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A Year of Living Consciously by Gay Hendricks

While big changes can be exciting, quality of life is determined more by the little things we do — our interaction with the parking-lot attendant or the tone of voice we use with our kids. Often stress blocks our conscious experience of such interactions, and the quality of our life suffers accordingly. The exercises in Living Consciously are designed to tweak these sorts of subtle experiences; they aim for quiet victories, like being more truthful with your spouse and more reliable in your commitments. One daily lesson might reflect on honesty and prescribe a writing exercise to help you unearth habitual white lies; another might encourage simplicity and recommend a vigorous closet cleaning that whittles down your wardrobe to the clothes you really love. The basic premise is that our energy gets trapped by unconscious behaviors — bending the truth, self-deprecating talk, hoarding — and when these behaviors become conscious, that stored energy becomes available for more purpose-driven pursuits. Readers familiar with Hendricks’s other books, including Conscious Loving and Five Wishes (the latter was profiled in Pilar Gerasimo’s “Thoughts From the Editor” column last month) will appreciate this book’s daily-insight translations of his foundational principles. A nice way to access bite-size wisdom that’s as digestible as it is actionable — even for busy people like you.

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