Book Details

Second Firsts

Christina Rasmussen

Self Improvement, Empowerment, Family & Parenting, Psychology, Inspirational, Spirituality, Health & Healing


After studying to become a therapist and crisis intervention counselor—even doing her master's thesis on the stages of bereavement—Christina Rasmussen thought she understood grief. But it wasn't until losing her husband to cancer in her early 30s that she truly grasped the depths of sorrow and pain that accompany loss. Using the knowledge she gained while wading through her own grief and reading hundreds of neuroscience books, Rasmussen began to look at experiences in a new way. She realized that grief plunges you into a gap between worlds-the world before loss and the world after loss. She also realized how easy it is to become lost in this gap.

In Second Firsts, Rasmussen walks you through her Life Reentry process to help you break grief's spiral of pain, so you can stop simply surviving and begin to live again. She shows you that loss can actually be a powerful catalyst to creating a life that is in alignment with your true passions and values. The resilience, strength, and determination that have gotten you through this difficult time are the same characteristics that will help you craft your wonderful new life. Her method, which she has used successfully with thousands of clients, is based on the science of neuroplasticity and focuses on consciously releasing pain in ways that both honor suffering and rewire the brain to change your perception of the world and yourself.

Using practical exercises and stories drawn from her own life and those of her clients, Rasmussen guides you through five stages of healing that help you open up to new possibilities. From acknowledging your fear, to recognizing where you stand now, to taking active steps toward a new life, Rasmussen helps you move past the pain and shows that it's never too late to step out of the gap and experience life again-as if for the first time.
Book Reviews
Oct 30, 2013 somertonsmith
Over the past five years or so, several people close to me lost spouses due to death or divorce. From my position at one degree of separation, I watched them discover their individual paths to "second firsts." Each person took a different route and a different amount of time, but all their paths shared similar obstacles and milestones.

"Grief walked into your heart and created room for your soul to grow." —Christina Rasmussen in Second Firsts

I recognized these same obstacles and milestones in Christina Rasmussen's experience of loss and her recommendations for recovery. In her mid-30s, Rasmussen lost her husband to colon cancer. Much of the book content related back to her own personal experiences with grief and life rebuilding, so her stories will resonate with anyone recovering from a disrupted relationship.

Anyone starting over after any kind of life change will find her book helpful though, because her themes resonated with me in other ways, too. I experienced the same fear, frustration and exhilaration when I left my career behind to become a stay-at-home mother. That was a "second first" for me. And I realized that a reluctance to let go is brewing inside me now as my children grow and lead more independent lives: when my home becomes an "empty nest," I will create yet another new life—a "third first."

"Launching a new life is a strategic, active process. It doesn't happen by accident. . . . If they are operating in the default mode of the old self, they will continue to experience the pain of resistance. This pain should not be mistaken for grief. It's like trying to put on clothes you used to wear comfortably, which no longer fit you." —Christina Rasmussen in Second Firsts

Most people are familiar with the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross book On Death and Dying and her theory of the five stages of grief. Rasmussen's book builds on that theory, offering a how-to guide on re-creating life even as people walk through the five phases of grief. She breaks it down into five "Life Reentry Stages": Get Real, Plug In, Shift, Discover, and Reenter Life. Her five stages encourage mindful reflection of emotions and circumstances and step-by-step "plugging in" to new activities. Gentle but persistent progress ensures that mourners don't get stuck in the "Waiting Room" of grief, immobilized by fear and a reluctance to let go of no-longer-appropriate "clothing."

"It's important not to resist grieving. But distinguish between true mourning and the repetition of loss. Repetition of loss is a natural, albeit ultimately unhealthy, practice of going over the whys , the hows, and the if onlys of your past long after a loss has occurred." —Christina Rasmussen in Second Firsts

From my position at one degree of separation from profound loss, I found this book comfortable reading. I think those with a recent, raw experience of grief would find it difficult to face immediately. They might need to set the book aside for a time until they are ready to start the first Life Reentry Stage. But if you need to re-create a new life, for whatever reason, this book provides encouragement and guidance. If you know someone stuck in the "Waiting Room," maybe this book will nudge them to begin their second first life.


I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
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Nov 01, 2013 rschechter
Every so often the right book gets into your hands at exactly the right time. This was the case for with Christa Rasmussen's Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again. I had recently set a personal goal that I wanted to change my relationship with loss and grief. Throughout my life, whether the it has been the death of a loved one or the loss of a key relationship, I have struggled with moving forward. In these times, I am an isolator, privately trying to attend to these wounds when the reality has been, I really don't know how to do this.

Speaking from experience, Christina Rasmussen shows the way. After sharing her own heartbreak, the loss of her 34-year old husband, she introduces her Life Reentry program which provides practical steps to help you reprogram not only how you think about loss and grieving, but also to help you build new habits that encourage you to also focus on living at the same time. After acknowledging the loss you have suffered, a large part of this method focuses on thinking of and using plug-ins for yourself. A plug-in is a small actionable step that you can take to push yourself to move outside of your comfort zone. An example of a plug-in post-divorce, breakup or death, would be to set up an online dating account or accepting an invitation for a date. The focus of a plug-in is on the steps you are taking to rebuild and create a new life; not on the outcome of those steps.

After every loss we endure, we are at a crossroads when we have to assign meaning to that loss. If loss and grieving are handled improperly, or not at all, the negative effects can be long-lasting. If you were never taught how to process grief, observed grieving that was accompanied by a lack of living or want to learn how to grieve wisely, this book is for you.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
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Nov 07, 2013 booksalicious

Second Firsts, Live, Laugh, and Love Again is a book that truly opened my eyes to what my grieving process was truly causing in my life as far as not going out, spending time with my friends and family and not moving forward from the painful loss of my maternal Grandfather who was a huge influence in my life. The author Christina uses the painful and traumatic loss of her husband as a catalyst to show the reader how at first she too had trouble moving forward with her own grief and in her own life; with a gentle push and in your own time Christina encourages the reader through a series of exercises and self timed steps to use grief as a step to move out of the waiting room of grief and to use your pain as a step to a new and fulfilling life, that is not an echo of your old life, but a completely new and bright life that you can achieve through believing both in yourself and in you’re ability to make good decisions and continue to move forward. I can honestly say that this is the most refreshing thing I have read since the loss of my Grandfather that has helped me move past the numbness of the loss and back into feeling like myself again. I would recommend it to anyone who has recently loss anyone or who is going through a divorce or tough time in their lives.

This book was provided by Hayhouse as a review copy in return for an honest review thank you!

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