Obstacles and Self-Realization

Cassandra Tondro, "Spring Break," abstract painting

Greetings Friends,

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Gloria Jaroff, sent me an interesting message about a painting that didn’t work out as I had hoped. Gloria is an architect and interior designer, and has written a fabulous book titled The Nature of Color in Interior Design. Here are her thoughts on my painting disaster:

It’s all just a process and the point of it all – or the higher purpose – is to discover yourself and move on to a higher level of thinking. Which you obviously accomplished. All that we “do” is just a step toward “self-realization” and freedom from our attachments to things. Self awareness is a gift and sometimes it does feel like a burden.

Gloria is referring to my process of first being angry about the painting, and then being able to laugh about it and move on.

It’s an interesting concept — that the problems in our lives are there for a reason, so that we can learn more about ourselves and evolve to a higher level of being. When viewed in this light, we can be grateful for the obstacles, because without them we’re not able to grow.

I don’t know about you, but my initial reaction to any problem is not to be grateful! Even when the problem is resolved, I’m often still not grateful.

Sometimes I can look back and see that obstacles have made it possible for me to evolve in significant ways. The biggest example in my life was when I had to move five years ago, because I was running out of money.

I had lived in my house in Santa Monica for 37 years, and I was terrified of having to move. I was not a happy camper about leaving everything that was familiar, but I did it anyway, and it turned out that I really like it here in Ventura. It was a stressful transition, but I was able to turn a difficult situation into a positive outcome by letting go of results and staying open to the unknown.

Having gone through that, I learned that I’m stronger than I thought, and I’m capable of making big life changes. And perhaps it prepared me to be able to deal with other obstacles and change more easily in the future.

What have you learned from the obstacles in your life? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Spring Break,” diptych, 36 x 48 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas



  1. There is a high force G-d Almighty who is ” in charge” and all that happens to every single one of us is His plan.
    The question is how do I deal with it? Do I see it as a chance for bettering myself? Or mope and think it is something to cry about?
    As an educational counselor in childcare centers it is my main topic to parents and caregivers.
    Show an example to these young children how to embrace all occurences in daily life.
    Stop being ” helicopter parents”.
    It is OK to make mistakes and learn from them!
    It makes life so much fuller when your outlook is- what can I learn from this? How do I go on?

    I bought all the equip. for starting to make pictures like you show….so far it is on a special shelf.
    I am away from home for the coming few weeks..but I just decided- with G-d’s help – to get on with joy as soon as I get back home.
    Thank you for your posts.

    Miriam from Israel
    Mother of 11
    Grand and great grandmother to many thank G-d!

    1. Hi Miriam. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I agree that problems are a chance to better ourselves, or not. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the paintings when you get back!

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