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Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Growby Elizabeth Lesser
Bring out the tissue paper, because Elizabeth Lesser's Broken Open will help you realize that your tears will only strengthen your love for this world that, at times, can feel oh so bad.
This is the most useful book I have ever read that pertains to the subject of dealing with grief. It helps. Really.
Synopses & Reviews
"If we can stay awake when our lives are changing, secrets will be revealed to us — secrets about ourselves, about the nature of life, and about the eternal source of happiness and peace that is always available, always renewable, already within us." —Elizabeth Lesser
During times of transition, amid everyday stress, and even when we face seemingly insurmountable adversity, life offers us a choice: to turn away from change or to embrace it; to shut down or to be broken open and transformed. In the more than twenty-five years since she cofounded the Omega Institute — now the world's largest personal-growth and spiritual retreat center — Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which human beings deal with change, loss, and difficulty. She herself has struggled to submit to what she calls the "Phoenix Process" — allowing herself to be broken open in order to rise like the mythical bird from the ashes of past mistakes and suffering.
In this beautifully written, often funny, and always inspiring book, Lesser has gathered together true stories about ordinary people who by design or disaster decided to step boldly into a fuller life. Here are profoundly moving narratives of fears overcome and risks taken; of hard times and difficult passages; of betrayal, divorce, sickness, and death; and of the day-to-day challenges of raising children, earning a living, and growing older. By sharing her own most human traits, Lesser helps us feel less lonely in our own struggles, and more optimistic about the possibility of transformation. Broken Open also introduces us to some of the world's greatest spiritual teachers — both ancient and living — and imparts the wisdom of various traditions, from Buddhist meditation to Sufi dance, and from Christian prayer to contemporary psychotherapy. Eminently practical, Lesser provides tools to support us in our quest for a clearer sense of purpose and a new passion for life.
Broken Open is not only a testament to the inner richness and potential of every life but also a deeply trustworthy guide to the dynamics of healing and growth — how we resist and how we surrender, how we stay stuck and how we grow, and how we can turn misfortune into insight, and grief into joy. It helps us to discover within ourselves a fearless heart, a clear mind, and a shining soul.
"[G]entle in tone without falling into sentimentality and clear without being dogmatic or simplistic....[A]n explanation of how to recognize and respond to the losses, big and small, that occur throughout a person's life." Library Journal
"Elizabeth Lesser bravely and beautifully explores one of the most compelling questions of life: how do we emerge from suffering and challenge with real, encompassing wisdom and love. Broken Open is personal, pragmatic and enlightening." Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
"There's more food for philosophical mastication — and more sparkling good sense — in one lucid chapter of Broken Open than in a library of ordinary books on similar subjects."
"Never again will a painful experience wipe me out. This book shows how you can transform any difficult transition into a time of great strength and awakening." Jane Fonda
In the more than twenty-five years since she co-founded Omega Institute - now the world's largest center for spiritual retreat and personal growth -Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which people weather change and transition. In a beautifully crafted blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, she offers tools to help us make the choice we all face in times of challenge: Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? Lesser shares tales of ordinary people who have risen from the ashes of illness, divorce, loss of a job or a loved one - stronger, wiser, and more in touch with their purpose and passion. And she draws on the world's great spiritual and psychological traditions to support us as we too learn to break open and blossom into who we were meant to be.
About the Author
ELIZABETH LESSER is the co-founder of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, which offers conferences and workshops attended by twenty thousand people a year. Formerly a midwife, she attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University. The mother of three grown sons, she lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband.
From the Hardcover edition.
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