Welcome to our first episode of Season 2 of the Cracking Open Podcast!
I want to pay homage to my guest today, Elizabeth Lesser. I first came across Elizabeth’s work about 11 years ago after my dad died. I was in deep grief, and someone told me about her book Broken Open. While reading it, every word made me feel like I was going to survive the death of my dad. Broken Open radically changed my life and it is my go-to gift that I give to anyone who I know is going through a difficult transition in their life.
After reading her book, I attended the Women & Power Conference led by Elizabeth, Brené Brown, and Joan Halifax Roshi at the Omega Institute, which she co-founded in 1977. It was there that I met Elizabeth in person for the first time, and I immediately felt her deep wisdom and open heart. Ever since then, I have been following her work in the world as an activist, reading her books, and soaking in her wisdom through the Omega Institute.
When I asked her to be on the podcast and she said yes, you can only imagine how elated I was to have her as a guest. To me, Elizabeth’s life is a beautiful metaphor of the phoenix rising. She opens her heart and story to all of us around how she has been broken open (the ending of her marriage, the death of her sister) and how these burning moments have invited her to die in order to rise from their ashes.
Elizabeth has touched millions of lives through her books alone. She is a New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes; Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and Marrow: Love, Loss & What Matters Most.
Omega Institute, a retreat and conference center that she cofounded, is located in Rhinebeck, NY. It has been at the forefront of holistic education, offering workshops and trainings in integrative medicine, meditation, yoga, cross-cultural arts, social change movements such as women’s empowerment, and environmental sustainability. Each year, more than 30,000 people participate in Omega’s programs, and more than a million people visit their website for online learning.
As if this wasn’t enough, in 2008 she helped Oprah Winfrey produce a 10-week online seminar based on Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. The webinar was viewed by more than 8 million people worldwide. She’s also a frequent host on Oprah’s Soul Series, a weekly radio show on Sirius XM, and a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
In 2011, she gave a popular Ted Talk called Take “the Other” to Lunch, a call for civility and understanding as we negotiate differences as human beings.
I could spend hours just talking about her incredible accomplishments. But to me, Elizabeth is ultimately a woman who can ignite one’s soul. To not only feel seen and heard but also to be a better human being on this spiritual journey we call life.
Please enjoy this incredible conversation. Get yourself a cup of tea, grab a notebook and pen, and gift yourself this hour to soak in Elizabeth’s storytelling, her wisdom, and her life.
Welcome to Season 2! I’m so glad you have arrived.