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Episode # 556   Kristine Carlson - How to Move Through Grief

About The Episode:

Joseph Campbell said, “You have to let go of the life that is planned in order to live the life that is waiting for you.” That’s a beautiful quote, right? But the truth is, letting go and embracing change can be a lot harder than it sounds. If you’ve experienced loss, you may feel the same way. It’s normal to long for “how it used to be” and long for the days before your heartbreak. Discover how to move through the grieving process and create space for healing on this special episode of The Inspiration Show.

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Episode # 556 Kristine Carlson - How to Move Through Grief

NL: Hi everyone! My name is Natalie Ledwell and this is The Inspiration Show. Today on the show I have a very special guest, she's a good friend of mine. She has been working in the field of transformation for many years and she's here to talk about her new book "From Heartbreak to Wholeness". But before I introduce who my special guest is I just want to remind you that once the show is over and finished and done with, if you click the link below this video you'll be able to go through and download the free ebook version of my bestselling book "Never In Your Wildest Dreams". So please let me introduce my good friend, Kristine Carlson. How are you, Kristine?

KC: Hey, good Natalie. Thanks for having me on.

NL: Hey, great to see you, darling. So you have a new book out, "From Heartbreak to Wholeness". And this book is like the heroes journey to joy. And I know that your particular personal life experience makes you an absolute expert on how to get from a place of grief and heartbrokenness to a place of joy and fulfillment. So can you share with our community your story and how you got to writing this book in particular?

KC: Well, you might most know me and my late husband, Dr. Richard Carlson, from our work with the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" books. So Richard wrote, "Don't Sweat with the Small Stuff" 20 years ago, yeah, 20 years ago. And that's what's most known about Richard, walked out the door, he was 45 years old and he was on a business trip, he was promoting his latest book and he had a pulmonary embolism on that flight. So that really catapulted me and my family on a whole new journey. You know, moving through grief and loss as a family and sent me on a healing journey and so this book is really the culmination of that journey and what I have hopefully done is a shortcut for other people, their heartbreak and show them the path to wholeness. And that was my hope and I feel that this book probably accomplishes that for many.

NL: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I don't think anyone can plan for something like that. And I know that you and Richard really were soulmates and were together from a very young age. So, you know, the grief that you felt, definitely makes you an expert, to say the least, on this subject. But when we are talking about the book, "Heartbreak to Wholeness", is this book just for people who are going through grief?

KC: No, it’s actually for people who are going through any kind of loss of identity. I mean the heartbreaking things are usually the big things that happen to us. But we go through heartbreak over small things too and sometimes a heartbreak is a lot of experiences, one on top of another, and we just feel sad and sorrowful. So this book really helps a person move through that sadness and that loss of identity that can come through the loss of a job, the loss of a home, certainly the loss of a spouse through divorce or death. And those are big things. You know, we go through heartbreaking times and as a culture and as individuals.

NL: Yeah, absolutely. So, let's say that someone is watching this show right now, and they are feeling, you know, lost from any of those types of things or anything else that they may have been experiencing in their life. You know, what's one of the first things that they can do to help get them out of that place?

KC: Well, I mean, the very first thing is to acknowledge that you're in a time period of loss and I want you to know and what I share with you in my book is that the loss brings with its transformation. Now you are going to transform whether you like it or not because that's what change does to us but what you have the ability to do is choose if you're going to be better or you are going to be bitter. And that's really, one of the cornerstones of growth, isn't it? If we want to choose that, if this bad thing is going to happen to us and we're gonna go through this annihilation that we have to go through, don't we want it to facilitate something great for us at the end? I mean, don't we want to say, "Wow, I made it through that and I'm a better person because I went through that"?

NL: Yeah. Well, I think it how we position our story. Because we can either tell it from a place of empowerment or a place of transformation. Or we can stay stuck in our story and stay the victim. 

KC: Absolutely. So that really is kind of a huge pivot turn for everyone, is to not live at the effect of their circumstances as a victim but to be able to stand in what they are given and choose to be the hero of their own story. And I always say, you know, you're the hero that you're waiting for. You really are but you have to choose that and let me just tell you, with all that we are going through anything big, we leave back and forth like nobody wakes up every day and says "Yeah! Let's do this thing!" Like, we have our days where we don't feel the hero. But if you know better and you know that you have to step in and that the way to step into your healing is to not be a victim, that's the empowered way. That's the way you're going to turn this loss and this adversity into something that truly you can grow from. 

NL: Yeah. I love that. I actually have a friend of mine who was at a meeting or an event where Michelle Obama was speaking, just recently. And someone yelled that you should run. And Michelle was like, "Stop that right now." She goes "Don't look to me to be able to change your life", you need to look at what you can do in your immediate environment, what you can do with the people that you love to be able to make a change rather than wanting someone else to do something outside of you. So I think that this book really helps people to be able to step into that empowerment as well. 

KC: Really, this book is about taking whatever you are given and turning it into a soulful journey. This is about living life soulfully. And what your soul is calling you to do versus what your ego is calling you to do. It's rich with soul teachings and just allowing yourself to sink into your own growth and your own rediscovery and discovery and be able to emerge from what you have been given, emerge from your circumstances into an empowered place. And ultimately, to live happily and to live joyfully again. That's the promise of this book for people. 

NL: Yeah. So, when you say "From Heartbreak to Wholeness", let's talk about heartbreak for a moment. What's part of the process, like should we be feeling these emotions? Should we be suppressing them? Should we be like trying to avoid them, like what do you think is the healthiest way for us to be able to move through grief?

KC: Yeah. Proponent of feeling it to heal it. You know, you have to go all the way in to your grief in order to arrive out of it. Grief doesn’t really go away, it just lays dormant for another day. It’s like it sits in a part of your body, it sits in your soul, it sits in your heart. That’s scary for people, it really is. It is especially scary for men. I mean women tend to grieve longer and better in a lot of ways than men do because just the whole idea of what it means to be raised as a man, it’s harder for men to grieve. But it doesn’t mean they have to grieve any less. But it can be scary to people but one of the things that I want to share with you is that grief is quite a miraculous process and it is a self-healing mechanism. A lot of people make grief their enemy. It’s not your enemy. Grief shows up to help you heal. It’s your emotional response to the loss that you have endured. And it could be a big loss, a great loss, or it could be a small loss. If you allow it, it just dissipates like rain. You know, rain comes down really hard and then it’s dew and dewdrops and then the sun is out again. That’s what grief is like. You know, you just have to remember that as you go in to it, into each wave, embrace it, allow yourself to feel it, allow yourself to express it out, then you’re going to feel much better. In fact my senses, for my own grieving process, I actually felt many times I came to bliss after I grieved properly.

NL: Right. Yeah, because that’s the thing, if you are holding this inside, it manifests somewhere in the body. And it is an important, one important process to get it out. So tell us a little bit more about the book. Is there a process that you are taking people through in the book to be able to move through grief?

KC: Yeah, so there are 9 chapters in the book. And it's really meant to be a step by step healing journey. For you to also rewrite your story, write your story as the hero's journey. So I don't depict Joseph Campbell's work identically to Joseph Campbell's arc of the hero's journey. But it definitely is imprinted in this healing, in the stages of healing that I move you through, as your emerging and rebirthing a new life. So this book is rich in the process, it's rich in journaling, there are pretty amazing exercises in the back of each chapter that you'll go through, that I'll lead you through. And that's a big departure from the other books that I have written and it kind of comes a lot from my program online. I really realize I need to give people some tools. You know, some tools, to go through and so I feel like writing, whether you're a writer or not, doesn't matter. Journaling is one of the most healing things that we can do. And of course, sharing our story not only helps to heal us but it helps to heal other people too.

NL: Absolutely. So is there like a time period in which we’re supposed to grieve? Like, something in the book, and we’re working through it, can we take our time? Should we be barreling through? Like, what do you recommend?

KC: You know, I think this is a book to really take your time with. I really do. I think that you can go ahead and read ahead and you might not feel like you're in that space at all but at least you'll know where you're going. And I think that's a great thing to be able to path out a strategy for healing. So I do feel like this is a take-your-time book, I don't think this is a race-through book. But I think that whether you're going through a loss or not, this is a book that will help you help others who are going through loss as well. So it helps to know what people are going through and certainly, this is rich with story. One of the most powerful stories in this book is about my best friend Lisa, who got the news that she had breast cancer and she had a double mastectomy while I was writing this book and I was one of her key support people and she went through chemotherapy. And I talk a lot about the heartbreak that people go through when they get that diagnosis and they have to live with cancer. And suddenly, their whole identity is shattered, they go from being a healthy person with hair to being bald and going through chemotherapy. You know, I really talk about how Lisa chose the heroes journey and show you that she learned that, she didn't die. But what she learned in the process of her healing was how to live.

NL: Yeah. And I think that’s a big part of your message in general. Is that we really need to embrace our love of life and be grateful for what we have. Right?

KC: Yeah, absolutely. The end of wholeness, that wholeness, that return to joy is really acknowledging that all of life happens for you that as painful…. anyways, that the whole of the journey is about embracing all of it, not just the good things but to be able to say, "Wow, I am a better person because I went through that. I have more compassion, I'm more connected to humanity, I have more love to give because I now really understand what love is. And self-love is equally as important as loving somebody else, and in fact, how can we really love anyone else unless we love ourselves and certainly a healing journey will teach you among many things how to love yourself through that. 

NL: Yeah. That's interesting how you bring up self-care as well. Because, you know, when you're going through grief, I think the last thing you're thinking about is how to look after yourself. So what are some tips that you can give to someone who's watching the show right now and how to really care for themselves when they going through such an intense process?


KC: Yeah, well the first thing is just to be ever so gentle with yourself. Like, you know, this is a time period, when you're going through loss, it's not the time necessarily, I mean, unless training up for a triathlete is really will light your fire and that's really going to be your immersion, you could do that. I mean, you have to decide though what self-care is for you. For me, it was being gentle, it was backing off from life, it was allowing myself plenty of time and space to heal. It was spending time in nature. It was spending time with a very select, a very carefully select group of people, that I would, you know, it was surprising, some people I did not want to be around at all in grief that were some of my closest friends out of grief. You get to decide what that means, but certainly, the being gentle with yourself is the most important thing. Think in terms of creating space for healing as much as you can. Most people don't have the luxury of taking time off from work. But keeping your schedule to a minimum when you're off work really helps you to create space and time for stillness. Takes a lot of stillness to feel your feelings. It really does. 

NL: Yeah, I totally agree, darling. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Kristine. It's been awesome chatting with you today. So if people want to connect with you or get their hands on the book, where can we send them to do that?

KC: Yes, go to because if you go there, it will lead you through how you retrieve the bonus gifts that I offer you for purchasing the book for yourself and a friend. So yeah, go to You can find out more about me at my website,, but I encourage you to go and check out the book on that site.

NL: Yeah, I do too. We have a banner to the side or a link underneath the video where you can go through to do that directly. So thanks, Kristine.

KC: Thank you.

NL: So I encourage you to share this video. Please let’s get the word out, you can do that by clicking the Facebook and Twitter share buttons on this page. Also, don’t forget to click on the banner or the link to go through to Kristine’s website. And after all of that is finished click the link underneath that so that you can download the free ebook version of my bestselling book “Never In Your Wildest Dreams”. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously, and love without limits. We’ll see you soon.


From Heartbreak to Wholeness



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