10 Must Read Books to Carry you Through your Separation and Divorce

I LOVE to read!  Books are what I turn to first, when I need to learn anything or just to escape into another world.  I read to relax, I read to learn, I read to go on an adventure, and lots more! So, as you can imagine, I read a lot as I went through my separation.  And figured if there's any other book lovers out there, then perhaps you might enjoy this list!

So, here they are, in random order, books I lived and died by when I was first Separated and in the midst of chaos, figuring out what my next steps were going to be – and figuring out WHO WAS I AS A SINGLE PERSON ANYWAYS??

1: Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child by Isolina Ricci. 

Our mediator gave my ex and I a copy of this book to read while we were going through separation mediation.  I found it fantastic at outlining and suggesting compassionate ways to run the basic day to day logistics of a two house family.  It was also the first time I got a more well-rounded vision of what the future would look like for my family.  Her ideas are all reasonable and logical and considerate: a great place to start!

2: Parenting through Crisis: Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief, and Change by Barbara Coloroso.

If you want no nonsense advice on how to get through the chaos of the early months after separation, this book is for you!  It gives you the big picture too, so that both parent and children can have optimism that things will move on for the better, it just takes time and attention and love.  Divorce is only one section of this book, so you don't even need to read the whole thing!  P.S. her general parenting book titled ‘Kids are Worth It’ is also excellent!

3: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron. 

This book was essential to reinforce for me the knowledge that good can come from bad times.  It helped keep me open to my feelings and to simply (easier said than done - I know!) trusting the process of getting emotionally through my marriage ending.  To ensure that I didn’t close off and just drown in a pool of fears.  And to just slow down, where possible!

4: Money, Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins.

So, now that it was just me contributing to the finances of the household, I realized I needed to pay more attention to where my money went and how to make it work for me.  This is literally a HUGE book and took a while to get through but it really helped me just get curious about how to save more effectively and encouraged me to take ownership of my money and how I want it to work for me and my family.  It stressed the importance of saving - even just a little.  I now ask a lot more questions when meeting with my investment advisor and even when just buying things, I comparison shop more than I ever have before!  I just generally stand up for myself and my money more than I used to.

5: The Conscious Parent: Transforming ourselves, Empowering our Children by Shefali Tsabary.  

I came across this book in my bookshelf and loved reading it again!  I had a ton of guilt over the end of my marriage and was terrified that a separation would ‘ruin’ our kids – I know silly eh?  But seriously, it’s true, that’s how I used to feel.  This book just re-affirmed deep seated truths/themes about parenting that I found reassuring because it reminded me of how resilient and amazing my little humans are.  It also made me realize that I needed to trust myself as a parent and that I have the capability to help guide and teach my kids how to handle difficult situations that come into their life.  And that this would actually serve them throughout their lives!!

6: Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson. 

This was like relationship therapy in a book for me :)  It really spoke to me in a way past relationship books hadn’t.  It was the start of my journey of looking myself in the mirror and really taking a hard look at how I relate in an intimate relationship.  It has been a fascinating journey :)

7: The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo.

This was a re-read for me, it’s a book that I pick up and read parts of at various times.  It’ll be with me forever – It’s PURE GOLD.  It’s also very easy to read a bit of and put down again, and pick up again, because each ‘chapter’ is only a page or so long, and is a date on the calendar, so there are 365 ‘chapters' to the book.  It sooths my soul and in the early days of separation it really helped keep me moving one step at a time, even when I was grieving and tired and confused and just not sure what direction to head in my life.  This book just continually gives me perspective in my life and I always come away - after reading a bit of it - more calm and settled and with renewed faith in the unknown, more comfortable with uncertainty.

8: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey.

This was a great book for clear ACTION items.  Having my marriage end made me feel like a failure and like I had missed some lessons on love and life that others were somehow aware of, and it was nice to read this book and have some relatively simple things I could incorporate into my life RIGHT AWAY.  I needed something to offset some of the heavier, spiritual lessons I was working out in my head.  This book allowed me to make some easier changes to my life, so that I could feel like I was moving in the right direction, however small the change, it felt good to not just be doing the same things and hoping for a different outcome.     

9: The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks. 

My career has always been going well, however during my marriage – particularly after we had children – it sortof coasted a bit with the focus more on my family.  Once I was separated, I started pulling myself up by my bootstraps, like I needed to take all areas of my life more seriously and intentionally.  This book was such an inspiring read and really challenges the reader to discover their Zone of Excellence, particularly in career.  I feel I've conquered fear in some ways by having my marriage end, and so generally, at this point, I've been able to go after things and try things in my life, that I wouldn't have dared do before, just because at this point - why not?  Might as well live all in!

10: The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida. 

This struck me as a funny choice!  But seriously – this book is excellent!  I came across it at a time when I was struggling with how to raise my son.  I have no brothers and so I have little experience with ‘men’ when they are young kids.  I’m a woman, so felt like I implicitly knew vastly more about raising girls than boys.  Anyways, as I was reading this book it became apparent that I was not only reading this book in the interest of understanding what sortof boy/man I wanted to raise, I was also reading this book realizing that any man that I would be in an intimate relationship with would need to embody or aim to embody the principals in this book. It was EXTREMELY eye opening.  There are some bits to it that sort of rubbed me the wrong way but overall the themes in this book are really worth the read.

And that’s the list!

You may or may not have noticed that almost all the books have nothing specific to do with Separation or Divorce.  Mainly because I didn’t find a lot of books on the topic all that engaging, which is why I decided to go ahead and write one myself (due out early 2018 – I hope you’ll all read it)!

Secondly, for me, and I imagine for a lot of others (be honest), Separation was a very internal experience – one where I needed to do a lot of work on myself and just generally get myself figured out and straightened out, so that the rest of my life could be one with more intent and purpose and LOVE.  It was a lot of unpeeling the onion, and getting at the roots of who I am and what I want to do with this life and how I want to move through the rest of my days.  It was absolutely the very worst of times, for a long time, but on the other side, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  The life lessons and learning more about who I am have been priceless.

Good luck with your journey and happy reading!

Also, please share this list if you know of anyone who may be interested in it!  And leave a message below with a book you found helpful as you went through your separation/divorce!

With love,

Lisa Nicol

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