The Author Speaks

Conversations with writers you should know about.

Living on the Razor's Edge of Change

The Book Brigade talks with life transitions survivor Cheryl Eckl.

In the emotional upheaval of a life-changing event, we may not realize the enormous potential that exists for the future. Cheryl Eckl offers five soul-clarifying questions.


What is the light process and to what do you apply it?

The Light Process is a sequence of five questions designed to lead, step by step, through the confusion, anger, fear, or loss of identity that dramatic change provokes. It is a way to move confidently and creatively through volatile events, and it can be applied to any type of life transition. It works even when things are stuck or are not changing the way we think they should.

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The Light Process is a way to reframe the very human response “Why me?” into “Why not me?” It is road map through the unknown to a renewed self-identity and personal empowerment.

I have taught the process in as little as 15 minutes. It has been well received by business groups, grief counselors, and hospice workers. It is also applicable for nurturing relationships, dealing with conflict, and as a tool for life coaching.


How does one know when to engage it?

When events are swirling, it’s difficult to think clearly. When unwelcome change is visited upon us, we often feel victimized and helpless. So if a person is feeling overwhelmed, the simple questions provide a framework for taking practical action rather than drowning in emotional reaction. They provide objectivity in the midst of chaos.


What led you to develop a new way to cope with change? What was not working for you?

The concept of coping itself was not working. When my husband died in 2008, I was thrown into a deep well of grief that completely consumed me. I managed to survive the first six months through sheer grit, but I needed a way to come back to life. I found that way through inquiry. One afternoon I began asking myself some deeply existential questions about my experience: “What had I lost? What had I gained? Who was I now? Who did I want to become?” The five Light questions were born that day, along with an astonishing sense of possibility that I could thrive, not merely survive. Inquiry eventually transformed the worst thing that had ever happened to me into the most meaningful event of my life.


What led you to write a book about coping with change?

Writing for me is an ineluctable choice. This book demanded to be written and would not leave me alone until I had committed to paper the words that were keeping me awake at night.

Much of The Light Process came into being as I was driving between Montana and Colorado to see my elderly mother in hospice care. There were times when I had to pull over in the middle of nowhere to write down the insights that were flooding into my awareness.


What is the most surprising thing you discovered in researching/writing this book?

I discovered that the phrase to cope means to maintain a contest or combat with something. Coping actually is a form of resistance that prevents learning or growth and can result in habitual immunity to change.


What is the most important point you want to get across?

The purpose of change is to bring us face to face with the razor’s edge of choice where creative possibility is born. Will we allow ourselves to be discomforted by the spiraling process of life unfolding or will we choose the apparent safety of the familiar—however stultifying it may be? If we will gather our courage and choose the dynamic of transition, the future can emerge as much more than a slightly different flavor of the past.


Who would most benefit by reading this book?

Anyone who is dealing with major life adjustments. The book is a celebration of the creative potential that lies at the heart of transitions, but even welcome change results in loss. A portion of the old must pass away for the new to emerge. Artists and entrepreneurs know this. And compassionate change-makers realize that individuals, teams, companies, and communities prosper when the necessary losses of twenty-first century progress are processed, not merely survived.


What is the most profound thing you’ve learned about yourself in writing this book?

I have learned how important it is for me to dis-identify with old patterns and get out of my own way. Brighter tomorrows depend on my consciously creating an environment of mental and emotional receptivity from which insight and transformation may result.


If you had one piece of advice, what would it be and to whom would it be aimed?

To anyone who senses that the more dramatic the upheaval, the more profound the opportunity for personal growth, I would say: Remember that change is the hardest thing for humans to do. Be patient and gentle with yourself and others, even as you persist in learning from life’s interruptions on the way to wherever it was you thought you were going.


What would you like to see happen as a result of your book?

The older I get, the more profoundly am I moved by the juxtaposition of excruciating pain and exquisite joy. My greatest desire is that my work will help alleviate the suffering of others and lead them to a personal experience of the joy I have found while engaging the flow of change.


About THE AUTHOR SPEAKS: Selected authors, in their own words, reveal the story behind the story. Authors are featured thanks to promotional placement by their publishing houses. 

To purchase this book, visit:

The Light Process

Selected authors, in their own words, reveal the story behind the story. Authors are interviewed thanks to promotional placement by their publishers.


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