Seeing Challenges as Opportunities for Personal Growth

       As a kid growing up, I was born into a very challenging life. My mom was a single mother with five kids, one of which was mentally retarded, and we were on welfare. We lived in a small two bedroom house in the worst neighborhood in town, and experienced many forms of abuse while being neglected and left unsupervised for days at a time. My older brothers ended up going to detention homes, my younger sister passed away at 9, and I ended up running away in order to avoid what would happen to me if I stayed home. I became quite accustomed to living on the streets and fending for myself by the time I was 12.

       Throughout my teenage years I was taken away from my mother due to abuse and put into the court system where I went in and out of foster care that was almost worse than living at home, so I ended up running away from those also. Though all of this I continued to go to school while living in a fort I built in the park. In spite of all of this I did very well in school where I was put into accelerated learning classes and graduated high school at 16 with a scholarship to college. I filed for emancipation at 16, got a job and started college, where I graduated at 18. I experienced unimaginable hardship while trying to survive and protect myself, and was hospitalized on two occasions for malnutrition. As I continued through life I seemed to be thrust from one challenging situation to another, enduring many hardships, traumas, tragedies, and crisis, which are still continuing to this day.

        When I was young I remember feeling as if I was always being punished for something, but I couldn’t figure out what I had done to deserve to be punished because I was a really good kid (seriously). I was the only “white sheep” in my family, always helped out, and never got in trouble (except for fighting and running away). As I got older I began to look at things from a much deeper perspective of wanting to penetrate the secrets of life, which I found to be very mysterious.

       One thing that I recognized about myself at a fairly young age was that I was a very “strong” individual with a will that could push through what seemed like unbearable situations with a positive attitude, and I always seemed to have a clear perspective on what was happening forming realizations that led me to consistently make clear decisions about who I was and what I was going to do. I was never easily led, could care less about fitting in, and never had anyone to look to for guidance and help. Many of my decisions were quite difficult to make as I felt torn with a sense of love and loyalty to the very people I sought to get away from, and was terrified to leave and face being all alone and vulnerable to the unknowns of life. My first few years living on the street as a child were terrifying and very stressful, but after a while I got a system down that seemed to work pretty well.

       As a young adult, having gone through a problematic pregnancy my son was born with serious medical problems that required me to persist in trying to get him diagnosed to a point where they thought I was suffering from some kind of “postnatal depression and hysteria”. He was finally diagnosed in just enough time to save him, and I underwent a year of repeated hospitalization and several major surgeries, while also being told at one point that he was dying, where I decided to take him home, and administered the care that caused him to fully recover and begin thriving again.

       During this time my entire life fell apart and I think I may have had what seemed like several nervous breakdowns in trying to deal with it all at once. One of these breakdowns (completely distraught) came as the result of having to go against the system and everything I was being told in order to save my son’s life, that resulted in having a direct encounter with what I came to recognize as my Higher Self as what intuitively “showed me what to do”. Yet in spite of it all I walked away from the situation a year later with a healthy and happy little boy. I lost everything I owned through the process and had to file bankruptcy the next year due to the astronomical medical bills. During this time I accessed a part of myself I didn’t even know existed, and it transformed my way of thinking and being in a way that began taking on a life of its own. I felt like I became a different person because of this experience. I was no longer afraid or unsure of myself and could see things with a great sense of clarity and confidence in myself.

           I then went through the lingering process of trying to revitalize a dead marriage, pursued what became a demanding career in order to take care of my son, became very independent, came face to face with drug addiction and trying to somehow manage what deteriorated into an abusive situation. Though I found this period of my life extremely challenging at times, I also started feeling very strong, mature, and capable and eventually felt unaffected by the situation I found myself in. I was no longer afraid and vulnerable, and instead felt grounded, calm and calculating, and able to manage even the most difficult situations with relative ease and psychological skill.

       Another breaking point came several years later when my husband tried to strangle me in the midst of a jealous rage, and I was finally able to make him leave by being willing to face the consequences of what I thought he might do to me. A few months after our separation he was stabbed through the heart while in a bathroom stall of a restaurant, and died four days later. I left the hospital and went directly to the police department where I was interrogated for several hours and given an idea of what charges were being filed and given the details on the nature of what happened. This was followed by a murder trial in our small town of 2,400 people (so it was the biggest thing that happened there in years) that lasted for 14 months, and I won’t even try to convey the insane experience this brought and what I came to realize about how our justice system works.

       As I was sitting quietly one day and reflecting back on things and wondering why “bad things” were always happening to me, no longer feeling punished but more confused and mystified . . . a voice inside of me said “think of it as training. How can you teach and help others through things if you don’t know how to make it through them yourself? See this as your education so you can fulfill your life’s purpose as a teacher.” This was profound because at this point in my life I had no idea I was going to end up teaching. That experience set a transformation into motion and I began taking a whole different attitude towards the seemingly tragic events of my life, and looked back on them with a new awareness around the reason for things.

       I realized that even as a child who was conditioned to a very dysfunctional way of living and dependent on a bizarre set of circumstances, that I was always aware of what “I couldn’t bring myself to do.” I wasn’t making clear decisions at first, but rather ones that came from feelings inside of me that realized I couldn’t be “that kind of person” or let “those kinds of things happen to me.” In every crisis I face as a major event of some kind I noticed that it brought out the worst in everyone involved, including me, and I got to see myself in a different light. I saw myself as reflecting the traits of those around me, and I didn’t like who I became. I then realized that in my worst moments as a child I was making the most important decisions of my life in terms of who I was going to be, and those decisions served to shape me as an adult and set my destiny in motion.

       As I saw the traits in the people around me and how they made me feel by what they were doing and how they were treating each other and me, I thought there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to be like that or act to make someone feel the way I’m feeling right now. I felt disgusted and extremely disappointed. I lived every moment never knowing when someone was going to be “set off” by something and take it out on me, or what kind of mood they were going to be in from one moment to the next. I was actively choosing, even as a child, who and how I was going to be because it wasn’t “in me” to do that. It wasn’t in my nature to be that way. I couldn’t even imagine myself participating in the insane activities going on all around me, and started going off and being by myself as a result.

       One of the things I began telling myself at a young age was that I felt like no one knew who I was because they were always judging me to be like my family, and I was nothing like them. In schools teachers would recognize my last name and knew who my brothers were, and would make off remarks and treated me as though I was going to be a problem to deal with. Every time I encountered a cop for some reason, they would ask me how my mom, dad, and brothers were doing. I was perceived as being a juvenile delinquent and possible trouble-maker or bad influence (many of my friends parents wouldn’t allow them to hang out with me), even though I was living on my own in the park while continuing to go to school and never got into any serious trouble with the law. The only illegal activity I was engaged in was what I needed to do in order to survive and protect myself, which I did.

       When I finally moved out of my home town and to a brand new community where no one knew me, I was going to work one day and a voice said to me . . . “okay Linda, you’re always going on about how people don’t know you for who you really are, well no one knows you here, so who are you going to be?” And I realized in that moment that no one would know anything about my past unless I told them. So I made it a point from that moment forward to never talk about my family, where I came from, or what I had been through, and took an attitude instead of “creating myself” as I really am.

       This not only put me in touch with myself in a new way and “who I am” as a conscious choice, but taught me to quit talking about my past and telling stories about “what happened to me”. As a result, I not only got to the point where I hardly ever thought about it anymore, and eventually started forgetting about a lot of things, but I also learned how to stay present in my life and consciously create myself in every moment to be the person I truly was inside. When people I had known for years finally started finding out about my upbringing and where I came from they were shocked. Most thought that I had come from a fairly well-to-do family, had a formal education, and didn’t have a problem in the world because I “seemed” so “well-balanced and confident.” Of course this was also the community where my son was born and my husband was killed, so it set a whole new type of reality into motion that brought with it a whole new set of challenges and obstacles to be overcome and resolved to a favorable end.

       Every time I hit a point of mental and emotional collapse, where I felt like giving up because I didn’t think I had the strength or know-how to make it through my situation and I felt completely alone in life, I realized that I didn’t know how to give up. What would it mean to give up? How would I live with myself knowing I gave up? What do you actually do when you give up? And after a period of severe stress and not knowing what to do, literally falling apart, crying to the point of heaving, I would get pissed (at myself and God, even though I was an atheist at that time), and state firmly and repeatedly that I refused to give up – and in those moments of complete mental breakdown, feeling diminished and lost yet determined to persevere  – I connected with a higher power that seemed to consume me by “coming into me” and kind of taking over as my own consciousness.

       Its consciousness became one with mine and I felt more alive than ever before with a feeling of intense elation and self-awareness. An amazing feeling of calm came over me and I became very focused with a feeling of absolute power in what I was sensing. I seemed to know intuitively exactly what I needed to do, how I needed to do it, the reason for doing it, and what would result from it. All of my grief and despair vanished and I immediately proceeded to carry on with a renewed sense of moral strength that felt unstoppable. This was a profound awakening for me because I had always felt abandoned by a higher power and as if I was being made to suffer because I was a “good person.” I had felt betrayed and condemned by religion and always saw it as a form of mass delusion, even as a child.

       I then started experiencing what I came to realize were premonitions about the events that led up to my husband getting killed, where I literally tried to intervene and stop it from happening because I thought that was why it was being revealed to me. As I tried to change the course of events based on what I was seeing, they simply happened in a different way. Then, after he was stabbed and died on the spot, and was resuscitated several times while undergoing open-heart surgery, only to die as soon as he was taken out of ICU from a blood clot, it changed my perspective on everything. This set a whole new realm of investigation into motion that completely changed the course of my life by leading me down a path of deep inquiry into the true nature of destiny and the meaning of life. I became consumed with wanting to know what happens when we die? What do we experience? What’s it like? Where do we go? And I began reading everything I could find on the subject while talking to other psychics about their experiences with seeing people’s death and what happened when they tried to intervene by warning them.

       It was at this moment that I finally realized that if I didn’t believe in God, then who was I always talking to, and who was talking to me? I realized I was always engaged in a form of intimate conversation with another being that was inside of me. What was the voice inside of me that was always guiding, instructing, and comforting me? How was it that I could foresee events of the future while unconsciously engaging in behaviors as a part of what led up to them (I bought a black dress for an event a week before he died that I ended up wearing to his funeral). Was our life predetermined and we were just going through the motions as the experience of it, or were we truly creating our life moment by moment through the decisions we make?

      What I realized through all of it was that in every moment, through every life challenge and crisis, I was able to see different aspects of myself brought out by the shear panic and despair I was feeling, where I was making a decision, conscious or not, as to who I was going to be in relationship to that moment, and taking what often amounted to drastic actions that were terrifying in and of themselves as the means of fulfilling my decisions. These weren’t decisions made in an analytical way through reasoning as a debate, but rather ones that resulted from feelings, intuition, and a heightened awareness around the true nature of things.

       I became very clear on what was “in me to do and what wasn’t.” My choices came out of an awareness of who I am as a soul. Not from what I was “taught” was right or wrong or acceptable based on the circumstances. I couldn’t “imagine myself” being that way, and if I was, I would hate myself while knowing I had the ability to change it, but chose not to out of fear and self-doubt. All of my unconscious decisions resulted not from my conditioning and the values and behaviors being demonstrated all around me that I was an inherent part of, but from my inner sense of morality and what I knew deep inside to be right and wrong. It was my morality and intuition as a soul that was my compass and beacon shining through in even the darkest moments when all hope seemed lost and I was beside myself with fear. All the answers I sought weren’t outside of me, but within me, simply waiting to be acknowledged. I realized that questions and answers are opposite ends of the same thing, and the questions we ask in our most private moments with a deep sincerity to know bring the answers to us as life experiences.

       As I continue through life, I’m still experiencing one challenge after another, I’m currently in the process of going blind (have been for several years), but now I look at things from a completely different perspective where I see them as the ideal situation for showing me parts of myself that I still need to transform. I see them as opportunities administered by my Higher Self that serve to facilitate my moral and spiritual grow by teaching me the lessons they hold as a result. I’m completely clear on the fact that karma is administered in an unbiased and compassionate fashion by my Higher Self lovingly affording me the opportunity to redeem myself from past errors instead of blindly repeating them in new ways, and develop all of my weaknesses and bad traits into moral strength and mental skill. Realizing that problems are actually loving gestures designed to grow me in new ways, I feel a deep sense of appreciation for all of what I imagine to be tribulations.

       I’ve learned that every situation, no matter how challenging or difficult it seems, brings out in me all kinds of qualities and traits in response to it, many of which appeal to the mentality and emotional states of my conditioning where I can detach from them in order to see them in a different light and not let them consume me by making them personal. Through the challenges of my life I can see what weaknesses I still need to transform into strengths. I have developed a strong ability to look at myself as I truly am, and take an attitude of always rising to every challenge I’m faced with in order to develop myself in a fully conscious and deliberate way. I realize with complete certainty that this material life is not the prize to be won or story to be lived, but simply sets the stage necessary for me to decide in every moment who I’m going to be in relationship with it and as a co-creator with it.

       I realize that my true purpose in life is to grow my soul in ways that allow me to help other people grow. I consider myself a teacher and know that I can only teach others what I know from experience. I know that in blazing a path from the lowest level of despair to the highest level of optimism and confidence casts this into the astral light of mass consciousness where it can be accessed and utilized by all who are searching for their own answers. It has provided me with the knowledge and practical skills to be able to embrace and walk head on into any situation, no matter how bad, with a sense of compassion, reverence, and confidence in my ability to not only to endure it and know what to do in new situations, but use it to actively develop the parts of me it naturally acts to calls forth in response to it.

       I know that this life and these circumstances are simply a phase and step in my soul’s overall growth and are only meaningful in terms of setting the stage that’s ideal for my eternal process of self-creation. It’s not about what happens to us in life or why, but rather who we decide to become by way of what happens to us. In every moment we’re making decisions based on one question, and that is “who am I?” Who am I going to be in this moment? What am I going to create? We’re always the one determining our own creation and setting the course for our destiny. The only purpose to this life is to master our ability to not be controlled by the conditions and circumstances of life, but to engage at the point of actively directing the natural forces of the world through the power of self-realization, choice and will. How we live this life sets the karmic basis for the next as a continuation of our journey from an unconscious state to a fully conscious one.

Dr. Linda Gadbois        

Linda holds a doctorate in Spiritual Sciences, and a Bachelor's in Clinical Hypnotherapy, along with numerous specialty certifications. She's a professional educator and Mentor, and offers a wide variety of Mentoring and Consulting Services, along with professional training programs. Some of her specialties include Personal Transformation, Self-Mastery, Spiritual Development, and Integrative Mind-Body Medicine. For more info visit our Personal and Professional Services pages in the top menu bar of this site, or email us at: info@drlindagadbois.com

Leave a Reply