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

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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 profound significance and value of endings in our lives.

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When author Bill Bridges's wife died from breast cancer, he began to question all his previous groundbreaking work on transitions. Having conducted seminars and written bestselling books (Transitions, Managing Transitions), Bridges had built a reputation as an expert on the topic. And yet, "I felt now that my words had totally failed to match in depth the experience of actually being in transition," he explains. After floundering in self-doubt for months after his wife died, Bridges embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage through Wales. During his visits to sacred sites, Bridges began to see that he hadn't been misguiding people. Rather, he simply had more to offer on the subject of transition--more depth, more spirit, and above all else, more experience. So at 66 years old he wrote this excellent and highly personal book in which he examines the pain and challenge of transition--how it is a time of letting go of the past while taking hold of the future.

Because Bridges weaves his personal story into the narrative he comes off as a wizened sage rather than a cocky aficionado. "Change can come at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance," he begins. "Needless to say it is impossible to imagine a new chapter is starting when your wife's death has just closed down what feels like your whole life. You simply cannot imagine a new chapter...." Overall, this is a book that offers an abundance of insights without faltering into self-help clichés or specific how-to advice. Instead, Bridges examines the events that bring about transition (marriage, death, change of vocation, tragedy, and crisis) and why it's so important to fully experience these transitions and how they offer opportunities for closure as well as launch pads for enormous personal growth. Readers of The Way of Transition will find an author who manages to be humble, accessible, and highly intelligent as he weaves the writings of Tolstoy, Herman Hesse, Emily Dickinson, Carl Jung, and An&aumlaut;is Nin into his personal reflections. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Formerly a professor of English, William Bridges made a shift to the field of transitional management in the mid-1970s; out of his workshops has grown a long career of consulting, lecturing, and helping others through transitions. He lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California.

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