BOOK REVIEW: Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

Broken Open book

I've been known to cry at movies before, but never from reading a book. Yet, Elizabeth Lesser's masterpiece, Broken Open consistently had me tearing up from the brutal honesty and poignant celebration of the human condition brilliantly offered on these pages.

My CPA gave me the book to help me deal with the loss of my life partner in January, and it was really the perfect book to read for dealing with my grief. My best friend passed over after 15-years in relationship, and her passing has been one of the most important things that has ever happened to me. I say "important" because going through the dying process with a loved one will most certainly "break open" your heart and open a whole new world of apprecation for life, other people, and your role in the world. This book is all about that, and I feel as blessed to have been given it as I feel for having had the gift of my partner's life.

The book also points up the essence of living a vibrant life--living vibrantly is living deeply, and the deepest way to live is to fully accept death. It sounds counter-intuitive, but by "dying" to all the machanizations we all use to avoid experiencing life, we can open up to a wonderfully abundant world where everything is a miracle: our breath, our body, our friends, the sun, the sky, the grass under our toes. It all is such a blessing, but we don't know about it until our hearts are broken open.

With frequent quotes from my favorite poet, Rumi, and Lesser's guru, Ram Dass, the book gently leads you on a narrative of Lesser's own life as a metaphor for your own. Whether or not you have lost a loved one, this is a great read--so if you haven't had this kind of loss, you will be able to appreciate it when it blesses your life.

"So much of what we do each day is a diversion from what our lives are really about. A traumatic event is like a knife slicing through our diversionary tactics and exposing the vein of truth--the truth of what we really want, of how we really feel, of the wrongs we have visited upon each other, of the love we crave from each other. In our habitual lives, we exercise the foolish luxuries of complaining, avoiding and blaming. We gossip about the annoying behaviors of friends or colleagues, shutting them out of our hearts, turning our backs on their complicated beauty in favor of their obvious flaws. It seems easier to do this than to move toward each other..." -- Elizabeth Lesser

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