Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings National

Wishes For Life: A Conversation with Gay Hendricks

Jan 01, 2008 03:00AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Gay Hendricks kicks off Natural Awakenings’ newest feature, “Wise Words”, with the gift of a question that changed the course of his life. Imagining himself on his deathbed, he looked back over his shoulder and asked the pivotal self-query, “Was my life a complete success?” Hendricks was forced to answer “No” and that question has become the touchstone of Hendrick’s newest book, Five Wishes. If our answer, too, is in the negative, it’s not too late to define what we wish would have happened, what it is that would have succeeded in making us happy.

Through reflecting on this question, Hendricks discovered that he could answer it by turning his wishes into goals stated in the present tense. One of his first wishes was, “As I go through life there is nothing significant I leave unsaid or undone.”

Starting with the same question now, we too can identify our greatest priorities and use them to catalyze our most transformative New Year’s resolutions yet. Hendricks’ books, seminars and web courses have helped hundreds of thousands of people realize answers that profoundly reshape the quality of their lives. Ours can be next. But we must be willing to commit body and soul to our ultimate life goal.

Q:   To what goals did your own deathbed wishes direct you?
A:   Here’s what I wrote down about how I wish to feel about my life each day:  “My life is a success because I savor every moment of it along the way. I feel the presence of God all the time everywhere I go. I know what Divinity is and how the universe was created. My life is a success because I write about what is sacred to me. I generate an ongoing record of everything of significance that I learned.” In realizing these goals I am happy.

Q:  In Five Wishes you say that happiness is more than a feeling. What do you mean?
A:  Throughout my career I’ve noticed that individuals frequently mistake happiness for a feeling they get from an event, situation or thing. But this kind of “situational happiness” comes and goes.

After years of meditation and personal observation I’ve discovered that happiness is more than a feeling. It’s a space that I sense around all my feelings. It’s there as a result of letting myself feel all of my emotions. Only after I was willing to welcome every emotion—including those I formerly deemed uncomfortable or inappropriate—did a permanent space of acceptance open up inside my body that I can actually feel. It has a sort of glow to it that I consider true happiness. Meditating every day helps cultivate this sense of space, which has great value in life.

Q:  Why does what you call “the act of completion” give us the energy needed to forward our goals?
A:  The most important types of completions are the significant emotional ones. A good example is when we talk with someone about something that has been left unsaid or discuss feelings that haven’t been shared because of an expected negative reaction. Along the way these have consumed a lot of our energy. Think of it as leaving too many programs running on the computer or leaving loose wires frittering away energy.

The subconscious mind doesn’t forget unfinished business. It keeps score and holds on to everything, which siphons off energy that could be directed to creative projects. I’ve learned that the bigger the incomplete communication, the bigger the burst of energy upon closure. When I made completion a regular practice, my life changed and I realized tremendous health benefits.

Q:  What role do “I wonder” questions play in our life?
A:  I believe that wonder is best appreciated as a verb. Good “I wonder” questions initiate the experience by opening up a space of wonder and not knowing. A space of conscious not knowing is a powerful manifestation tool. It can bring up priorities in our life that we’ve not thought of before.

Gay Hendricks is an internationally renowned author, seminar leader, web entrepreneur and filmmaker. He is the author of more than 20 books including the national bestseller
Conscious Loving and the founder of the Spiritual Cinema Circle. He resides with his wife, author and seminar leader Kathlyn Hendricks, in Ojai, California. Visit his website at

Join Our Community Newsletter