As a palmist, part of my job is to uncover clues about a person’s life purpose and the lesson or lessons he or she is here to learn. There is no way to truly embody your life purpose without incorporating the lessons. The lessons temper us like fire tempers steel.

The holiday season is supposed to bring us closer together. It’s a time to be joyful and count our blessings. In reality, more often than not we are overwhelmed with obligations, stress, and pressure. This is a perfect setting for emotional upheaval, and just like relatives we don’t care for, our lessons show up on our doorstep with a big welcoming hug, bearing nasty fruitcake and other unpalatable offerings.

Our lessons make us uncomfortable. They can even make us sick or fearful. Ultimately, they are meant to make us better, to push us farther and higher. To make us more. But along the way, they can make us miserable, so we do what we can to avoid dealing with them. We run. We hide. We escape.

If we are lucky, we discover sooner rather than later that the lesson we are running from may be a blessing in disguise. The pain and struggle has tempered us, given us understanding and empathy. It’s knowledge that is visceral; not just in the head, but deep in our psyche. It is truth.

As we move into a new year, I invite you to re-examine the hard things. What is the truth there? More importantly, what will you do with it? There is an expression – “make your mess your message.” Can you use the knowledge that you paid for in pain and suffering in a positive way?

I’m a firm believer in free will, but I also believe (and your hands can attest) that we are meant to learn from our lessons and then share that knowledge in some way. If you take a good look at your lessons, you may find they point you straight to your life purpose.

My wish for 2014 is that our lessons lead us away from pain and toward enlightenment. Bon Voyage.