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.

The books I picked & why

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Shunned: A Survival Guide

By Bonnie Zieman,

Book cover of Shunned: A Survival Guide

Why 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.


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

By Byron Katie, Stephen Mitchell,

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

Why 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.


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

By William Bridges,

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

Why 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.


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

By Jack Kornfield,

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

Why 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.


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

By Julia Cameron,

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

Why 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.


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