Monday, September 26, 2005

Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks

Book Review by Zinta Aistars

# Paperback: 288 pages
# Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1st edition, 2001
# Price: $14.00
# ISBN: 0062514873

Life is an ongoing, neverending process of self-improvement and enlightenment. While we can be given the best advice and offered the most valuable lessons over and over again, it takes a readiness in ourselves, an open heart and mind and a willing spirit, to be receptive to those lessons. And, to be truly effective, we need be not only ready... but conscious of the lesson learned and applied.

A good friend who has earned my respect with her ability to maneuver through her life with serenity and acceptance, even while learning the toughest lessons, recently recommended Hendricks' books to me. I value her advice, and so I approached the Hendricks' bookshelf with high expectations. I found many books on the shelf, written by both Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, and with this volume as my introduction, I expect to be reading several more.

Hendricks has probably not told me anything in this book I don't already know. We must love ourselves before we can truly love another. Anger denied does not go away. Moving through life and its choices by default rather than thoughtful and considered decision is guaranteed to end in disaster. Choosing love partners by chemistry alone can only mean heartbreak. We get what we expect. Negativity in attitude and expectations magnetically draws to us more negativity. If your life is not what you want it to be, guess what, it's you who is at the wheel. Yes, I knew all of this.

I knew it, but I have too often failed to apply these sound, common sense lessons to my own life. I suppose there is something in all of us that feels the irresistible impulse to put our hand in the fire even when we have been told, over and over again, it will burn. Unfortunately, nothing is so effective a teacher as pain.

But by the time I picked up this book, I was ready to listen. I was, you might say, fully conscious of these wisdoms and ready and willing to apply them at last. I almost feel a little silly stating how my mood and attitude improved by just reading this book. It sounds rather simplistic, doesn't it? Then again, we humans do tend to overcomplicate our lives, don't we?

I feel confident in recommending this book to anyone... but only with this note: if you are ready to steer through your life with conscious intent, you'll love this book and its sensible advice. If you are not, if you are still looking for someone else to do the work for you, or if you prefer your old comfort zone, or if you want to shirk your responsibility for the course of your own life a while longer, well, read a comic book instead. Up to you.

As for me, I loved it. Ready and awake! I like that the responsibility for this adventure is all mine.

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