A rambling post with many loose ends and without an conclusion...
I chopped firewood earlier this evening, and the few times I got a split that was difficult (hitting a knot or a twist in the grain) I saw that I either pushed through with the split, or turned the log to find a different split.
And that is what I do in my life as well. Sometimes, I continue with something that is obviously difficult and does not seem to go so well, and other times I change course. I have even, several times, stopped doing something (even deeply) rewarding because it was too easy for me...!
It is something that is a continuing issue for me: when is it wise to turn around, or change course? and when is it OK to continue, in spite of obstacles, or even intuitions that it may not be the best thing?
Of course, some things are obviously worth pursuing in spite of obstacles and difficulties. Sometimes, these are just part of the path, making it richer and more real for us. There may be a course correction here and there, but the overall direction remains much the same.
But what if the particular course is not only difficult, but also makes me miserable? I have continued some paths like this, and will of course never know what would have happened if I had chosen an easier, and more pleasant, and even rewarding, path. Even here, there is a quiet stream of bliss in the experience, although that seems to be there no matter what is going on, so that is not much of a guide...! And even, or maybe especially, here, there is much to learn. A lot of food for digestion, for deepening into my humanity.
In Buddhism there is the term wise avoidance, meaning that we need discernment about what situations to put ourselves in. What is too much? Which food is too hard to digest for me right now? Knowing also that food not easily digestible for me now, may turn out to be exactly the food and nourishment I need later on.
Well, this is just some rambling on this topic, which may help it clarify later on (or not.)
One thing seems clear, and that is if others suffer for a path I choose, it may be a good thing to stop, reevaluate, and take a course correction.