elizabeth lesser
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Excerpt from Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser - Part 5 of 5

ELesserHeadShot This week, we conclude our series of excerpts from the Introduction of BROKEN OPEN: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.

Whether you are in the midst of a big upheaval or riding the smaller rapids of everyday life, I want you to know that you are not alone, not now, or at any stage of the journey. Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist of the twentieth century, wrote, “We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”


The experience of change and transformation is never complete. Something bigger and brighter always calls to shine through us. We are continually challenged to change and grow, to break down and break through. The first big change made in the name of awakening can be destructive and traumatic. In the midst of my divorce, I agonized over the risks I was taking and the blows I was receiving, and wondered if so much pain could ever lead to anything good. But now, years down the road and many changes later, I trust in the twists and turns of what Joseph Campbell calls the “hero’s path.” Some of us need a cataclysmic event to find our way toward “the center of our own existence.” Some of us don’t. Some of us add up all of the smaller changes into one big lesson, and find our way home as well.

Excerpted from Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser Copyright © 2004 by Elizabeth Lesser. Excerpted by permission of Villard, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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