Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser
A friend had given me this book after my wife died, and I’ve just now gotten to it (Sorry about that, Anne). So the best way to explain this book’s presence in the world is to mention the author. Elizabeth Lessing is a co-founder of the Omega Institute, the prototype for the self-help movement and the New Age phenomenon. A dyed-in-the-wool psychologist would roll his/her eyes at such a book as this; it depends more on an appeal to the reader’s heart than to reasoning and intellect. I find that’s not a bad thing.
And I remember something similar: the days following 9-11, I realized that with the terror, consternation and general upset the U.S. experienced in watching these twin buildings fall so dramatically, we had an opportunity to use that upset to forge something new. And so I built a small bridge in my yard, ordered a plaque made proclaiming it the PEACE BRIDGE, and called everyone I knew to urge them to Think Peace! Think Peace! Perhaps it worked for the several of us, but as we know, the U.S. launched itself into a tandem, two-front war that persists today.
And this is what Lesser does – she, to be trite – urges us to transform lemons to lemonade. Figuratively, of course. Western society tends to operate far too much from the intellect and too little from the intuitive reaches of the heart. We barely trust anything that cannot stand the rigors of reason and science. All well and good, but we quickly discover in times of trial and testing that we’re in quicksand if we depend on reason to dig us out of emotional morasses. Lesser teaches by story and example here; her writing’s soft and a little tentative, but then her skill isn’t debate; it’s in urging us to find our own emotional way in this world as we tackle the slings and arrows of modern life.
It’s a book well worth its writing, and I”m glad it’s in my library now.
My rating: 18 of 20 stars