Skip to content

the big life questions.

Whether you journal or feel like you need a change in your life, here are some great questions and prompts from Elizabeth Lesser’s book, Broken Open.

What really matters to me in this life?

What precisely do I need to learn, change, and transform within myself?

From whom or what will I take my direction and motivation?

I made a conscious decision to…

Most of all, I was motivated by…

I wanted them to know…

…to no longer…

I try to act…

There are three major hurdles to overcome in crisis: dealing with pain; working with your attitude; and using the crisis as a wake-up and a cleanup call.

Don’t fool yourself and think that Spirit is somewhere else, in other worldly experiences, in great rushes or ecstatic visions.  Life’s deepest experience is the joy that fills our hearts when we love and give to others.

The best in me was born.  I found out what I really was capable of.  I discovered who I really am.

…finally understanding the secret – the same secret we will all now when death is just a breath away: In the end, what will matter is how much we loved – our children, our mates, our families, our friends, everyone we knew, everyone who traveled with us during our brief visit to this unbearably lovely place. What will matter is the good we did, not the good we expected others to do. 


Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser

broken open: how difficult times can help us grow.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 6.43.47 AM.png

The philosopher William James wrote that there are two kinds of people in this world – the Once-Born and the Twice-Born… 

Once-Born people do not stray from the familiar territory of who they think they are and what they think is expected of them.  If fate pushes them to the edge of Dante’s famous dark woods – where the straight way is lost – they turn back.  They don’t want to learn something new from life’s darker lessons.  They stay with what seems safe, and what is acceptable to their family and society.  They stick to what they already know but don’t necessarily want.  Once-Born people may go through life and never even know what lies beyond the woods – or that there are woods at all.



A Twice-Born person pays attention when the soul pokes its head through the clouds of a half-lived life.  Whether through choice or calamity, the Twice-Born person goes into the woods, loses the straight way, makes mistakes, suffers loss, and confronts that which needs to change within himself in order to live a more genuine and radiant life.


Elizabeth does caution people to be careful with these two terms.  Saying that you are either one or the other can be misleading and make a person feel like a failure if you see yourself as a stuck-in-the-mud Once Born or inflate the ego if you see yourself as an adventurous Second-Born.

But what really matters is that the journey into the woods of change and transformation is an inner one.

I just started Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  It was recommended by a new friend I met a few months ago.

We met at an Influencers event (which is funny because I do not see myself as an influencer.  But I do like meeting new people and learning from them.) Azra and I ended up talking at the end of the event and I loved hearing more about her story.  We have kept in touch ever since over Instagram DM and it was her who recommended this book to me.  She’s my book nerd sister from another mother (what I call her.)

Note: The quotes in this post (italicized sections) are directly from Elizabeth’s book because her words do the terms justice.