“No life situation is permanent,” Heidi Barr writes in her book-length essay, What Comes Next. For a decade, Barr’s telecommuting corporate position as a health coach afforded her family the opportunity to live simply on their land in rural Minnesota. When Barr’s unexpected layoff threatens to upend this beautiful way of life, she gathers strength from the natural world surrounding her and the insights gained from her years as a health coach. To read Barr’s words is to be welcomed into the center of her efforts to stay present while traversing the disquieting liminal zone between jobs. This smallbut powerfulbook illuminates thoughtful strategies for anyone navigating challenging times of transition.
Heidi Fettig Parton, essayist and former Publisher of West Academic Publishing
"With wit and honesty, Heidi Barr relates what she calls 'lessons from a layoff,' when her 'what if' became 'what now?' Navigating the tension between having the work we do define us and finding what truly matters, Barr questions her own work ethic and ability to see beyond the job. Her capacity to transcend a personal moment of destruction reminds us that we all can dig deep, see beauty, and trust in its ability to heal us, inside and out.
Amy Nawrocki, author of The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory
"Like many of us, Heidi Barr experienced the uncertainty and fear that accompany a job loss. In What Comes Next, she dives head first into a season of discernment, pondering productivity and worth; privilege and ‘what ifs;” and success and meaning. Drawing on the wisdom of writers, poets, counselors, and the natural world, Barr shows us to let life’s purpose in by yielding, rather than fighting. Her recognition that “…beauty is best uncovered in the rubble of destruction” is a balm in these unsettled times."
Iris Graville, author of Hiking Naked: A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance
"Heidi Barr writes eloquently about the heavy emotions behind career loss and how it changes the way we view our internal world. This book will have you thinking deeply about what your true purpose in life is and how you personally equate that to your value and self-worth. Her words will have you remembering that we are not what we do for money, we are what we do for love and peace. You will walk away with a fresh perspective on the resilience that lies within the human soul."
Nik Tebbe, Writer and certified Grief Support Specialist
"What Comes Next is a brief but powerful journey into a world many of us can envision: suddenly losing a vital job. Barr’s strong, resonant writing takes us from placing boundaries between people who create bad energy to experiencing more love and compassion to comprehending that productivity does not equal worth. In search of a happy, fulfilling life, maybe work should not be the defining feature of our identities. We should follow Barr’s lead, notice the hummingbirds more often, practice serenity, and realize, as she does, that life’s sudden turns are not always catastrophes, and beauty doesn’t always look how we think it should."
William Huggins, author of Ghosts and contributor for Texas Review in Books
"This is a gorgeous little book, full of wisdom and reflection on what it means to start again, what it means when our familiar security is taken away, and ultimately what it means to live a good life. Heidi Barr has a gentle poet's eye and a touch rooted in love for the earth, and her reflections are intertwined with quotes from thinkers and descriptions of her beautiful home surroundings, reminding us always to look. It's a book that exposes the wound of loss that may of us feel in today's society where we have so much and sometimes so littleinspiring and healing, this book is a true companion during the changes that so many of us go through."
Alison Smith, Poet and Therapist
"For anyone afraid of losing a secure job, or secretly wishing they would, this little book is a template of what to expect beyond the expected. For as its author processes her own job loss, she puts the experience into the perspective of our culture in which financial worth is equated with self worth. But beware: Heidi Barr is fiercely honest with herself, and invites readers to be likewise! I just wish I’d had copies to hand out to congregants struggling with jobs that had turned them into the walking dead. This book may have tipped them into saying no to what diminished body, mind and spirit, and given them courage to say YES to more authentic life/work."
Rev. Gail Collins-Ranadive, author of A Fistful of Stars: Communing with the Cosmos