Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • “The most effective people are those who can "hold" their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly” Peter M. Senge

    If I am centered, mindful, and aware of the larger context in which I exist at any moment, I will notice that there are “checkpoints” that the Universe provides along the way for my protection and instruction.

    A checkpoint, for me, is like a place in the road where there is a barrier, perhaps a gate, and what we might call a spiritual guardhouse. Stop! There be Guardian Angels here!

    A checkpoint can at times seem like a frustrating obstacle, because it invites me to pause in my journey, stand still, take stock, look around, get out of the box of resistance, anger, habit or emotion I may be in.

    A checkpoint can come in the form of a delay, a detour, or total disintegration of carefully made plans.

    A checkpoint can be what Buddhist Pema Chodron refers to as the time “when things fall apart.” She writes:

    “…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

    A checkpoint, in its essence, is a call for deep mindfulness, patience and compassion with myself. It presents me with an opportunity to pause, get calm, and be still so that I can evaluate the changes that have taken place in a situation, or rethink what is happening in my current reality.

    I wish I had been more aware of checkpoints awhile back, when I made a catastrophically bad decision. There was a lot of pain and confusion in my life, and I was very much in a fear mode about a lot of things. Everything in my life was screaming: “Don’t make any big decisions right now.”

    However, in my unstable and confused state, I made a decision which was just about the worst thing I could have done at that time. The red flags of warning were flying all around, offering a checkpoint, and I did not honor them, nor did I take the time to just step back and let the tumultuous waters of emotion come to rest.

    With that experience behind me, and the extreme costs it involved at all levels of my life, I now have a healthy respect for those times when checkpoints present themselves.

    Now, I have a short Checkpoint Checklist, which gives me some questions to reflect on in terms of the decision I need to make. (See below)

    Today, more than ever, we need to make careful, thoughtful, wise decisions based on a spectrum of critical factors and questions.

    Befriend the checkpoints that rise up before you. Spend time with them. Appreciate what they may have to share with you. If you are experiencing a checkpoint, clear a space and breathe with it, dance with it even, and if you need some structure, see which of these questions on my Checkpoint Checklist apply right now.

    Success for your journey!


    Checkpoint Checklist

    What is important here? What is not important?
    What is true? How do I know it is true?
    What is the Path with a Heart?
    What is healthy for my soul? What is toxic?
    What is the kind thing to do here, for myself as well as others?
    What is the right thing to do?
    What feels in integrity?
    What is the answer of peace?

    (Photograph by AJN taken at a checkpoint on a private military base in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.