(This post appeared originally on the Huffington Post.)

Life is an ongoing process. Every day is different. People come and go, relationships can be challenging, money is a constant struggle for many.

Why are we so afraid to live? We are not as afraid of dying as we are of living.

When you ask people the typical question “How are you doing?” you’re likely to get the following answers: “OK,” “Same shit,” “Not too bad,” a “Huh?” expression followed by a shoulder shrug, “Surviving,” etc.

It’s as if life were a battlefield upon which we went to war each day!

We have become so conditioned that we don’t even hear ourselves say such things. We are on autopilot, totally disconnected from the real purpose of being ALIVE right in this moment.

I have learned a few lessons in the last few years. I made a commitment to myself that, by the age of 40, I would know my sense of purpose. Up until then, I had been as unclear as one could be about my own life; I had no clue of what I was doing besides being a mom.

Everyday was a big cloud of confusion, doubt and lack of clarity. I had no idea where I was going or how I would ever get there once I did know. I think I was just hoping for a miracle to fall out of the sky. I was waiting for a sign, waiting for the next experience, until waiting got REALLY OLD! That’s when it occurred to me that waiting without taking action was going to keep me in the same place I was already in.

I decided to embrace my life. I woke up from my sleep, and even though things got worse for some time, I was out there, facing the challenges, pushing through the discomfort of the new, learning to know myself, doing the things I never imagined I could do, forgiving, loving, crying out loud, feeling my emotions, GRIEVING THE OLD ME AND GIVING BIRTH TO WHO I CAME HERE TO BE.

What I learned through all this, and the point I’d like to get across is that life doesn’t get better just because something “out there” changes. Life doesn’t become easier when we make more money. Life doesn’t get more joyful when we “find the one.”

Life is already perfect, easy and joyful. Life is waiting for you to claim it. Life is always providing you with all the opportunities you need so you can heal, grow, be happy, love deeply, and spread what you learn so others can do the same.

Life is one path, a path that gets bumpy when we don’t trust ourselves, a single path that feels like a million paths and we think we need to ask someone to help us choose the right one.

But it’s always the same, single path. And when we experience struggle and suffering, it is because we mistakenly perceive that we have gotten off the path. As a result, we have betrayed ourselves, we have tried to control the experience, we have chosen to believe our ego and deny our heart. In short, we have fallen asleep.

I believe that our highest task in life is to re-recognize that we are always on the path. Our path is not a destination for us to arrive at. It is not a place that can be found on a map, or at the therapist’s office. Our path is found within.

You have to dig in. You have to get uncomfortable, break through all the barriers that hold you back, listen to your inner guidance and, most important, trust!

When we start doing the inner work, things may seem to get worse at first. It may feel as if the world is turning upside down, and life may shake us up like a tornado, but this is all just part of the process. It is your soul calling you forward. All these challenges are associated with our next level of growth and learning, and we must face them in order to recognize what’s next for us.

Also, I’ve learned that I can’t ask the universe for more unless I’m grateful for what I currently have. Sometimes we take that for granted. We want a bigger house, a nicer car, a better partner, yet we do not appreciate what the universe is giving us right now. How can the universe give us more?

Would you give more of yourself to someone who doesn’t appreciate you? It’s the same with the universe. It responds to your requests, but you must do your part. If you aren’t satisfied with what you have in the present moment, if you focus on your lack, you will continue to attract what will fail to satisfy you. The universe knows you’re ready for more when you’re living your life to the fullest with what you have right now.

The biggest problem most humans have is that we don’t love ourselves. We don’t feel worthy of having a magnificent life. We go around thinking about all the bad things that could happen if we dared to do what we really want to do.

We settle for less than what we want in relationships. We betray our most precious dreams and desires by letting others influence our decisions.

We do it to ourselves. We are responsible for how we experience the world. We have all the power within to choose how to respond to any given situation no matter how challenging it may seem.

Thinking that someone out there needs to change in order for you to change, disempowers you, because it’s the same as thinking you having no choice in life. As long as you keep seeing yourself as a victim, your will have very little ability to make the changes you seek in life.

You want to change for you. You want to embrace your power within and waste no more time complaining about others. You want to become who you are so you can experience how wonderful life really is. You want to free yourself from all the limitations you have bought into. You want to stop telling yourself your victim story. You want to live fully today because tomorrow is uncertain. AND when you become yourself, you will notice that the answer to the question, “How are you doing today?” WILL CHANGE! Because you will understand then how much power your words have and how with everything you say or think, your body follows and creates your future.

You will realize that a wonderful life has always been there for you, that your path has always been the same path. And you will recognize it when you proceed along that path with confidence, trust, honor and humility. That is the path that God has chosen for you, and when you fully embrace it, you will realize that you have nothing to fear. You will know that you are always loved and protected, and that everything will always be all right.