12 Powerful Life Lessons Learned in a Year | The BridgeMaker

12 Life Lessons Learned in a Year

By on Sep 14, 2009


There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons. – Denis Waitley

The BridgeMaker turns one-year-old today.

The blog launched on Sunday, September 14, 2008 with the inaugural post 10 Things You Wish You Had Never Learned. While there are things in my life I wish I had never learned, the lessons learned over the past 12 months have been ones I welcome because they have been life-changing and powerful.

The BridgeMaker has been my voice, and a path to healing, during this year of change. Writing provides the opportunity to grow and learn more about myself and others. It is my wish the readers of this blog receive the same experience. To that point, someone asked me recently why I blog. Here’s my answer: I blog to acknowledge the things I need to change or heal and to share my heart.

The past 12 months have brought joy, pain and more mportantly hope. The lessons learned are ones I think I will continue learning because as life changes, so does our interpretation of it. So, from my heart to yours, here are 12 powerful life lessons I’m grateful to share with you.

  1. What we think to be true; what we think we know; what we have learned can be counterproductive to our personal growth, success and happiness. Especially if what we have learned is keeping us from having the life we deserve.
    [Ten Things You Wish You Had Never Learned | September, 2008]
  2. Knowing how someone wants to be loved and then providing that love are two separate things. To love consciously is a choice.
    [How to Love Consciously | October, 2008]
  3. In the times of my quiet desperation, I prayed and asked for some relief. I was angry because the relief was slow in coming. What I didn’t realize, however, was His touch was there. I was just too tired to feel it.
    [When You Feel Alone in Your Sadness | November, 2008]
  4. Anxiety can be replaced with peace; and restlessness can be exchanged for clarity when we let go and surrender our lives to His plan. The control we think we need is actually the biggest obstacle to creating the life waiting for us.
    [What Life Would Like if We Surrendered It | December, 2008]
  5. Instead of trying so hard to avoid what you do not want to become in your life, focus on who you are and who you are becoming.
    [How to Stop Trying So Hard (or Just Be Who You Are) | January, 2009]
  6. Grace is for everyone – not just for those who feel the most deserving. We are worthy to receive it no matter what experiences have been handed to us or ones we may have created on our own. Grace is not doled out based on the severity of the pain. Grace and healing are naturally provided for us; but we have to take the time to receive it.
    [Help Me Brindg Down the Healing Rain | February, 2009]
  7. My first love taught me the lessons of passion and the power my actions can have on another. It taught me I was worthy to be loved unconditionally. My first love prepared me to be a better lover next time.
    [Remembering First Love | March, 2009]
  8. I wish I had a second chance to say goodbye. I would tell my mother I forgive her. I would tell my mother I understood her pain and knew her choices were a way to self-medicate – not because she didn’t love me. I would tell my mother her life did make a difference. Her life brought my life and my children’s life.
    [Everyone Deserves a Second Chance | April, 2009]
  9. Mary Beth’s brain surgery last May was a good a lesson; a good reminder not to miss the opportunity to tell my wife how much I love her and to pray for the healing that is overdue and for the healing she deserves.
    [Sometimes the Sound of Hoofbeats are from Zebras | May, 2009]
  10. I’m learning the new normal for me is simplicity and gratitude. Less can be more when we turn down the noise to hear what our hearts are telling us do. My heart is telling me to love everybody close to me as if it were their last day; to move confidently in the direction of my dreams before it gets much later and to keep learning to be happier with the person I’m becoming.
    [How to Be Happier: 16 Life Rules to Remember | June, 2009]
  11. From my life experiences, it is clear what we really want most boils down to two things: happiness, and purpose. Whether it’s having a loving marriage, a successful career, or enjoying more time with our children, the results we are seeking are to be happy and to find purpose and meaning in our lives.
    [Two Things We Want Most | July, 2009]
  12. Knowing what I know today, it’s a blessing my children did not come with an instruction manual. If my children came into the world with one, I would have missed the opportunity to listen to what they were telling me. I will continue trying to get it right as a parent and do the best job I can with the tools I have because my children are worth the effort.
    [Why Our Children Do Not Come with an Instruction Manual | August, 2009]

Looking Forward

I’m looking forward to what’s next.

Five wonderful people (and writers) have joined as contributors. Read more about Lorraine Cohen, Paul Fitzgerald, Alex Fayle, Ali Hale, and Ralph Jean-Paul on the About page. Each will submit about one article a month and I will continue to post articles on a weekly basis.

On a personal note, the year ahead looks like another one full of change. Andrew graduates from high school; Caitlin turns 21-years-old; Emily finishes up elementary school; and Brandon continues to progress in his career with an eventual move away from Kansas City.

Mary Beth is becoming stronger and more energetic each day and is looking for new ways to expand her career as a clinical therapist. I plan to run in a 5K race later in November, help my father through the first round of Holidays without my mother and dive into a book project I have put off for too long.

I’m sure the next 12 months will be marked with moments of happiness, peace and fulfillment. I also understand the year ahead will contain its fair share of disappointment. But that’s O.K.

The one predictable aspect of life is that it is unpredictable. And when the unpredictable does happen, it will be my faith, and the lessons learned, that will be my foundation to help build a bridge from wherever I happen to be to where I want to go. It will then be my choice to take the first step and begin moving forward again.

You are invited to go along, too.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Thought provoking and wonderful. Maybe individuals, couples and families need to sit down once a year and list the lessons they learned. I think we all could benefit from that practice.

    I think I’ll start encouraging my clients to do that. Priceless.

  • Hey Alex, Go ahead, use it! Or let me know and I’ll write it! It’s open for the taking.

  • Happy birthday! 🙂 As Jocelyn says, thank you for all your sharing and openness over the past year. Hope the next year is filled with blessings and positive change and growth for you and the family.

  • @ Patricia: Always appreciate your blessings – thank you.

    @ Jocelyn: I’m glad you are part of the journey, too.

  • Thank you for sharing the priceless lessons you have learned! You have a life well blessed and you continue to bless others along the way 😉