Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Well written A+
    I bought this book as it had great reviews ... definitely was not disappointed a book to read at any stage of your life ... disagree with reviews it is for amateurs trying to find there path ... a book for all level of development and a great read....more info
  • Be prepared to turn around and face your shadows...
    From the book: "It was only through turning around and facing my shadow that I was able to break open into a more genuine and generous life." I think this quote sums up the author's approach to tackling the difficult moments we each face from time-to-time. I loved the book. I read it on Kindle and highlighted so many passages that I ran out of highlighting privileges. There are a great selection of quotations sprinkled throughout the book. If you are open to new ideas, read the book and savor the author's ideas; if you aren't move on. Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow...more info
  • Must read
    Simple, easy to understand and provides a reason for everything. If only you knew how to manage difficult times without the book - === but the book provides what you need. ...more info
  • Not Self Help, Self Absorbed
    I may have misunderstood the book description when I purchased it but I was looking for more of a self help book with specific suggestions and advice on how to get through difficult times in your life. Lesser's book is more of a self absorbed memoir than a self help book. She continually uses the term "Phoenix Process" without explaining how a person goes through it. Lots of new age name dropping and stories about her oh-so-amazing life but no solid advice....more info
  • Wonderful Book to Guide Us to Grow and to Transform
    I think this book, Broken Open, is definitely a great book to read for spiritual growth. I respect the author having the courage in bringing her personal past experience to teach us how to break open and to blossom. It is simply wonderful to read other individuals' Phoenix process (transformation). Most importantly, it allowed me to understand I am not the only one going through some drastic changes in life. Sometimes, we all just need to have that extra support system to realize we are not the only ones going through challenges in life. This book simply has the effect to provide me that extra support that I need so much in order to grow.

    I also appreciate how the author sections the stories, with sections presenting personal stories around different topics such as relationship, birth, death and life changes. The book taught me how to "break open" than to "break down" and suffer. It is a beautiful book to recommend.
    ...more info
  • Underwhelmed
    She makes a good case for pursuing the path of self-awareness, but for those of us already on it, this book is too elementary. Best for beginners on the path to looking inward. ...more info
  • a must read!
    Rarely has a book provided me with such guidance, wisdom, and insight. I want to buy this book for my children and all my friends, because in this little gem, one will find the answers that we all struggle with concerning suffering and the 'why's' of life. I hated for this book to end and do not plan to put it up on a shelf but to read it many times over. If you are struggling with painful issues or grappling with the larger questions of your life, then there is only one book to read: Broken Open....more info
    Before I started reading this book I was experiencing 24 hour anxiety due to this economy and how it is effecting my lively hood and security. Elizabeth Lessor's words reached my heart and soul and rested my anxiety. I was a little sad when I finished reading it but still felt calmer in looking forward to life. Thank you to her always.
    Malka Sabroe JoHanson
    San Francisco Bay Area...more info
  • This book saved my life
    I read Broken Open when I was going through the worst of my post-divorce trauma. I was shell-shocked, clinically depressed and semi-suicidal when I picked up this book. In addition to her wonderful insights, Lesser gave me hope that I could actually rise out of the ashes of divorce with a new life. She gave me the inspiration to write my own book about divorce: He's History, You're Not: Surviving Divorce After 40 a practical guide which uses the story of my own divorce, including being dumped for a younger woman, to help older women survive. I think the lesson for me from Broken Open is not that you're necessarily going to come through the crucible of pain happier, but you will certainly wind up wiser, more creative and more independent. I haven't found Mr. Right but I did find a Shaman Lover, in Lesser's words, who brought me back to life as a woman. Lesser gives us hope that we can go on which you really need when you're in the depths of despair due to any kind of major crisis.

    Erica Manfred
    He's History, You're Not: Surviving Divorce After 40...more info
  • Interesting/Insightful Read
    I thought this was an excellent book that shares stories of others that have had tragedies in their lives and how they handled them....more info
    In "Broken Open-How Difficult Times Help Us Grow" we are introduced to the life of Elizabeth Lesser, as well as some colleagues, Ram Dass and Thich Nhat Hanh. Elizabeth Lesser, one of the premiere spiritual teachers of our times is the Founder of Omega Institute, author of "The Seekers Guide" and a regular on the Oprah show. In "Broken Open" she allows us into her private life; sharing her divorce, romances, reintegration of family life, setting boundaries with her children, finding herself thru spiritual growth and much more, all the while teaching us by her wonderful example. She also describes the Phoenix process, demonstrating how her life was resurrected from the ashes after she was "Broken Open" and the subsequent acceleration of her soul's growth.

    The book is extemely well written, clever, honest, and entertaining. It is inspiring and transformative. Lesser clearly has an amazing gift for the written word. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to learn and grow, bring meaning into their challenges, and their soul's path, and the apparent "messiness" of their life". I loved this book and you will too; in fact it is one of my favorites! A fabulous gift book as well!!!! Bravo.

    Andrea Joy Cohen, MD. Physician, cancer researcher, keynote speaker and author of " A Blessing in Disguise: 39 Life Lessons from Today's Greatest Teachers."

    Elizabeth Lesser one of the greatest teachers is in this book!!

    Related Links:
    Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
    The Seeker's Guide (previously published as The New American Spirituality)
    A Blessing in Disguise: 39 Life Lessons from Today's Greatest Teachers...more info
  • Wonderful Read
    This is one of the best books I have read. Highly recommended for those who what to find ways to get through difficult times without wallying in the mud to get there!!!...more info
  • The Phoenix Process
    "Broken Open" was recomended to me by a friend who had gone thru a hard
    experience in his life. I haven't been too lucky myself, so this book
    was an eye-opener as to how you can grow (and do) when you get stopped
    in your tracks by sickness, death and accidents.

    The Phoenix Process was a wonderful experience and the help she gives
    to learn you meditate is an everyday tool.

    I liked to book very much and highly recomend it to any seeker....more info
    Through well-written true stories and personal example Broken Open can clearly provide inspiration to anyone going through a difficult transition or experience. There is no better way to help someone heal than to present them with the opportunities for growth that await after life "breaks us open". Please don't hesitate to buy this book. It has helped me and I often recommend it to my psychotherapy and spiritual counseling clients. Pamela D. Blair, author The Next Fifty Years: A Guide for Women at Midlife and Beyond and I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One...more info
  • A Great Read
    Don't let the Publisher's Weekly review stop you from buying this wonderful book. The idea is not that we MUST embrace our evils in order to grow, but that we can use our times of depression,anxiety, or pain to transform us into more open people. I spotted it in Barnes and Noble the other day, bought it, and haven't been able to put it down since. Lesser calls this process of transformation "The Phoenix Process." She beautifully illustrates how difficult times really can help us grow by giving us the story of her first marriage and how the pain she endured during it made her better afterward. She also includes stories of others who have gone through their own struggles in life. Broken Open is well written, and interesting from the first page to the last. The stories in it are truly amazing and inspirational. I reccomend this book to everyone!...more info
  • Disappointed
    If you are purchasing this book to help you through a VERY difficult time, do not bother. It has alot of fluff. It is great for those everyday trying events, but does not hit the mark for an earthshaking event in your life, when you truly ARE broken open....more info
  • Made me think!
    Cracking the Parenting Code: 6 Clues to Solving the Mystery of Meeting Your Child's Needs

    The good news: I really enjoyed how she weaved her personal struggles throughout the book. I found it unpretentious and soul searching. It is very similar to what I did in my book Cracking the Parenting Code. I don't agree with some of her philosphies but do appreciate her deep honesty in revealing the ups and downs of her life....more info
  • Simply Amazing...
    With Broken Open, Elizabeth Lesser has written a book that is more than capable of changing ones outlook on life. She explores the ways we can use the hardships we face in life to become better people. Through her own "breaking open" story and the true stories of others, she masterfully weaves a web of spiritual and emotional wisdom, showing how times of pain and strife can awaken us to new ways of living more meaningful lives. I'll never look at an emotional problem the same way again. The imagery that Elizabeth Lesser creates in this majestic work of literature is some of the best I have ever experienced. Not only is Broken Open emotionally educational, it is also interesting and entertaining. From the first chapter, you will be drawn into this book, only to emerge later on with a completely different outlook on the pain and strife of your daily life. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in having a more meaningful life, and anyone who likes to read amazing stories....more info
  • Whose been reading my journal?
    This book is exactly what I needed at a very dark time. It was wonderfully written. For anyone who has dealt with loss of any kind, this gives you validation that we are not so different from each other. That we are not alone. That when we are at our most vulnerable is when we should come together in compassion and support our process. We are all bozo's on the bus! So many stories from so many people from different walks of life...yet we are all just trying to figure out who we really are. Holding on so tight to our "egos". I already have passed my copy on..and I recommended "Broken Open" to everyone I meet. ...more info
  • If You Are Into Psychics and the Supernatural This Book is For You
    This book was a waste of money. It goes against everything most Christians believe. The book is based on the advice received from a psychic to the author and goes from there. Pure la-la land, new age,-- crystal ball. The author starts out by telling us she was involved with 3 men each named Tom, while still married to her husband. The psychic tells her not to worry about her kids' feelings about breaking up the marriage. It only gets worse from there. Honestly, this is the story of an unstable woman who follows mysticism and it made me shudder the more I read it.

    I purchased it because I saw the discussion on Oprah on the topic of dealing with emotional pain and enjoyed the comments of some of the guests. I should have stopped there....more info
  • Opening Yourself to Change
    "Broken Open" is the first book I read after losing my husband. Indeed, I felt broken open, so it seemed an apt buy for me. I really appreciated the honest, open tone of Elizabeth Lesser's style of writing. "A heart made crooked through loss and change is a heart that can love the world and its less than perfect people." So true. After you lose someone, you appreciate so much more what you have. You're less willing to waste time on the petty and look for the more enriching experiences in life. Change, as difficult as it is many times, brings those experiences. Life is so much more if we're open to receiving it. Elaine Williams...more info
  • Broken Open
    I had heard Elizabeth on a podcast with Oprah during Oprah]s Spirituality Series. People were calling in with 'aha' moments, and one caller referenced hers to something she had read from this book... instead of resisting change, just put down the paddles and go with the flow of the river. It resonated with me, as I think it could with most of us on the journey of personal growth. I am in my second reading of it, and have bought more to give to friends. It is written in definite sections, the chapters are short, but powerful, and I just feel fortunate that I just by remote chance heard that podcast....more info
  • Great book.
    This book has helped me out a lot. I think anyone going through a difficult time in their life , should read this book. It will give you a new perspective on life....more info
  • What great company this book is!
    If you haven't yet been "broken open" this book can help get you started. And it can do so in the most pleasurable, poignant way. Reading it is as good as hanging out with a really smart and funny close friend who's had a lot of amazing experiences in her life. Most important, someone who's been willing to learn, learn, learn from them all, and is now without the slightest hesitation sharing it all with you. Who can resist that?...more info
  • Amazing!
    This book helped me so much during a really rough period of my life. I had it close always, so I could refer to it like a Bible and read certain sentences again. I love it so much I went and bought it for a friend of mine who is struggling right now. I could not think of a better gift....more info