Living The Big Stuff


pathLife is a process not a destination. It is the process – the choices and transformations along the path – that either makes our journey filled with fear and dread or light, life, and the spirit of adventure!

We find ourselves on a path of transformation into the unknown many times in our lives for different reasons.  “Living the Big Stuff” will cast a light on this path to help you take the steps forward during difficult times. It will help you transition from any loss or change into a greater, authentic expression as you return to joy and continue on a journey full of life.

The big stuff of life embraces all of it! It includes the big events that bring us great joy like weddings, graduations and the birth of our children. “Living the Big Stuff” also includes moving through life’s transitions that often unravel our lives like a ball of yarn coming completely undone. When it’s smooth sailing, ideally, we’d be awake to appreciate it with tremendous gratitude because you don’t know when you’re going to hit stormy seas.  However, the stormy seas do arrive and when they do, it not only reveals the craftsmanship of our boat but more so the character of the crew that is sailing it. Richard Carlson said it best, “The circumstances of your life don’t make or break you they reveal who you are.”

We don’t always get to choose what happens to us or the people we love. Those circumstances that present adversity, like losing a job or loved one, will alter our own path. We don’t consciously choose to become ill. We don’t choose to have an accident or for our children to become ill. We don’t choose to have someone close to us in an emotional crisis of addiction. These things happen, and we want to find our way to move forward with resiliency and grace amidst adversity. Charles Darwin once said, “It’s not the strongest that will survive. It’s those that are the most adaptable to change.”

Embracing change isn’t easy for most people. Our egos create the need for us to have control over our lives and hence the illusion that we do. However, the only real control we have in the face of adversity is how we choose to move forward in transition. As you begin the process, your healing starts here:

Taking the first step: Accessing Your Courage

You must be willing to step into your life, even if that means bringing up understandable fear of the unknown. To overcome your fear, I want you to remember a time when you had tremendous courage. I mean really think back in your entire repertoire of memories to a time where you know you changed the direction of your life or someone else’s life by the choice you made in the moment. Spend some time in reflection of this experience and journal about it. Feel it again – vividly – experiencing in your body all that you did when your fight or flight mechanism kicked you into full gear of choice. You made the difference. Life could have turned out quite differently if you made a different choice, right? The same is true for your life now as you access the courage you need to step into life as it is.

Step Two:  Becoming the Victor

When my beloved husband of twenty-five years suddenly died from a pulmonary embolism on a flight to New York, my life changed with a phone call. Within 48 hours of this horrific news, I sat down and had a talk with myself. I said, “Kris, this is going to go one of two ways for you. You will go to bed and pull the covers over your head, or you will stand in what you have been given, even though you hate this, because you know that this has shown up to teach you something big. You have been greatly blessed, but now you have just entered your graduate soul work curriculum.”

When you are met with a fork in the road on the way to transition there are only two paths to take. One says, “I will play the hand that has been dealt to me even though I know it may be difficult and painful. I will accept these circumstances as my soul work and overcome these undesirable circumstances.” The other one says, “I want to numb my pain and become a victim of my circumstances. I’m feeling beaten down by life without any conviction that I will come out on the other side whole and complete.” One path leads to pain and entrapment, the other leads to healing and new life.

When you enter into a transformation process and embrace change with an open-heart ready to grieve and move forward, you will overcome. Grief is a natural process of letting go and moving toward an acceptance of a life change and transition.  You will heal and become stronger, wiser and ready to live fully in your authentic expression as you return to joy. The only problems that you can’t overcome are the ones that kill you. (Obviously, I haven’t encountered any of those—yet.)  I can honestly say, “I don’t sweat the small stuff because I am living the big stuff.”

Copyright 2013: All rights reserved, to Kristine Carlson