What is your challenge?

This has been an interesting time in the lives of many of us, and I have been receiving more than the usual number of emails and letters from people who are finding themselves faced with enormous challenges. I know I have talked about this aspect of life before, and so today I went looking for a previous commentary that I offered on this very subject.

I found it in my computer files, and I was struck by how perfect an answer it is for the many who have written to me recently. In that commentary I said that it takes an enormous amount of courage to get through life. When I was young, it didn't seem to me that life required bravery, in particular. Determination, perhaps. Stick-to-it-iveness, perhaps. A lot of tolerance for older people who I thought, in my youthful hubris, didn't understand anything at all, perhaps. But not necessarily a whole bunch of bravery.

I was wrong.

As soon as I found out what life was really all about -- which wasn't until I was 50 years old, by the way -- I understood very quickly that courage would be required. Yet even then, I don't think I was very clear about how much. Now I am.

What life is really all about is the journey of our soul. We are on an endless walk through time, moving from the Spiritual Realm to the Physical Realm and back again.

This is a joyous journey, let me make it clear, and that is why we have created it and are taking it. The joy in the journey comes from experiencing and re-experiencing, creating and re-creating, knowing and knowing again, Who We Really Are. Midway between the Physical Realm and the Spiritual Realm is the Realm of Ultimate Reality. This is where we reunite with the Essential Essence in the moment of bliss that is described by some Eastern mystical traditions as "Nirvana."

All of this is described in beautiful detail in the extraordinary conclusion to the Conversations with God series of books: HOME WITH GOD in a Life That Never Ends. And now that I know exactly what is going on here, I can get on with my real reason for being on the earth.

This doesn't mean that my day-to-day life has to change. I don't have to change jobs. I don't have to change locations. I don't have to change my marital status. I don't have to change anything in my life that is in my life right now. What I will change, quite voluntarily, is not what I am doing in my life, but how I am doing it.

If I understand that this physical life was created for me as a means of deciding and creating, becoming and experiencing Who I Really Am and Who I Now Choose to Be, then the way I move through every moment of my life will be quite different from the way it was before I understood this. Because, you see, in every moment of my life I will be inviting myself -- no, more than that...challenging myself -- to become the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held about who I am.

If I say that I am "he who is compassionate," it will not be enough for me to simply be as compassionate as I was yesterday. As I re-create myself anew in the next golden moment of now, I will reach for the next grandest expression of compassion. I cannot be satisfied with the way I was regarding compassion last month, or last year, or in the decade before this. If I say that I am "he who is loving," it will not be enough for me to simply be as loving as I was yesterday. As I re-create myself in the next golden moment of now, I will reach for the next grandest expression of love. I cannot be satisfied with the way I was regarding love last month, or last year, or in the decade before this. And so, too, with every aspect of divinity that I choose to express through me, as me.

It takes great courage to move to the next level. And it produces great joy when one gets there. Ask an Olympic skater. Ask any ballet dancer. Ask any writer who has just finished a book, or any athlete who has just made the team, or any actor who has just been added to the cast. Or ask anyone at all who has strived for and achieved anything of value in life -- such as, for instance, a beautiful lifelong committed relationship with another human being.

Moving through the rocky shoals of lifelong relationship, and keeping that relationship intact, requires great courage. It is one of the most courageous things that any person can do, and surely one of the most difficult. The same is true of one's commitment to any significant and meaningful endeavor. And imagine if we are talking about a lifelong relationship with God...and with the highest Self.

Many people move through the entirety of their lives and never have a truly meaningful and significant relationship with their own highest Self. Many people do not even know what that is. Many people are so caught up in a false story about who they are that they miss the opportunity altogether in this lifetime to create and develop the kind of relationship with God and Self that I am talking about here.

I don't mean that to be judgmental, it is simply and merely an observation. And I could be wrong. My observation may be inaccurate. But this much I can tell you. Those who do create and develop the kind of relationship with God and Self that I am talking about here have learned, as have I, that it takes sheer bravery to do so. That is because in the search for the higher Self, we inevitably encounter the lower self -- and that is never a pretty picture.

As I encounter my lower self -- which I promise you, I do every day, and sometimes in the most unexpected ways -- I must call up great compassion and great love. I must learn to give these gifts to myself. And that's not an easy thing to do. I find that I am the last person that I am willing to forgive. I have made some grievous errors in my life. I have done some very unkind things. I have inflicted enormous hurt on others. I have been unbelievably selfish and enormously insensitive and uncaring. And that is only the half of it.

And as I move through my life I am deeply aware of all that I have said above, of every moment in which I have come up short, of each instance in which I failed to simply be nice, much less be grand. And so now, as I move into the last fourth of my life, I find that it takes great courage to face myself, to face my past, and to face the commitment that I have made within. For that commitment calls me to a higher expression and a larger experience of my True Self. And I am confronted with that choice every moment of every day.

Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I am reminded of it. Every time I look into the face of those Beloved Others who populate my life, who I have created as my companions on this journey and the co-creators of my life script, I am reminded of it. Every time I pick up a really good spiritual book, or even read articles such as this (much less write them), I am reminded of it. Life reminds me of my commitment to life every moment of the life that I am living. That is the purpose of life -- and I have only in these most recent years understood that.

So today I embark on the journey once again, asking God for Her help, feeling that He will be with me every step along the way, and praying that I may this day move closer to the goal that I have set for myself: that I might forgive myself for my yesterdays, that I might love myself in my todays, and I might experience myself, at last, as Who I Really Am in my tomorrows.

One of my greatest joys is that I know I am not walking alone. All of you are walking with me. We are embarked on this journey together, and together, with compassion and love as our guide, we can lead each other back Home. That is our invitation, that is our opportunity, and that is our reason for encountering each other as we are in this very moment. When I understand that, this becomes the Holy Moment, and I honor it and experience it as sacred, both now and even forevermore.

And life is never again the same.

Love and Hugs,




snowangelz430 29th December 2010 8:37 am

Beautifully said I have been on this journey for about 6 months now and felt I was going a little nuts at first as my emotions were all over the place as I tried to move into the person I know I am meant to be to fufill my life purpose. I would be the most positive person one minute and down and doubting the next until I realized it was my higher self doing battle with my ego and learning to let go of and forgive what no longer works in my life. I am still going through the mood swings on occasion when something that had been buried deep within comes to the surface to be dealt with and handed over for God and the Angels to dispose of. I feel so empowered to become the me I was meant to be. I found when I quit trying so hard to control everything and let God take the burdens from my shoulders life became a joyous place to be. My challenge started with a medical condition which in the end got me terminated from my job it brought me to my knees for a minute but was a blessing in disguise it allowed me to explore what was really important in my life our soul knows what we need.

tomkatt19 29th December 2010 9:26 am

You spoke to me in many ways today.
I identify with not understanding "life" until I was over 50 years old, with recognizing my lower self, with having trouble forgiving myself.
My husband passed away 17 months ago. I have been making decisions without his help for the first time in my life. This has brought me to many truths about myself, one of which is how much courage is needed in everyday life and I have recognized this courage in myself. Another is how capable I can be, and yet another is that I have been intending on living as my higher "Self" for a long time without realizing it until recently. The truth that I am never alone no matter how lonely or grief filled I may feel at times has been the most profound. God is with me always. The pure comfort and joy this has brought me is beyond measure.
My perception has changed so much. The challenge for me is staying centered.
Thank you for your perfect description of what I have been feeling. Knowing others have the same emotions, challenges, and yet find their way still is heartening. I know I will too

maniktwin 29th December 2010 4:09 pm

My challenge is trying to live the integrity in my 4th decade that I so neatly crafted for myself and was able to live in early adulthood. How full of judgements and perfection I was. Til the rubber hit road. To survive and keep my loved ones surviving, I've sinned, terribly. When I've had faith it has come back and smacked me, I've self-willed my way through and committed unspeakable sins. Today is the day I admit it here. I hope I have the balls to admit it to my husband--and survive the consequences.


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Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now famous conversation with God.


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