Challenges are here to awaken you and even if you’re awakening, life continuously gives you challenges and then the awakening accelerates and deepens. ~ Eckhart Tolle

Life sucks for me,” a friend recently told me. “It really does. Nothing is going right.”

I listened, and as I did, memories of upheavals in my life came flooding in — times when I felt the rug got pulled out from under me, times when I felt sucker punched, times when I was leveled to my knees.

When I made it through my childhood in one piece and got to college, I heaved a big sigh of relief.

“Phew!” I thought. “Glad that’s over! I NEVER want to go through that again!”

I turned my attention to school, and off I went. Then, in my sophomore year, when I was only 19, my father died. It was sudden and tragic, sending me reeling. I remember coming back to school after the funeral. Everything looked the same. Though life had continued on, my inner world had shattered. Nothing made sense anymore.

Eventually, I picked myself up emotionally and moved forward. At 25, my mother passed. We had been estranged for four years, though I had tried desperately to connect with her. Her death became my entry into hell. All the emotional baggage I had accumulated tormented me mercilessly. I endured night terrors and descended into true darkness. I had been very close to my mother, and her pushing me away had already been an excruciating loss — the permanency of her death, therefore, felt like it would annihilate me.

I felt abandoned by the Universe — kicked to the curb and left to figure it all out on my own.

During the years that followed, I also had many wonderful things happen — marriage, children, career. But having been hit so many times with unexpected challenges, I became wary of Life and unconsciously waited for the next bomb to drop. I braced myself for the worst; I felt like I had a big red target on my back that said “Kick me.” Anxiety over what might happen followed me everywhere.

I began to search for answers. I wanted to understand the meaning of Life, as in, “Who the hell is running the show here?”

Once I began looking into Life, rather than screaming “It’s not fair!” and pummeling my fists in the air against an invisible enemy, I started to see glimmers of truth, vestiges of hope ever so lightly hanging in the inky darkness. I began to wake up.

Soul-quakes provide the rocket fuel for our souls by giving us the opportunity to blast off into new dimensions, new chapters, new beginnings

Once that process began in earnest, it was like a train that had stopped at the station to gather passengers finally started moving. Inner sight revealed a great truth: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness (Eckhart Tolle). These “soul-quakes” turn our lives upside down, forcing us to reach for a different perspective. We aren’t meant to stay stuck at the train station indefinitely, our engines idled, huddled in an empty car afraid to move. Soul-quakes provide the rocket fuel for our souls by giving us the opportunity to blast off into new dimensions, new chapters, new beginnings. They stretch us farther than we ever have been before.

Can we look forward to our soul-quakes? If we become like Gumby, the green clay humanoid character from the 1950’s, we can learn to stretch in all directions as we grow, rather than feeling ripped out of our comfort zones. Maybe then we will equate “soul-quakes” with their true purpose: soul growth.

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