Two Ways Solutions Are Not Always Obvious


Joyce Shafer

Joyce L. Shafer

There are two ways (or maybe “times” is a better word) a best solution might not be obvious: Before—when we need one and After—once one is in effect.

Way 1—Before

(This is taken from “The Prisoner in the Dark Cave.”)

A man sentenced to death is placed in a dark cave. He’s told there is a way out and if he finds it, he’s free. The only light source is a hole above him where food and water are to be lowered to him for thirty days; but after thirty days, this will cease.

The man sees the hole where the light comes in as his only way out—because it’s obvious. For days he stacks every rock he can find, believing if he can get the pile high enough, he can climb up and lift himself out. The ending is that this tactic doesn’t work (he runs out of rocks) and he dies. He’d focused so much on the “obvious,” he never explored where he was. Granted, it was dark in the cave, but had he felt along the wall, he would have found a tunnel that led to freedom. The “obvious” way led to his death.

Standing in a state of indecision can feel very much like standing in darkness. We want to take an action and we want it to be a right action—not just any action. But maybe we take any action only to discover we wish we hadn’t. We may take the most obvious action because it’s so uncomfortable to feel unsure or we believe we must, right then. (Others frown on being unsure, don’t they? Aren’t you supposed to always know exactly what to do about every single thing?) Ultimately, it’s the difference between a response and a reaction.

Notice in the story, the man was given a clue about the way out: he had to find it, which meant there was something he needed to look for. Yet, he didn’t look beyond what appeared obvious to him.

If you think about decisions and choices you’ve made, sometimes the obvious was the right way and sometimes it wasn’t. The obvious can seem to be the easy way out of a situation, so we don’t take even just a little time to search and research, in case there’s another or better way.

Maybe you’re in a situation at this time, looking for a solution. Set aside some time to allow yourself to consider what you’ve just read. Allow head and heart alignment to “speak” to you so you respond appropriately rather than react now and pay later.

Way 2—After

The solution came to you and you took action, or maybe the solution seemed to organically appear in your life, and what was making you crazy or worried before is now improving. But, are you acting as though things are improved or as though they’re still in their former state?

Think about that for a moment: A situation improves or is improving, but you’re still acting as though it’s still “wounded.”

Here’s a good example most people will be able to use as a parallel. Let’s say your child (or your dog) has some need to heal and you have to take certain precautions with Jack or Jill, or Jackpot—for a certain period of time.

Let’s say the desired healing and improvement happens and Jack or Jill or Jackpot is ready to begin to resume a normal active life. Will you, as caregiver, still feel cautious, or will you be as ready and raring to let s/he or it get back into action, even if gradually—because the situation is better than it was?

It’s understandable if you treat solutions and improvements as though nothing’s changed if you’ve had to cope with or manage a challenge for a period of time. We see it most typically in a person who loses weight but isn’t able to relate to their new size, only the ghost image of what was.

You know the 3-step method for manifestation: Create a rich image of what it is you desire, feel it as though it’s yours, let go of thinking about it and go do something else.

Maybe the key to releasing the past once a desired improvement is happening is to

*Create a rich image of What Is—that which is improved or improving;

*Feel how much you genuinely appreciate it and how joyful, fun, or fulfilling it is; and

*Give yourself permission to allow the improvement is present, and allow it to expand, trusting that you always know how to look after your best interests with integrity (rather than flipping your thoughts back to What Was).

Notice today whether an obvious solution or path is really the best one or if you should do some research (have you received any clues?).

Notice today whether you’re treating improvements (or healing) as though it hasn’t happened, then flip that thought/emotional process.

You are what you practice.

© June 2017, Joyce Shafer

You can reprint this article as long as you use my complete bio.

 Joyce Shafer is the You Are More! Empowerment Coach and author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say, as well as six more books/ebooks, most easily found online at ( Check out the terrific freebies and articles (and more) found in her free weekly online newsletter at

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