Lisa Oz: 'US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships that Matter Most.'

The book explores the three areas in which we live in relationship. The first is our relationship with ourself. The chapters that focus on this topic are intended to help uncover who we are at our core and demonstrate ways we can integrate our inner being with the outer projection. Understanding our true identity is essential for any relationship, since without actually knowing our authentic self, we can never be genuinely intimate with another person.

In these chapters, we'll also examine different ways of optimizing well-being so that we can bring our best self to all our relationships.

In the second section we look at relationships in a more traditional sense. We'll cover everything from our most intimate connections with lovers to the way we treat the homeless, paying special attention to patterns of interacting that maximize our mutual potential for personal growth.

Topics covered include conscious parenting, sex as spiritual union, and compassionate living through environmental, global, and societal action. The exercises in this section seek to encourage generosity, compassion, and empathy.

At the end of the book we'll examine the idea of a relationship with God. (If you are uncomfortable with the concept of a personified deity, please feel free to use a term like "the universe." The divine has many names. Choose one that works for you.)

In these chapters we're going to look at themes such as the interconnectedness of all beings as well as the function and form of prayer. The tools offered here include methods for cultivating gratitude, spiritual journaling, and a guided meditation.

These are our primary relationships. In my opinion they are interrelated and inseparable. We cannot love another person if we have no self-love, and the only way we can demonstrate our devotion to God is through our service for other people. US defines where we are in the broad scheme of existence and who we are at our core. So that's what this book is about: you, me, and God -- US.

Excerpted from "US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships that Matter Most," by Lisa Oz. Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Oz. Excerpted with permission by Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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