Daily OM January 3, 2006 Growing Pains Initiations For Growth Life is about growth, which is wonderful, though not always easy. Indeed, many of life's lessons can be painful or difficult. Yet, such challenges are often the ones that present the most opportunity for spiritual growth. Initiations for growth come in many forms. In fact, we can view every challenge in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. While these disruptions in life are not easy, they are necessary. The challenges the universe sends us can seem unbearable at times: a job we don't want to spend another day at, a broken heart that feels as if it will never heal, or a long and painful illness. And then, there are the challenges that can be just as scary because we are being called to step up to the plate in ways that we may think we are not yet ready for: overcoming our fears in order to realize a lifelong dream, leaving behind a situation or people in our life that we may have outgrown, or moving across the world for our dream job or life partner. At such times, it can feel as if the world is testing us and that life is asking more of us than we think we can give. We may feel uncomfortable, frightened, and unsure of what to do. However, life isn't so much going against us as it is encouraging us to grow. During these periods, we can grow stronger by putting one foot in front of the other, as we work through our challenges. We may be asked to let go of old safety measures, shift old patterns of behavior, or step into the abyss of the unknown. When we do rise to the occasion, we end up better off for having made that journey. Not only do we end up learning and growing, but we inevitably become more compassionate to the challenges of others and wiser in the ways of the world. Our faith in the universe also grows because, ultimately, we can't help but realize how much we are supported and taken care of at all times. When we are in the midst of a growing period, it is not easy to see our reward, but it is there, waiting for us to grow big enough to reach it!