The Obstacle Is The Way

Written by Rory Andes

We all have a powerful story and I’m no different. My name is Rory and I have a story of hope that I want to tell you. I’m a combat veteran of Iraq who’s had my own life challenges but I work hard at promoting a better life, especially in the face of my shortcomings. I’m a writer for HumanMe.org and I just started blogging a couple of years ago. I enjoy the human condition and how people repair their own broken lives. It’s become a passion for me. I have other interests too! I’m a quilter, a public speaker and I’m extremely driven to find the very best in people. I work intently with veteran’s issues because there are more of us in prison than I’d like to admit. My favorite work is done with the University of Wisconsin on special projects with students. I serve my prison community as a peer reentry facilitator to help people reclaim their freedoms. I love a great joke, a good book and I can cook. I like a brilliant movie and I’m into all types of music. I’m a trivia hound and I like questions. I’m sensitive and empathic and people mean the world to me. I’m a deeply social person who wants to build my network beyond prison and I want you to know me. I really want to know you! I hope we can connect and strike up a wonderful conversation.

November 14, 2021

I recently read a book by Ryan Holiday titled The Obstacle is the Way, where he really digs into stoicism and how to bravely face adversity, a struggle, and use it to create something more. One chapter that struck me talked about “love everything.” I really had to sit on that. Love everything. Don’t bear with it, certainly don’t hide it or from it, just love it, whatever “it” is. How do I love the things chipping away at me currently? Of course I love the friends I have and the successes I find. I love my connections to the free world. I love that how I lead my personal life means so much more to me now than it probably has at any other point in my history. I work hard and I feel like I flourish in the hard work. I deeply love that. But prison? How do I love the obstacle of prison? Well, I can love knowing that, as pompous as it sounds and I don’t like that part of it, I’m not like the people who flourish in criminality (like, I get it… I’m IN a prison for reasons other than being saintly). But, I love the rebirth of my values, personal standards, and the emotional healing that emerged in prison. I love being able to foster extraordinary relationships with like minded people and I know I AM the company I keep, especially in a place like this. I can also love that I’m far closer to the end this sentence than the beginning. In the home stretch! I can love that! I love that someone gave me a voice to tell an audience these things from behind walls and I love the book-worthy situations I’ve found myself in, all while being sequestered from society. I love how I’ve grown and into whom here. And I love that throughout this prison time, I’m ok with being flawed, because it made me better. I’m human and I have setbacks from time to time, but it’s in those obstacles that I find things to love…

Of course, this is just one small aspect of this book. Leaning forward into the obstacles is the theme. Make them count. Make them memorable. Let them lead the way to success. From Thomas Edison, to Ulysses Grant, to Marcus Aurelius… all leaders of historical measure who knew how to use adversities as guideposts. But importantly, for me, the idea of love is what resonates the most. That’s something I can truly get behind…

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