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Conscious Living

How to Create a Life of Your Own Design

Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks
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In his bestselling book Conscious Living, pioneering therapist Gay Hendricks taught couples how to find balance and happiness in relationships.Now he gives us Conscious Living, a practical guide for the individual that brings new insights into a fundamental truth of daily truth of daily life. Five simple lessons of "conscious living", rooted in the ancient traditions of Stoicism and Taoism, help us overcome obstacles and fears and awaken our own creativity.

HarperCollins; June 2009
288 pages; ISBN 9780061912245
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Title: Conscious Living
Author: Gay Hendricks

Chapter One

In my early thirties I made a discovery about love that changed everything about my life. The discovery enabled me to attain my heart's deepest yearning: a lasting love relationship rich with happiness and creativity.

The realization was this: the only way to attract the love you want is to love and embrace your self For years, through many unsatisfying relationships, I had been trapped inside the bubble of a delusion. I was trying to get other people to: love me deeply and unconditionally, but without ever having loved my self unconditionally. In retrospect, it seems obvious, but at the time it was anything but. Right after having this realization I put it into action.

I let go of my defenses and relaxed into a few seconds of pure, loving acceptance for all of myself. I loved and accepted my anger, my fear, my loneliness, and all the other things I didn't like about in elf I even loved myself for not being able to love myself very well! I could do it only for an instant at first, but these few seconds of unconditional love for my self changed my whole approach to life. Ultimately I resigned from the exhausting task of seeking love outside myself to complete myself.

In time this realization led me to see that my job now was to be a producer and distributor of love, not a consumer! I dropped the restless, mindless search for love in all the wrong places. In fact, I dropped the search for love anywhere outside myself. Instead, I began to look for the places in me that needed loving.

This inner shift caused real magic to happen immediately in my outer life. Suddenly a woman appeared in my life-as if by magic and she was exactly the kind of person I'd always dreamed of.

There was a very good reason I'd never found her before. Unconsciously I had been looking for a woman to complete me and make me whole through the power of her love. Suddenly I realized that it was my job to complete myself through my power of loving me. From this place of wholeness, I would naturally attract another whole person who loved herself to exactly the degree I did. Then our lives together could become a journey of two whole people celebrating each other and ourselves, When problems and barriers emerged in our relationship-as they surely would-we would work through those barriers as two allies committed to our mutual development.

And that's just what happened.

The past twenty years with Kathlyn have been exactly that kind of magical journey. Two kids, nine coauthored books, five hundred radio and television interviews, and thirty some trips around the world later, I can report that the magic is real and sustainable. I never imagined how good it could get. I now know that it's possible to live and learn and even work together through twenty years of creative harmony.

The love we all seek is right here, right now.: A simple shift of consciousness, and the floodgates open. This book is about how to make the shift to a new kind of conscious living and loving. If you read Kathlyn's and my earlier book, Conscious Loving, you will find that the book you're holding complements the previous work but goes into a new dimension: the transformation of your inner self. I've come to believe that the process of learning to live consciously begins in the depths of our inner selves. This book-particularly part 1-is directed at you and your relationship with yourself. In part 2, I will discuss relationships with others, but with particular focus on what I've learned in the, decade after Conscious Loving was published.

This book takes a larger perspective than my previous work. The journey of conscious loving is part of a larger path of conscious living. In a very real sense, conscious loving is something you do in every moment of living, whether it comes to life in the way, you grip your steering wheel in heavy traffic or the way you embrace your beloved in breathless ecstasy. It's all the same thing! The very same discoveries that brought a rich love relationship into my life could also be applied to creating a life rich in creativity good feeling, and even financial abundance.

My Personal journey of Conscious Living

"Where could you have possibly come from?"

As a child I heard this question often, and it was usually uttered in tones of exasperation. Now that the sting has worn off, I wonder about it myself. The differences between my family members and me could go on for pages:

I like chocolate; everybody else in my family hated it. I'm the lone mystic in a family of hardheaded skeptics.

I write books about relationship, psychology, and spirituality; no one in my family has ever read one of them or even acknowledged gift copies I sent.

My brother often goes to Scotland and France on one sort of spirit quest: he tours the great distilleries and vintners in search of the perfect sip. My spirit quest has taken me to monasteries in India, Tibet, and Nepal, to grand cathedrals, humble caves, and epic shamanic journeys in the outback of Mexico. Even thinking of whiskey gives me an inner cringe; I may be one of the few people this side of Utah who's never been drunk or even managed to finish a whole beer.

You get the picture. Even after I-had published a dozen books and was a tenured professor at a major university, my mother would still ask me occasionally if I ever planned to get a real job. Finally, an appearance on Oprah seemed to convince members of my family that I wasn't in a fly-by-night profession after all!

Many of us begin the journey so that we can find a way through the frequently awful life situations we find ourselves in. That was certainly true for me. Part of my quest was inspired by a search for survival tools to use on myself. As I looked around while I was growing up, almost no one seemed happy. Most everyone wore downward-pulling mouths and deep worry grooves on their foreheads. Addictions were rampant.