The obstacle is the path

This Zen saying is pinned to my bulletin board, above the outline (on index cards) for my current novel-in-progress. Five words on a thin strip of paper pinned at a cockeyed angle, waiting and ready as a reminder anytime my eyes chance to glance its way. I just did. Then I looked away, at all the many objects of varying degrees of inspiration and challenge that call for attention: a pile of papers with a post-it demand to “Sort Me or Die”; a painting of trees dancing against a purple sky that my son made when he was 8; an antique studio picture of a midwestern farm mother and her four daughters, taken in the late 1800s; Mardi Gras beads festooning the desk lamp shade; a scattering of bills on the couch; my meditation cushion, thankfully still warm. And here I am, getting ready, again, to dive back into a world of my own invention, that sometimes feels more relevant than the soles of my feet, and sometimes feels like a faraway, distant planet. How to return? How to crack open the walnut? How to breathe into that leap of fear and faith?

The obstacle is the path.