Kara Emily’s ‘Not So Big Life’

 I have created the following list of “reminders” based upon my reading of Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big Life: making room for what really matters. My intention with this list is to have a resource to refer to that will allow me to continuously and repeatedly keep myself Awake.



Every line of this list could involve a lifetime of contemplation and learning; most of these concepts are so eternal and true that they represent an ancient and profound awareness in each of us.



I hope everyone, at least once in their lives, takes the time to sit with these ideas, one at a time, and expand the shivering awareness of beauty into their lives.


Kara Emily’s ‘Not So Big Life’:


v     Make a time and place for solitude.

v     Experience, but do not attach, judge, or identify with anything.

v     Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

v     Be obedient to the situation.

v     Do one thing at a time.

v     Follow the synchronicities.

v     There is nothing wrong.

v     Everything has the potential to teach you. Look with the eyes of a student.

v     Who or what is deciding there isn’t time?

v     Reactivity is always the result of conditioned patterns and confused thinking, and it’s a flag indicating the presence of a filter over reality.

v     Being in your doing.

v     Surround yourself with objects of delight.

v     Be effective, not efficient.

v     Focus on the meaning, not the contents of your life.

v     Everything is sacred and profound; do not plod along without awareness.

v     The world is just reflecting you back to you. Everything is a reflection.

v     Step outside the experience and be the director of your life.

v     You are much more whole, capable, and profound than the caricature of your personality.

v     Do what is in front of you to do.

v     Do not fall for the container version of time. Do not limit your possibilities.

v     Remember that you do not need to engage or identify with “the” thoughts. They are not yours.

v     The premium you place on your own health and sanity should be nonnegotiable.

v     Repeatedly wake yourself up.

v     Identify what isn’t working.

v     The only problem is the way you are looking at things.

v     Make room for something new.

v     Follow your passions.

v     Do now waste your time reacting to things that are in the past.

v     Presence is now, and now is eternal, without boundary.

v     Time is not a linear progression, but one continuously unfolding moment.

v     The moment of experiencing is the only time there is.

v     Always have a light to walk toward.

v     Surround yourself with friends who help you to live into the realization of your true self.

v     Surround yourself with people who see your highest potential, and insist that you strive for it.

v     By experiencing completely, we are always and inevitably becoming more.

v     Always test your beliefs. Do not let them define your existence.

v     Do not create your own prison of unexamined limitations.

v     Activity is a veil over the vitality of the unfolding moment.

v     Widen the aperture of your understanding.

v     Your entire life, over time, becomes the meditation.

v     Do not allow yourself to go back to sleep and continue to think you are now awake.


Precipice Between Awake & Asleep

Encouraged by my aunt, Heidi, I have finally been reading Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big Life: making room for what really matters. Fantastic book. Oftentimes, when reading “self-help” sort of material, I get easily frustrated and annoyed, for various reasons: (a) often I find them cliché and poorly written, which naturally leads to me thinking (b) I could have written a much better, much more inspiring book, and therefore (c) I’m wasting my time.

However, from the first few pages I have been dually impressed and affected by this soulful, authentic book. Ms. Susanka has copiously collected experiences and moments from her life that, once synthesized, offer us a glimpse at the way life can be lived, and how very far societal norms and values have led us astray. Using her experience as an architect/home designer, she has applied concepts from her life’s work to create a brand new language for living. Through this, she teaches her readers how much we can grow, and how many ways we can learn, merely by being present to the unfolding moments in our lives. My frustration over not having written what I want to write, or not having expressed myself the ways I wish to, should not affect my ability to synthesize new information. Who knows how many opportunities for growth and beauty I have lost due to my inability to look past myself and my own insecurities and misplaced personal frustrations.

Everything I have been learning and realizing these past few years has led me a place where I am ripe with potential. I have been walking this fine precipice between Awake and Asleep. Occasionally I glance over the edge, terrified by all that the fall both has to offer and take from me. Sometimes I worry that if I step that next step, into the beautiful unknown, that I will be even more alone. I will be deemed that much crazier. However, a very deep and elemental part of me assures me this is not the case; it assures me that when I finally take that step, the world will be open to me in ways I never dreamed possible; I will be welcomed into the embrace of the Everything that Is. And I know, deep inside, that I truly can be that change I wish to see in the world.