THE BOOK: Heart Breaking Open
AUTHOR: Lina Landess
EDITOR: (I used a fellow I found at fiverr.com, but don’t recall his name.)
PUBLISHER: Self published under the name ‘Open Hearts Press’
SUMMARY: (From the intro @ Smashwords) How do you respond when your life falls apart, when you lose those you love to betrayal, death or other losses? Lina Landess’ book reveals, through her honest and open sharing, how the inevitable suffering in our lives can transform us; how beyond our previous knowing, we can discover the love, the Spirit that is always present, always available when we allow our hearts to truly break open.
Offered as a memoir, Heart Breaking Open serves as a powerful example of one woman’s journey into the unknown. From her initial ‘dark night of the soul’ and her ensuing spiritual journey and awakening, this book is a testament to the importance of trusting our hearts’ calling, no matter how challenging things may appear.
THE BACK STORY: The story began as a journal, after my husband’s admission of his affair. Journaling became a way for me to express both the events and my feelings about them. I began journaling in early 1997, the year of the ‘big reveal.’ In 1998 or so, a friend submitted it in that form to an agent who focused on the Buddhist market. When she advised me that I needed to write it as if I was a teacher, I froze, knowing that I was not that.
That paralysis lasted some 4-5 years, but the thing wouldn’t let me go, so it started becoming the book it is now probably around 2008, so it took almost 8 years . . . with a few more stabs and pauses in between. (See why this title for further explanation!)
WHY THIS TITLE? Having my heart ‘broken,’ as happened at the moment of his telling, I saw that something greater, although unexpected, had also occurred. Instead of that dreaded heartbreak, I realized that in making the choice to accept his truth and open my heart, (thanks to the practice called Lovingkindness) I had stepped into a richer, more peaceful and compassionate way of being. (This profound experience of opening my heart and the opportunity it created to handle this experience from there was also the reason for writing the book.)
Uniqueness & niche: I’m not sure it is unique, in that others, namely Pema Chodron & now Glennon Doyle have written similarly (esp.Pema) but perhaps because I, unlike Pema, already had a practice that informed my response to my husband’s news. I am still an ordinary person but who, others tell me, has lived an extraordinary life, not the least of which includes publishing this book.
Niche: Spiritual seekers, women who have been betrayed by a husband, a lover, a friend. My initial reason for writing it, and continuing to work on it, arose from a desire to help others who may find themselves in similar situations, as well as encouraging others to gratefully accept everything life throws at them, knowing that it’s all for their benefit.
“I was delighted to read Lina Landess’s book, which chronicles her spiritual explorations over a lifetime. The author’s clear writing style, grounded in an everyday kind of joy, brought the stories of her life alive for me. And I love the subtitle of the book: “Discovering the Heart Within Heartbreak”, which is one of the best descriptions of the way suffering supports us in waking up that I’ve ever heard. It’s easy to miss the fact of our own growing awareness by comparing ourselves to people like the Buddha or Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie, whose awakenings seem to have occurred all at once. But I’m guessing that most of us, like Lina, open up little by little, like the flowers that we are. Until, one day, we find ourselves simply happy to Be, and truly grateful from the inside out.”
“Honest, real, gripping, well written, inspiring. This book will let you know that Awakening is available to anyone who sincerely searches and can result when we are willing and open to use all the adversity, challenge and let downs in life as spiritual food. My thanks to the author for sharing Truth from the core of her Being!”
“A beautifully written story of life living one woman! Full of joy, sorrow, struggle, and survival, I saw myself in every page. Lina shares her journey to living an awakened life with grace and humility. A worthy read!”
“Lina’s journey is a heartfelt and honest adventure that leaves you reflecting on your path, inspiring you to choose love and compassion upon difficult moments. It was a book I could not put down until I finished the very last page and once I did, I felt a part of my own heart breaking open. Thank you, Lina, for your openness, authenticity and, most of all, inspiration.”
AUTHOR PROFILE: If we each have a calling, writing this book is a part of mine. Much of my life I have been in pursuit of Truth; a truth that could end my search for meaning, my search for a more permanent kind of happiness or even joy. In my early 30’s, this search became like a roaring fire in my soul; one that I could not put out no matter how I tried. And so, I prayed. In answer to that first heart wrenching prayer, God or Spirit or whatever you call Him or Her, my prayer found an answer in an unlikely place; in the words of a strange-looking orange robed man with a skinny grey beard. The rest of the story can be found in my book, Heart Breaking Open.
“Before my life was taken up by the spiritual journey, I had a pretty regular life and worked in a variety of jobs. I started out as a clerk in a small insurance agency, moved up to secretarial work in the headquarters of a nationally known company, went from there to working in a paint manufacturing company in the Human Resources department. It was there, as I track the process the Universe had laid out for me, that I eventually started working as an employment recruiter—the work that would lead me to my first ‘middle-angel,’ a young man who told me about that orange-robed teacher whose words dampened the roaring fire. Through him, I found my first spiritual teacher, and my path.”
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “There comes a time in life when all the toys and trinkets—the things and people we thought might satisfy our desires—lose their luster. We can choose to focus our attention on finding bigger and better things—a better or bigger house, a more impressive vehicle, a person who might make us happy—or to recognize that nothing outside of us; no amount of money, fame or power can make us permanently happy or comfortable.
“Along with that recognition, we open ourselves to something greater; the understanding that the happiness we seek lies within. Within our very own being. Our greatest teacher said this: ‘Be still and know.’ ‘The kingdom of Heaven is within.’ To know this, we seek a teacher; one who already knows this about us and helps us see it for ourselves. This seeking, and the resultant finding is known as the spiritual journey.
“Heart Breaking Open is my experience of the spiritual journey; the journey from love and loss to the recognition that the love for which I longed was, and is, here all along. It’s here for you, too. In your very own heart.”
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, B&N, Ingram (distribution)
PRICE: $14.95 (print); $3.99 (digital) Smashwords, Amazon (digital)