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Overcoming Challenges – Learning Powerful Life Lessons


Sometimes we lean into a shift– we choose it. Other times it is thrust upon us. Regardless of how something manifests, shifts can have a dramatic impact on our lives and can leave us with profound life lessons. But the lessons aren’t always obvious so sometimes you must closely examine the situation and find the lesson concealed within. And it can be very eye-opening and fulfilling to discover these lessons.

For me, there were three to four weeks of waves of challenge just surging in like a turbulent sea during a storm. My husband ended up in the emergency room — he was having a heart attack. It was a horrific and painful experience for him (and a very demanding and scary one for me.) He ended up spending a total of five days in the hospital, even though his heart attack was deemed “minor” and a best case scenario from a heart attack perspective. He finally was given the go ahead to be released (his heart rate had stabilized and lowered) and I brought him home.

Four days later we were hit with a major hurricane that left Long Island quite devastated in general, but left us without power, heat and hot water for fifteen days. The temperature inside the house dipped down to a chilly forty-something degrees on some of the colder nights. And my husband had to spend most nights out, as the cold was too taxing on his recovery. I spent a night or two alone in a very cold, dark house with my pets. Most nights we were like nomads, going from house to house, friend to friend. We depended on the kindness of neighbors, friends and nearby family.

Yes — life challenges change us – there is no doubt about that.

The question is does a particular difficult challenge change us for the better or the worse? Initially you may feel downright sad, angry, frustrated. So you need to move through much of the challenging time period first. But when you find yourself finally moving into clarity, and you are gaining forward momentum, ask yourself the question: what did I learn from this experience? And really feel into it.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Am I stronger from the experience?
  • Did I gain insight into who I really am at my core?
  • Did this experience teach me how to appreciate the beauty, balance of normalcy and the simplicity of everyday routine life?
  • Did I  learn how to genuinely be present and to focus solely on the moment in order to survive?

For me, life during that “dark period” was absolutely a struggle, but we were so profoundly touched by the compassion of many people. One of the lessons we learned was that sometimes being “power-less” meant we had to completely surrender to the “powers that be” — to the Divine plan and also to the compassion of people we did not know well, but who gently and warmly came to our rescue. So though we were power-less, we were profoundly empowered by this knowing. We were enveloped by a warm blanket that was a sense of community that we had rarely experienced or acknowledged during the flow of “normal” life.

I learned to appreciate the modern conveniences in our lives. When our power finally came back on, my husband and I had emotional tears of relief in our eyes. We turned on every light in the house, just needing to soak up and absorb the feeling of radiant electric light. I know in my heart that this feeling of appreciation will last a long while as the lesson was deeply ingrained.

Make every effort to learn from your experiences — even if the experiences rock your world. Our challenges do shape us into who we are — and if we let ourselves morph into stronger, more compassionate, more alive, and more loving individuals — than we have powerfully reached for the positive result and will be happier for it.


  • Overcoming challenges and obstacles helps me grow stronger.
  • I greet the ebb and flow of life with an attitude of flexibility and adaptability.
  • I strive to remain true to my integrity and my core essence, particularly when navigating through turbulent times.

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