The Paradox of Challenging Experiences

All About Challenging Experiences

Here’s the thing I’m realizing about life, challenge, growth and development… When I am comfortable and life is fairly even keel, and working well, and orderly, I am not challenged. And I’ve realized that a facet not only of my personality, but of growth and expansion in general, requires challenges.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Light beam that just appeared one evening at my ranch, coming up from the uninhabited mountain range and arcing across the sky

Now here’s the interesting thing about challenge… It is specific to each person and our current skill set, level of functionality, personality, and emotional reality. So something that is extremely challenging for me, may be no big deal for you. Something that is very challenging emotionally, might be easy for me, but really difficult and painful for you. Something that is super easy physically and logistically for you, may cause me a tremendous amount of pain and stress. So challenge is super specific to each individual. The paradox of challenging experiences .

And it is our higher self, our soul self, or the universe – whatever name you want to call it – that understands where and how we need to grow and expand for our highest good. So this is the key aspect that must be kept in the forefront, at all times: Everything that causes us stress and overwhelm and pain, in order to expand… Is actually for our highest good. However, keep in mind, this is in direct contrast to pain, struggle or overwhelm that exist as a result of our core trauma or wounding, or pain body, that we are not leaning into and healing. That is a different phenomena.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ― Helen Keller, The Open Door

But of course, those two pathways of healing trauma vs expansion, can look and feel pretty identical! And paradoxically are, in essence, the same anyway. The defining difference is that healing a core wound, trauma or childhood default setting, involves first identifying the wounding, and then leaning in at the emotional/spiritual level to heal that wounding. Whereas, with a challenge that exists for the 3D expansion of our brilliance, magnificence, and resilience, may simply require acquiring a greater skill set at the physical level of this third-dimension existence.

For example, maybe I need to get comfortable with calling up suppliers, or tradesmen, or potential customers. This is not usually related to a core wounding, but is simply a skill set that needs to be acquired and practiced. Perhaps I need to increase my level of mechanical and carpentry fluency… again this is simply about skills and abilities, and does not necessarily involve any emotional wounding or trauma. However, if I am being challenged greatly in my business, or learning to dance with the flow of money energy, then that will likely be a combination of needing to acquire new skills, along with addressing some wounding, or limiting beliefs and patterns of behaviour that are no longer serving me. So discernment and self-examination is a big part of the challenge of a challenging journey! It can also be gnarly and messy to discern which elements are at play, or what our higher self is calling us to dance with, or expand, or lean into.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

For me, at my home in Langley where I have lived for 20 years, everything is manageable and systematized and I have my entire team of helpers and trades people in place for whatever goes wrong. It is not very challenging or overwhelming or stressful. So that feels really comfortable and nice for me. But at the same time, I realize it is the reason why I have been feeling so bored and so under-stimulated, with fairly low lifeforce energy. Because there has been nothing there that is calling me, or forcing me, to bring forth the full power of my being, or my personality or my energy. And so I had lapsed into a very low energy, bored, uninspired state of being. And all these things, along with endless grey rainy days, contribute to lowering my lifeforce energy. It’s a lot harder to be healthy and vibrant, when your lifeforce energy, or prana, is lowered like that.

At our 160 acre wilderness ranch near Vernon BC, even though I am being challenged on every level of my being: emotionally, spiritually, physically, energetically… And I am not getting enough sleep for many nights in a row, I am feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed, I am feeling useless and helpless and broken down, and some days I would like to just run away… In spite of all these challenges coming at me from every angle, I am healthier and my lifeforce energy is much higher! And so even though I feel like this experience is often horrible, when I look at my body and my lifeforce energy, I am enlivened, I am energized, I am getting bigger and more resilient with every day that passes.

And so even though it feels super shitty and many days and nights are very painful and isolating. And I can feel extremely alone and struggling, there is a bigger, wiser part of me that can pull back and look down as the Observer, and see that all this pain and stress, and struggle and isolation, is actually benefiting me. Damn.

“Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.” ― Steve Goodier

p.s. both the photo in this post, and the featured image that shows up in the blogroll for this post, are from my ranch. This amazing light beam just appeared in the sky one evening as my cousin and I were standing outside gazing at the stars. The light beam shot up from the trees and as it arced across the sky, it then bent and continued on, like a line parallel to the earth. As we gazed awestruck, it then began to change shape and color. Then we saw two shooting stars come out of this light beam. This is the kind of magical stuff that’s happening here, whilst I am simultaneously feeling obliterated by the challenges I am facing. It’s all good 😉🦄

One last thing: I saw this graphic, which represents all the things I talk about here. HOWEVER, do you think it’s really only 2% of us who choose to live this way? This seems awfully low to me… I’m thinking it should be more like 20%. What do you think – what’s your experience of the people around you? In the community I’m surrounded by here at the ranch, I would say it’s closer to 30%

The Paradox of Challenging Experiences


  1. Anita Eleanor Patel November 9, 2022 at 6:21 am - Reply

    We wanted to buy a treee today – about 6 or 7 feet high. We went to Cedar Rim Nursery, near Langley, BC and found a very knowledgeable man who guided us to find the perfect tree, a paperbark maple with small pretty leaves that would grow no more than 20 feet tall. The man said it could fit in the back of our Nissan Rogue if we put the back seats down, and save ourselves $100. It was a very heavy pot, well watered! Our man lifted it in as we guided our tree over the front seat with the last 18″ sticking out of the passenger seat window. I sat on the flattened back seat hanging onto the a handle near the roof of the car. As we drove home to White Rock, getting lost in Langley as usual, I began to wonder how we would unload our poor tree. My husband has a bad heart and cannot lift, I am strong but that pot was very large. I knew I would slide it down onto the wheelbarrow. I also knew the wheelbarrow was full of earth I had dug out of the hole, then left out in the rain for two days! But I had to get that tree out of the car some way. Arriving home I opened the hatchback and found the pot needed to be lifted up about 6″ before it could be slid out. I got a piece of wood to wedge underneath as a lever, but even with that I could not lift it out. Then I heard a basket ball bouncing down the street. I looked over – he looked quite big- not a small boy. I ran over calling out “Could you please help me?” Perhaps the white hair did the trick, but he agreed to come, and at close quarters he looked about 16 years old. He was fantastic, He lifted it out without a grunt and then insisted on pushing the wheelbarrow to where I wanted the tree planted. Standing the tree up beside its hole I had a nice chat with my knight in shining armour. I discovered he was 12 years old and his name was Ozzie.

    I love a challenge like my daughter Jini, and ended up thoroughly energized, very happy and totally bonded with my beautiful tree!

    • JINI November 9, 2022 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Hah! In case anyone wondered where I get it from… :)

      Also, note to others, my eldest son’s name is Oscar and we often call him Ozzie for short. The universe is a wonderful place.

      Seriously though Mum, I have watched you take on and overcome substantial, seemingly impossible, challenges my whole life. From tiling a bathroom from scratch, to putting on a church-wide musical play – because your intuition/Spirit guided you to. So I guess the next time hubby Ian complains about 11 horses and a 160 acre ranch, I’ll just point him your way! LOL

      p.s. Remember Aunt Herta climbing in the Rocky Mountains at 80+ years old?!

  2. Dee November 10, 2022 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Most of my life, I’ve done things based on the outer region. As an introvert, it might look to others like it’s the inner one. Anyone who has gotten to know me would concur. At the same time, my role requires steadiness, stability and structure. Taking on this role, serendipitously, has been a huge adventure. One I wasn’t consciously looking for , that’s for sure!
    The percentages may be artificially low based on appearances or stereotypes.

    • JINI November 10, 2022 at 3:38 am - Reply

      Very good point Dee. Sometimes the greatest challenge is to stick with something long-term, no matter what.

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Jini Head



I am. an international bestselling author, health product formulator, horse listener, earth singer, mother, entrepreneur, medicine woman, fungi friend, elephant acolyte and regenerative farmer.

I value friendships, loyalty, community, compassion, authenticity, health, vibrancy, strength, courage and truth-telling. More…


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