This is a phenomenological study of the experience of personal crisis. In-depth, open-ended interviews with 10 mature ethnic Latvian women were conducted. The descriptions of the experiences emerged spontaneously, unhampered by prior expectations of the researcher. They include thoughts, feelings, body sensations, the impact on themselves and others, and their way of being in the world, both at the time of the experience and as they perceived their effects later. The data were analyzed in accordance with phenomenological concepts, values, and procedures. Five core themes inherent in the experience include: Facing the Uncertainty-- the Crisis Experience; Doing It by Myself-- Attempts to Establish Control; Shifts in Self; Interpersonal Changes; and Spiritual Dimensions of Internal Harmony. The major theme is reliance on the participant''s inner strength and resources in a social environment where sharing of emotions and personal hardships is unacceptable or even stigmatized. A considerable shift of perception of one''s self and others is observed as a long- term outcome of the personal crisis experience.