Living a short distance from your body

Elizabeth Lesser steps into The Confessional

“And that was the moment … where I was like, ‘Girl, you can be a good mother and a happy, embodied woman, but you can’t be a good mother and a liar.'”

Subscribe to my podcast for free

Opening Essay:

When I was in my mid thirties, had two young children, very little money, and a strong desire to finally finish college, every minute of my day was filled. Childcare, class, laundry, cooking, shopping and trying to be a good enough full time student to maybe make up for being a complete fuck up in my 20s. 

I knew I was exhausted and unwilling to just let myself rest when a couple nights in the hospital started to feel really appealing. Not that I wished for something to be horribly wrong with me, but like, a simple appendectomy sounded relaxing because then someone would bring me food and Percocet and insist I didn't leave the bed. This is shamefully irrational, of course since hospital stays are stressful and often traumatic, so it has brought me comfort when other moms have confessed to the same bizarre fantasy.

On a Friday in March, I was sitting in class when I noticed my stomach hurt. I put it out of my mind thinking it must just be stress and that I’d feel better as soon as I handed in those last 2 papers.  As normal, I just told myself to push through and stop being pathetic. But my stomach was killing me and my whole mind over matter thing stopped working. 

When I felt increasingly feverish on the drive home and had to roll the windows down to let the 26 degree Colorado air into my Honda, I told myself I really just like fresh air. 

And friends, it almost worked, but as I turned the corner to my house, I passed out – when I came to I saw that I was parked not in our driveway, but in the neighbors yard.  I didn’t have enough blood in my brain to think “stop driving”, so I put it in reverse, plowed over a row of mail boxes, ending up in our flower bed. When I came to a second time I opened my car door and then passed out in the snow. Coming to a third time, paramedics were asking me very loud questions. In the ambulance I thought “I don't actually want an appendectomy anymore”. After a bunch of tests, a kind faced ER doc came in said “Ms. Bolz-Weber, you just have the flu. And since you wouldn't listen when your body was telling you it was sick, it MADE you lay down when you were still driving. So when you are that sick, you need to go home a lay down”

It cost me a thousand dollars for someone to tell me that if I don't start listening to my body, if I don’t stop thinking of being sick as some kind of personal failing, it might not be a flower bed and a couple mail boxes next time. It could be my kids.

This week on The Confessional. I speak with Elizabeth Lesser about finally being in her body, and the mistake she made that nearly cost her everything.

Elizabeth Lesser is a bestselling author and the cofounder of Omega Institute, the renowned conference and retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York. Elizabeth’s first book*,*The Seeker’s Guide chronicles her years at Omega and distills lessons learned into a potent guide for growth and healing. She is also the author of Author of Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, theHuman Story ChangesMarrow; and Broken Open.

Instagram: @elizlesser

Join me and Elizabeth for a follow up chat in my Instagram Live, April 20th at 4p PST/7p EST

(Just go to my Instagram page and when I go live, the circle on the upper left of your screen will change and say “live” - just click on that circle and you’re in!)

About The Corners

(where you can find bonus content from The Confessional - and other stuff)

If you’d like to support my work, access more content, and engage with me and other subscribers here, you can subscribe to The Corners using the button below. You will have access to essays, conversation threads, Q & A, and all the archives. If you’d like access to all the content here but a paid subscription isn’t for you, no problem, we give them free to absolutely anyone who emails us at (over 1,000 so far!) This is for everyone. (I’m a big believer in paying for content. I have paid subscriptions to many publications and am a patron of several artists and thinkers whose work I love. BUT I am also someone who had very little money for most of her life and even lived on government assistance for many of them, so I know what it is like to not have extra. This is why The Corners and soon, The Chapel (an experimental gathering of spiritual misfits) is set up as a “those who can pay do and those who can’t need not have to” model.)