Polyphonist’s #CBR5 Review #20: Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow came across my path just at the right time. I had just left my husband after finding out he’d cheated on me and I felt…well, broken open was a pretty good description. If there was one thing I didn’t want to do, it was wallow in the grief and confusion I had. So, naturally, I turned to books. And thankfully, Lesser wrote a fantastic book for anyone coping with a staggering loss or pain.

One of the things I loved most about this book was Lesser’s infinite human-ness. She shares personal stories about things she’s done that she’s not proud of and fully owns up to them. One of the most painful chapters for me was called “The Shaman Lover” in which she talks of how she had an affair, and why. She takes responsibility for it and talks about how it fits into an archetype she’s seen other people experience, too:

You will know you are on a journey with a Shaman Lover if you feel a sudden loss of control, a fearsome sense of abandon, and especially an air of foreignness. The Shaman Lover is not the one you thought could turn the large ship of your life around. If you thought you would be attracted to someone with money, he is broke; if you wanted respectability, she’s a gypsy; if you longed for a sweet romance, he’s mean; if you wanted deep peace, she’s trouble.

While I still don’t fully understand cheating, I do know that it happens and there are many different reasons. And I know that it’s not the worst thing in the world and that difficult times can, indeed, help us grow. This book helped me take a hard look at my life,the choices I made that led me to where I was, how to better go through my own “phoenix process”, and come out of the ashes stronger and happier. Lesser is a compassionate, giving author who gently helps you explore places that hurt, types of grief that people find especially difficult to talk about, and incorporates all manner of spiritual teachings to help guide and support her writing.

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