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Excerpted from Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Copyright 1990 by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Love is a force that focuses its light on the deepest shadowy parts of ourselves."

Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, Conscious Loving, Part 3

The Power of Love

Love is a powerful force. If we do not know how to handle its power, we slip very quickly into its powerfully painful distortions, such as conflict and co-dependence. But know this: It is resistance to love that causes the problems. There is nothing wrong with love. Love is a force that focuses its light on the deepest shadowy parts of ourselves. It brings to the surface the parts of ourselves that we most desperately try to keep hidden. When these parts of our-selves emerge, we often retreat, blaming love and those who have loved us. In this book you will learn how to do something radically different, something that will allow you to live in a state of continuous love and positive energy. You will begin where you are, possibly stuck in a troubled relationship or feeling the pain of not having a close relationship, and you will move at your own pace to a place of freedom and real growth.

Part I of this book explains all the essential ideas, with examples drawn from our personal experience and that of our clients. (All the examples in this book are drawn from real life. Names and identifying details have been changed to ensure the privacy of the people involved.) The thirty-four activities in part 2 contain the experiential techniques that will make the ideas a reality for you. We want to acknowledge you for beginning this journey with us. Our relationship has been the catalyst for unparalleled growth and creativity in our lives. We hope that you will use your relationships to fulfill undreamed-of potential in yourself. It will help if you commit yourself completely to this process now, at the beginning. The most creative and evolved people we know are those who use every situation as an opportunity to learn about themselves. Openness to learning is a hallmark of evolution. It makes learning and acknowledging even the most soul-shaking facts about yourself easier and more fun. With a strong commitment to inquiring into yourself, the universe does not have to use catastrophes to wake you up.

Unconscious Loving and Co-Dependence

Co-dependence, a term that first appeared in the field of alcoholism treatment, is a particular form of unconscious loving. It originally referred to a pattern that healers noticed time and again when working with addicted persons. Frequently the addicted person was in a relationship that supported the addiction and interfered with the treatment. Often the co-dependent did not drink, but due to deeply flawed interaction patterns, he or she made it possible for the addicted person not to change.

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