Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

by Elizabeth Lesser

Random House Publishing Group | June 14, 2005 | Trade Paperback

5 out of 5 rating. 5 Reviews
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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 14, 2005

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375759913

ISBN - 13: 9780375759918

Found in: Health and Well Being

save
28%

In Stock

$13.68

Online Price

$18.00 List Price

or, Used from $5.04

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

– More About This Product –

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

by Elizabeth Lesser

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: June 14, 2005

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375759913

ISBN - 13: 9780375759918

About the Book

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.

Read from the Book

What Einstein Knew No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. —Albert Einstein When Route 25 leaves the mountains of northern New Mexico, the city of Albuquerque appears suddenly like a mirage—a slice of strip-mall America shimmering on a flat shelf of ancient desert. In all my years of visiting friends in New Mexico, I had not ventured into Albuquerque. I had passed by it many times, on my way to and from the airport, but never had a reason to turn off the highway until one afternoon, when I went looking for a psychic whose card had been given to me by a friend in Santa Fe. This was during the first difficult days of being separated from my husband of fourteen years, a time when people who tried to help me would eventually give up, too frustrated to continue following me around a maze with no exit. The day before I left my friend’s house, she handed me the business card of a psychic and said, “Don’t ask. Just go.” The front side of the card read, Name: The Mouthpiece of Spirit Location: The Road of Truth I found more helpful directions on the other side, where three rules were printed: 1. Pay Only in Cash. 2. Bring a Blank Tape. 3. Do Not Hold Me Responsible for Your Life. And then the address, which led me through dusty, treeless streets, past a few warehouses and truck lots, to a trailer park on a forlorn road a couple of miles from the airport. The place looked like a bad movie set—several old trailers a
read more read less

From the Publisher

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.

From the Jacket

"A most extraordinary book...Lesser is a brilliantly gifted writer."
-Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit

"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

"Rich in food for philosophical mastication, and sparkling in their stylistic clarity, the true-life stories in Broken Open are both entertaining and enlightening."
-Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life with Woodpecker, and Villa Incognito

"Insightful reflections...Reminiscent of Rachel Naomi Remen's books (e.g. Kitchen Table Wisdom), the book is gentle in tone without falling into sentimentality an clear without being dogmatic or simplistic."
-Library Journal

"Never again will a painful experience break me down. Instead, I'll use Elizabeth's book to help me bread open into greater strength, acceptance, and awakening."
-Jane Fonda, actress, activist, and author of My Life So Far


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.

Editorial Reviews

"A most extraordinary book...Lesser is a brilliantly gifted writer."
-Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit

"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

"Rich in food for philosophical mastication, and sparkling in their stylistic clarity, the true-life stories in Broken Open are both entertaining and enlightening."
-Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life with Woodpecker, and Villa Incognito

"Insightful reflections...Reminiscent of Rachel Naomi Remen''s books (e.g. Kitchen Table Wisdom), the book is gentle in tone without falling into sentimentality an clear without being dogmatic or simplistic."
-Library Journal

"Never again will a painful experience break me down. Instead, I''ll use Elizabeth''s book to help me bread open into greater strength, acceptance, and awakening."
-Jane Fonda, actress, activist, and author of My Life So Far


Bookclub Guide

1. Broken Open begins with this quote from Anaïs Nin: "And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Have there been times in your life when you felt the pain of your own resistance to change? What did you do? Did your longing for blossoming become stronger than your fear of change? Are you in one of those periods now? If so, what are the risks of making a change, and what are the risks of staying the same?

2. We all know people who say their cancer or divorce or bankruptcy was the greatest gift of a lifetime-that until the body or the heart or the bank was broken, they didn't know who they were, what they felt, or what they wanted. It took a Phoenix Process to teach them wake them up. We also know people who did not turn their misfortune into insight. Instead they became more bitter, more reactive, more cynical. What do you think is the difference between these two kinds of people?

3. Would you characterize yourself as a Bozo on the Bus? Why do you think we hide our vulnerabilities and self-doubts from one another? Why do we try to keep the secret of our true selves hidden, when in reality, that secret is what Rumi calls the Open Secret? And how does hiding out from one another hinder us from turning a difficult time into a Phoenix Process?

4. The author uses many poems and quotes to illuminate her ideas about using difficulty to help us grow and awaken. Discuss the following quotes. What do they mean to you, and to a specific challenge you are facing now?

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness
that created it.
-Albert Einstein

What is that knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.
-D. H. Lawrence

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

5. In Broken Open the author introduces us to people who have endured tremendous suffering and have used their difficulties to understand life better and to find joy in the ashes of a Phoenix Process. In Part II, we meet Victor Frankl in Auschwitz; Judi and Marion as they deal with illness; Ram Dass recovering from a stroke; Glen losing his beloved son; and Rabbi Yehudah Fine picking up the pieces after a near-fatal accident. How do their stories help you navigate the terrain of your own life story?

6. A translator of Dante's Inferno wrote: "The purpose of the Pilgrim's journey through Hell is precisely this: to learn all there is to know about sin, as a necessary preparation for the ascent to God." Do you think that an experience with a Shaman Lover-be it an actual lover, an addiction, or any force that brings one into the underworld-is a "necessary preparation for the ascent to God"?

7. In Part IV we meet the author's children and extended family. What lesson can "The Great Movement of the Couch" teach any parent?

8. Another character from Part IV, Eli, brought home to the author Mother Teresa's edict that "the problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small." Our friendships and families, our marriages and work relationships, and our communities and nations-all of them are circles begging for more spacious boundaries. What is the relationship between the way we expand the circle in our personal lives and the way we affect change in the greater world?

9. What does "practicing death" mean to you?

10. Have you been visited in your dreams by loved ones who have died?

11. Which of the tools in the Toolbox section of the book appeals to you most? How might meditation, psychotherapy, or prayer help you turn a difficult time into a Phoenix Process?

Item not added

This item is not available to order at this time.

See used copies from 00.00
  • My Gift List
  • My Wish List
  • Shopping Cart