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How Goldie Sees The World

From "Laugh In" to "Private Benjamin" to "First Wives Club," Goldie Hawn has been one of America's favorite actresses for close to four decades. Along the way, she's learned a great deal, and hopes to share that wisdom with her new memoir "A Lotus Grows In The Mud."

Click here to read an excerpt.

Written with journalist Wendy Holden, Hawn shares a very personal look at moments both private and powerful and the ways these moments have helped carry her through life.

When she was a child, Hawn tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm, her mom asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and her answer was to be happy.

"That was kind of the main purpose to living," she says, "So my quest in life has really been, how do you do that? I felt obviously like everybody else, a lot of pain. But it's really been an interesting journey to try to hold on to that and how you do it."

In a "60 Minutes" interview with Mike Wallace, for example, she notes how today she is happy that she has an "ugly girl personality."

By writing her book, Hawn says her aim is not teach readers how to live their lives but just to give something back.

"I'm not a teacher," Hawn says, "I felt that I lived a certain way and it would be fun to share that. It's why I didn't write an autobiography, because it's not interesting to explain myself in any way, or to try to tell people what I did right or wrong, and sort of give insights into other people and behavior. Not interesting. But I just learned so much. So I felt that that would be an interesting sort of way to present this story - little stories - and then afterwards, I ponder what I've learned. Not a book to tell what you to do or how to live. So I want to clarify this is not that kind of book.

She writes about falling in love with Kurt Russell: "I couldn't imagine how, approaching my mid-thirties with a demanding job and, by now, celebrity status, I could ever meet someone who would be prepared to take me on, with all my baggage. More important, I feared I would never find someone who would love my children as much as I do, and give them a normal family life. But I was wrong. A miracle happened. Kurt Russell was sent to us by God."

And she offers her philosophy on marriage and why after being together for 22 years, they are still not married. Hawn tells Storm if you don't pay attention to the relation in a busy life, it is easy to lose sight of what you have.

Hawn says, "I look at him as if it's the first time I've ever seen him. I pretend that I just met him. I do all kinds of things, because everything becomes so humdrum. It's very interesting about depression, not that this could lead into that, but repetitive things, like living in the same living room, or doing the same repetitive motion, or going to the same job, or getting in the same car and driving on the same road and doing all of these things, actually can lead to a low-grade depression. That's what happens to the brain."

Today, she says she is studying more about neuro-science and why we do the things we do, as well as "learning how to re-create new neuro pathways in the brain which, I guess, we can do because of brain elasticity," she says. To think that her career started as a dyslexic blonde in "Laugh In."

Hawn recalls mixing up her words the first time they showed her the cue cards to read. "I have so much self-humor that I started laughing. I asked them to please let me do it again. They say, 'No, that was just fine, Goldie.' So I went, 'Oh, OK' And that's how, I guess, this career was born," she says. "It was hard though because I had to be me a lot. I had to pretend I was dyslexic when I actually did read the words properly, so it became a different muscle I had to work."

The book ends with Hawn's account of a trip to a Buddhist monastery in Dharamsala, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, with her sons Oliver Hudson and Boston Russell, a practicing Buddhist and Buddhist scholar then in his final year at the university. She reveals the lesson learned there that served as the inspiration for the title of this memoir. She also offers her reflections on the joys and agonies of letting go of her daughter-Kate Hudson-and watching her become her own person, experiencing life on her own terms.

Facts About Goldie Hawn

1945: Born Goldie Jean Hawn in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 21.

1948: Began taking ballet and tap dance lessons at age 3

1955: Danced in chorus of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo production of "The Nutcracker" at age 10

1961: Stage debut at age 16, playing Juliet in a Virginia Stage Company production of "Romeo and Juliet" in Williamsburg, Va.

1962: Ran her own ballet school by age 17; also instructed

1963: Dropped out of college at age 18

1964: Professional dancing debut in "Can-Can" at the Texas Pavilion of the New York World's Fair

1965: Began working as a professional dancer, including being a go-go dancer in New York; Performed as a singer/dancer in New York revivals of "Guys and Dolls" and "Kiss Me, Kate"

1967: Landed a job dancing in the chorus on an Andy Griffith TV special; signed to an agency after an agent saw her work

1967-1968: TV series debut, played the gossiping neighbor Sandy on CBS sitcom, "Good Morning, World"

1968: Billed as Goldy Jeanne Hawn, made film debut as dancer playing "Giggly Girl;" won a bit part in the Disney period family musical "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band;" met future companion Kurt Russell, then a juvenile lead

1968-1970: Gained fame and two Emmy nods as a featured comedienne on NBC's "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"

1969: Breakthrough feature role, playing kooky Greenwich Village salesgirl Toni Simmons opposite Walter Matthau in "Cactus Flower;" won Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

1970: Hosted first TV special, "Pure Goldie," on NBC

1971: First non-comedy role, co-starred with Warren Beatty in "$" - a caper film

1974: Gave her dramatic performance as a delinquent mother trying to retrieve her child in Steven Spielberg's feature directorial bow, "The Sugarland Express"

1978: Hosted "The Goldie Hawn Special" on CBS

1980: Made the first of nine (as of 1996) visits to India

1980: Co-hosted CBS variety special "Goldie and Liza Together" with Liza Minnelli

1980: Feature producing debut, executive producer of "Private Benjamin" (also starred); nominated for Best Actress Oscar

1982: TV producing debut, "Goldie and Kids. . . Listen to Us", an ABC variety special (also hosted and performed songs)

1987: Served as a host on "The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation"

1990: Co-starred on the ABC variety special "An Evening With Bette, Cher, Goldie, Meryl, Olivia, Lily and Robin," a benefit for "Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet"

1992: Replaced Meg Ryan as star of "Housesitter" opposite Steve Martin

1995: Executive producer of "Something to Talk About," a romantic comedy-drama vehicle for Julia Roberts co-starring Dennis Quaid, Robert Duvall, Gena Rowlands and Kyra Sedgwick

1996: Played herself in the PBS documentary special "In the Wild: The Elephants of India With Goldie Hawn"

1996: Staged a successful "comeback" with Bette Midler and Diane Keaton in the hit comedy "The First Wives Club"

1997: Directorial debut, the TNT TV-movie "Hope"

1999: Reteamed with Steve Martin for a remake of "The Out-of-Towners"

2001: Starred alongside Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty in "Town & Country." Served as an executive producer of the ABC movie "When Billie Beat Bobby" as well as "The Matthew Shepard Story" (NBC).

2002: She was seen on the big screen teamed with Susan Sarandon as former groupies who reunite in "The Banger Sisters."