Hope is Always Available

Day 2 – Hope Is Always Available

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

In today’s meditation, we learn that hope is an intrinsic part of who you are, like the love and compassion in your heart. But to make this hope a real and powerful force in life, we need to activate it with self-awareness. Once genuine hope is ignited, it transforms your reality and eradicates fear and uncertainty.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Day 2, “Hope is Always Available.”  Anything can be a miracle, a blessing, an opportunity, if you choose to see it that way.  When you see life through a lens of hope, everything can change.  This can be a challenging concept of practice when you’re in the center of a storm.  I know this is true.  I’ve had a few storms myself.  But what looks like a dark patch or a setback can actually be a beautiful turning point.  Hard to see it when you’re in it.  Maya always used to say, “There’s always a rainbow in the clouds”.

As Michael Bernard Beckwith said on Super Soul Sunday, “I can choose to feel love even when there’s conflict.  What happens I activate my choice muscle, expand my awareness, my life changes.”  Choice muscle…that’s a good concept.

 

When we’re faced with a difficult situation we always have the choice of two reactions…hope or despair.  When you choose hope you open your mind and heart and very naturally you begin to imagine other possibilities.  Are you facing significant life change like getting out of a bad relationship or starting a new job or trying to lose the burden of weight?  Well often we feel chaos or resistance in those moments.  What I do know for sure is that resistance will try to take you down.  So we often put off life-decisions because we don’t take the leap.  Deepak says, “Go for it now.  Hope lives in this moment and every moment.  Don’t waste another second.”

DEEPAK:

We’ve started the journey to make hope real and lasting in our lives.  The first thing to know is that hope is a quality that exists in consciousness, like love or joy.  When a situation looks hopeless we are not seeing clearly.  On its own consciousness is always life-supporting.  Every cell in the body nourishes and supports itself through the wisdom that evolved in our DNA.  Your awareness is just as life-supporting.  But if we make choices that are self-defeating or that deny reality, the mind can lose hope.  The way to heal any situation is to activate hope.  This happens here and now because hope is always a part of our present awareness.  Otherwise hope is mere wishing, which is a dream of the past or future.  Stop and think about the things you hope for at work, in relationships or from yourself.  You will find there is a spectrum of hope that runs from a casual “I hope so” to “My hope is my rock.”  A conviction born of trust and belief in yourself.

Where does such a solid foundation come from?  Your core self.  When you connect with your true-self as we do in meditation, hope develops more strength.  Then “I hope” begins to change your personal reality.  It eradicates fear of uncertainty.  As an example, consider your approach to love.  You may be waiting for the one to magically appear.  An ideal beloved who will make everything right.  You may be in a relationship where love is taken for granted or where the most loving part was at the beginning.  You may feel not enough love.

These are mild forms of hopelessness.  On the other hand a hopeful relationship to love is active and self-directed.  Instead of waiting for the one to magically appear, YOU become the one.  Instead of seeking love, you live and give the love you want by what you say and do.  In both the hopeless and hopeful relationships to love a person hopes to be loved.  Yet only in the second case is this hope active, strong and life-supporting.  At its strongest hope creates the outcome you want in any situation.  It carries the full power of intention.

CENTERING THOUGHT

The power of hope is here every day.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Samprati Hum

My true self is wide awake.

DEE:

Today hope is a strong part of who I am.  And that comes from faith in having a power greater than myself in my life, a god of my own understanding.  And that hope comes from self-awareness.  I didn’t have hope, faith, a god, nor self-awareness until I reached my bottom in my disease of alcoholism.  I just existed on the planet with no purpose, no direction and a huge void in my life.

I don’t believe it was a coincidence when I finally had the desperation to ask for help.  I couldn’t go a day, no matter how much, how long and how hard I tried, to get through a day without drinking.  And that is when my life changed and I became a sponge soaking up this new way of living.

For me a 28-day treatment program and Alcoholics Anonymous has shown me the way to Dee, to understand Dee, to accept and embrace Dee, to love Dee.  And the new Dee has hope because my god is here with and for me to guide and protect me on my journey through life.  And my purpose is to share that with you in your periods of self-doubt and self-loathing, or just in a state of confusion.  We all go there.  We all get over-whelmed.

I just want to share with you that everything is perfect at this very moment.  Stay here.  In the moment.  Love yourself for YOUR gifts.  You have many!  Don’t compare yourself to anyone.  They don’t have YOUR gifts.  And remember that you are perfect just the way you are, right here, right now, on your journey through life.  Keep going.  Enjoy the ride.  Love yourself.  And never forget that you are not on this ride alone.  There are many of us who want to share your journey, to give you hope and compassion.  Don’t deprive us of that.  Please.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in inspirational and motivational gifts with a message, please visit my website at http://www.DeesignsByHarris.com.

From Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s 21-Day Meditation on HOPE.

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Faith Connects Us Heart-to-Heart

FAITH CONNECTS US HEART-TO-HEART

(from Oprah and Deepak – Become What You Believe)

OPRAH:

I believe our greatest power is our ability to love.  That’s where all power is…to show love, to receive it, to BE love.  There are a lot of ways to describe love.  It’s grace and kindness; it’s understanding; it’s forgiveness; it’s respect; it’s cooperation; it’s harmony and reverence for light.  You have the entire power of all that is at your disposal.

Love is trusting and having faith in something larger than yourself.  Every opportunity you get move in the direction of love.  That’s where your greatest power lies.  It’s the power to connect us all in peace…heart-to-heart.

As my friend, Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we’re born with, in our hearts.  Fear is what we learn.”  The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.  Love is the essential reality and our purpose being here on earth.  To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.

Marianne goes on to articulate so beautifully the power of love when she says, “When our minds move in harmony with love, through forgiveness or prayer or the simplest tint of thought, then mountains move and the Universe shifts.”  When we believe in the power of love to move mountains to shift the Universe, miracles will no doubt occur.

DEEPAK:

The strongest imagined bond in the world is the bond of love.  A total transformation occurs when enemies are turned into loved ones.  In the World’s Wisdom Traditions love is deeply connected with spirit.  As the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment.  It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”

To find the heart of creation, you must explore your own heart.  Inside it are stores many experiences of love and non-love.  These two side are in conflict which is why many people find it difficult to place their faith in love.  They have had too many experiences of non-love.  Whether they were experiences of betrayal, rejection, fear or abandonment, trusting in love is hard when painful memories still linger.  That is why we restrict our search for love, in order to not be too exposed or vulnerable or put ourselves in harms way.  Matters of faith must be proven in real life.  This is certainly true of love when we go beyond the personal, expanding love to include more and more people.

The first step is to aspire and live as a loving person.  The second step is to look for situations where love can help.  The third step is to reach out and perform an act of love.

The ego is afraid to be exposed and vulnerable.  But this is a misperception.  An act of love doesn’t mean putting yourself on the line or saying “I love you” out loud.  It means performing an action that helps another person the way you would like to be helped.

Help can come even through a loving thought.  It can come through an act of generosity, an understanding word, or by simply asking, “Are you okay?”.  Your heart already knows what to do.  In fact when we extend ourselves, it is almost always from the fullness of the heart.  When you act out of love you expect nothing in return from the other person.  Love makes no one a victim or a martyr.  Love connects people from heart-to-heart with mutual benefit for both.

A mother finds it easy and natural to turn her love into action.  There is a connection of the heart that bonds mother and child.  Feeling vulnerable or exposed doesn’t come into the picture.  The bond of feeling is unbroken.  This is the idea to keep in mind in extending your love beyond your family and close friends.  Find a sympathy of the heart that feels right.  In this way you avoid stress and strain in the name of love.  A world based on the sympathy of one heart to another would be a perfect world.

CENTERING THOUGHT:  My faith calls me to love.

DEE:

When Oprah says, “Love is trusting and having faith in something larger than yourself”, my heart gets so grateful and full that today I have faith in something larger than myself.  This has changed my whole life, my outlook on life and, more importantly, this has changed ME.

I wasn’t given this life-changing gift until I reached my bottom in the disease of alcoholism, miraculously asked for help, and slowly scraped my way out of the depths of hell.  Prior to this surrender I knew my life was void of something but I couldn’t figure it out.  I had everything that every middle class American woman would want…a family, a home, two cars, a dog and a cat, a job, a loving family and friends.  What was missing?

A Power Greater Than Myself, a God of My Own Understanding, was awarded me by Alcoholics Anonymous.  Not only have I learned to turn my life over, I have learned to stop thinking and to live from my heart.  I have learned to let my god do the driving while I ride along in the passenger seat of our pink convertible Cadillac and enjoy the ride of life (the pink cloud).

When Marianne Williamson says, “Fear is what we learn”,  I thank my AA sponsor for walking me through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to teach me how fear-based I have been my entire life and how to let that go.  Being able to finally get comfortable in my own skin and to love myself for who and what I am is so empowering.  And to learn that my purpose is to share my experience, strength and hope with those who enter my bubble gives me a reason to excitedly arise every morning!

When Deepak says, “Matters of faith must be proven in real life.  This is certainly true of love when we go beyond the personal, expanding love to include more and more people,” I am honored to practice AA’s 12th Step, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs,” in my everyday “real” life.  When I continue to stay active in my recovery, then Step 12 is a no-brainer for me and I can actively accomplish Deepak’s three steps above.

I know for a fact that as I got and stayed sober “One Day at a Time”, I got “unsober’ that way as well.  When I ceased attending meetings, working with my sponsor, picking up the phone, connecting with the fellowship, that void came back into my life.  And, oh yeah, I picked up a drink after over 13 years of sobriety.  The disease immediately reared its ugly head and once again took over my life.  All I could think about once again was the next drink.  Cunning.  Baffling.  Powerful.  The disease of alcoholism.

So don’t go there.  Take it from me.  Learn from my experience, strength and hope.  Stay mindful.  Stay connected.

With much aloha, Dee

For those interested in inspirational gifts, art with a message, please visit my website at http://www.DeesignsByHarris.com.

Advice for Grinches: How to Avoid the Holiday Funk 

Dee:  This blog was inspired by the Chopra Center’s                                                       “Advice for Grinches: How to Avoid the Holiday Funk”

Dee Grinch 12:7:18

Advice for Grinches: How to Avoid the Holiday Funk 

By Sara Schairer 

The holidays are here, and they bring with them an abundance of twinkle lights, parties, cookies, and joy. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? 

Yes. For some lucky people. 

Perhaps this line from the Dr. Seuss’ book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is a more accurate depiction of how you feel about Christmas: “Hate, hate, hate. Hate, hate, hate. Double Hate. LOATHE ENTIRELY!”  The Grinch’s comments refer to his feelings for the Whos, and it quite accurately describes his feeling about the holidays. 

Do you have an inner-Grinch who comes out this time of year? 

Despite the festivities, the holidays bring sadness for many. Feelings of grief and loneliness may rise to the surface. For me, this time of year reminds me of the loss I’ve experienced over the years. I miss my deceased father every holiday season, and I feel sadness about my failed marriage. 

Dee:

A bit of sadness surfaces for me as well as our home is no longer filled with excited-for-Christmas children.  But I still hang lights inside and outside the house.  I put up a small  tree for my husband and me.  I hang stockings.  I send out Christmas cards with a short year-in-brief note.  I bake cookies.  

I do this for ME!  It gives my heart joy.  No sadness necessary for wonderful past memories.  I must stay in the moment and be grateful for them and this moment present in front of my nose.  I lack for nothing.  I am grateful.  I am humble.

But you don’t have to stay stuck in sadness during the holiday sadness. Here are some simple tips to help you stay less Grinch-y and more positive this holiday season. 

1. Self-Compassion 

Self-compassion meditations and simple practices can help you gracefully navigate sadness and grief. By remembering the three main pillars of self-compassion (mindfulness, common humanity, self-kindness), you can stay attuned to your suffering with more grace and ease. 

Dee:

For me self-compassion and meditations both bring me back to this present moment.  In this present moment I don’t have to pick up a drink or drug.  That wasn’t always the case.  I would be hanging up Christmas lights in a snow storm on a metal ladder.  Year after year.  Stupid.  Drunk.  I would bake cookies, wrap gifts and decorate the inside of the house to all hours of the night.  Year after year.  Drunk.  High.  I would black out and then pass out while opening gifts.  Sick.  Sad.

No more.  Today I have a choice to not pick up a drink or a drug.  For that and Alcoholics Anonymous I am truly grateful and truly humble.  I can practice self-compassion and love myself for who and what I am…today…one day at a time.

2. Gratitude 

Research indicates that a daily or weekly gratitude practice enhances overall well-being, and a simple gratitude practice can take just five minutes or less of your time each day. 

At the end of the day, write down three things for which you are grateful. Instead of the normal responses like my health and family, ratchet up the practice by looking back on your day and picking out specific highlights. For example, you could write, “I am grateful for the lunch and laughs I shared with my co-workers. We ate outside and enjoyed the crisp air and sunshine.” 

Dee:

I start my day and end my day in bed, duh.  Before getting out of bed to face the day I turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God, a God of My Own Understanding to whom I was introduced working the 12 Steps of AA.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not promoting AA.  I am promoting YOU and your well-being.  There are many support groups in your neck of the woods that can help walk you through whatever ails you.  AA was introduced to me in rehab and they loved me until I could love myself.  Find your tribe!

Before falling asleep I again deeply connect with my Higher Power so thankful for his driving me around throughout the day while I enjoyed the passenger seat.  I got to meet new people, experience new adventures, all without having to be in control or affect the outcome.  Everything turned out perfectly!

3. Cultivate Joy 

The human brain focuses on the negative, which means you need to intentionally cultivate more positivity in your life. It’s referred to as the brain’s negativity bias and research suggests that you need a three-to-one ratio of positive feelings to negative feelings in order to flourish. 

Dee:

It seems like the older I get the harder it is to muster up any energy.  So when I do scoop up a pile or two of energy, I choose to use it in a positive way.  I remember how exhausting it was to live a life in active alcoholism, having to drink everyday, but more exhausting was the guilt, shame, hiding, lying and cheating.  That negative shit took all the energy I had and I had nothing left for me, let alone joy.

One way to add more positivity is through self-affirmation. Take time each day to think of things you appreciate about yourself. A gratitude practice also infuses your day with positivity. 

Dee:

One thing we did in rehab was to make up an affirmation and recite it to the group every morning for 28 days.  I chose, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  At that time in my life I felt anything but good nor whole.  I was a piece of shit wasting space on the planet with no purpose.

But reciting this affirmation has helped me tremendously to get back in the moment, to remember where I am today and how I got here.  As I peeled the layers of the onion skin off of myself I realized that I do, indeed, have a purpose.  To share my experience, strength and hope with those who enter my Dee Bubble.  Those who are going through tough times, whether from addictions, abuses, or just too much on their plates.

Today I am able to use my tough times to help me stay grounded, grateful and humble.  I needed those tough times to bring me to this calmness and lightness in my life.  So I share with you that you are not alone on your journey.  And that everything is perfect right now.  Just go in faith and not fear.  Live from your heart and not your head.

4. Minimize Social Media Consumption 

If you’re regularly (obsessively?) checking your Facebook and Instagram feeds, try to bring awareness to how you’re feeling. Do you notice sadness, uneasiness, or any tightness? Your mind might be comparing your life to the lives you see online. Since most people only highlight their best moments on social media, you are most likely not getting the full picture of someone’s life. Comparing your normal, flawed life to one that appears to be perfect is a recipe for sadness. 

Try putting your phone down more often and staying off of social media. Notice if any of your feelings shift. 

Dee:

I use social media mostly to promote my business.  But getting on Facebook or Instagram draws me in to life outside my Bubble.  I experience everyone’s journeys and get to be a part of.  I get joy from these long-distance interactions.

I no longer need to compare my journey with yours as I know now that we are all alike with both good times and hard times.  I finally feel good enough in my own skin that I don’t need to impress you.  I have my own gifts as you have yours.  And sharing our gifts with one another makes the world a better place.

5. Find a Holiday Accountability Buddy 

Do you know someone else who has experienced loss or has a tough time during the holidays? If so, reach out to that person and see if you can lean on each other every day. Send this person a quick text once a day to check in, and he or she can do the same for you. 

You might want to use this accountability as a way to start or enhance your daily gratitude practice. 

Dee:

In AA it was suggested I get a sponsor, someone I trust, with whom I can share my journey and who could walk me through the 12 Steps of AA.  So I did and she has helped me to grow in ways far beyond my wildest dreams.  She is my accountability buddy, not just during the holidays, but everyday!

And when she is unavailable I have the fellowship of AA to nurture, protect and teach me.  I am never alone, nor are YOU!  Find like-minded people for your tribe to help you through the holidays and to enrich your life.

6. Take Deep Breaths 

If a formal meditation practice isn’t your style, you can experiment with a brief breathing practice to help you bring awareness to the moment and calm yourself. Research shows that by taking a big, slow, deep inhale, and then exhaling slowly, you can calm your body’s response to stress. 

Dee:

We all experience holding our breath in that fight or flight situation.  But why am I not taking deep breaths in calm situations?  If you’re like me it takes getting back in the moment, knowing we are being cared for and protected, getting out of self that brings by breathing back into a healthy rhythm.  It takes practice but I hope someday to breathe deeply naturally.

7. Practice Generosity 

While it is said that, “it is better to give than to receive,” you might not feel this around the holidays. The added expenses, packed stores, and overall stress that comes with holiday gift-giving might make you feel like giving is not the best way to get out of your Grinch-y attitude. 

True, heartfelt generosity doesn’t equate to stress, however. You can be generous with your time, your hugs, your smile, and your listening ear. If you do have extra funds, you can support nonprofits who might rely on end-of- year giving to support their work. 

Dee:

I learned early on in my recovery that unless I give it back, I won’t keep it.  And I found that to be true when I got complacent in my sobriety, stopped going to meetings, stopped AA altogether and found my defects of character, my old sick way of being and doing and thinking come back…one day at a time.  And then I drank.

I cannot afford to let down my guard.  My disease of alcoholism deserves the respect I give to the ocean.  I am careful.  I don’t turn my back on it.  I must take nothing for granted.

So I give back.  This time of year especially and year-round as well I give my Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration to local fundraisers, especially to AA.  I give a portion of my earnings all year-round to our local AA, which gets doled out to the district, the area, and the world.  If I don’t give it away, I can’t keep it.  Today my life is good.  I want to keep it that way!

8. Volunteer 

Speaking of nonprofits, many of them can use an extra hand during the holidays. The need for many services may increases during the winter months. Find a nonprofit in your community that needs help and spend some time serving your community. 

Because of your compassionate feelings, you just might feel a boost. 

Dee:

One volunteer commitment that is sure to give me that boost is speaking once or twice a month at our local DUI classes.  I do this not as community service but as a service to my community.  My hope is that one person will leave the class feeling hopeful and optimistic by hearing my experience, strength and hope.  Hopefully, I can change a life for the better.

And with the holidays just around the corner, what a hard time to try to get and stay clean and sober.  So I’ve volunteered to lead one of the 24-Hour Alkathons that the newcomer or person struggling can attend non-stop from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.

These volunteer commitments get me out of self.  They help to remind me where I’ve come from and how good it is today.  They help me to not drink one day at a time and to give back what was so freely given me when I needed it most – compassion.

Thank you for being here and I hope I was able to offer you some hope and optimism.  Wishing you the happiest of holidays and, if you feel overwhelmed, know that you are not alone.  Help is just a phone call away.

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those looking for Gifts with a Message of Hope and Optimism, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Try out some of these techniques and send your inner Grinch into hibernation this winter. 

Learn a natural, effortless style of meditation that helps invite renewal and freshness into every day with Basics of Meditation, a self-paced online course guided by Deepak Chopra.

About the Author 

Sara Schairer (/bios/sara-schairer) 

Sara Schairer is the founder and executive director of COMPASSION IT (http://compassionit.com/), a start-up nonprofit organization and global social movement whose mission is to inspire daily compassionate actions and attitudes. She created the one-of-a-kind reversible COMPASSION IT wristband (http://compassionit.com/wristbands/) prompting compassionate actions on six continents, 48 countries, and all 50 states. Wristband sales fund compassion education programs for youth, teens, and adults. As a public speaker, Sara encourages her audiences to “compassion it” in their daily lives. A Stanford-certified instructor of Compassion Cultivation… Read more (/bios/sara-schairer) 

The Chopra Center

Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Dee:  This blog was inspired by the Chopra Center Meditation, 

“Moving from Surviving to Thriving” 

1_GreenGrassMOS (DbH) copy

Moving from Surviving to Thriving

“There is a force within that gives you life. Seek that.” — Rumi

Today we want to investigate what it takes to move our life from merely surviving to thriving. Too often we are preoccupied with simply trying to meet our daily needs. In survival mode, life energy may feel fragmented and depleted and our mind full of fear and frustration. But we are designed to thrive in life. To do that we only need to consciously live in the present moment. This open, creative, and purposeful state of awareness is our true self. When we live this wholeness of consciousness, we are thriving, and every thought and action is fulfilling.

Deepak:

If you paused and looked at your life today, are you thriving or just surviving?  To survive means that you’re meeting the necessities of life, such as food and shelter.  Surviving would also mean that those needs are met but you go about your daily experience without paying attention.  You wake up at the same time, put on the same clothes, drive to work or school the same way, eat the same comfortable food for lunch, follow the same evening routine as usual, and complete your day only to rise again and start all over.

Dee:

Why is it that I awaken every morning with a sense of excitement that the day ahead of me holds?  I awaken with a sense of gratitude and peace that all will be just perfect, no matter what happens.

Because today I have a Power Greater Than Myself in my life, a Higher Power of My Own Understanding, that I was able to make up in my mind and from my heart.  I learned to do this in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous when I entered in a state of disrepair, a loser, a waste of space on the planet.

I have learned to use the teachings, the suggestions, that AA has offered me to live a better, more meaningful life today.  And today I wake up knowing that my Higher Power, the driver of my car, my life, will take me to the experiences and people I need to meet, and learn from, and grow from, as I, as the passenger, just enjoy the ride.

And then I go to bed at night, again, with a sense of gratitude for today’s growth.

Deepak:

To thrive means that you’re free to explore and expand.  Seeing life as a field of opportunity rather than a fragile balance between making it and not making it.  This doesn’t mean you have to throw off all responsibilities or invite unnecessary chaos and disruption to experience something different.

Today we’ll discover what it means to thrive.  If wholeness is the field of pure consciousness, then each of us is designed to thrive.  The secret is to make choices that expand your awareness instead of choices that contract it.

Dee:

I remember being in a 28-day treatment program for alcoholism.  One of our group’s daily routines was to express an affirmation each of us came up with for our lives to share with the group.  An affirmation is emotional support or encouragement and in this group we used words.

So here Deepak speaks of wholeness which is why I bring this up.  My affirmation was, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  At that time in my life I felt anything but good nor whole.  I felt a sense of purposelessness.  I had nothing for which to thrive and nothing to give.  Yet I was a mom of two beautiful sons, I had a wonderful husband, a good joy, a college degree, a house, two cars in the garage, and even a dog.  So why this sense of being not good and not whole?

Because I could not go a day without drinking and that drinking took me to dark places.  I was void and empty inside.  I was bewildered, puzzled at what the hell was wrong with me that the next drink was more important to all the gifts I had been given in my life.

Many years later, many years of sobriety and working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, many years of rigorous honesty, has led me to a spiritual place today.  I still repeat my affirmation.  And in my very core I can now feel that I AM a good person, I AM a whole person.  I am grateful for the journey that has led me to who I am today.

Deepak:

The opposite of wholeness is separation which comes down to living your life in a fragmented way.  We all do this.  We choose the people we want to be with and avoid or ignore others.  We are grateful for moments of fleeting joy and seek distractions to escape our everyday routine.  But no one is really satisfied living with bits and pieces of fulfillment.  We want to thrive and yet this desire cannot be fulfilled as long as the mind is restless and dissatisfied.

The source of wholeness and separation is the same.  In wholeness your consciousness is ever-expanding to find new ways to be fulfilled.  When you see your life as separate from others, your mind is attuned to limitations, such as failure, fear and frustration, so you grasp on to shreds of fulfillment, grateful for what you can get.

Dee:

Working the 12 Steps has opened new doors for me, has turned on the light bulb, has brought me to the realization that because I did not have a sense of self-worth or self-respect, and definitely no self-love, I lived in fear.  

So when I was “on stage” with you I ACTED the role that my life was awesomeness.  I wanted, I needed, your approval.  I went out of my way, put my family and myself last, to win your approval.  All out of fear.

Today I love myself for who and what I am.  More importantly, I understand who and what I am.  And I can put myself, my well-being, my recovery and spirituality first.  The rest falls into place.

Deepak:

Most people seek to improve their lives externally and what they value are tokens of fulfillment, like high income, a big house, a successful career.  But you can achieve all of those things and still feel unfulfilled because the restless, fragmented mind can never be satisfied.

Think of the stereotypes you see in the movies and on TV.  The midlife crisis man who leaves his wife for a younger model.  The rich kid who has it all but hold secret pain and yearns for a way out.  The unappreciated mother who finally sheds her burdens and lives the adventurous, carefree life she denied herself for years.

There is a reason these cliches are repeated time and again.  They are normalized feelings of discontent that most people can in some way identify with.  To get past this the secret is to let your awareness rest in its natural state of expansive receptivity.

Dee:

For me to let my awareness rest is to be in the moment, that place right in front of my nose.  There I can turn everything over to my Higher Power, the Universe, Mother Nature, God, whatever you want to call it.  Find what works for you because you know it wasn’t by your doing that this is all here.

Being in the moment reminds me that everything is perfect, right here, right now.  That my God has my back and is control.  There are no coincidences.  There are no reasons to regret the past nor worry about the future.  I shall be protected, loved and nurtured if I just have faith, turn off my thinking and go with my heart.

Deepak:

In any situation you’re either expanding or contracting in your conscious response.  When you’re consciously abiding in awareness you are in the present moment and your consciousness is expansive, creative and energized.  Your body-mind responds to each situation from a place of balance, harmony, and ease.

On the other hand when your mind is contracted and fearful you simply react impulsively.  This is a mind that responds with an automatic reflex of contracting.  Contracting is easy to identify.  You feel tense, uncomfortable, tired, perhaps even anxious.  You want the situation that challenges you to simply go away or resolve itself while you back out.  

Even if you don’t freeze up you react the way you have always reacted in the past.  The reactive mind is based on a primal belief that life is uncertain and threatening.  Therefore your stance must be one of closed off self-defense.

Dee:

With my toolbox for living that AA has given me in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, I find myself no longer having to react.  I am much calmer.  I can step back from drama and chaos and assess the whole situation.  

Spirituality has taught me to breathe and accept, even embrace, these situations.  What can I learn?  How can I grow?  What can I share?

Deepak:

The opposite of the reactive mind is the resilient mind.  This is the state of openness, acceptance and trust.  A resilient mind embraces new situations as creative opportunities.  

People who are open and accepting have a foundation for personal evolution.  They discover new resources in themselves every time they confront a new challenge.  In fact some psychologists studying those people who grow older while remaining young inside believe that the best thing you can do to remain young is to take on difficult challenges at any age.

Once you create the inner state of expanding awareness it’s only natural to radiate that energy all around you.  Then you have the effect of making other people feel that they can thrive by following your example.

Dee:

Today I feel I have a purpose in my life that I did not have when I was in my active disease of alcoholism.  Today I “get to” share my experience, strength and hope with all those who enter my Dee Bubble and I find that I do, indeed, have the effect of making other people feel that they can thrive.  For that I forever grateful.  And I remain forever humble.

With warmest aloha,

   Dee Harris

For those interested in another way I share my experience, strength and hope, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Deepak:

We all know the difference between friends and family who feel contracted, judgmental, and unhappy, and others who feel open, loving, and welcoming.  The second group are influences of expansion.  Their energy feels different.  They’ve found the secret for how to thrive and not merely survive.

In our meditation we go to the source of pure consciousness which is infinitely expanded.  From there we follow our own path to fulfillment for ourselves and everyone we influence.

 

Bringing Fulfillment Closer

Dee:  This blog was inspired by the Chopra Center Meditation, 

“Bringing Fulfillment Closer”.

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Bringing Fulfillment Closer

Deepak:

Your life’s purpose is about finding fulfillment which is where your energy should be directed.  When you feel fulfilled psychologists would say you are thriving.  But even in the most developed prosperous societies only about one-third of people are thriving.

The reasons for this are centered on stress, inner states like depression and anxiety, feeling insecure, worrying about the future, and so on.  The challenge is to improve the condition of your mental and psychological energy because that’s how you can improve your inner quality of your life.

Fulfillment is a daily goal and a life-long goal at the same time.  In the field of positive psychology it’s been found that the happiest lives are constructed from happy days.  How do we achieve this in the face of life’s difficulties and wounds lingering from the past?

The first issue is one of healing.  Whether it’s a physical trauma, emotional, mental or spiritual, everyone has had some sort of experience that could benefit from healing attention.  No one is free from the need to heal and becoming your own healer is always available to you.

All positive experiences have the potential to heal.  From the concept of “laughter is the best medicine” to meditation and other inner practices.  By design the body-mind possesses the natural ability to return to a healthy balanced state.  This implies that we need to get out of the way and let the healing response do its work.

Dee:

For me, my life’s difficulties and wounds that lingered from the past was my addiction to alcohol.  How do I heal from my alcoholism?  How can I call my alcoholism a “positive” experience?

Well today I can my my disease a positive experience.  I can call myself a grateful alcoholic.  For had I not been able to experience the negativity that goes along with any addiction like the lying, cheating, stealing, hiding, selling your soul and much more to get that next high which you cannot go one day without, I would not have experienced the positive I have today in my life in recovery.

And as far as the concept of “laughter is the best medicine”, if you’ve ever been in an AA meeting and heard the laughter from someone’s horrific alcoholic “war story”, you will realize that this laughter is healing.  We learn to love ourselves for who and what we are.  We learn to accept ourselves and realize that we are, indeed, gifts on this planet.  We can share our experience, strength and hope with others who enter our bubbles and who are experiencing life difficulties of their own.

This laughter, this meeting, this fellowship, this “getting out of the way” is all foreign to a newcomer in Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the other fantastic support groups available to us.  These fellowships provide a toolbox for healing, and living, in their 12 Steps.  

We find like-minded people who show us that our problems are not unique.  We no longer have to live in guilt and shame.  We get comfortable enough to share our stories, our lives, our deepest secrets, with one we trust, who holds our confidence, and expects nothing in return but our well-being.

We are introduced to an idea of creating a “God of Our Own Understanding”, a “Power Greater Than Ourselves”, to whom we can eventually turn our will and our lives over to.  It all sounded pretty suspicious and puzzling to me, too, but what did I have to lose?  I already loathed myself, couldn’t go a day without drinking, and felt I was a waste of space on the planet.

So when we “get out of the way and let the healing response do its work”, we turn our difficulties and wounds over to our new God (which, by the way, could be a rock, or a doorknob, or the fellowship or anything your little heart conjures up).  We learn that living from our minds and egos no longer serve us and we start living from our hearts.  We learn to trust and have faith that everything is perfect at this moment, and has been all along; we just didn’t know it.

Deepak:

Good sleep and reduced stress are two major ways to let the healing response work as it was intended to.  However, the healing most people need centers on meaning and purpose.  Water brings life to a garden when you direct it at each plant.  But water sprayed aimlessly in the air has no purpose and, therefore, brings little benefit.

The same is true of scattered aimless energy in you life.  We don’t need to do much to give our energy a direction.  All you need is a simple heart-felt intention to be open and aware.  That means you meet the present moment ready to be of the greatest service to those around you.  The boundless power and intelligence of creation will do the rest.  

When you are awake to the present moment, you will be guided to give love and receive love as well.  You will find ways to be of service to others and to make contributions that lead to a sense of accomplishment.  This gentle intention has tremendous power because your intention naturally increases and supports those positive experiences.

In my active addiction I didn’t have good sleep.  It seems like forever and a day I drank myself into a pass-out state and when I awoke, I came to.  My life was full of stress.  I worried more about what you thought of me than about what I thought of me.  Remember, I loathed and actually hated myself.  

I lived in fear of my appearances and behaviors.  I couldn’t trust myself when I drank.  So I became a closet drinker.  But the disease many times took me out in the real world where I met you, but don’t remember you, because I was in a black-out.

In my active addiction I had no religion nor spirituality.  I just had me and my brain and neither could stop me from drinking everyday.  I definitely had no purpose and oftentimes wondered why I was here.

Today I am so grateful I didn’t come to on that day when I missed my shift at work.  I am so grateful of the guilt and shame of what I thought I allowed myself become.  I am so grateful of not knowing if I had called work because I was in a black-out.  I am so grateful of the humiliation I felt not being able to ask my family what I had done, what I had said, who, if anyone, I had spoken to.

Wow, I don’t have to live that way today.  Today I have a choice of whether or not I want to put a drink in me.  I didn’t have that choice before.  And today, just for today, I choose this life in recovery where I have fulfillment, I have purpose, and I have a love for myself that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams.

Thank you for being here with me today.  My hope is that one person who reads this gets a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.  My hope is that one person realizes he is not alone and can ask for help.  My hope is that one person can shed the guilt and shame and learn to love himself for who and what he is…a unique gift that no one else on this planet is!

With warmest aloha,

Dee Harris

For those interested in Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Youthful Energy Is Dynamic and Resilient

Dee:  This blog was inspired by the Chopra Center Meditation, “Youthful Energy is Dynamic and Resilient”.

Youthful Energy Is Dynamic and Resilient

“The most important energy is human spiritual energy, the energy of the mind, the energy that exists within us.” — Yoko Ono

Deepak:

When your energy is fresh, renewed, and joyful, there will always be enough for anything you want to do.  This is a holistic view of energy that goes far beyond the physical energy you get from food and exercise.  You also need emotional and mental energy for your mind.  We know that the body and mind are so deeply interrelated that it makes more sense to call it “the body-mind”. 

Your body at birth was a miracle of energy being used perfectly.  A newborn appears to sleep most of the time but there is enormous activity inside.  In fact, up to 70% of a newborn’s energy is being used to grow the brain.  Now as an adult you aren’t the same as a baby in one crucial way.  You must organize your energy yourself. 

This is a basic map for a holistic view of energy.  The entire body-mind is involved.  If you were asked the best way to increase your energy at every level, you might reply that you’d eat better, not skip breakfast, go to the gym more often, and so on.  You’d be focusing on physical energy.

But in reality the people who enjoy the best energy have a secret.  They are dynamically resilient.  They possess the flexibility to handle anything life brings to them…physically, mentally and emotionally…and after a situation is handled they bounce back quickly.

Dee:

Bouncing back quickly doesn’t come easily once we’ve reached adulthood.  Whilst growing up we’ve been bombarded by experiences, propaganda, media and people who assured us that more is better, stab whoever you need to in order to achieve these goals, look young and beautiful, and the more power, the better.

Wait a minute.  This doesn’t serve us.  This doesn’t nurture us.  This doesn’t allow us to be and do our best and be okay with who we are.  Oh great.  Now we have to unlearn all this.  No!  We get to unlearn all this because we know in our hearts that this way of thinking doesn’t serve us.  It destroys us and everyone around us.  Just look at our world today.  Sad, huh?

The way I was able to unlearn all this bullshit was in a roundabout way.  I didn’t plan it.  I didn’t know it would bring me to this place where I am today.  But I’m an alcoholic.  I didn’t know that either.  I found I couldn’t go a day without drinking, no matter how hard and how many ways I tried, I was baffled.  I hated myself.  I had no purpose.  I would look in the mirror with my hand forming an “L” and called myself a loser.  Pretty shitty, huh?

Well one day instead of coming to when my kids came home from school, I continued on in my pass-out state.  I missed my shift at work.  I was humiliated, guilt-ridden and full of shame.  How was I going to lie myself out of this one?

I had no more energy.  I was exhausted.  Exhausted of years of hiding, lying and cheating in order to drink everyday.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  So I called my boss at work and told her my honest to God truth (didn’t actually have a God at that time, that I knew of).  She helped me get into rehab and that’s where my life as it is today began.

My life today is one of gratitude and humility.  Today I get to make choices.  Today I choose to not have a drink.  I didn’t have that choice before getting sober and learning about the disease of alcoholism.

Today I have a purpose…to share my experience, strength and hope with anyone who enters my Dee Bubble.  I get to be rigorously honest without shame or guilt.  I can finally love myself for who and what I am!

I can be dynamically resilient because today I have a Higher Power of My Own Understanding who I honestly and faithfully know has my back.  I can get back into my ego and selfishness, my fear-based self.  But I don’t.  I don’t want to be that person anymore.  I don’t want to lie and be exhausted anymore.

So my resiliency comes from letting my Higher Power do the driving and knowing that everything is perfect at this moment.  When shit happens, it’s for a reason.  To help me.  Go figure.  I am to use each and every experience as a tool for learning, and growing, and being a better human being.  So I bounce back and remember that my glass is half-full.  I’m just along for the ride and the ride is like being on a magic carpet!

Deepak:

Dynamic resilience is biological at one level.  For example our tissues heal from a sprained ankle or we recover from a cold virus through the dynamic nature of the healing response.  But resilience as a holistic quality means that you rebound mentally and psychologically too.  If you want to be a powerful person, be resilient.  That’s far more important than toughness or assertiveness.

Your body-mind was designed to bounce back with dynamic energy.  The key isn’t just eating a balanced whole-foods diet and getting regular physical activity.  You need to boost the quality of your energy which involves getting good sleep and reducing stress.  

These are the two lifestyle factors that many people neglect.  Not realizing that lack of sleep and daily stress are the biggest energy drainers in modern life.  They also diminish the quality of our energy making us groggy, depressed and lacking enthusiasm.  

Fortunately stress and sleep issues are factors we can control through our lifestyle choices.  Once you begin to actively attend to sleep and stress you build a platform for improving the quality of your energy.  This happens by making positive choices everyday and minimizing negative choices.  Whether it has to do with family, work, your primary relationship or how you relate to yourself.

Dee:

So use your Higher Power.  If you don’t have one, make one up or use mine.  Have faith that something greater than yourself created the earth, this universe, this galaxy, and it wasn’t you.  Remember that you have no control over people, places and things, you can just make choices.  Just do your best and love yourself for that.

Hey, we’re all in this together.  Each and everyone of us has “issues”.  We are not alone.  There is a wealth of support out there for you when you get sick and tired of being exhausted from the lying, cheating and hiding.  You are only lying, cheating and hiding from yourself.

You’re going to be okay.  You ARE okay.  You’re YOU! with all your glory.  So love yourself for the gift that you ARE!

With warmest aloha,

Dee Harris

For those interested in Art with a Message of Hope and Optimism, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Youthful Energy Happens Today

Dee:  This blog was inspired by the Chopra Center Meditation, “Youthful Energy Happens Today”.

Youthful Energy Happens Today

Deepak:

The two words “young” and “energetic”naturally go together.  The unbounded energy of children amazes and delights us.  Life pours through them and this energy is happy, playful and joyous.  It’s not the amount of energy that keeps us young; it’s the quality of energy.  

No matter our physical age the potential for energy of our childhood exists; it is always inside us.  You were designed to experience this kind of energy everyday and by paying attention to the quality of your energy you discover the secret for keeping your energy level up at the same time.  

When someone tells you that you look young, it’s a compliment that rests on a biological fact.  But the real reason you want to feel youthful and energetic is so that you can do all the things you want to do in life and experience everything to the fullest.  To be young in mind, body and spirit begins with energy as you process it in every cell.  All living things process energy in order to stay alive.

The first secret of youthful energy for life is to realize that this processing is ageless.  Energy flows in and out of you constantly, undergoing the same actions of breathing, eating, digesting, and healing that make you the most complex living creature on the planet.

The energy of your life expresses itself in four areas.  Physical energy is your capacity to move and work.  Mental energy allows you to understand issues and solve problems.  While emotional energy determines your ability to care and love others with patience, compassion, and tolerance.  Spiritual energy is the unlimited source and aim of all the other expressions of energy and you connect with it through meditation and present-moment awareness.

Everyone needs energy for all the demands in life.  But different types of people have different energy needs.  It is normal for physical energy to be at its peak in early adulthood while mental and emotional maturity usually arrive afterward.  

An exhausted, stressed teenager has a poor quality of energy and, therefore, is promoting the aging process far more than a fresh, joyful person who’s chronologically older.  When the quality of your energy today is optimized you will be in a state of restful alertness that you never need to lose.  This is the second secret of youthful energy.  

We don’t have a finite amount of energy that runs out like a depleting bank account.  Life-sustaining energy is constantly renewed.  Every cell in your body depends on this because cells don’t store up food, water and air for more than around three seconds.  Instead they thrive by living in the moment and trusting that abundant energy is naturally there.  When we have the same attitude we maintain the unbounded energy as children.

This brings up the third secret about energy – meditation increases it.  The popular belief that meditation is only a restful nap or quick way to relax misses the essential point.  Meditation renews energy at the source while at the same time it adds the qualities that make energy life-enhancing – joy, creativity, freshness, and alertness.  

Meditation is the technique but we also need a vision for lifelong youthful energy and that vision is wholeness.  Eating a certain amount of calories will put enough fuel in your body.  But what about mental energy, motivation or creativity?  What about feeling young at heart and experiencing love and fulfillment?  You need a source of energy for all these things in order to thrive and food isn’t enough.

Dee:

Staying mindful, in the moment, that place right in front of our noses, that is where we allow that youthful energy to happen today.  Not from the regrets of yesterday nor the worries of tomorrow.  Those places suck the energy right out of us.

So get in touch with who you are.  What you’re feeling.  Not about life itself.  But about who you are and how you feel about yourself.  Are you pissed because life has dealt you the victim card?  Are you angry because someone treated you unfairly?

You know, all things happen for a reason and there IS a reason these events happened.  It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to consider these life events in a negative or a positive way.  Because I don’t want to live my life nor exert my energy in a negative way, I choose to be positive and see the glass half-full.  Life is easier and a hell of a lot better that way.

Knowing that everything happens for a reason, reasons that are out of my control (like every person, place or thing with which I come in contact), I can be comfortable in knowing that my Higher Power, my spiritual being that has my back and is dealing me the cards I am ready to receive, is giving me lessons that will only help me as a human being.  I shall learn and grow and share with others these lessons.

And with this Power Greater Than Myself I can finally realize that I have gifts.  Gifts that no one else on the planet has.  I don’t need to compare my gifts with yours.  I don’t have to feel any less than nor better than you.  We are all equal human beings.  Shall we nurture and love each other or shall we destroy and hate each other?  

I hope you choose to be that loving and innocent child that came into the world full of excitement, acceptance and curiosity.  That inner-child is and always will be in you.  Allow it to come out, don’t worry about what anyone will think or say.  Just be you.  Love you!  Let that youthful energy happen!

With warmest aloha,

Dee Harris

For those interested in my Art with a Message of Positivity and Optimism, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

From the Chopra Center Meditation

9 Ways to Increase the Positivity in Your Life

When certain blogs touch me I share them with you, with a few short paragraphs from me about how it pertains to my life in recovery…Dee Harris

9 Ways to Increase the Positivity in Your Life 

By Karson McGinley

You have more control over your happiness than you might think. In fact, the happiest people don’t leave their life satisfaction to chance, they do the work necessary to make their happiness a priority. While there is no happiness switch that you can simply turn on, focusing your attention on positive thoughts and actions through mindfulness will most certainly lead you toward a more enjoyable and meaningful life. 

Research shows that if you are willing to mindfully assess your current practices and thought patterns, and integrate some key choices into your life, you too can work your way up the happiness scale and experience the full spectrum of positivity that life has to offer. 

What Is Positivity? 

Positivity is more than just an optimistic and positive attitude. It consists of the full range of positive emotions— those that feel good in your body, mind, and heart. Positivity takes many forms and can be sparked by just about anything; however, it is not the same as happiness. Happiness is a result while positivity is a choice. While it is not really possible to just be happier, it is always possible to choose positivity over negativity. 

Barbara Frederickson, the world-renowned researcher and positive psychologist, identifies 10 forms of positivity that show up most often in people’s lives (while there are certainly other positive emotions in the emotional lexicon, these 10 have been the subject of the most research by positive psychologists):

•Joy 

•Gratitude 

•Serenity 

•Hope 

•Interest 

•Pride 

•Amusement 

•Inspiration 

•Awe

•Love 

When was the last time you felt each of these emotions? In her book, Positivity, Frederickson says that “getting in tune with your own positivity means going beyond one-size-fits-all terms like happy and good in favor of more precisely named emotional states.” Simply identifying the full range of possibilities brings them into closer reach. Positivity is everywhere, and appears in all shapes and sizes. 

Dee:

I always try to look at the glass “half full”, no matter what.  In happy/positive times that’s easy.  In more traumatic and trying times, not so easy.  But if I remember that everything happens for a reason, that I have no control over people, places, or things, I can faithfully realize that my Higher Power has a message for me, something for me to learn, and a way to help me grow.

Let’s say there’s a mass shooting or flood where many lives have been lost.  Tragic, yeah?  But when you see the compassion and love pouring in from all over the planet from those who weren’t in the midst of this tragedy, that would be a positive, would it not?

I have been told, “Dee, let me feel my grief.”  From that I have learned that we all have our own ways of dealing with our emotions and not to push my “look on the positive side” shit all the time.  Be mindful.  Be empathetic.

Why Should It Matter? 

There’s good reason to make your positivity a priority. At its most basic level, feeling good feels good, and is usually a sign that life-threatening diseases, illnesses, and circumstances are not consuming your energy. However, the latest research shows that not only is positivity a result of health, success, and well-being, it is a cause of these states too. 

Barbara Frederickson’s famous Broaden and Build Theory states that positive thoughts and emotions broaden people’s perspectives, and open their hearts and their minds. The more open they are to the gamut of possibilities, the greater joy they feel. And the more broad life feels, the more people can build upon their resources and their ability to handle whatever life throws their way. While negativity constrains your experience of the world, positivity expands it—literally! Evidence shows that positivity increases life span by up to 10 years.

Dee:

I have also found that being negative, angry or resentful (negative) takes a lot more energy than to be positive.  Being negative doesn’t serve me.  It takes energy that I don’t have and the energy I do have I would rather expend on something positive, if possible.

 Check out these nine ways to adjust your focus toward positivity. 

1. Take Inventory of Your Thoughts 

It all starts with your thoughts. How much positivity you experience is a direct result of how you choose to interpret the experiences in your life, so get real about your habits of thought. If you take time to see the good in any situation, you will feel more positive feelings as a result. So take responsibility for how your thoughts affect your emotional state, and decide whether your current habits benefit or hinder your enjoyment of life. 

Dee:

And remember to put YOU first.  Nurture yourself and love yourself for the uniquely gifted human being that you are.  Then all else falls into place.  When I allow myself to be in the moment (usually after I get that oh-oh feeling in my gut), I get back centered.  I get back to gratitude and humility and turn my will and my life back over to the care of a God of My Own Understanding who has my back and has everything under control.

Here are some ways to take inventory: 

See challenges as opportunities. A good way to check in with your current thought patterns is to notice how your mind responds (or reacts) when things go well or poorly. 

For example, if your best work friend gets a promotion, is your first thought one of support and excitement for that friend, or one of jealousy, resentment, and frustration? Or if you run out of gas on your way to pick up your kids from school, are you able to stay calm and centered, or do you see it as yet another way you are being punished by some almighty power? People with a positive outlook see obstacles as opportunities for growth and are able to experience empathetic joy for others’ good fortune. 

Dee:

Again, everything is perfect at this moment if you have faith in a Higher Power of Your Own Understanding.  If you don’t, make one up.  I did.  Just get back into nature and witness it with all its majesty and splendor.  Did that scene just appear out of nowhere?  How did it get there.  Probably by some omnipotent force.  Make that your Higher Power.

So when my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, I can ever get all riled up or I can stay calm and know there is a lesson to be learned here.  I am not in control over people, places or things (my car).  I have towing insurance.  I have a car.  I have a phone in my car to call the tow truck.  I shall take better care of my car.  I am safe and my Higher Power has my back.  I get home unscathed.

Meditate, meditate, meditate. You can learn everything there is to know about your mental tendencies by having a regular sitting practice. Think of your meditations as your time to get to know yourself and witness your thoughts more clearly. By learning to separate from your thoughts, rather than identify with them, you will be able to make more mindful choices to your benefit. 

Dee:

I need to work harder on my meditations.  Until then, what helps me tremendously in getting to know me is writing.  Thus, here I am.  But whether I am writing or meditating, I find myself immensely grateful for this moment.  I find myself immensely humbled by this moment.

None of these feelings of positivity came easily.  While I was an active alcoholic I had no Higher Power.  I had no self-love nor self-worth.  I had no purpose on this planet.  I was just here.  But I was just here to be on a journey that brought me to recovery and spirituality and positivity and to a Higher Power of My Own Understanding.  I always had it but just didn’t know how to access it.

Rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous showed me how.  They showed me how to understand, then love, myself for who and what I am.  And then they showed me how to share it.

2. Tip the Scales to Achieve the Positivity Ratio 

Barbara Frederickson’s work on positivity has revealed another useful theory called the Positivity Ratio. It says that there is a “tipping point” between languishing and flourishing that is three positive experiences for every negative one. By tipping the scales to maintain a 3:1 ratio, Frederickson says people will enter an upward spiral of positive growth and well-being. 

What happens if your ratio looks more like 2:1 or below? Negativity trumps positivity with regard to impact, meaning you are more likely to focus on the one scowling face in a sea of 100 audience members at your talk than the 99 receptive faces in crowd. The Positivity Ratio suggests that your positive experiences can get swallowed up by your negative experiences if the scales are tipped in the wrong direction. If this is the case, both increasing your positivity and decreasing your negativity will help. 

Dee:

Again, this is no easy feat.  It takes time.  A lot of time, but it is so worth it!  Learning to realize that that scowling face has a story behind it turns that negativity into a positivity of compassion and empathy.  Put yourself in that scowling person’s shoes.  Imagine his journey.  Be respectful.  Be kind.  And if your feathers get ruffled, simply walk away.

3. Decrease Negativity in Your Life 

It sounds obvious, but simply decreasing negativity in your life makes room for the natural flow of positivity to come forth. Of course, some forms of negativity are inevitable (e.g., mourning the loss of a loved one), but what about the gratuitous negativity that creeps in and corrupts your ability to function at your best? 

Ask yourself: what do I spend most of my time doing, and who do I spend most of my time with? If your media consumption is depressing you, take a break. If your friends have become toxic and gossipy, resist the urge to fit in by being negative yourself. If work tasks are frustrating you, determine what responsibilities you might be able to delegate to someone else. 

And what about the negativity you have noticed within yourself? How hard are you on yourself when you miss a deadline at work? Or when you accidentally have broccoli in your teeth at Back-to-School Night? Challenge yourself to avoid negative self-talk—life is hard enough without piling self-critical, negative thoughts on yourself. As best as you can, minimize your ruminations on challenging situations, and practice identifying them as soon as they show up. A simple deep breath can be all that is needed to witness a negative thought dissipate.

Dee:

Isn’t it wonderful to be a perfectly imperfect human being?  We’re all in this together.  So don’t judge.  Don’t judge others and definitely don’t judge yourself.  Learn from the negative thoughts that enter your mind.  Be being more mindful from past experiences like missing that deadline or having broccoli in your teeth.  They caused that uncomfortable feeling in your gut, didn’t they?  Let that go.  It doesn’t serve you except to teach you that you will be more attentive with deadlines and dental hygiene in the future. 

4. Employ Gratitude as Your Full-Time Employee 

It is no surprise that is one of the surest ways toward a happier life. The more you appreciate your body, circumstances, and relationships, the more you will flourish and your happiness will grow. Once you have become aware of the presence of negativity in your life (or the lack of positivity), you can start to inject more grateful observations into your experiences. Remember, positivity is impacted by the way you choose to interpret what goes on in your life. By identifying something you can be thankful for in any given moment, you trigger upward growth in your well-being and quality of life. 

Dee:

When the negative creeps in, I get that gnawing feeling in my gut.  It does not serve me.  I turn to getting back in the moment, out of my ego, out of Dee.  I turn to my Higher Power and gratitude and humility.  I remember that today I have choices whilst in my addiction my only choice and reason for living was the next drink.  To not drink today fills my heart with endless joy and positivity.  Today I have choices.

5. Savor the Good Times 

Do you find yourself rushing through life? In a world where technology is teaching you that faster is better, it is important to remember the value of slowing down and savoring the good times. A wine connoisseur would never chug a glass of wine; he or she engages his or her senses to fully enjoy one sip at a time. 

The next time you sit down to a delicious meal of food, eat slowly and savor each bite. When you have a conversation with your child or elderly relative, rather than hurrying them up, notice the sparkle in their eye and the cadence of their speech. Pay attention to the details as if you wanted to commit them to memory. Joy lives in the moments that are all too often passed by with laser-like focus toward some imagined finish line. 

Dee:

Moving to Hawaii was one of the most wonderful gifts I have given myself (with the help of my Higher Power).  Living on an island means there is no rush to get anywhere because I would just go in circles around the island.  When I’m in a tizzy about traffic my Higher Power says what’s the rush?  I left the Mainland to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern-day society.  This move nurtures me and saved my sanity.

So savor this moment, right where you are.  Know it is perfect.  Enjoy it.  Know you are perfect.  Enjoy yourself.

6. Visualize Your Journey to Future Success 

While some people tend to dwell on the past, others get hung up on the future. Worrying about the future is the definition of anxiety, but visualizing positive future experiences is a recipe for positivity. 

Studies show that creative visualization of the steps needed to achieve a future task lead to more successful outcomes than no visualization at all, or of merely visualizing the positive outcome itself. Picturing with vivid clarity all the things you need to do in order to pass your bar exam, for example (i.e., study at the library five days a week), will help you to pass your test more effectively than simply picturing being told that you passed. So it is not just seeing the good in your present that matters, but practicing seeing things going well in the future as well. 

Dee:

Being in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, working with a sponsor and working the 12 Steps of AA, has given me a spiritual toolbox for living.  I have learned that I must do the footwork, that visualization isn’t enough.  So I live my life with the Principles I have learned, learned to suit up and show up, and learned to do my best.  Then I can live my life with a big smile on my face!

7. Consider Your Relationships 

Simply spending time with other people will increase positivity in your life. Countless studies have shown that being together with others is a crucial part of the good life. So get out and engage with other people every day, no matter what. And appreciate them! 

Ask yourself: Do I appreciate the people most important to me? Do they know how grateful I am for them? Don’t wait until someone is out of your life to relish in his or her goodness. Relationships are the number one indicator of happy lives, and therefore deserve your regular attention and gratitude. 

And as for the people you don’t care for so much? Try to offer them compassion, understanding, and the benefit of the doubt. Great leaders see the best in other people and focus on their potential rather than their limitations. 

Dee:

Many of my relationships today are with like-minded people in the fellowship of AA.  My purpose today is to share my experience, strength and hope with those who enter my bubble.  If I don’t give it away, I can’t keep it.

However, I meet many people in my business of selling my art with a message of inspiration.  I find that there are many like-minded people who don’t suffer from addiction issues but we thrive in each other’s company, nonetheless.

No matter who my God puts into my life on a daily basis, I strive to be mindful, respectful, compassionate and loving.  And I learn so much from each and every one of these meetings.  No coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason.

8. Get Outdoors 

Researchers agree on a strong correlation between being in nature and happiness. Because the reality of most people’s modern lives keeps them indoors, just going outside more often has the ability to boost positivity. What do you do when you get outside? Tune in to your senses. See the colors, textures, and shapes that appear naturally all around you. Smell the scents of your neighborhood’s flora and fauna. Feel the cool breeze or warm sunshine on your skin. Broaden your awareness of your surroundings, and you will expand the possibilities of your life. 

Dee:

I am lucky to be able to work outdoors.  Most of my days are spent outside.  I feel a bit stifled when I’m indoors too long.  If you’re like me, getting outside gets you back in the moment in front of your nose.  And when I feel that breeze around my shoulders, I feel my God wrapping His arms around me.  Yep.  Back in the moment knowing all my needs are being fulfilled.

9. Keep Expanding, Growing, and Learning 

Finally, remember these words from Irish poet William Butler Yeats: “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” 

It is human nature to want to expand and grow over time, so do what you can do to be sure you’re always in an atmosphere of growth. Make it a habit to remind yourself that it is natural to outgrow jobs, people, and situations if they leave you feeling stagnant. 

Your willingness to learn something new, broaden your range of interests, and improve your God-given talents will give you a positive mindset and have you feeling more positive and resourceful in all areas of your life. 

Dee:

To wake up excited every morning to experience what God has in store for me is pretty awesome (sure beats coming to after passing out due to heavy drinking the night before).  So whatever comes into my Dee Bubble on this day is meant to come.  It’s up to me how I want to take it.  I’ll take it as a positive.  Even the bad shit.  It’s all for learning, yeah?  For growing and then sharing that growth, yeah?  You can do it too!  Keep up the good work!

But Take It Easy … Over Analysis Kills Positivity 

As you experiment with positivity, try to be light with it. As Frederickson points out, one of the great paradoxes of research on positivity is that over analysis stops it right in its tracks. Consider your journey in this life as an assignment from the universe on how to live well. Wriggling free from the grip of negativity toward the light of positivity might be some of the most important work of your life. But you must see it to believe it. 

So the question stands: What small steps can you take today toward living a happier, fuller life? 

Dee:

Today I can look at my life as a journey from the universe.  The universe, my God, my Higher Power has a plan for me.  I wasn’t ready to grasp that plan until I experienced my journey through my fear-based, ego-driven years.  So today I get to be part of this plan, in its entirety, in my entirety, to share my experience, strength and hope with all who enter my bubble.  And like ripples on the water, this strength and hope will travel far to all who need it.  And that is what I do today toward living a happier, fuller life.

With warmest aloha,

Dee Harris

For those who are curious about my Art with a Message of Inspiration, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

About the Author 

Karson McGinley Yoga Teacher and Life Coach 

Karson McGinley is the owner of Happy-U Yoga (https://www.happyuyoga.com) in San Diego, California. A teacher for over a decade, Karson works to bridge the gap between the ancient wisdom of yoga and the modern science of human flourishing through her classes, bi-weekly article contributions to The Chopra Center, and leading the Happy-U Yoga & Positive Psychology Teacher Training program. Karson teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Anusara ElementsTM classes, inspired by the teachings of Classical and Tantric yogic philosophy, positive psychology, and metaphysical texts like A Course in Miracles . By sharing spiritual themes, scientific research, and anecdotal… Read more (/bios/karson-mcginley)  

The Chopra Center

5 Tips to Cultivate Personal Power and Self-Confidence

When certain blogs touch me I share them with you, with a few short paragraphs from me about how it pertains to my life in recovery…Dee Harris

5 Tips to Cultivate Personal Power and Self-Confidence

 By Linda Dierks

When you step into your power, you cultivate self-esteem and personal worth. A new sense of freedom emerges, doubts fall away, and you quit being a marionette to other people’s expectations or vulnerable to external circumstances. This new confidence allows you to let go of the need to judge, criticize, or compare yourself to others. When you claim your power, you also claim your greatest potential as an expression of your source creator. 

Dee:

Prior to stepping into my power I had to unlearn most of what was shell-shocked into me as a young child.  Most of who I was to become came from the experiences in my first decade of life.  We come from the womb so innocent and pure, so curious and excited to learn.  And then “the real world” enters our virgin bubbles and starts to corrupt our innocence.

I “thought” I was in my power as the highly intellectual being I had become.  Thinking.  No feeling.  Feeling was for the weak.  But wait.  I lacked self-esteem and personal worth.  I lacked purpose and happiness.  I lacked a reason for living.

It wasn’t until I learned to live from my heart and not my head did I begin to cultivate self-esteem and personal worth.  It wasn’t until I admitted I was an alcoholic and checked myself into rehab did I realize how fear-based and dysfunctional I was.  I was that marionette to other people’s expectations.  I valued your opinion of me more than my own opinion of myself (which was a LOSER anyway, so didn’t much matter).

Embrace your power by following these five building block practices and rise to the top of your personal game and spiritual path. 

1. Define Who You Are 

When you know who you are, you lay a foundation on which to build. As you define your abilities and qualities, you connect the dots and the picture of who you truly are emerges. Once this image develops, you become genuine, authentic, and comfortable in your own skin. You can start by asking yourself: 

When I let go of fitting in, what is it about me that rises to the top?

Dee:

The child in me.  That eager to play and learn child.  That child who has not yet been bullied or pressured into fitting in, lest be ridiculed.  That child free of the past and the future.  Just being in the moment.  That is the me that rises to the top when I let go of the fear of fitting in.
What gifts are distinctly mine? What rings sterling and true about my abilities and personal qualities? Are there talents or tasks where others seek my help or advice?

Dee:

My story, my journey, my puzzle pieces, are distinctly mine.  We all have that.  It’s up to each individual to consider it a gift or not.  Today I choose my journey as my greatest puzzle piece.

My journey brought me to a very dark place of drugs and alcohol.  It wasn’t until I realized that I could not go a day without alcohol (that seemed to go on for half my life) that I surrendered in guilt and shame and asked for help.  That is when I started to see, and feel, my gifts…all blossoming from the bottoming out of my addiction.

In recovery I practice loving myself for who and what I am.  I live rigorously honest.  I live in the moment with no regrets of the past nor worries of the future.  I live my life with faith in a Power Greater Than Myself over whom I can turn my will and my life.  I live with humility and the utmost of gratitude.

I seem to attract others into my bubble with this presence, compassion and mindfulness.  I can today be respectful of YOU as our time together is not about me.  I can love YOU, until you can love yourself, as was done for me in early sobriety.  YOU teach me and bring that childhood eagerness to learn out in me.  We feed off each other.  It’s a win-win.

What did I love to do as a kid that got “practicalized” out of me?

Dee:

I loved to play and be care-free and just be me.  And then I went out in the real world.  Sometimes I got bullied for being Asian in a mostly white school.  Somehow I got scared of being called on by the teacher and not having the right answer or any answer at all.  I don’t remember any instance of being ridiculed or demeaned by this, but I took it upon myself to always have the right answer.

I no longer played nor was care-free.  I studied and became obsessed with being perfect.  I lost my childlike innocence.
When that force of intuition and desire tugs my sleeve, where is it pointing me?

Dee:

It points right back into the present moment…to that place right in front of my nose.  It points to my heart and not my head.  It points to faith in my Higher Power and not my ego.  It points me to humility and gratitude for where my journey has brought me…to this moment.

What qualities light me up? 

Dee:

Respect.  Gratitude.  Honesty.  Mindfulness.  Compassion.  Love.

Am I practical or a daydreamer?

Dee:

I am both.  As a business owner I must be practical and committed to my customers.  As a recovering, and grateful, alcoholic I must be committed to my sobriety and to myself which brings out the child in me and the daydreamer in me.  

There can be a happy medium.  For this alcoholic staying in moderation takes work.  I’m an all-or nothing kind of person.  But remembering to stay in the moment keeps me on an even keel, remembering to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God and knowing, feeling, that everything is perfect at this very moment.

Do I seek adventure or quiet solitude?

Dee:

I thrive on quiet solitude.  That is my happy place, my safe place.  But I “make” myself get out of the box, my comfort zone, lest I fail to learn what I feel God wants me to learn, and to share what I learn.  I cannot share my experience, strength and hope with you if I am in my box, my Dee Bubble, and sharing is my purpose today on this planet, a true gift given me from being a recovering alcoholic, whereas in my disease I was a waste of space on the planet with no direction, and no life.  I was a LOSER.

Is my life a bustle of activity or tuned to a laid-back pace?

Dee:

Today I “choose” laid-back because today I have choices.  I don’t “have to drink” today which is always a great place for me to get back in the moment.  I don’t have to be a go-getter today because I have unlearned that and many other unnecessary and unhealthy traits that was rammed down my throat by society.

Yes, today I choose laid-back because it serves me best.  And today I choose to take care of myself and my well-being.  Today I love myself for who I am and the choices I make.


Do I recharge my batteries in an exuberant crowd or curled up with a book? Am I happiest when I stand out or when part of a larger whole? 

Dee:

My recharging comes from my Dee time, which is quiet, alone time.  Curling up with a book is always icing on the cake to me.  When I’m in my practical side I don’t often choose to let myself read, or watch a movie, or meditate, or do yoga.  These are ways I recharge my batteries.

And today I am happiest when I am with like-minded fellows, especially in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This is where I can truly be myself, to be rigorously honest, to hear what I need to hear, to feel what I need to feel.  I no longer have to stand out for that fear-based trait no longer serves me.  I can be that child again.

Knowing who you are generates practices that best care for your needs and gives rise to a lifestyle that matches your authentic nature. You’ll feel more and more anchored. As the effervescence of your true self bubbles to the surface, you quit trying to be liked by everyone else, let go of being pulled in multiple directions, and are more resilient to life’s challenges. Dare to be special! 

2. Embrace Your Gifts 

Shine your light on the world. You are endowed with distinctive talents, skills, and interests that mark your magnificence and set you apart. Do your gifts launch or languish behind old voices? Are you saying to yourself: 

“Don’t be too big for your britches.” “Quit being a show-off.”
“Look at the smarty-pants.”
“Act like a lady/gentleman.” 

Does the term, “fear of outshining” resonate with you? Do you downplay your skills so that you won’t stand out or threaten others? Have you turned down the volume on your talent in favor of fitting in? If your light is barely peeking out from under that bushel, allow yourself to shine—you will inspire, not intimidate. Broadcast what is special about you. 

Dee:

This is what we need to teach our children in their first decade of life!  Then we wouldn’t have to be telling this to ourselves, and me to YOU, today as a reminder of what we already should know!  We are a gift!  We have gifts that no other human being on the planet holds.  Never forget that.  Always be grateful.  Always be humble.  And SHARE YOUR GIFTS!

And, damn, don’t give a shit about acting like a lady/gentleman.  That’s fear-based garbage drummed into our heads when we were children.  Just be YOURSELF, respectful, mindful, compassionate.  Don’t worry about fitting in.  No one’s paying attention to you in that light anyhow.  BE YOURSELF!

3. Love Yourself 

Love is the highest frequency and gateway to your dance with the divine. The benefits of self-love are instant and enormous. 

Try it, right now, by sending love down through your central core in a steady flow. With a flush of warmth and expansion, you ignite the heart and wash away doubt, insecurity, and self-limiting thoughts, and infuse calm and confidence. Move from being your worst critic to being your best cheerleader, and the world says “yes.” 

When you infuse yourself with love, you honor and become more closely aligned with your creator. Set up your day—before getting out of bed, infuse yourself with love and reinforce it throughout the day. Turn your phone on selfie and have an eye-to-eye, heart-focused chat with yourself if you lose your center or if your confidence wanes. The combination of self-love and operating out of authenticity makes you invincible. You are perfect, whole, and complete. 

Dee:

If I didn’t love myself, I couldn’t be sharing this blog with you in a rigorously honest way.  I wouldn’t be sharing my story of my dysfunctional alcoholism with you.  But I have learned to live without guilt and shame today.  I have learned to love myself for who and what I am with all my defects of character…and all my gifts.

Today I honor myself.  Today I have contentment and peace.  Today I have a purpose to share my journey with you.  And if just one person walks away with a little glimpse of hope and optimism, my purpose was served.  Today I am perfect, whole, and complete.  YOU are perfect, whole and complete.

When I was in rehab the affirmation I chose to share every morning whilst in Group was, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  This affirmation sticks with me to this day, two decades later.  

I chose that affirmation because on that day I felt anything but good nor whole.  Remember I was a piece of shit, a LOSER, a waste of space on the planet.  I couldn’t go a day without drinking, lying, cheating, hiding.  It was horrible and exhausting.

Today I AM a good person and I AM a whole person.  It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get myself to this place.  But I didn’t do it alone.  Today I have a God and a fellowship of like-minded people who loved me until I could love myself.

Affirmations seem to appear out of nowhere when I need them most.  Signs from God.  Just the right words or message I need to see at that particular moment to bring me back right-sized, grounded and centered.  To be able to chill out and stop causing so much drama and chaos.  To remember that I am not in control and let God do the driving; I’m just along for the ride.

So one of my purposes today is to create inspiring, yet fun affirmations and inspirational quotes.  I put them on mosaics which can be placed in strategic places to remind you to “Don’t Be a Shitty Person” in the bathroom (no pun intended) to start you off first thing in the morning, or “Everything is Perfect at this Moment” or “Just Breathe” to hang on your rearview mirror of your car to get you centered while you’re stuck in traffic.

Another of my purposes today is to write these weekly blogs.  When I receive feedback I am reassured that my purpose was served…to share my experience, strength and hope…and my message was heard.  I also speak at DUI classes which is where my message is really heard loud and clear.  I feel so full, so grateful, so happy when I walk out of that classroom.

4. Walk with a Higher Presence 

Since prehistoric man, we have expressed spirituality in countless ways that are personal and unique to each of us.

When you incorporate spiritual practices and live by spiritual principles, you raise your vibrational frequency and become more closely aligned with a Universe that is invested in your highest good. A meditation practice increases this connection; however, anything that brings inspiration and joy will open your crown chakra, creating a deeper energetic connection with this wisdom and bounty. Don’t overlook the importance of joy in your life. 

As you partner with this higher presence, you anchor your power. Confidence flourishes when you know that you are never alone and have an ally that’s invested in your joy, wellness, and prosperity. The hard edges of life soften, and you are propelled as the barriers of self-doubt and fear fall away. Partner up and become a co- creator of a life of abundance and wellness. 

Dee:

My life made a complete turn around when I learned I could make up a God of My Own Understanding.  Having no religious background in my childhood all the way up to getting sober, I lived a life based on intelligence, thinking, the brain.  When I “made up”, “pretended”, “day dreamed” a Power Greater Than Myself to which I was able to turn my life and will over, I finally found myself, felt myself, in the Spirit of the Light.  It’s amazing!

The weight was lifted off my shoulders about EVERYTHING!  I found that things were happening just as they were supposed to unfold…PERFECTLY!  I receive God-shots which I can’t explain with my intelligence.  Yep, truly amazing!

5. Engage, Expand, and Express 

Engage your power by using these tools. Realization by realization, each step feeds the next in an ever-escalating ladder of growth and expansion. Express it. Show up and shout it out. When you sing your song and put your skills out in the world, you generate an energetic cycle of vitality that says to the Universe, “Give me more!” Reinforce the energetic loop by supporting and mentoring others. You are part of a sacred cycle of vitality. 

Personal power and self-esteem are the foundation for creating joy and wellness. It motivates you to be more. It gives you resiliency in the face of adversity. It’s the root of mental and physical health and opens you to positive interaction with the world and a higher power. 

When you step up to the plate and invest your time and interest, the Universe invests time and interest in you. Take the plunge, go out on a limb, put on your cape, and read your poetry to the trees. There is a great void just waiting for you to fill it. 

Dee:

So here I am finishing this blog.  I awoke this morning with gratitude and an excitement of what the day, what my God, has in store for me today.  I want everyone to have that!  I want to inspire YOU to be your best YOU.  Love yourself for the unique and awesome person YOU ARE.  And then share your inspiration with those who enter your bubble.  The ripple effect, yeah?  Together we can make this world a better place to live with love and understanding, compassion and mindfulness, in a non-judgmental and respectful way.  Let’s ripple!

Thank you for being part of my day and allowing me to live my purpose…and my passion.  I encourage feedback.  I want to hear your story.  I want to learn from YOU!  With the warmest of aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in checking out my affirmations, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

About the Author:  Linda Dierks Teacher and Author 

Linda Dierks is a pioneer of creating core wellness through the science of energy, the spirituality of personal empowerment, the power of thought, and the power of love. Linda triumphed over cancer and depression after studying advanced wellness philosophies and several alternative health modalities. Now as a teacher, speaker, and author, she illustrates the methods behind her success through workshops and the Creating Joy and Wellness blog. You can learn more about her at http://www.spinstrawtogoldnow.com or catch Linda’s full Step Into Your Power series at blogtalkradio.com/internationalangelsnetwork.

from The Chopra Center