Waiting On The World To Change

2 Oct

I have been thinking a lot about obstacles lately. Ok. I’m always thinking about obstacles. Mainly because, those little suckers are usually the only thing standing between me and, well, my dreams. And in honor of the upcoming workshop that I am co-teaching about releasing obstacles, and because October starts with the letter ‘O’ as does ‘obstacles,’ I have decided that those pesky little dream-deferrers would make an excellent focus this month.

Let me preface this by saying that on September 12th, I got so excited about the release of Justin Timberlake’s new cd, and with good reason, but that this turn of events also had a downside, in that it overshadowed the release of another fantastic cd on that very same day – John Mayer’s Continuum. And let me further say that the first song on this cd is entitled “Waiting On The World To Change.” And for the purposes of this essay, I am going to (almost) entirely disregard his personal life, and focus solely on his talent, which I find to be ample and abundant, and his lyrics, which I find to be insightful and deep, often encapsulating a feeling I have experienced just so as to give me a gasp of an A-ha! Moment. An example of this is a lyric on track 2 where he plaintively inquires: “Who do you love? Me or the thought of me?” And can I just say that in that moment I was like: “Woah, Johnny, I’ve so been there! I’ve totally loved the thought of at least one man, and at least one man has totally loved the thought of me, and between us, me and said man, we couldn’t find a real him or a real me anywhere, and this of course, leads to problems in the relationship, more or less down the road.”

So I feel, on certain topics, John Mayer just gets it right, and listening to “Waiting On The World To Change,” I couldn’t help but think that this is one of those topics.

Here’s the thing: any spiritual guru will tell you that many if not most obstacles are self-created. Deepak Chopra, for instance, totally says this. Which can be annoying if you are trapped in the middle of what feels like infinite insurmountable obstacles and you’re like, “Duh, why would I do this to myself?” There are, of course, endless reasons, some explainable and some not, but the fact is, it happens.

Following are a mere few examples, a small sampling if you will, of obstacles that I may or may not have had more or less experience with: low self-esteem, negative self-talk, unhealthy relationships, lack of purpose, excessive and unnecessary drama, complaining, self-defeating patterns, habits of resistance/avoidance, perfectionism, obsession with tabloid journalism (major time-suck!)…the list goes on…and then, on top of that, attachment to any of the aforementioned items, which again, like: “Duh, why would I be in a bad situation and then get attached to it???” But you know, it happens. You may or may not have experienced anything like this. (Please note: ‘attachment’ is pretty much code for ‘obstacle.’ If you have an attachment to anything, it might as well come with its very own, personalized, customized, just-for-you obstacle course.)

Following is an example of one of my personal favorite self-created obstacles: I have wanted to teach writing for years, but at some point I made this decision that I couldn’t do it until I had a graduate degree and one of my plays was on Broadway and had potentially won a Pulitzer Prize. And a few years ago, I applied to some grad school programs, and I got rejected from all of them, so I was pretty much like: “Ok dream, it was nice knowing you. Thanks for all the memories…” On one of my rejection letters an admissions officer had even hand-drawn a smiley face and written something to the effect of “Don’t give up!”, which seemed to be moving in a more positve, cheerful direction as far as rejection letters go, but still, it was just that, and NOT acceptance.

A year post-rejection, I was having drinks with a friend one day and she was like: “Why don’t you teach writing?” And I was about to go into the litany of reasons why I couldn’t, but instead, I decided to do something radical, and just try it, Pulitzer-prizeless and lacking $100,000 in educational debt. I love it so much, and it turns out that my beloved obstacles weren’t as concrete as I believed them to be.

We can wait for the world to change, or wait for ourselves to change, or wait for our obstacles to disappear on their own, or we can do something. We can start something. We can create something simply by beginning it. We can pick one of our favorite, time-tested, self-created obstacles and just, fire it. Just for the month. And you can get it back next month if you decide things were better off with it, but I am guessing that this won’t be the case.


Happy Obstacle-Free October!

Lots of love!

Jen xoxoxoxo


Copyright © 2006 by Jennifer Garam. All rights reserved.


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