Personal Growth By Mary Jaksch Tweet24 Share10 +12Shares 36By Christopher Foster Can our challenges and afflictions actually be a step toward a fuller, happier, more meaningful life? I think they can. I can only speak for myself, of course. But I find that the older I become, the more I see my adversities – past or present ─ in a new light. I can look back on my past and think to myself how terrible some of the events in my life were. And they were terrible, without a doubt. And yet they have brought me to today. How do I know I would be who I am today if those events had not occurred? I can think, for example, how terrible it was to lose my first wife in just a few hours after she suffered an aneurysm during our flight home from a vacation in the Caribbean in 1991. We had gone there to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. And it was terrible. I was numb for a long, long time. I can think how terrible it was when the spiritual community that had been my home for 36 years suddenly collapsed following the death of its leader, and I had no choice but to return to the “outside” world. I was numb – in total despair – after that event also. I was 63, after all. How was I going to survive in the big, bad world? What was to become of me? Or I can think how terrible it was to suffer a major clinical depression in 2005. Or bringing things more up-to-date here, I can think how terrible it was to be diagnosed with colon cancer last fall following a routine colonoscopy. Heck, I’m 82 now. How could this happen? I pride myself on eating well, and keeping fit. I do resistance training at the gym three days a week. I go for walks every day. I’ve already had my fair share of adversity. So how unfair it was, and still is, even though my prognosis – according to my oncologist ─ is actually quite good at this point. Cancer is very unfair, that’s the truth of the matter. There is no justice to it. And to be honest, the six months it has taken me to fully recover from my surgery has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. But here is what dawns on me with increasing intensity these days. I’m happier and more fulfilled now than I have ever been in my whole life. And why would that be? This may sound strange, but one reason, I believe, is that I am not the person I used to be. My life has unfolded in such a way that I have been more or less compelled to change, and change, and then ─ change some more. Putting it another way, I have been more or less compelled to let go of some of my old conditionings and fears and allow the joy and peace of my true nature to shine through me a bit more brightly ─ the true nature that is the birthright of each of us. Yes, some conditionings and fears remain. Perhaps they will always remain. But they don’t seem to be as important anymore as perhaps they once were. My wife and I have a little game we like to play. We play this game each afternoon when I return home from the coffee shop. “Who’s there?” JoAnn calls, when she hears the back door opening. “New person,” I reply. Yes, we all experience adversity. But if our troubles – past or present ─ help to make us “new,” perhaps it’s a price worth paying? What a great gift life offers in these days – the opportunity to fulfill our destiny and experience the freedom and joy of our true nature regardless of our age. About the author: Christopher Foster is the author of The Secret Promise of Aging: Finding Meaning, Joy and Inner Peace, a book of timeless lessons and stories from the author’s life available now in print and Kindle editions at Amazon. Christopher blogs at TheHappySeeker.com Note from Mary Jaksch: This book is inspiring and exciting. It’s a whole new way of understanding and appreciating the power of ageing. Click here to grab it – either for yourself or as a wonderful gift for family or friends.