©1999 All Rights Reserved.
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By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
What the superior man
seeks is in himself;
What the small man seeks is in others.
1.) You tell me the problem is that youre involved with
an inattentive, emotionally unavailable partner.
say that youre afraid to take a chance on being loved.
2.) You tell me the problem is that everyone in your life takes, takes, takes without
giving anything iin return.
say that you use the act of giving as a means of
hiding and as a result, no one could possibly give back to you.
You tell me the problem is that people dont understand you.
say youre afraid to be vulnerable enough so that they may get to know you.
4.) You tell me the problem is that you attract people to your life that dont honor
who you are.
say that youve yet to reveal your authentic Self to the world.
You tell me the problem is that you settle for less than you deserve.
say that you set people up to disappoint you in order that you may empower
yourself with self-righteousness.
You tell me the problem is that your life is full of chaos.
say that you run from yourself by creating and
then getting lost in the drama of your life.
You tell me the problem is that life has a way of
dumping on you.
say youre an unindicted co-conspirator in all that you attract to your life.
8.) You tell me
the problem is that the people in your life burden you with too much responsibility.
say that the mere thought of letting go sends
shivers down your spine.
You tell me the problem is that you cant rely on anyone but yourself.
say that your willfulness is like the proverbial six hundred pound gorilla, it sits
wants and in so doing has overtaken your life.
tell me the problem is that you feel like youve become lost in your life.
say that youre disconnected from your
You tell me the problem is that nothing ever
changes for you, despite your most noble of
say youre more invested in maintaining the
problem than living the solution.
you and I may not agree on the cause of your emotional and spiritual aches and pains, we
both can agree that we want the hurting to stop. And that can and will happen for you,
whenever youre ready for it to do so. For you can learn how to build sacred
relationships and, in so doing, transform the ache of your unfulfilled longings for
meaningful human connection into loving relationships that feed your soul! You can begin
living the two most important words in the English language, I deserve!, and,
in so doing, create a life that honors the essence of who you are! You can [re]claim your
emotions and, in so doing, turn hurt, anger, and resentment into acceptance, love, and
compassion! You can liberate your voice from shame and fear and, in so doing, free
yourself from the patterns of self-sabotage that continually defeat your best intentions!
You can make friends with your fears and, in so doing, create life-affirming choices! You
can [re]connect with your higher power and in so doing illuminate the path to your higher
like a tall order? Too good to be true? Overblown promises of a snake oil salesman? Nay,
nay! I want you to know that all of it is possible and more! You need only embrace the art
of living consciously as a way of living your
do I mean by living consciously? Well, first
off, you need to know that living consciously is
not an abstract concept to be learned. Rather, living
consciously is an approach to living each moment of your life that needs to be
mastered. Whats in it for you? Why go to all the time and bother? Why invest
yourself in a process of transforming yourself on the inside rather than attempting to
change all that is external to you? Simply put, as you master the art of living
consciously, youll finally break down the barriers that you and only you have
erected--barriers that have prevented you from ending the war with yourself, opening
yourself up to most fully love and be loved, and [re]connecting to your spiritual center.
How can living consciously possibly transform
your struggles where nothing else has helped before? Living
consciously is a way of living your life in which you are present to each unfolding
moment of your life. So, you rightfully ask, whats so
important about that? Well, only when youre present to each unfolding moment
of your life can you be most fully connected to your authentic Self, the people in your life, and your spiritual
center. And its the strength and consistency of your connections to your authentic Self, the people in your life, and your spiritual
center thats the bedrock of your emotional and spiritual well-being.
how best to create, maintain, and sustain those vital connections? You can best create,
maintain, and sustain your connections to Self, the people in your life, and your
spiritual center when youre aware of and take ownership of what the present moment
stimulates within yourself emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, motivationally,
physiologically, and spiritually.
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to being present to what youre experiencing emotionally, cognitively,
motivationally, physiologically, behaviorally, and spiritually to each unfolding
moment of your life!
Living consciously requires of you to be present to and connected with each unfolding moment of
your life as it is happening. In order to do so, you must be present to what each
experience in your life awakens within you. Theres no escaping this one essential
fact. You cant possibly live your life consciously without being available, without
being open, without being connected to the moment by moment events that are the DNA of the
circumstances of your life.
Now that sounds obvious, almost inescapable. Yet, stop and think about it. How much of
your day is spent on autopilot, just going through the motions? What are the devices you
use to self- medicate, to numb yourself to the impact of your day-to-day
existence--excessive drinking, drugging, working, achieving, sexing, raging, spending,
gambling, isolating, controlling, caretaking? How much of your life have you sleepwalked through--detached,
uninvolved, numbed out, removed from all that swirls around you? On the other hand, how
much of your days are lost because youre flooded with emotional reactions to everything that happens? How much of what you think
and do is nothing more than conditioned responses, automatic reactions, well-rehearsed
scripts that preclude any remnant of spontaneity from appearing in your life.
is being present to the moment a powerful catalyst for the art of living consciously? Because everything that happens
in your life presents one more opportunity for awakening--awakening from the deep sleep
brought on by living life through your automatic, conditioned reactions to the events of
your life. Every single experience you have provides an opportunity to choose between the
comfort of the familiar or walking through the fear of the unknown. Its this very
moment by moment opportunity for awakening that intensifies the richness and depth of
personal transformation. And when you commit yourself to being present to each waking
moment, without yielding to your fears and irrational concerns, likes and dislikes,
opinions and judgments, and expectations, a new world of possibilities opens up, providing
you with one more opportunity to enrich your life. By committing to being more and more
present to each unfolding moment, youll discover how liberating it is to let go of
your old ways and rejoice in the wonder of living
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to expanding and deepening your awareness of all that awakens within you as you
become more and more present to each and every unfolding moment! Living consciously requires that you cultivate an
expanded and deeper awareness of who you are,
what the events and people in your life awaken within
you, and what motivates you to enact the choices that you make. Just what do I mean by awareness? Awareness is the acknowledgment to
yourself and others of how you are actively experiencing the present moment at the deepest
levels of who you are.
being connected to what youre experiencing is an absolute precondition to expanding
and deepening your awareness. You cant
make things up as you go along. You cant guess at what is happening. You cant
rely on what you read in a book, heard at a workshop, or was told by a therapist. You must
experience it. You must experience the present moment with your mind, body, and soul at
deeper and deeper levels of your being. Quite simply, each unfolding moment impacts the
emotional, cognitive, physiological, behavioral, motivational, and spiritual aspects of
who you are. Theres no denying the fact that each unfolding moment has some impact
on each and every aspect of who you are and the choices you make. However, sadly, all too
often, you disconnect from the impact of the present moment in any number of ways.
disconnect from the present moment cognitively
by minimizing, rationalizing, intellectualizing, denying, belittling, joking, and blaming.
You disconnect from the present moment emotionally
by withdrawing, shutting down, numbing out, self-medicating, and withholding. You
disconnect from the present moment physically by
disconnecting from part(s) of your body. You disconnect from the present moment behaviorally by engaging in behaviors excessively
such as drinking, drugging, working, sexing, exercising, gambling, spending, isolating,
attempting to control other peoples behavior, being overresponsible in your
relationships, and/or caretaking. You disconnect from the present moment spiritually through your judgementallness, by being
a slave to Ego, by developing an overreliance
on your self-will, thereby forsaking a life of surrender as well as not developing faith
as the basis for your relationship with your higher power.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Living
consciously requires that you expand and deepen your awareness of what each unfolding moment stimulates
within you. As great a challenge as that may seem, the payoff for doing so is even
greater. As your awareness expands and
deepens, youll begin to develop more flexibility
in how you respond to the people and circumstances in your life. As you develop more
flexibility in how you think, feel, and act in your life, your choices will become less
reactive and more responsive to the present moment. As a result, youll experience
more love and less loneliness, more harmony and less conflict, more compassion and less
judgment, more joy and less despair. Afterall, isnt that what all this work is for,
isnt that whats in it for you, isnt that what you would hope could come
from mastering the art of living consciously?
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to being congruent between what you are experiencing, what you are aware of, who
you are, and what you choose to do! Actively experiencing the present moment by itself is
meaningless without expanding and deepening your awareness as a result of your moment by
moment experiences. Expanding and deepening your awareness is meaningless without that
awareness being grounded to your connection to each unfolding moment. Actively
experiencing the moment and expanding and deepening your awareness only becomes meaningful
when youre able to synthesize active experiencing with increased awareness.
do you synthesize active experiencing with increased awareness? The word I use is congruence. Congruence manifests itself in the
self-disclosures that you articulate, in the actions that you contemplate, and,
ultimately, in the choices that you make. Congruence arises out of the blending of active
experiencing with increased awareness. Simply put, youre congruent when what
youre thinking, saying, and/or feeling matches
what youre doing, or when what youre doing matches who you authentically are, or when what
youre feeling, thinking, saying, and doing flows from your spiritual center.
can be inferred from what Ive just said is that congruency takes place on the
emotional, cognitive, physiological, motivational, behavioral, and spiritual levels of who
you are. When youre deeply immersed in the art of living consciously, all aspects of who you are
match or are congruent. When youre life choices spring forth from this internal
sense of connection and congruence, youll find that the choices you begin to make
take you further and further into a life of emotional and spiritual well-being.
if youre life is full of moment by moment incongruencies, then youre
perpetuating a state of disconnect between you and your authentic Self, you and the people in your life, and/or you
and your spiritual center. For example, if youre experiencing something that makes
you angry, yet youre smiling as you talk about feeling angry, you arent
congruent. If youre face is flush with fear, yet youre words say that you
arent experiencing anything about the roaring lion that is laying down next to you,
you arent congruent. If you agree to doing something that you dont want to do,
your desires and your actions arent congruent. If you participate in behaviors that
bring dishonor and shame to your authentic Self,
you arent congruent. If you find yourself trying to control all the circumstances of
your life rather than nurture a deepening relationship with your higher power, you
you see how these disconnects would perpetuate the current state of emotional and
spiritual dis-ease you experience? If
youre able to see these type of disconnects as the root cause of much of your
emotional and spiritual dis-ease, then you have
already begun to make a huge transformation in your thinking. For you see, implied in
acknowledging that the source of your emotional and spiritual dis-ease stems from your
disconnection from the present moment, from your authentic Self, from the people in your
life, and/or from your spiritual center is the simple fact that youre no longer
holding other people and/or your circumstances responsible for your happiness and
well-being. Its impossible to create the type of personal transformation youre
contemplating without first making this critical shift in your thinking. However, once the
shift has taken hold, youll discover a life of abundance from opening up to the
process of living consciously.
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to separating the there-and-then from the here-and-now! Theres one very
important skill you must master if you want to be most fully connected to the present
moment. Without this skill, your connection to the present moment will be short-circuited
by interference from the memories and emotional reactions of your past. The skill that
Im referring to is separating the there-and-then from the here-and-now. You see, all
too often the present moment stimulates memories of past experiences and the emotions that
are associated with those experiences. When that happens, its easy to lose your
orientation as to what youre reacting to--the present or what the present stimulates
within you about your past. Its critical that you better distinguish the
there-and-then from the here-and-now--better differentiate when your reaction is
stimulated solely by the present, solely by what the present activates from your past, or
some combination of each?
is this so important? Because all too often present events trigger past memories. When
this happens, those present moment events become the triggering mechanism for many of your
patterns of self-sabotage. Without having clarity about what youre reacting to
in the present moment, youre vulnerable to acting out conditioned reactions of
coping that were developed from past experiences, and sadly, not necessarily applicable to
the here-and-now triggering event. That creates the following problem. Once you slip into
one of your many conditioned reactions of coping, you no longer have the free will to
choose to do things differently than you have in the past. And once you lose your free
will, you become a slave to old, old conditioned coping reactions that inevitably no
longer work for you as effectively as they once did.
you see the vicious cycle that you need to end? Without being able to separate the present
from the past, your life will perpetually feel like a wild out of control roller coaster
ride. Heres how the ride unfolds. The present moment stimulates emotionally charged
experiences from your past. As this happens, you disconnect from the present moment,
regress into the unresolved emotions and patterns of coping from your past, dump those
unresolved feelings on the people in your present life, recreate in the here-and-now
behavioral dynamics from your past, and/or [re]create chaos in the here-and-now that
mirrors dynamics from past wounding experiences. Now thats a mouthful, so let me
walk you through some of what I just said with the following example to make my point.
few years ago, I went to a party with a good friend of mine, Beverly. It was quite cold
that evening so Beverly wore her full length fake fur coat.
this coat is the biggest, furriest thing that you have ever seen. When we arrived at the
party, our host took Beverlys coat and put it in the spare bedroom. As the evening
wore on, Beverly came up to me and told me that she was ready to leave. She went upstairs
to get her coat from the spare bedroom as I began saying my good-byes to our host.
few moments later, I heard the loudest, shrillest, shriek I had ever heard. I realized
immediately that it was Beverly who was screaming hysterically.
I went running up the steps to see what had happened. There I saw Beverly, her body
trembling, her hands glued to the sides of her head, screaming at the top of her lungs.
wasnt until I was able to help her calm down that I could even understand what she
was trying to say.
see, Beverly was deathly afraid of dogs. She had been her whole life. When she was three
years old, while sitting in her stroller one day, she was viciously attacked by a huge
dog. She received over one-hundred stitches and was obviously very traumatized by the
evidently when Beverly went into the dark bedroom, she saw this huge pile of fur laying on
the bed and immediately assumed it was a dog. She became overwhelmed with fear and anxiety
and bolted from the room.
didnt want to upset Beverly any more than she already was, but, I was somewhat
confused. You see, I knew that the people who had given the party didnt have a dog.
So I spent a considerable amount of time trying to assure her that there wasnt a dog
in the room.
funny thing was, the more I tried to convince her that there wasnt a dog in the
room, the angrier she got with me. In trying to be helpful, it seemed I was making matters
finally convinced her to come with me into the room so that I could show her that there
was nothing to be frightened about.
finally agreed. We slowly crept up to the doorway and peaked into the room. Sure enough,
there on the bed sat this big furry, lumpy creature. Now I was really puzzled.
cautiously stepped into the room, fumbling around in the dark, searching for a light
the while Beverly was peeking over my shoulder, nervously clinging to my back.
I found the switch. After the light came on, we both began to laugh uncontrollably.
when the light came on in the room, what do you imagine we saw laying on the bed?
right! It wasnt a dog at all. It was Beverlys very own fur coat!
fur coats, the past, the present, the here-and-now awakening the there-and-then? The
connection? Just as Beverly discovered, oftentimes, circumstances that you encounter in
your present life can awaken the emotional charge from past experiences. When this
happens, your perception of the here-and-now becomes very distorted by what the present
moment has awakened within you. As a result, you can be brought to your knees with fear,
act-out that fear in your present day life, and ultimately perpetuate the past in your
present. In order to undo this mechanism of self-sabotage, you need to be able to
distinguish the difference between the dogs and
the fur coats that you encounter in your life.
can see from Beverlys experience that when you become more clear about what
youre reacting to--either the present (fur
coats) or the past leaking into the present (dogs)--you
can more clearly assess what is happening to you in the moment. The value of this is that
your fears dont have to overtake how you react to any situation when youre
grounded in the moment, for youre clean
about whats happening to you in the moment.
as Beverly remained a prisoner of the trauma that she experienced earlier in her life, you
too will remain a prisoner of your past until you begin to separate the past from the
present. The more you can differentiate how the past leaks into the present moment, the
less power youll have to give to your past. And as you begin to sever the emotional
ties to the past, youll be much more available to the present, thus enabling you to
benefit from the art of living consciously.
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to [re]claiming all of who you are as a person and in so doing live from your
authentic Self! Living consciously requires
that you end the war with yourself by uncovering and integrating each and every aspect of
who you are that you have abandoned, not acknowledged, and/or remain, to this day, unaware
of. As important as what the above statement does say is what it doesnt say. It
doesnt say that you need to figure out how to change everyone in your life. It
doesnt say that you need to figure out who you
need to be with each person in your life. It doesnt say you need to improve the
external circumstances of your life. It doesnt say you need to lose your sense of Self in the problems of others.
the focus of this investigation is internal, not external. The focus of your work is
uncovering who you are. The focus of your self-examination is on how best to reveal your
authentic Self to the world. The formula for
undertaking such self-examination? Go within yourself. Bump into all the parts of who you
are. Dare to touch all of the different pieces of who you are. Let go of the masks that
youve created in order to hide your wounded self from the world. Reveal yourself to
the world. Have the courage to [re]claim and experience all that is human about who you
are. Ultimately, live your life in a manner that honors the essence of who you are.
Why does living consciously require that you
go within and [re]claim yourself? Why is it so important to go beyond the life youve
created for yourself, to abandon what you believe you know so well about yourself and
venture into the darkness of the unknown? Because youre walking around in your life
confused, misguided, unaware of, and/or disconnected from much of who you are.
is it possible for you to still be so in the dark no matter how much youve worked on
yourself to this point? There are certain aspects of who you are that either you or the
significant people in your life have judged to be less than desirable for you to
acknowledge, take ownership of, and/or express in your day-to-day life. For example, when
discussing the Kennedy family, its often said that part of the Kennedy family
culture is that whenever the children would cry an adult would tell them,
Kennedys dont cry! And so, the children were given the message
that the part of them that feels sad or hurt is inappropriate to experience and display.
The consequence is that the children would not experience or disown altogether their
the other hand, there are traits and characteristics of being human that you may judge to
be less than desirable. For example, for whatever reason, you may judge anger to be an
inappropriate part of who you are. As a result, you may never allow yourself to feel
and/or express your anger. Therefore, when you experience your anger, you may simply deny
it or stuff it far away within you to a place where it can never come out.
the reason, whether its somebody elses judgment or simply your discomfort for
any and all aspects of your humanness, theres so much about who you are that you do
not claim as you. By denying and disowning any aspect of your essential humanness, you
have disconnected from each unfolding moment and therefore hindered yourself from living consciously.
how best to [re]claim all of who you are as a person and begin living from your authentic Self? [Re]claiming all of who you are means that
you take ownership of all that you do, think,
and feel. Theres a very simple formula for taking
ownership of all of who you are. Open yourself to experience as fully as you can each
unfolding moment of your life. How?
learn how you close yourself off, how you remove yourself from the moment. Do you live
your life from the outside looking in? Are you merely an observer of rather than a
participant in your life? Are you afraid to step into the fray and risk being hurt,
betrayed, or humiliated? Do you live a life of independence because the idea of depending
on another human being makes you shutter? Do you choose the safety of the sidelines over
the vulnerability of being in the game? If so, if youre removed and withdrawn, how
can you experience anything about your life, how connected can you be to the
moment-to-moment flow of your life?
learn how you defend yourself from experiencing each moment of your life. Do you use anger
and hostility as a wedge that comes between you and the people in your life? Do you use
judgments of others as a way of separating yourself from the pack? Do you continually
explain away the aches and pains that life brings your way? Do you feel your way through
experiences or merely think your way? Do you hold the world at arms length with your
rationalizations, justifications, and explanations? If so, if youve managed to
insulate yourself from involvement with other people, if youve managed to
bulletproof yourself from the inevitable ups and downs of life, how fully present can you
be to the ebb and flow, the joy and sorrow of being alive?
learn how you distort what is going on in the moment. Do you confuse the stimulations of
the present moment with the regressive reactions of your past? Does the past continually
flood your present thoughts and emotions? Do you rely on blame and projection as tools of
escape--escaping responsibility, escaping the intensity of the present? If so, if you
detach from the present moment and all that it awakens within you, how fully present can
you be to what youre creating in your life?
Taking ownership, thats the long and short of
it. Stop the denial, give a rest to the rationalizations, end the minimizing, put an end
to the blame game, get out from under all of the judgments, let go of the notion that
youre a victim of the ill-will of everyone in your life. Although these are all
devices that bring you momentary comfort to your times of fear and trepidation, these are
also the obstacles to your becoming whole and living
you deny an emotion you lose an essential connection to the here-and-now. Everytime you
silence the voice of your authentic Self, you
deny yourself the opportunity to be fully present in your life. Everytime you twist
yourself into a pretzel in order to make yourself more acceptable to somebody
else, you impose a lifetime sentence of solitary confinement to some essential part of
your extraordinary humanness. Everytime you explain away your thoughts and feelings, you
distance yourself from an important element of the force of life. Everytime you settle for
less than you deserve, you give into the emotional equivalent of Dr. Evil and Mini
Me--fear and shame! Its only when you become whole, its only when you
stop hiding behind the masks, its only when you dare to step out of the shadows that
you can begin living consciously!
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to creating sacred relationships. Living
consciously requires that you create sacred relationships with the people who matter
most. Just what is a sacred relationship? A sacred relationship is a relationship in which
you feel emotionally and physically safe to reveal your authentic Self, create a bridge of
empathic understanding by entering the world of your friend/partner/ family member, and
are empowered to resolve on-going underlying relationship issues.
are these three conditions necessary in order to create the kind of relationships that
enable you to love and be loved? Emotional safety, revealing your authentic Self, resolving underlying relationship issues,
and empathic understanding are the most fundamental elements of a sacred relationship.
These elements are what cement the connections you make with other people. Without these
basic elements, youll experience much unfulfilled longing and disappointment in your
instance, do you feel imprisoned by your relationships, chained by the judgments and
limitations that other people impose upon you? Do you feel powerless when it comes to
having your emotional needs met by your friend/partner/ family member? Do you feel like
the basis of your relationships are a never ending struggle for control? Do you feel
invisible in your relationships, unseen in the midst of everybody elses needs and
expectations of you? Do you feel like youre drowning in a sea of hurt, anger, and
resentment, overwhelmed by all your unfulfilled longings for connection, love, and
understanding that tug at your soul? Do you feel lonely and uncared about, a slave to your
fears and demands about how you expect to be loved? Embedded in these questions are the
signs and symptoms of relationships that are not grounded in the fundamental elements of
emotional safety, self-disclosure, conflict resolution, and empathic understanding. By
mastering these fundamental elements of a sacred relationship, youll discover how
your relationships can take on a whole new tone and texture.
if the conditions dont exist within yourself and between you and your
friend/partner/family member for each of you to feel safe enough to be authentic, then
there will inevitably be disconnects between you and those people. In order for you to
create the optimal conditions to reveal your authentic Self, you must master the skills of how to make a
relationship emotionally safe. As well, you need to learn how to effectively self-disclose
by revealing yourself rather than explaining yourself. Revealing your authentic Self requires courage from within and acceptance
and support from your friend/partner/family member from without in order for each of you
to be open, vulnerable, and honest with each other.
a quick formula for how best to reveal rather than explain yourself to the world. Be connected to the moment. Acknowledge to yourself
what youre experiencing. Take ownership of what youre experiencing. Express
what youre experiencing in the moment without judging yourself or others,
attributing motives to others, editorializing about others, and/or characterizing the
behavior and personality of others.
written two books, Building Better Bridges: Creating
Great Relationships With the People Who Matter Most and Making Molehills Out of Mountains: Reclaiming Your
Personal Power in Your Relationships. Each book focuses on how you can create an
emotionally safe environment in your relationships as well as the skills necessary for
revealing rather than explaining yourself to the people in your life. If you would like
more information, please ask me about the above mentioned books.
the conditions dont exist within yourself and between you and your
friend/partner/family member in order for you to talk through your relationship issues
rather than cover them up with chaos and/or indifference, then youll forever be
caught in a cycle of chaotic circumstances, self-sabotaging behavior, and unresolved
feelings of anger, resentment, betrayal, and hurt. Quite simply, embedded in most of your
day-to-day circumstances are many of the unresolved relationship issues that exist between
you and the people in your life. Until you begin to address the underlying relationship
issues embedded in the events of your relationship, youll continue to mask these
issues by creating other circumstances that take the focus off of the relationship issues
or ignore those relationship issues altogether. Again, I refer you to Making Molehills Out of Mountains: Reclaiming Your
Personal Power in Your Relationships to explore in greater detail a process of
conflict resolution that will empower you to resolve the issues in your relationships.
the conditions dont exist within yourself and between you and your
friend/partner/family member in order for you to understand each other, then youll
perpetuate feelings of alienation and disconnection with the people in your life.
Understanding how your friend/partner/family member experiences life through their world
view is the most important bridge that you can build between you and anybody else. Without
understanding your friend/partner/family member through their eyes and ears, your
relationship will suffer as you continue to impose your view of the world on them rather
than learning about their view of the world. Surely, you can see, if your relationship is
based in part or in whole on imposing your view of the world on others, youll only
further drive a wedge between you and your friend/partner/family member. But, by entering
the world of others, youll lift the enormous burden of having to conform to your
view of the world and allow the people in your life to bring out more and more of who they
a process I wrote about in my book, Entering the
World of Your Child: Creating a Sacred Relationship With Your Child. Although the book
itself is written for parenting a child, the process is applicable to any substantive
relationship you are involved in. The most fundamental aspects of entering the world of
your friend/partner/friend is utilizing the power of your offering spirit, giving permission to your
friend/partner/family member to express their feelings, treating your
friend/partner/family member as a person to be understood rather than a problem to be
solved, and talking to your friend/partner/family members feelings rather than their
sacred relationships are built on a foundation of three interpersonal processes. Building better bridges enables you to create
emotionally safe relationships in order for you to reveal your authentic Self. Making molehills out of mountains enables
you to resolve the underlying relationship issues embedded in the circumstances of your
relationships. Entering the world of your partner
enables you to build a bridge of empathic understanding with your partner. These three
processes are the foundation upon which sacred relationships are built. You need to master
all three processes in order for you to attract the kind of people into your life who want
to partner with you rather than be taken care of by you. The art of living consciously has little value if it happens
in a vacuum. Only when you can safely reveal your authentic Self to the people in your life can the full
potential of living consciously be wholly realized.
What can you concretely do to begin living consciously?
your life to [re]connecting with your spiritual center. Living consciously requires that you [re]connect
with your spiritual center, Essence, in order
that you may [re]connect with your personal energy,
reverence, and let go of the influences of your personal energy, pride, created by Ego. I have written two pamphlets (Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Parts 1&2) that
cover the subjects of reverence, pride, Ego,
Essence, surrender, humility, and gratitude. If you would like more information,
please ask me for the pamphlets.
now, however, lets just focus on the personal energy of your spiritual center, reverence, and its importance to the art of living consciously. There are three elements that
make up reverence. Those three elements are
humility, surrender, and gratitude. Humility, surrender, and gratitude are the three
pillars on which a life of living consciously is
constructed. If you dont actively, continually, and consistently incorporate
humility, surrender, and gratitude into every nook and cranny of your life, youre
toast. No matter how present you are to the moment, no matter how much your awareness
expands and deepens, no matter how congruent you are, no matter how adept you become at
differentiating the there-and-then from the here-and-now, no matter how much of yourself
youre able to [re]claim, no matter the quality of your relationships, if you have
not adopted surrender, humility, and gratitude into your life, you will have constructed
an impressive house, but a house, nonetheless, built on quicksand.
are these three elements so fundamental to the art of living consciously? They are powerful antidotes for
the most corrosive dynamics I know of--corrosive dynamics that eat away at your happiness
and well-being. What are these corrosive dynamics? Willfulness, shame, grandiosity, and
is the antidote for willfulness. Willfulness, quite simply, is the dis-ease of our times. However, you may not
recognize it as such. Perhaps you think of yourself as a rugged individualist. One who can
impose their will on any and all things. A person, who with enough effort, with enough
persistence, with the mere invocation of your will and might, can transform yourself and
any person who crosses your path. If that is true, youre clearly a person who
believes that the solution to all problems is mind over matter.
the only person youre fooling is yourself. Perhaps you can shut yourself off from
the rest of the world. Perhaps you can achieve what you set out to do. Perhaps you can
influence more than your share of people on certain matters. But at what cost? What cost
do you incur from controlling and micromanaging your life and the life of others? What
cost do you incur by being the irresistible force trying to move the immovable object?
What cost do you incur reflexively being oppositional towards any and all things that
smack of authoritarianism? What cost do you incur waging your private battle with the
substances and behaviors that have taken control of you and your life?
letting go, turning it over, releasing--these are the dynamics that enable you to
successfully end the battles youre waging in your life. Surrender is the path to being. Surrender is the path to harmony within
yourself as well as the world at large. Surrender is the path to a clean and sober
life--sober from all the behaviors that have sabotaged your emotional and spiritual
is the antidote for shame and grandiosity. I think of shame and grandiosity as being much
like the mirrors at a carnival that distort the image of who you really are. When you view
yourself through the twin mirrors of shame and grandiosity you experience similar
are the distortions that you experience? Grandiosity and shame reflect back to you that
youre either Lord of the Manor or Scum of the Earth. As you live in the energy of
being either Lord of the Manor or Scum of the Earth, youre separated from any
connection to your authentic Self and your
spiritual center. But theres an antidote for the toxins of shame and grandiosity--a
third mirror from which you can view a reflection of yourself without any distortions.
is this distortion-free mirror? Humility! Humility is simply the acceptance of being
human, the acceptance and integration of all the qualities that constitute ones humanness. Humility, as an orientation towards
yourself and life, is the middle ground from which you join the human race rather than hover above it in a hot air balloon, inflated by
your grandiosity or grovel below it, drowning in a sea of your shame. Humility is the
midpoint between all the extremes of who you are, its the bridge that unites those
extremes and blends them into an integrated whole. Humility is the bridge you build to the
human race, in spite of your imperfections, despite all of your grandness, and most
importantly of all, because of your ordinariness. Ultimately, humility is being neither Lord of the Manor, nor Scum of the Earth, but Human Being, and as such, humility is the blend of
each point on the compass of humanity.
is the antidote for entitlement. Ah entitlement, the echo of that part of yourself that
you so long ago experienced and have as yet, to let go of. Entitlement is the part of you
that demands, not so much what you deserve, but what you believe that youre owed.
Entitlement is the voice in you that eggs you on, continually asserting the myth of your uniqueness. Entitlement is the basis for the claim
you make of how special you are, deserving of
treatment that reflects your specialness. Ultimately, entitlement is the license you take,
the justification you assert in order that you may remain separate and apart from the mere mortals of this
is the orientation towards yourself and life that transforms you from special and unique
to grand but ordinary. You no longer approach life as if youre owed something. You
engage life by acknowledging the abundance that has been bestowed upon you. Lastly,
gratitude, as an orientation towards life, places you amongst rather than at the center of the crowd.
nothing more toxic to your emotional and spiritual well-being than willfulness, shame,
grandiosity, and entitlement. Theres nothing more curative than surrender, humility,
and gratitude. As you immerse your life in the art of living consciously, youll begin to
acknowledge how strongly rooted willfulness, shame, grandiosity, and entitlement are in
your life and, more importantly, youll discover how liberating your life can be once
you begin to let go and experience the
extraordinariness of who you are divorced from the influence of Ego.
there you have it. Thats my take on the art of living
consciously. Ive outlined for you the principles of living consciously: experience the moment, examine what it is that youre experiencing in
each moment in order to expand and deepen your awareness,
create a life of congruence between who you are,
what youre experiencing, and the choices that you make, separate the there-and-then from the
here-and-now, [re]claim the disowned parts of
who you are, create sacred relationships, and [re]connect to your spiritual center. Now,
its up to you. Dont stop at this point, for the art of living consciously is not a course in life to be learned. The art of living consciously is a lifetime of work to be enacted. You must take these principles and begin
to live them! Let me warn you. You dont
get to pick and choose which principles are and which are not for you. You must utilize
all of them, not just the ones you feel most comfortable with!
Do not put this pamphlet down, satisfied in the
knowledge that youve learned something new or that you already knew much of what I
discussed with you. If you took the time to read this pamphlet, then its likely that
youre searching for answers to problems that no amount of knowledge has helped you
with up to this point in time. You must begin to
take action on what it is that you do know! Without taking action, by living in the
self-satisfaction of your current level of self-awareness, youre condemning yourself
to living your life in the current state of emotional and spiritual dis-ease youre already experiencing.
Act now! Get involved in some process of personal transformation that will empower you to live rather than merely teach you the principles of living consciously. Do the most difficult act
youll ever perform--commit to yourself! Make yourself the priority in your life!
Invest every last emotional resource you have in going beyond your current level of
comfort to risk living your life rather than
merely enduring it!
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.