More than seven years ago, I became a devoted Student of Divorce when my marriage came to a welcome end, and it didn’t take long before I amassed a library of literature on the subject. My collection started with printouts and paperbacks that covered divorce as a broad topic, and then became more granular as I purchased works to further detail matters such as parental alienation, personality disorders, control issues and abuse.
One day a friend of mine enthusiastically suggested I read Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce by Gabriel Cohen. My friend insisted that the book had quickly and completely transformed both his intellectual and emotional regard for his traumatic divorce and custody battle.
With my curiosity effectively piqued, I added the title to my personal collection and eagerly dove into the story. As I turned the pages, I followed the author as he stumbled through an unexpected divorce, met different kinds of people, observed Buddhist teachings and reflected on his experiences in the light of new wisdom. I couldn’t help but learn a thing or two along with him as he considered anger, forgiveness, compassion, expectations, attitudes and happiness as they relate to life and relationships.
I found the book to be highly insightful, inspirational and engaging. Here’s why:
- It’s written by a man. Through this terribly personal account, Gabriel Cohen proves to us that not all men are pigs. In fact, some are sensitive, considerate and capable of learning, growing and baring their emotional scars in black and white so others might gain from their pain. It’s enough to restore hope that mature men still exist.
- It’s raw, real and relatable. This isn’t your typical penned-by-a-professional, cold-hard-facts style self-help book. In the introduction, Cohen explains that one day, his wife walked out the door and never came back. He then backtracks through the good times, loving moments and struggles. He shares the confusion of his emotional roller coaster, his discovery of Buddhism and his efforts to build a new existence. His journey takes place not in an isolated clinical setting nor a secluded monastic paradise, but in everyday real life.
- The Buddhist Ideals. Buddhism isn’t a religion and therefore the concepts can be practiced by anyone from any religious background or personal preference. This way of life offers no discrimination and Cohen’s book cites no controversial texts. His story explains how we can be compassionate and control our thoughts and emotions in order to limit our own suffering. Through such practice, we can create a better experience for ourselves. The insight is priceless and the presentation of concepts is easy to understand.
While admitting that his divorce was extremely painful, Cohen also regards the event as a catalyst that ignited a meaningful change within him. He allowed the experience to open him to new ideas, which led to a more peaceful state of being. His admirable attitude and personal progress are an inspiration to those wallowing in the depths of despair.
These days, I make sure I always have two copies of Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky, AKA My Favorite Divorce Book, on hand so I’m ready to gift one to a friend or family member in need. The wisdom gained through Cohen’s experience is widely applicable to any loss, relationship or challenge. Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky teaches us that the storms of life are inevitable, but we have the power to detach and let them pass. We can practice self-discipline to control our thoughts and reign in our emotions, thus limiting our suffering. There is strength in softness. You can let go. You will endure.