I’m no stranger to Change.
No matter where I was or which mental state I was in, Change always seemed to find me.
There’s a reason for that.
Change is the natural order of things. One moment turns into another turns into another. Energies shift and then shift again. Nothing ever stays the same except for Change itself. So what happens when we resist, defy, or avoid Change? We try to make a moment something other than what it is. We interrupt the natural order and create disorder in our lives because we’re attempting to defy a fundamental law, like trying to make rain fall upward. It’s simply impossible. The laws of our universe won’t allow it. The very fabric of our reality is imbued with Change. When we defy it, we defy ourselves. We lose our way.
How do I know? Major life Changes are my specialty.
I was molested at the tender age of five. I came out of the closet as gay at 14. I lost my mom to alcoholism at 18. I was cheated on at 27. I was let go from my dream job at 30.
It was the last Change that finally broke me open for good.
I’ll never forget my boss calling me into his office. He uttered five simple words that took the breath from my lungs and pulled tears to my cheeks.
“We are letting you go,” he said; sorrow forming in the corners of his eyes. “Someone from HR is waiting downstairs to walk you through your severance package.”
Just like that, after over three years of hard work on behalf of the company, I was dismissed to discuss the particulars of leaving a job I loved but had clearly grown out of.
Hello again, Change. It’s good to see you, I thought.
I was 30 years old and unemployed, struggling to find my way forward that summer, when rather than simply asking myself disempowering and deflating questions, I started asking empowering and existential ones too. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What are my gifts? What made me feel fulfilled in the past? How can I do more of that now? What is this trying to teach me?
The answers to those questions came to me slowly over time. When they finally became clear, I realized that I wanted to help others learn the lessons I’d learned. I discovered that my deepest longing was to share my own struggles so people could see how I came out stronger on the other side. I came to see that my path of highest good was to help other people find theirs.
It was in that moment where my first book was born. Three years later, it’s finally out. Titled It’s Good to See Me Again: How to Find Your Way When You Feel Lost, this book will help you navigate any crisis, transcend any trauma, and embrace any Change. Below, I share the first chapter from the book. If you enjoy it, I hope you’ll leave a comment, share this post with a friend, or consider grabbing a copy of your own. I know this book will completely transform your life. Because it completely transformed my own.
Truth is, we all need that now. More than ever.
Cracked Open: The First Chapter From My New Book, It’s Good to See Me Again
Ever since I can remember, people have called me some version of the nickname Crack. I’ve been called C-Rack, Crack Attack, Crackle, and Crack Life. I’ve pretty much heard it all.
That’s what I get for being named Christopher Robert Rackliffe.
Once someone realized that my first initial and last name basically spelled Crack Life, there was no going back. At first it really annoyed me. I wanted nothing to do with the nickname Crack. I’d cringe a little bit each time a classmate of mine would say, “Hey Crack Life!” But as anyone with a name that lends itself to something catchy will tell you, there’s not much you can do.
After making peace with my fate, I decided to accept my nickname, make it into my persona, and beat everyone to the punch in the process. Now Crack Life is my full-on digital identity. All of my social media profiles are @crackliffe and my resume has never had my full name on it—only my nickname. I can’t tell you how many people have “cracked up” over the years while hearing me spell out my Instagram handle or email address. “Who is this Crack Life character?” people ask. The whole thing makes me feel like I pulled a MacGyver or Olivia Pope—strategizing my way out of an uncomfortable situation I disliked but could not change. The only choice I had was to accept it. So I did.
This has become my approach to life: Accept what I can’t change and choose to change everything else. I wasn’t always this way. I found out the hard way that our lives are defined by our relationship with Change. When something happened I didn’t foresee or expect, I did everything possible to avoid or deny it. I ran away. I numbed. I didn’t want to feel the pain or fear or uncertainty. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel in control. I wanted things to be predictable.
But that’s not how life works. Life is inherently unpredictable. Things are constantly changing. As humans, it’s natural to get scared, go into fight-or-flight mode, and resist what Change has to teach us. But this reflex also stifles and disorients us. We feel like we can’t shape our reality when we try to change the unchangeable.
Thankfully, life doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to live in a permanent state of resistance. I discovered firsthand that there’s another way. We can choose to accept the ups and downs of life. We can choose to accept Change. We can choose to release what’s not in our control and focus on what is.
Accepting Change is one of the healthiest things you can do. It’s healthy to give up resisting and accept reality. It’s healthy to stop playing the victim and accept healing. It’s healthy to accept that not everything is under our control. This is how you clear your mind and free your spirit so you can find your way forward. Whenever you find yourself struggling with Change, ask this question: Do I have the power to change this, or must I accept it instead?
And yet, not everyone chooses to accept what they can’t change.
For some, it seems like Change is chipping away at you, little by little, until you feel like you no longer recognize yourself or your life. You ask: Why can’t things be the way I imagined? Why do I keep getting blindsided by Change?
I’ll tell you why. You have a God-given right to choose. When you use that right to defy what you can’t change, you choose against yourself. You waste your time. You focus on all the wrong things. You avoid what you are meant to learn. You become disoriented. That is why you feel so lost.
Change is the Universe’s way of cracking open our hearts so something new and unexpected can burst forth despite all of our efforts to resist. It is a wake-up call. It shows up as the death of a loved one or the loss of your job. It happens when you go through a breakup or you lose everything you own in a fire or a flood or a tornado. It rears its head when you get a diagnosis you never saw coming. It happens to everyone eventually and no one is immune.
The Japanese art form of kintsugi illustrates this phenomenon. It is said to have started in the late 15th century when a damaged tea bowl was sent to China for repair. Instead of gluing or stapling the pieces back together, which were both common solutions for the time, they were rejoined with powdered gold, illuminating the same cracks they were meant to conceal. What was once a common tea bowl became transformed into an elevated piece of art—something far more valuable because of its wear and its repair. The cracks became the seams for it to shine.
Kintsugi shows us that what we feel breaks us, makes us. What doesn’t kill us doesn’t just make us stronger; it makes us more intricate, more distinguished, and more exquisite than before.
When we get knocked down in life, it can be easy to feel that we are broken, destroyed, or irreparable—that we should be discarded. What kintsugi shows us, though, is that when we surrender ourselves to be restored, we aren’t just repaired; we are reborn. We aren’t just pieced back together; we become brighter, bolder, and more beautiful than we ever imagined we could be.
Each time Change shows up in your life, you get to choose whether to accept or resist. Too often we choose the latter. We get scared. We build our walls ever taller. We deny what Change can teach us. We avoid being cracked open. Try as you may, you can’t outrun reality; you can’t resist what can’t be changed. The walls must fall.
Don’t be afraid. When your walls come crashing down, you’ll discover something beautiful: A cracked heart isn’t a wounded heart; it’s a whole heart revealing itself. That death or diagnosis or divorce turns into the catalyst for positive growth because it reminds you that life is precious. All you have is right now. All you can do is accept what can’t be changed and choose to change the rest.
This is not just your truth—it’s the truth. You are here to grow and learn—to ride the tides of Change. Even if you feel like you lose your way for a time, you can never truly be lost. You will always find your way back to yourself if you remember you have the power to choose to accept Change or create it.
Things will happen to you in life that you never saw coming. Your heart will get broken open again and again and again. The promise of this book is to help you transform your relationship with Change, to show you how to stand confidently in your power to choose. Change is a natural part of what it means to be human. Even when we make all the right choices, we will encounter Change. It is impossible to outrun. Remember this: When a situation arises that you never saw coming, you still have a choice. You can always choose how you relate to it. You can always choose how you show up. You can always choose to embrace Change. This book will show you how.
My nickname may be Crack Life, but we’re all living a cracked life. Because Change continually cracks us open. I’m here to tell you to let it. Or create it. Either way it’s how we expose our gold.
This is an excerpt from my book, It’s Good to See Me Again: How to Find Your Way When You Feel Lost. For even more material from the book, check out Coping With Change: 4 Ways to Survive Any Major Life Event.