Human beings were dragged down by "blockages" to their actual potential; history was the story of souls entering and escaping our field of consciousness...Her purpose on this Earth, she said, was to help raise awareness about all this, to help the unenlightened become better reflections of their true, repressed selves.
One undeniable thing about Elizabeth Edwards is her infallible bullshit detector. When I interviewed friends and staff that's the first thing they all mentioned about her. If one of her assistants had tried this "blockages" line on her-or God forbid mentioned it as a cause of her cancer, as New Age types are wont to do-she would have dunked the assistant's head in the sink. It must be doubly dismaying to her that her own husband was seduced by it.
Also, as you mentioned, she is a curious combination of vulnerable and strong. This New Republic story I wrote about her opens with all the times she told other women she met on the campaign trail how pretty they were. Then, in a roundtable with all the wives of candidates, she said:
"My gosh, you are all so beautiful. Which one doesn't belong? I feel a little bit like that-one of these things just doesn't belong." The remark was typical of Elizabeth Edwards-spontaneous, unfiltered, generous, and a little domineering: It takes a unique combination of vulnerability and supreme confidence to say something like that on a stage. The main effect of her compliment was to set her apart. They were a group of fresh faces one could marvel at, and she was the old hand, a woman to be dealt with on her own terms.