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When Elizabeth began writing Broken Open, she didn't intend to share her personal story, but in the end, that's exactly what she did. "I was one of those little kids who started thinking the deep thoughts from a ridiculously young age," she says. "Probably at 3 or 4 years old I would lie in bed and think, with my heart beating, 'Where does this all go when I die? And what is the meaning of my life?'"

Growing up in the late '60s and early '70s, Elizabeth says she was influenced by the Beatles, who were in India learning Eastern meditation and music. "I thought, 'I want one of those wise teachers from the East too,'" she says.

At 19, Elizabeth and her soon-to-be husband found a spiritual teacher and moved to a commune in upstate New York. They got married shortly after and had two children by the time Elizabeth was 26. "When I got married, I thought it was going to be forever. You make a promise, and you keep it," she says. "But I began to feel that something in me was dying. I began to feel pretty much exhausted and sick most of the time, and I didn't want to listen to that, and I also was angry and not being very patient as a mother."

Elizabeth says that in the family and culture where she was raised, it was looked down upon to get a divorce and be a single mother. But after years of unhappiness, she knew she had to make a hard decision. "I felt like, 'If I don't make a move, if I don't make a change, if I don't answer this call within me to blossom and I remain tight in a bud, I am going to shrivel and fall off the vine and never know what life really can be.'"
FROM: When Life Breaks You Open
Published on January 14, 2009