Not everyone has a Lifetime Television biopic starring Heather Locklear. But, my guest for this episode does.
Kristine Carlson is a New York Times bestselling author and renowned speaker recognized worldwide for the global success of The Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff book series she co-authored with her late husband Dr. Richard Carlson.
Her latest book, Heartbroken Open, a life-changing memoir, has become a Lifetime Television biopic starring Heather Locklear. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story had its premiere on the network on October 16, 2021.
With over 30 million books in print, Carlson has emerged as a leading mindfulness expert and transformational guide who has been featured on national radio and television broadcasts, including The Today Show, The View, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2010, she was awarded the Kennedy Laureate Award by John F. Kennedy University alongside the iconic chef Alice Waters and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
In addition to her books Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Women, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love, and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, Carlson’s other titles include An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love (a tribute to her husband), and her seminal self-help book for leading readers out of the pain of loss and into a new future — From Heartbreak to Wholeness: The Hero’s Journey to Joy.
Through her beloved women’s retreats, including her signature What Now? program, Carlson serves as a guide for women navigating transition and change of all kinds — showing them how to live their most vibrant, joyous, and fulfilling life in their next chapter.
Through her popular podcast Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Live the Big Stuff, Carlson’s depth, realness, and ever-present humor shine through each memorable episode. Her popular video-based, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Happiness Training Courses (on Dontsweat.com) teach people how to find inspiration and direction right in the midst of life’s uncertainties — helping individuals around the world to move from overwhelming anxiety to an abiding optimism and trust in life. These courses feature exclusive video footage of her late husband, Dr. Richard Carlson.
She is on the advisory board of Modern Widows Club and on the Global Leadership Council of Challenge Day.
Carlson has two daughters and five grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to exercise – boot camp fitness classes, yoga or hiking. She also is an inspirational speaker and leads women’s retreats all over the world. Her mission is to show people that it is possible to love your life again after profound loss and major change — and to discover that more laughter, love, and happiness await you.
You can find Kristine at:
KristineCarlson.com and dontsweat.com
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Now that you're here at grifter growth, I'd like to ask you to do three things. The first thing is to make sure that you like click Notifications, and subscribe to make sure you get updates for my YouTube channel. Also, if you'd like to support me financially, you can support me through my tip jar at grief to growth, calm, it's grief, the number two growth.com/tip jar or look for tip jar at the very top of the page, or buy me a coffee at the very bottom of the page and you can make a small financial contribution. The third thing I'd like to ask is to make sure you share this with a friend through all your social media, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Thanks for being here. Close your eyes and imagine what if the things in life to cause us the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we've been buried. But what if like a seed we've been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I've got with me Christine Carlson and Christina, this is going to be a really interesting interview. Christine is the co author with her late husband, Dr. Richard Carlson of The New York Times Best Selling don't sweat the small stuff books. It's a whole series of books. She's been featured this fall as a subject of a biopic Lifetime movie, based on her book, which is called heartbroken open. A true story of coming alive again after profound loss. She's the host of her own podcast, don't sweat the small stuff podcast. She's a leader of women's retreats she's bent, she's done quite a bit in terms of trying to help people understand how to navigate life and also how to navigate life, which makes her just a great episode, our great guests for episode of grief to grow. So with that, I want to welcome Kristin Carlson. Hi, Brian, thanks so much for having me on. This is a beautiful podcast. Thanks. I really am excited to have you here. I was when you're reached out to me, I actually have one of your books. I've had this for like years. So and you can see it's well worn. It's got like a big stain on it. That family that's don't sweat the small stuff with your family with the small stuff with your family. Yeah, recommend I recognize the border of it. For sure. Probably has a new cover by now. Right? Yeah, yeah, it does. It does. Yeah, this this is no version. We got this one our kids were little and like the pages are yellowed. And my wife and I this really helped. And I think I actually got the original book too. I couldn't find that. But I love it. It's just very simple, easy to follow advice. That's extremely helpful.Kristine Carlson:
Yeah, you know, I was actually home sweating the small stuff while Richard was writing. He was after I think that was about the third book in the series. And he was really on the road a lot writing his books from the road. And we would talk in the mornings. And I'd be like, Oh, you got to write about those. You have to write about that. Yeah, yeah, I had a really nice, just very simple, easy to follow, kind of a life practice sort of way of writing. It was yeah, he had a really beautiful, simplistic approach to the way he he talked about life and the way he taught. Yeah, I can say I really appreciate it. It really helped me a lot. And one of the questions was asked you because like, I think the subtitle of the first book was, and it's all small stuff. So what does that mean? What is the philosophy of don't sweat the small stuff. You know, it comes from a ancient, it's like a translated Buddhist saying, I don't know the Buddhist language for it. But that's where don't sweat the small stuff comes from. So it's, it's more the idea of really being okay with life as it is. And I think a lot of times what people do is we get caught up in things that don't matter. And it takes our life energy and focus away from what really truly does matter to us. Because we just our minds are just like monkeys, and they gravitate toward what's wrong with life versus looking at what's right with life. And it isn't all small stuff. But I'd say when you know, there's a certain vantage point where it is if you were evolved enough, if I was evolved enough, I would see it as all small stuff because human life is a temporary state, and we're here for a short period of eternity. And this is, you know, I mean, we all take it all too seriously. I mean, and yet there are some big things that happen to us like the loss of our lives. ones and other losses, I mean, certainly people who go through huge change are not going through small changes to deal with in their lives. But after you get through it, you realize when you're going through something big, you're certainly not sweating the small stuff, you know, you're you're really living through and you're challenged, and you're accessing all the tools that you have for resiliency when you're going through something like that. So I think it's interesting, because when you go through something big a big loss in your life, you do realize how instantly, your perspective changes on everything. Right? Yeah, there's, there were so many good points in what you just said there. You know, I agree. And it's when I work with clients, one of the things is, I was just talking to someone earlier, it's all small stuff, depending on what your perspective is, right? If you can pull back far enough, and whatever you're going through whatever the worst thing is, that's big. But once something truly monumental happens, like the the passing of your husband or the passing of my daughter, then it puts everything else into perspective. So I really like the idea of like, if we can get that perspective of what you said about if we're, if we can become evolved enough or reach a certain level, then we can realize that it's it is all temporary. It is all temporary. And even you know, the things that we go through internally, the monumental things that we go through internally, I mean, sometimes you can go through a really big transformation and internal shift. And you didn't even have any great loss. Or maybe you move and you move out of a house that you loved, and you start to grieve that place. And you realize that you are so attached, you know that, that that was your anchor. And I think that you know, everything that happens in our lives, as hard as it is, is somehow happening for us. And when you can look at life like that doesn't make it any easier. When you're dealing with a loss. When you're dealing with the instant news of a loss, especially you're in that early time of grief, you're not going to say oh, what B yay, this happened to me. Nobody says that. We all sit in a place of why did this happen. We all sit in a place of self pity for a while and sadness. Because this is our human nature is to be attached to people we love and we want them here with us. We don't want to have to live our lives without them physically present, because we're physical human beings. And yet, I always find that what helped me a lot was to realize that in my life, when Richard was alive, I was so incredibly blessed. And I remember having many long talks with myself early on in my grieving process. And it kind of I said, Chris, jeez, you know, you you had the most incredible love the most incredible life. And now you've got this, well, what are you going to do? What are you going to do with this? Like, like, are you going to just fall down and sit in a puddle and just stay in the puddle? And, you know, commiserate with your misery forever? And no, you know, you're going to go through a process of healing, you're going to go through loss, and you're going to come out the other side, hopefully someday, and you're going to be a better person for it. And that's what my hope was, as I grieved my hope was that I was learning and I was growing, and I was, you know, things positive were happening. And it's this heartbreaking sorrow of losing the person that I felt was my person, you know? So, yeah, I can't even imagine what you went through Brian. I mean, losing your beautiful daughter behind you. I just I just to me, that's just, I think about that. And when I heard first heard that Richard had died when I got that phone call. My only thought that brought me back into my body was Oh, my God, I have my girls.Brian Smith:
That was what saved my life. Really? I think. Yeah. So I don't mean to pry. But was this passing sudden, something that you weren't prepared for? Oh, yeah. He.Kristine Carlson:
He went to San Francisco airport the night before a book tour. And he stayed because he got on a 6am flight to New York. And on the descent of that flight, he died from a pulmonary embolism. Sorry, so that's a blood clot that travels from your leg to your lung and on descent of a flight, it's lethal. It just explodes. And then you die instantly. So yeah, it was very, um, we were very completely unprepared. It was It was sudden loss. So yeah. Well, you and I were talking before we before we started recording, and we're talking about, you know, the loss of my daughter and you were in with the loss of your spouse. And sometimes we tend to compare, you know, losses and you were saying I can imagine losing a child and I was talking with a woman who had lost both the child and a spouse and she was saying losing a spouse is worse. So it's all it's all this same and it's all different, right? But that's sudden loss, I can definitely relate to where it's like, one moment, everything in life is fine. And then the next moment you realize my life is changed forever. Yeah, and so has your future dreams. And you know, everything has changed. And I think that like, the hardest thing, I believe, to reconcile and loss is the loss of your future. And also most people want, they're trying so hard to get back to the life that they had. And it's an impossibility both are impossibilities you can't see your future for a long time and you you can't get past go back to your past. There's an there's no negotiation in that. So I think that's where a lot of times we get stuck is in that longing for what we can't have either in either place, it puts us in that middle ground of, you know, feeling really stuck, like what do we do can't have what we want in our future, we're not going to renegotiate our past. So we have to create a new future, we have to heal first and create a new future from the present moment. And one of the ironic things, Brian, that I found was that my husband had taught the world and Oprah how to be present. And I somehow missed that lesson from and I was living very president when he died, I was thinking I have 50 years with Richard, you know, so it really, during my loss. And during my grieving process, I realized after a year of how presently I had learned to live in grief. And I thought that was so powerful that Richard had taught me that through the loss of him to live presently, because I really was very early realizing that the tools that I had, were present, I just wasn't practicing them. So I started to practice really living presently, because living in my future was far too painful. And living in my past was far too painful. And so I'm, you know, I felt like, okay, I can handle the present moment, you know, even when I'm grieving, I can handle the present moment, because I'm not torturing myself. That is a great point. You know, actually, just this morning, I was doing a meditation about being in the present. And there's nothing like grief to bring you into the present. Because it just as you said, you know, you can't change the past. So we can torture myself by trying to go back there. And there's early days, we can't even imagine what the future is going to be like. In fact, sometimes we don't even want there to be a future now. So all we can do is focus on right where we are right now. And that that is a valuable lesson if we can learn to carry that forward, even as we're healing from the grief. But it's human beings, we naturally think about the future of our kids, we think about the future with our spouse, it's part of, you know, we have to we have to do that Psalm, but it's really important to live in that in that present moment. So, I would ask you, so after living, you know, with the whole franchise of the don't sweat, the small stuff, books and everything? I would imagine and I even heard a little bit of indication that built some resiliency in you before Richard even passed, but did you feel like you were at least a little better prepared? Yeah, you know, people over the years have always asked me, Is there a way to prepare for a loss? And I say, well, the only way I know to prepare is how to how you live presently. Because, you know, if you practice a really powerful life of gratitude, and you are working on your soul and working on your spirituality and developing your faith muscles, you know, your your practice of spirituality, for me is is everything to how you're going to transcend these circumstances. You know, I, I grew up in a very Christian household, but when I met my husband, my whole ideas about life opened up and I was reading books from rom das about be here now. And I was reading Wayne Dyer, the erroneous zones. And I was reading all these, you know, learning about these cool therapies. I went from Oregon to Southern California, I'm sure it was my parent's worst nightmare in a lot of ways. Although they did love Richard. I mean, they absolutely loved him. But I had we were kind of grew up in the cusp of the New Age Movement. And so I'd say by the time Richard and I were parents, we had done every modality of healing that ever was known to, man, we did everything, you know, Reichian breath work. Holotropic breathwork, rebirthing, you know, we done psychotherapy, we were meditators. I mean, we were very, very healed. By the time we became parents and and you know, it's just it's such a journey and I think that all of those things and my study and our in our personal study together and our spiritual beliefs and our philosophy of life and how we lived life, it was all very Solid and rock solid in both of us. And I definitely had this just true belief and knowledge that this wasn't an accident. Like, I didn't want to accept it initially, but I just was like, You know what, he didn't just die. He, he's, he's, he's, he's past to where he's supposed to be, you know, like, I didn't want him to be there. I didn't want him to go there at this time. To me it was 50 years too early, but somehow there was something in me that said, this is this is not an accident. This is meant to be you know, and, and.Brian Smith:
And I just had to hold on to that faith that I was pretty pissed at God for a while, like I you know, think that's pretty normal. I was pretty pissed at the whole situation. But then I just said, you know, something good is gonna come out of this for me, I just know it. It has to because Richard was amazing. And he was, he was his life to me was changed to I am, you know, changed my life and who I am as a woman by being married to him and being loved by Him and sharing life with him. So I thought his death has to mean just as much I'm sure did really well, my world wide open, I'll tell you that. Yeah. Isn't that amazing? You know how that happens. And, you know, and the thing is, as I'm teaching people resiliency and living in the present moment, all that stuff, it dawned on me, it's like, you don't have to go through grief in order to pick up these tools, you can pick them up earlier. And for someone like yourself, you know, even though you weren't preparing for this loss, in particular, you were building the spiritual muscles, as you said, to get yourself ready for whatever and resilience is resilience. And we can build that at any time, through these these great practices, like you talked about, and you know, books like don't sweat, the small stuff can be very helpful and very practical, day to day ways to to get that mindset of living in the present of practicing gratitude.Kristine Carlson:
In you know, and looking at life that you said, Okay, this is not what I wanted to happen, but I believe it was meant to happen. And that that's something I think, is really profound. It is I think the other thing, Brian, that I realized is after I healed, you know, after I really went through grief, I realized I wrote a book called from heartbreak to wholeness, the hero's journey to joy and I realized, like how important Joseph Campbell's work has been to the world and how there really is this mythical hero's journey that many of us decide to walk, you know, many of us decided to take that path. And it's, it's within us, it's not like he points to that. It's not like it's, it's not like he designed it. It's like this, this human design that it's in our DNA to choose either to be a victim or to be a hero in our own circumstances. And it's not as if we choose once we have to choose it every day and choose it many times a day. It's like choosing to be present. It's not like you can say, Oh, I'm going to live presently today. It's like, you have to say, I'm going to leave live presently now And now and now. And now. And now. And now. And now. And it's an ongoing process. And it's so interesting, because I realized that I as I walked this path of, you know, choosing to allow these circumstances to turn me into a better person. I also realized something really profound and that was that when we love life first life itself. It's like there's something biblical I remember as a child saying, You have to love God first before anything else and and I never really understood that because I thought No You love your partner you love you know, people you love in but but now I understand that loving God is the same as loving life itself, the very nature of what life is. And when we can have that great love affair with our lives. It doesn't mean we don't hurt and loss it doesn't mean we don't grieve, but it means that we've always got something really profound to return to. And that because life itself is our greatest love, and everything else is part of that. And when I really discovered that in myself, it changed everything for me it changed that I had everything was My future dream now because I I love my life. And so the question then became what do I love about my life? And what do I love now and what made what is fun and what brings me joy? And what do I feel passionate about? You know, these are the things that drive me now. versus you know, my life was different when I was married to Richard and I had was growing children and it was all about the family. It was about support. It was about building a life you know, now it's all about just living as fully and as presently and as power.Brian Smith:
as I can, and how I can serve. Wow, that was, yeah, that's so incredible what you just said, first of all, the thing about loving God, you know, because I grew up in the church, also with Sunday school and you took God as a big man in the sky, you're told to fear God and you're told in this, you're told to love God more than anything. But as we, as we study these different traditions, and we get different views of God, as, as love I mean, people that have in the East come back and say, the only word I can use for God is love, or life is another word we might use or source. And so loving, just that spirit, just loving, that is what we're supposed to love. And the thing you said, I thought was really incredible is we love our life. Sometimes we like certain things about our life, I like this about my life, as opposed to just loving life. And those things are all going to pass, you know, when you have children, as you do. And as I do. You know, I tell people, you know, my daughter passed away, but even if she hadn't, they grow up, you know, they don't stay three or four years old, they become different people, they become adults, we move on to different phases of our lives, we become, you know, grandparents and stuff like that. So that's always changing what's what's constant, is that, that love that we can have for life. So I love that what would you say about that? Yeah, it's, it's, I try to really share that message as much as possible, especially for people who are in loss, because it's, it's not a time where you do love life, you know, it's not a time that feels magical, it feels very painful, and it hurts so bad. But I also don't feel like anybody, you can't take advice from somebody who hasn't lived through it, you know, like, you can only look to people. That's why it's so important the work you're doing, you know, parents who have lost a child, don't really want to hear from somebody, another person that's lost anything but a child, understandably, because, you know, while we don't compare our losses, I do believe that they are different in some capacity, I bring think grief is the same. Grief is a very painful, transformational process that we go through to heal us, you know, and, and I, but I do think thatKristine Carlson:
I kind of lost my train of thought, I don't know where I was going with that. It doesn't happen to me very often, but I don't know it justBrian Smith:
the love of life. And the thing is that we go through different circumstances in life. And there are times when Yeah, we don't love our circumstances, you know, so much. Yeah, it's that returning to that core of, of knowing who you are, and of loving that, and that is, and that sounds something some people may be conceited or selfish. But once we started, I think develop spiritually realize that that God they told us about is actually right here. Oh, yeah, for sure. And we, and that's turning in and knowing who we are. But I was just talking with a mother earlier today who's had gone through the loss of a child. And she's saying, you know, Brian, I have to say this, sometimes I just don't really want to be here, you know? Yeah, of course, me too. And I was telling her about this. There's a line from a song, it's been going for six and a half years of my head that plays about where do we it's from a song called games, people play by Alan Parsons. And it's like, where do we go from here now that all the children have grown up, and nobody cares about us. And I wake up in that morning, and that line is in my head, and I but but I'm like, I choose not to stay there. You know, it's you mentioned earlier, it's a choice as to how we view life. So I'm like, Okay, we're not going to stay there. We're going to live in the moment we're going to live in the present. And what can I do going forward, carrying my daughter with me, which is why she's always in my background. Because I'm still trying to make her proud. I believe that what happened to her was not an accident, that it wasn't something that was done to me it was something that was done to reveal, you know, what I can become and what we can become, you know, in the light of that loss. We'll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach. If you're grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to growth.com www.gr IE F the number two gr o w th.com. If you'd like to support this podcast visit www.patreon.com/grief to growth www.patren.com/g RI E F, the number two gr O W th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.Kristine Carlson:
That's exactly right. I know it's one of the things that Richard always said to me said about an October he died in December of 2006. And in October, we're walking. And he said, he turned to me and he was like Chris, and I'm like, what honey, and he said, You know what I love about the human spirit. And I said, what he said, I love that there are people in this world that take their greatest tragedy. And they allow it to move them forward in their lives, so that their lives have greater meaning than they might have otherwise had. And that says it all, you know, it was like, he was like, he was looking at me making sure I was listening, giving me his final instruction, you know, and then he died suddenly, three months later, you know, so I was, I'm glad that was really present when he said that, and because it was things like that, that came back to me as my greatest teachers and my greatest moments of healing, and helped give me the guiding posts that I needed to get on track, you know, to be on track, so that I could, you know, arrive in a place where I could be useful to the world, you know, and, and helpful to other people and hold out that that light of hope. Oh, yeah, that's what I was alluding to, is that you can't take advice from somebody who hasn't been there before you it's impossible, you know, because you want to know that they've gone through the same kind of suffering the same pain that you've been through, you know, and then you can listen to them, because you go, Okay, you understand me. And I know if you've had that experience, but I used to get really mad when people who hadn't been through the same kind of loss that I've been through would give me advice about going through loss.Unknown:
You don't even know what you're talking about.Brian Smith:
Yeah. There's a grief counselor, I won't name him because he's very famous, but grief counselor, and then his son passed. And he's like, I didn't know what I was doing until, you know, I went through it myself. And it's interesting, because sometimes, frankly, I feel a little bit like I'm not qualified, because I don't have a PhD. And I'm not, I'm not a psychotherapist. I'm gonna happen. But I've been through it, right. I'm a human being. And I've, I've observed the human condition I've done quite a bit of studying about and I've been through it. So when, when a mother says to me, I really don't want to be here. You know, someone else might say, well, oh, you're suicidal, I need to put you on suicide watch, or you're depressed? You know? It's like, no, that's just a normal thing that happens to parents when their children transition, you want to be where your child is. It same thing when your spouse does to you don't, you really don't want to be here. But if you have children, they do give you that reason to be here. You know, you do. You do think about them first. And and then some people say, Well, you're so lucky, you have children you are because they give you the reason to be here. But then you have to deal with the grief that they have and your grief at the same time. And I'm sure you felt that as a family to your whole family, you know, was in grief. And I'm sure your wife was just deeply suffering. Yeah, exactly. And, but it's also one of those times when you have to step outside of yourself, right. So for me, it was like, Okay, I want to be where Shayna is, but I still have Kayla and my wife here. So I need to be here, I need to be here for my parents, we're going through the loss of a grandchild. So it really kind of brings us all together. And grief can be a very shared experience. And I tell people, we need to share it with each other and tell each other how we're feeling. So we can all heal together. And we're all going through our own personal things. Absolutely. Absolutely. That's quite an education, isn't it? It is it's a real, it's a real I know for me, it was kind of like you and I think it's interesting. If we look back and we think about life usually sets us up for these things. You know, so in your case you had you know you in Richard with the don't sweat the small stuff books and him being who he was, and all the stuff that he's teaching and that and that remark he made a few months before he passed which we look back and Shana said similar things you know about not being afraid of death and how she wanted to be buried. She was only 15 You know, she made a comment like that a few weeks before she passed. And we can see life kind of set us up for this. So I studied a lot about about the afterlife before Shana pass, because I had a personal fear of death. And so I knew similar to what you did when she when she passed us like I was never Where is she? Is she okay, you know, Will I ever see her again? I was able to not have to go through that doesn't mean I got to bypass grief entirely. But I didn't have that that issue at least and I heard the same thing coming from you. Yeah, I I also had an interesting my whole life it seemed like I was always talking to people that had near death experiences. It was the weirdest the weirdest thing like I would get in these conversations with people from the time I was in high school. I mean, it's just so strange. I bump into these people in weird places or weirdKristine Carlson:
meetings or business meetings, and then they suddenly would start sharing their near death experience with me. And I think, why are they telling me this, and this has happened for the fifth time. And, and, and I went time had to got to I got to have a conversation with this woman that wrote, embraced by the light. And did you ever come across that book? Yes. Yeah, baby Ed. Yes, Betty Ed. And so I talked to her on the phone once and, and really, it was just, you know, incredible, I was really very interested in near death experience. So I did have a sense to have, of what life after life, what our afterlife, or our permanent life is like, and, and it helped me a lot, because it also, for me, I had a lot of really crazy spiritual experiences after Richard's death where he was right around me. And I could, I mean, they just like some real weird things, you know, where he was very, like, I could see lights, and other people could see them too. And, you know, just crazy stuff, you know, like so. And I think some of that is just that, you know, when your belief is the way it is, it opens your you up, and the veil becomes very thin, and they can really reach you and you can reach them. And it was very important for me to know that Richard still was present with me that I wouldn't be without him, it was one of the ways that I really carried forward my relationship with him, instead of thinking of death as the end, I really did think of it as a transitional change in our relationship, you know, and, and when that, you know, wasn't accidental, but maybe even a soul contract between us. SoBrian Smith:
yes, I could, I could play the resonate with everything you just said. And you talked earlier about the hero's journey, which is something I use a lot I talk to people a lot about, because people will say to me, Well, why would I? Why would I choose something like this, I wouldn't choose this life, I would choose a nice steady life where, you know, I got to live to 95 years old and got to die in bed with my spouse next to me, you know, both in our sleep, you know, something like that. That's the life I would choose. But I think that the hero's journey tells us human beings, we like the adventure. And and I they allows you to use with people like if you if there was a movie that came out, and nothing ever happened to the hero. nothing bad ever happened. You wouldn't even watch it, nobody would care. We always want to see them get into trouble. Get into a situation what looks like there's no way they can get out of the worst situation, the better the outcome, the better the ending of the movie is. And I think I believe that we plan our lives kind of similarly we say, let's let's let's plan adventure. Now. I'm not an adventurous person. I would never go skydiving. I don't either. I love to travel, but I won't go skydiving and I won't go into a shark tank either. My friend is doing that this weekend. My girlfriend. I'm like, why are you doing that?Kristine Carlson:
I mean, to scare myself. Life is plenty scary. Exactly. But I believe that and Shana. Shana was the adventurous one, she was the one that wanted to have all the experiences and stuff like that. So I, I've come around to the point now where I'm like, Yeah, I can see why I would plan this, I can see why I would want to test my resilience. I would. And we and but we don't, we don't come in an arm, right? So you talk about these little things. I call them easter eggs, like, you know, just kind of hidden in there to show us that the matrix is really just the matrix. So like, you know, Dr. Carlson making that comment, you know, to you right before you pass, which was like, this is going to come back to you when you need it. You know, this is going to be there that you're going to say this wasn't an accident. Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, I don't, I don't know. There's there's it's interesting, because when you think of how would your soul you know, if your soul is the essence of who you are, and then it is without your ego. You know, without your identity, your soul is just the light within you that carries forward your life no matter whether you're in a body or not. If you think about that, that there's a soul plan. How would your soul planted out knowing that you're always going to be safe because soul is out forever? So soul is going to be safe from harm no matter what in this physical life that we choose as a human being is very short term. Can Can when you consider eternity it's very short term. So if you think about what would the soul choose for growth, that's a different way of looking at life and and then you can begin to think of well if my soul is eternally in love, and our love is what binds us to others. Our love is the string. It's the it goes back to the string theory even and, you know, you think about how connected we are forever to somebody in love. Then what would the soul choose? And how would the soul choose to serve? And how are these two or 10 or 100 souls going to serve each other in this life, then it starts to kind of begin to make some sense that the soul would be choosing human form as an adventure, and that it wants to be physical for a time it wants to be alive. And what is alive is, is feeling life. It's feeling all of the emotions of life, it's feeling, the depth of joy, that we can feel the depth of sorrow, it's feeling our physicality, or sexuality are a way that we get to eat great food, we get to enjoy, you know, the physical senses. And so if you think about it that way, then it's comforting, because it just means this is really a soul journey for a while, you know, our soul chose this for a while, but not for very long for very long and our souls have different journeys. So yeah,Brian Smith:
yeah, I always my listeners get sick, or they get sick of hearing this, but I use it all the time, because it's something I learned from Shane, and we love to play video games. And so we would play Mario Brothers and you know, Shannon would pick you up and throw you in the lava.Kristine Carlson:
She was just always like the ruthless one. And after she passed, I realized, you know, our this life was kind of like a video game, you know, because when, when Mario dies on the screen, nobody mourns Mario. It's just like, you're sitting on the couch. Mario is just an avatar. He's just a representation of you. And that's what our bodies I believe, are. And I do believe we come to experience a whole gamut of things. And I love music. I mean, I listen to music constantly. My whole life is like a, like a soundtrack. And I think about this sometimes why do we listen to sad music? Because there's something we like about exploring the depths of the other soul? We say, Well, no, no, I would never want to be sad. I would never choose sadness. But we do we watch sad movies, watch, we watch movies that make us cry, because we want to feel that, that emotion we want to it gives us the contrast with the joy that we experience. So if we can just step back a little bit, you know, and have that higher perspective, as you talked about earlier, it could start to make some sense. And they can make things more palatable in a more easy, a little bit easier to get through. Oh, yeah. And how I mean, how important is it for us all to become empathic, compassionate human beings, and the way to compassion, you know, the shortest way to compassion is to go through something, and then realize what it feels like to go through that. And then you feel that sense of empathy, and compassion for others that are going through that. So, you know, that's, that's our humanity. That's what it means to be connected to humanity. That's how we connect, you know, we connect through our suffering, and we connect through our joys, we all suffer the same things, and we all receive joy from the same things. That's where we are connected. Forget all the politics and the divisiveness of ego, you know, forget that. Because that's just all you know, that's just all the small stuff that people get caught up in. But what's real is the things that we value and what we value, you know, from our soul and from our hearts, and what do we really want in our lives? You know, we all kind of really want the same things. Yeah, I think when it comes down to it, so I could talk about some of the work you do I know you lead women's retreats. I don't know if you're back to doing that now since COVID. Wife? Oh, yeah, I am I am doing retreats. Again, I'm starting because we can COVID test two days before. So that's the requirement is just that everyone takes a COVID test. Of course, we would love people to be vaccinated, but the requirement is really to be COVID. Free. So yeah, we're doing retreats. Again, I do have a program that I just launched called 21 days of grieving with grace with Christine Carlson. And just $21 it's $1 a day. And I created that after the Lifetime movie because I wanted to have something available for people that I felt would be super helpful that were in deep grief to kind of give them a guidepost every day for 21 days, at least everything that I learned in grief and and give them inspiration hope and and I have a number of books and courses and all sorts of stuff at Christine carlson.com. Yeah, so let's talk about the Lifetime movie. How did that come about? And what how did that go? Well, you know, is a long journey. We bumped into a gal named Maura Dunbar about 21 years ago. She came to Richard she had discovered his book says don't sweat the small stuff books when she was in grief. Ironically, I don't think they're very good. We never thought they were grief books but so many people have come to us and said yeah, they really helped me through grief, I guess because people didn't want to read grief books. They were too sad. They wanted to read life books about how to live life. Exactly. So they found the don't sweat series that way. And she did. And so she wanted to she wanted to, she was a producer, and she wanted to sell don't sweat the small stuff as a television sitcom. And so she did, and she sold it to ABC, but was going to be a sitcom based on our lives with and we're raising two young children. And it was going to be a little bit comic, you know, comedy, based on, you know, an author who writes these don't sweat the small stuff books, but he's really sweating the small stuff at home, sometimes like everyone else. And, and, and then the new executive came in, and they, they didn't want to do it. And then we were like, you, you know, because we thought that would have been way too much pressure for our kids to grow up with. After we really figured it out. We were like, really, we were sweating that, you know, we're like, maybe this isn't the right thing. And then we know, fast forward, Richard died, I don't know, must have been about seven years later. And she came back to me and she, she wanted to visit me and just touch in with me. But then she said, I really want to still do something with this if you'll allow me to. And I said, Sure. I'm open to whatever, you know, as long as I can take a look at it and make sure it's in alignment with us and our brands and our brand. And so she then sold it to Sony till television, and then they had it for two years and didn't do anything with it. And then she came back again, you know, four years later, and she said, Hey, lifetime has asked for the rights to don't sweat the small stuff. We want to you know, write something that is, you know, really positive for the brand. And we let us do it. And so I said Yeah, and they wrote this story. And I read the story, the script, and I was like, yeah, it's an OK story. And, but they didn't like it either. And so, um, they then more said, Hey, we want to do your story. We think you have to don't sweat the small stuff story. And so I was like, wow, okay, you know, I mean, I'm just sharing my story for years. Why not? You know, and, and I talked to my daughters about it, and they were all on board. You know, they were the grown now, you know, they're this is 15 years later. So they're grown. And they're like, Yeah, that's fine. Do you think it's great for you? Let's let's, you know, do it. And that's how it came about. It was pretty crazy. And then, you know, it was a lot of trust, though, I have to say it's scary, because you don't, I worked very closely with the writer, Shannon, CO. Leary, wonderful woman just became great friends with her and worked very closely with her. And of course, I felt like Maura was such a steward for our brand. And she definitely had my back. But it is very scary. Because you know, you get that script back. And there's a lot of it, there's truth. It's based in a event of truth that there's all this fiction written around it. And it's just like, you're like, Oh, my God. This is it. It's scary. It's like you don't know how you're going to be depicted. You don't know who they're going to choose to play you. It's a real leap of faith. And I'm very happy to say it worked out like it really did work out. I felt like Heather Locklear was a great pick. For me, I think she put her whole heart and soul into the part, playing the part learning who I am as a woman and how she could best portray me. And we became instant friends. I mean, it was crazy. Because what the media really picked up on the friendship that developed between us in this whole process, and it was just this whole all these articles that came out and people and everywhere about this friendship that developed between Yeah, it was wonderful. And and the film was wonderful. I really, it's a fluffy version of grief. You know, like, like, people asked me, I had a premiere, real premiere celebration of it, two days before it came out. And people came up to me and they said, Wow, is that really hard for you to watch it? And I'm like, No, it was really hard to live through. Not so hard to watch. Well, I'm so glad you had that experience. Because we hear so often about how it's not that creative experience and how it's not. You know, it's not we know, it's not real life. We know they add things to it, but it's good to talk to someone who has a life depicted and was happy with the outcome. Yeah, I mean, it really did portray the essence of a lot of stuff. The essence of my relationship with Richard, you know, I thought Jason McDonald did a great job portraying Richard although Richard was a lot more goofy and a lot more playful. I mean, it's hard for an actor to get all those aspects of a personality of somebody. But you know, I thought there was an elegance and a sophisticated, quiet self confidence that Jason picked up on that he really did a great job portraying that was the essence of who Richard was in the public. And he was that way, but he was a lot more playful and private like with his kids and stuff. And then the girl I just thought they did a great job. They were great little actresses. I mean, Natasha puree Wow, she's, she's somebody to watch. She's just an incredible, they're both just incredible actresses. They had a great chemistry as a family. And I felt like yeah, this could have been our family. This is like how it kind of was, you know, so it was good. I think that they picked up on some really key themes. For families going through loss to that it's not just the, you know, it's a family grieving process, the whole family is in grief, and it, you know, it's so much dies with a person, you know, so much dies, and, and there's so many things that die for each of us, you know, our hopes and dreams, even things that didn't have anything to do. You know, like, my, my daughter had a difficult time playing soccer, she was a soccer player, you know, and they showed that, you know, one of my daughters was a great student and had a difficult time in school after he died. You know, it's your dreams die for a while. And it's hard, you don't just pick up the pieces in a week, it takes a long time to pick up those pieces. Well, I'm glad that they were able to portray that it's grief is it's a difficult thing to betray. And it's usually portrayed either to one extreme or the other. And as you said, it's, it's complicated. It impacts all of us differently, and has ripples that we don't even imagine things trigger us that, you know, we would have never imagined were going to trigger us we'll be driving somewhere, you know, five years later, hear a song or see something. And it just, it takes us right back to that moment. So it's good that they were able toBrian Smith:
let people understand that kind of what this was like. Yeah, and if you haven't watched it, you know, it's Don't sweat the small stuff, the Christine Carlson story, you can just go on, if you've got direct TV or cable or something, you can just search it, it should pop right up. Yeah, I definitely plan to watch it. And it's been such an honor meeting you. It's like it says, reached out to me. I was like, oh, yeah, the don't sweat the small stuff. Books. I still remember reading this book, it was when our girls were little. And I am I am a warrior by nature, I blow things, you know, way out of proportion. And it's been one of these is one of the lessons I've had to try to learn, you know, myself. So talking to someone who has, it was lifted that and then, you know, I was gonna ask you earlier, but you kind of covered it before we even get started. You know, you write these books, don't sweat the small stuff. And then, you know, the loss of a spouse. And it's like, how does that relate? You know, the small stuff to the big stuff. But we talked about that. So it's really a matter of perspective and keeping everything kind of in front of you. Yeah, I will say you're living the big stuff. You're never sweating the small stuff. Exactly. Yeah. Well, Christine, it's been it's been a pleasure to have you tell people again, where they can find out more about you. I know you have a couple of websites, it's want to make sure we get it on the recording because sometimes people don't read the show notes. Oh, yeah. Thank you so much, Brian. You can look for us at don't sweat.com or Justine carlson.com. And that's Christine with a K and Carlson with a seat. Awesome. Awesome. Well, again, thanks for being here and have a great rest. Thank you. Thank you, Brian. Take care