The best books on endings and beginnings

Who am I?

Linda mentors individuals who are going through major life events to experience honorable closure and move into the future, unencumbered by the past. The best-selling author of Shunned – How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself  her work draws on contemporary neuroscience, wisdom traditions, social science, and her own life experience navigating ends large and small.

I wrote...

Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

By Linda A. Curtis,

Book cover of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

What is my book about?

Linda Curtis was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and is an unquestioning true believer who has knocked on doors from the time she was nine years old. Like other Witnesses, she has been discouraged from pursuing a career, higher education, or even voting, and her friendships are limited to the Witness community.
Then one day, at age thirty-three, she knocks on a door--and a coworker she deeply respects answers the door. To their mutual consternation she launches into her usual spiel, but this time, for the first time ever, the message sounds hollow. In the months that follow, Curtis tries hard to overcome the doubts that spring from that doorstep encounter, knowing they could upend her "safe" existence. But ultimately, unable to reconcile her incredulity, she leaves her religion and divorces her Witness husband--a choice for which she is shunned by the entire community, including all members of her immediate family.

Shunned follows Linda as she steps into a world she was taught to fear and discovers what is possible when we stay true to our hearts, even when it means disappointing those we love.

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The books I picked & why

Shunned: A Survival Guide

By Bonnie Zieman,

Book cover of Shunned: A Survival Guide

Why did I love this book?

This is the handbook I wished I’d had when I left my religion and was shunned 25 years ago. The author is a skilled therapist who also left the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She brings a lot of empathy to her step-by-step guidance on how to cope with the tyranny of being cast out by friends and family.

By Bonnie Zieman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shunned as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many studies have been published about the effects of shunning or ostracism on the person shunned but there are few books, if any, written specifically to offer help to the individual suffering from this sort of inhumane treatment. Granted there are books about how to cope with being bullied and/or marginalized in the workplace or at school. This book, however, directs its help to people who are subjected to mandated, open-ended shunning by religions, quasi-religions, cults and other extreme groups. Mandated shunning requires that members of a group reject, ignore, isolate and refuse to associate with, or even talk to…

Book cover of A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

Why did I love this book?

I come back to these short essays again and again. The author provides a very powerful way to look at ‘reality’ and question our assumptions about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and what we (or others) ‘should’ do.

By Byron Katie, Stephen Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Names for Joy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Byron Katie is one of the truly great and inspiring teachers of our time. I encourage everyone to immerse themselves in this phenomenal book.” –Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

In her first two books, Loving What Is and I Need Your Love–Is That True? Byron Katie showed how suffering can be ended by questioning the stressful thoughts that create it. Now, in A Thousand Names for Joy, she encourages us to discover the freedom that lives on the other side of inquiry.

Stephen Mitchell–the renowned translator of the Tao Te Ching–selected provocative excerpts from that ancient text as a stimulus for…

Book cover of The Way Of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments

Why did I love this book?

This is a poignant and beautifully written book filled with the wisdom and lived experience of the author. Major life transitions (like leaving a religion, job loss, or ending a relationship) throw us into the ‘neutral zone’ that can only be navigated with time and care.

By William Bridges,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Of Transition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Bridges' lifelong work has been devoted to a deep understanding of transitions and to helping others through them. When his own wife of thirty-five years died of cancer, however, he was thrown head-first into the kind of painful and confusing abyss he had known before only in theory. An honest account of being in transition, this uncommonly wise and moving book is a richly textured map of the personal, professional, and emotional transformations that grow out of tragedy and crisis. Demonstrating how disillusionment, sorrow, or confusion can blossom into a time of incredible creativity and contentment, Bridges highlights the…

Book cover of A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

Why did I love this book?

This book by the revered Buddhist teacher was a balm to my soul at a time when I’d left all my previous religious beliefs behind and was searching for ways to think about good and bad, right and wrong. I did not become a Buddhist but here I discovered practical techniques, guided meditations, stories, and other gems of wisdom that eased my journey through the world.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Path with Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart has been acclaimed as the most significant book yet about American Buddhism-a definitive guide to the practice of traditional mindfulness in America today.

On this audio edition, Kornfield teaches the key principles of Buddhism's cherished vipassana (insight) tradition, and puts them into direct service, with the unique needs of the contemporary seeker in mind.

Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Why did I love this book?

This perennial guide to creativity is a must-read for anyone wishing to create a life that has heart and meaning. She links creativity to spirituality by showing in nondenominational terms how to tap into the higher power that connects human creativity with the creative energies all around us. This comprehensive 12-week program addresses creative blocks like limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other forces that impede our naturally creative expression.

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…

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