Always in motion, spiraling, transforming—even as it follows practical steps.
Q. What is The LIGHT Process?
A. The LIGHT Process is a road map for your journey through change. It’s a 5-step process for moving creatively through life’s ups and downs rather than trying to rush through the painful “Middle of Nowhere” which volatile events can throw us into.
Change happens every day, but as a culture we don’t know how to work with it. So we resist it—much to our detriment. The LIGHT Process is a way to turn emotional reactions into practical actions that can alleviate suffering for our selves and others.
Q. Where did the idea for The LIGHT Process come from?
A. The book grew out of the “Questions for Reflection” section of my first book, A Beautiful Death: Facing the Future with Peace. (Republished in a 2015 updated edition as A Beautiful Death: Keeping the Promise of Love.) I discovered inquiry as a way to keep moving through the dramatic changed I was experiencing during my husband’s illness and following his death from colon cancer in 2008. That process eventually distilled into the Five LIGHT QuestionsTM that eventually required their own book: The LIGHT Process: Living on the Razor’s Edge of Change.
Q. What are the Five LIGHT Questions?
A. The Five LIGHT Questions are:
– Q1. How have I been prepared?
– Q2. How am I staying afloat?
– Q3. What do I need right now?
– Q4. What do I need to let go of?
– Q5. Where do I go from here?
Q. Do they have to be asked in that order?
A. Ideally, yes, because each question transcends and includes the discoveries of the previous question. Once we become familiar with the foundational work of Q1 and Q2, we more naturally enter the process at Q3 and then move through Q4 and Q5. But it’s preferable to ask the questions in sequence because situations that appear the same may be significantly different.
The first two questions encourage fresh examination of what we bring to each event. More importantly, asking the first two questions opens the mind to the creative potential of change that often emerges in Q3.
Q. What do you want people to understand about change?
A. When our outer life circumstances or interior worlds shift, we are confronted with the Unknown. We lose our sense of identity because we are no longer who we were but not yet who we will become.
We’re probably not thinking clearly, so we operate from fight or flight or we fall back on habitual thoughts and behaviors that may not be applicable to the new situation in which we find ourselves. The LIGHT Process uses inquiry to keep us grounded and moving forward.
Q. What’s the hardest thing about working with change?
A. Actually staying in a mode of inquiry and being patient with the process. The Unknown reveals its secrets according to its own timetable.
We can’t force insight or resolution. Our task is to remain present with the daily unfolding of revelations through attunement with that razor’s edge where events can turn in an instant.
Q. What is the razor’s edge?
A. It’s a point of mindful presence that is akin to the eternal now. It keeps you grounded, even when in motion—sort of like a spinning top.
Living on that edge means being self-aware and centered. You may appear to wobble, but you are really focused on being in tune with your Authentic Self. Its innate flexibility allows you to be appropriate in the moment—even when the demands of that moment mean challenging long-held beliefs and behaviors.
Q. Where does the concept of light come in? And why is the word capitalized?
A. LIGHT is an acronym based on the first letter of each of the five affirmations that correspond to the five questions. It operates as a shortcut or code that can reframe the ambiguity of the Unknown into a clear path forward.
The affirmations are:
– Life has prepared me for my current situation.
– I practice daily being true to my Authentic Self.
– Grounded in my body, I know what I need.
– Healing happens when I let go.
– Tomorrow unfolds as naturally as I allow.
Q. Who would benefit from reading The LIGHT Process?
A. Anyone who is going through major shifts or who desires change. The five questions are applicable to any situation. In fact, once we become conscious of the questions, we may find ourselves asking them multiple times a day. Each repetition builds upon the previous cycle, creating a rich life experience that unfolds like a spiral.
Q. What is the main benefit of The LIGHT Process?
A. The LIGHT Process is a way to objectify the subjective experience of life transitions. When we’re in the middle of them, we’re like the proverbial fish that doesn’t know it’s wet.
Through inquiry, we can step back from the confusion, anger, fear or sense of injustice that often accompany change. We gain a new perspective that allows us to deal with the facts of a situation. And in doing so, we also gain insight into our own inner and outer resources.
This process reveals the creative potential that lies at the heart of any change. So now, when we are visited by change, we can emerge from the journey into a transformed present rather than merely ending up in a different flavor of the past.
Q. How is The LIGHT Process different from other books about change?
A. It is an inside-out exploration of the dynamic of change. It conveys the actual experience of working creatively towards a transformational outcome.
The LIGHT Process is focused on how to remain aware and present in the midst of volatile events. And it demonstrates how to “be” in transition to achieve more refined stages of development.
Q. Your second book is A Beautiful Grief: Reflections on Letting Go. How does it fit in with The LIGHT Process?
A. Many people buy The LIGHT Process and A Beautiful Grief together because Q4 (“What do I need to let go of?”) can take us deep into our experiences of loss. Even positive change requires that something of the old pass away in order for the new to emerge.
The LIGHT Process is focused on living optimistically, but sometimes loss is the change that life presents. So A Beautiful Grief can help with that piece. And, of course, The LIGHT Process provides a powerful way to work through grief. So the two books complement each other.
Q. Can you summarize your work with The LIGHT Process?
A. Yes, I’ve developed a simple construct that demonstrates how the process operates.
The LIGHT Process Construct:
– Change or the desire for change is the catalyst.
– Transformation is the goal.
– Transition is the journey.
– The LIGHT Process is the road map.
The result is that we travel through the Middle of Nowhere into what I call the “Beautiful Middle of Now Here.” We arrive at a destination that was always available to us if we could have seen it.
We discover that the razor’s edge of the fluid present is simultaneously the catalyst, the goal, the process, and the means for change. And it all happens at a point of conscious awareness that The LIGHT Process helps us to discover.
Q. What is the ultimate purpose of The LIGHT Process?
A. As you allow yourself to open to the new dimensions of consciousness that change can trigger in your life, you may discover a more profound connection with the voice of inner wisdom and guidance that I call your Wise Inner Counselor. This is certainly my hope and the ultimate purpose of engaging with this process.
Webinars, speeches and keynotes about The LIGHT Process
More articles on Cheryl’s PsychologyToday blog: Living on the Razor’s Edge
Return to the Featured Article about change
Return to the Guide to the change Articles
The LIGHT Process – The Book. Order the book and get going with the Five LIGHT Questions in the “Start Here Guide.”
Learn more about Working with your Wise Inner Counselor
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