Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser



Make your life a spiritual adventure.
Instead of searching for answers that make you feel safe, light out on a spiritual journey where your ordinary life becomes an extraordinary adventure. On the spiritual adventure, all of your experiences—your successes and failures, your joys and sorrows—become your teachers who help you grow in fearlessness, wisdom, and gratitude.

Flow with the river.
The nature of life is change. Your very body is a river of change. From year to year, every one of your cells is replaced. Literally, who you were yesterday is not who you are today. So when you wake up in the morning, ask yourself: Am I going to flow with my river nature today, or am I going to swim hard against it? If you go with the river of change, your heart will be full of courage and enthusiasm. If you resist the river, you will feel stressed out, aggravated, and stuck in the same place. So, instead of splashing around like a drowning person, stretch out on the river and relax into the grand mystery of life.

Everything is Energy
Imagine looking at your hand right now through a high-powered microscope. Here’s what you would see… A dance of molecular energy held together by gravity for a brief moment in time. Everything on this earth is not what it appears to be to the naked eye. The chair you are sitting in, the book you are holding, the person in front of you…energy, pure dancing energy! A few times a day, remember the truth of who you are. Relax your grip on life and join the dance.

Don’t look for water. Be thirsty.
We don't question our need for food or water or air. We honor those instincts in order to survive and thrive. We also have a spiritual instinct—we sense that there is more to life than just the daily grind. That there is meaning and wonder, and that we were put here to love each other and life itself. The first step on a spiritual path is to value your spiritual instinct—to allow yourself to be thirsty for the water of the soul; to be guided by a longing for peace of mind, loving kindness, and faith in the meaningfulness of each and every moment. When you let that soulful longing take root, your path lights up from within. You no longer want to fill the “God shaped hole” with too much work or drink or food. Instead you find a spiritual path to fit your needs: some people may feel their souls watered most by a specific religion. Others may want to get their nourishment through books, or a yoga class, or a meditation retreat. Some come home to inner peace most easily in nature, or serving other people, or through healing their addictions. Some people do all of the above. There is no right way to walk the path. It is the sincerity of your longing that lights up the way.

Be a Bozo on the Bus.
Here’s a secret: we are all more alike than we are unalike. We all share the same human foibles. And yet we try to hide our “bozo” qualities from each other. We don’t want people to think we have weakness, weirdness or worries. What a waste of energy! This year, come out of hiding. Share your genuine self—your best self and your bozo self. You will be surprised how that opens the door for others to share their genuine self with you. And then we all can stop pretending to be someone we are not. When we see clearly that everyone, regardless of fame or fortune or age or brains or beauty, is a bozo on the bus of life, a strange thing happens. We cheer up. We become less judgmental and more forgiving. We find ourselves among friends.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

These are the words of Howard Thurman, a mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Take a look at the people who have moved mountains to bring peace and healing into the world. The great ones—be they leaders or parents or the upbeat waitress who makes everyone’s day—are motivated by an unstoppable passion and a heart full of love. Look deep within yourself to discover what you really love—that is where your gift is waiting, as well as a great storehouse of energy and creativity.

Welcome home.

When you are driving and there is a traffic jam; when you busy but you have to help your child do her homework; when you are feeling sick; when anything is happening that is making you anxious or annoyed: become aware of your inner landscape. Are you at peace with the moment, or at war with what is happening? Take stock of your self right now. Call a truce. Come home to this very moment. Relax into it. Bring all your self into right now. Welcome home.


I have been a collector of poems and quotes for years. Some people collect antique dolls or baseball cards. I collect the words of other people. I tack them on the wall or send them to my sons, sisters, or friends, or use them in a workshop exercise I call the Poetry Bazaar. The exercise is a sort of spiritual parlor game; it’s a deep icebreaker. At the start of a workshop, I spread more than a hundred slips of paper on the floor of the classroom. On each is printed a short poem or quote by wise thinkers as diverse as the poet Rumi and the American comedian George Carlin. I ask the people in the workshop to wander around the room, shopping for a poem, looking for one that tells the secret story of their heart. I encourage them to do some comparison-shopping, to pick up a couple of pieces of paper and try on different sayings and quotes for style and size. Then, when the choices have been made, we gather in a circle and each person reads his or her poem aloud. Some people talk to the group about what the poem means to them. They tell us a story and let us into their life. Others let the poems speak for themselves, something that a good poem can do. I have come to trust the power of a few well-chosen words to reveal to the world something I cannot say, or don’t want to say, or didn’t even know I needed to say until I saw them spelled out in front of me in the prophetic hand of the poet.

Some of my favorite quotes are here