Jane

      Reply Reply December 26, 2019

      Nice to hear it helped!

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