The Spirit of Desire

Energy of Attraction

Welcome to the 21-Day Meditation Experience, Energy of Attraction. We are honored you’re joining us as we seek our true nature and discover our path to health and happiness. You will discover your soul’s purpose and create a life in which all things are within reach.

Day 2 – The Spirit of Desire

“It is an awesome thing to comprehend that what a human being dreams and imagines can be realized.” ― Vanna Bonta

CENTERING THOUGHT

My desires make me feel alive.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Rasa Hum
I am the essence of life.

Today we will look at desire as the primal creative energy within us, and at the heart of creation. Desire is the feeling force of life itself. As we tap into this powerful life force, we want to make sure that what we manifest is not only positive and life-supporting in our lives, but for everyone else as well. To do that, we need to create from the level of intelligence of Nature that already upholds and harmoniously integrates all the diversity of the cosmos.

This isn’t just the easiest way to manifest desires that are beneficial for everyone – it’s really the only way to create in a way that that is in accord with all the other forces of evolution. Our silent awareness is aligned with the infinite intelligence of Nature, and our small ego mind isn’t. Today in meditation we will contact that source of desire – the source of thought, deep within awareness. Then as desire sprouts from that silence, it will attract all the nourishment and guidance it needs to manifest.

Oprah:

Welcome to Day 2 – The Spirit of Desire.  You were born to fulfill your destiny, your purpose, and your purpose is fueled by your desires.  From the moment you get out of bed you’re moving toward something you want, even if it’s as simple as your first sip of tea or coffee.  Having hopes, desires and ambitions is what makes you human.  It isn’t vain or self-centered; it’s part of life’s natural rhythm.

Dee:

For the first decades of my life I felt I had no purpose.  I especially felt this way when I was reaching my bottom in my disease of alcoholism.  I so could not figure out why I had to drink everyday.  I still had a home and family.  I still had a job.  I had family and friends who loved me.  So why in the hell could I not go a day without drinking?  Why did my life revolve around alcohol?  That’s all I could think about.

Well I know now that was my journey.  I know that now because my journey brought me to a treatment facility for alcoholism.  I learned about my disease and I learned about AA which has given me a toolbox for living a sober life…a life beyond my wildest dreams.

And in my toolbox is a Power Greater Than Myself, a Higher Power of my own understanding.  And that is where the magic happens!  Today I know my purpose.  Today I “get to” share my experience, strength and hope with all who enter my Dee Bubble.  I “get to” give back what was so freely given to me when I needed it most.

Oprah:

As Deepak shall show us there are laws that rule the universe.  The laws of the universe are neutral.  You can attract negative or positive forces in your life.  Your challenge is to nurture the truest and most authentic desires that are within you.  Those are the desires that fulfill you, expand you, and flow outwards to impact others for the good.  They are desires fueled by the energy of love, and love has many names.  Grace is love.  So is kindness, forgiveness, understanding, respect, cooperation, collaboration, harmony, a reverence for life, is love.

Deepak is going to take us to a deeper understanding of the creative, life-supporting nature of desire.  And then we’re going to meditate.

Deepak:

In order to master the art of desire the first step is to be judgement-free.  Many people feel guilty about their desires or think they want more than they deserve.  But in reality desire is natural and necessary to life.

Dee:

In order to keep my sobriety I must stay judgement-free.  I must just take care of my side of the street.  I am no better than you, nor you than me.  We are all equal and we are all on our own journeys.  I have not walked in your shoes, nor you in mine.  So how could we possibly judge each other?

Deepak:

We all want to attract more of the good things in life.  The energy of attraction is neutral.  You can attract positive or negative results.  Our goal is to make every desire positive, life-supporting and powerful.

Dee:

I reap what I sow.  If I am sowing negativity, that is what I shall receive.  So I choose to live as positively as I can.  I choose to find positivity in everything, no matter how horrific or hideous.  It is there if you look at the broad picture.

Deepak:

The highest desire you can have is to grow and evolve.  Nature is constantly expanding.  An ancient Indian scripture says, “I am one.  May I become many?  May I go forth?”  The desires, wishes and intentions you have everyday are what turn the present into the future, creating new things along the way.  So desire is a creative act.

Dee:

I wake up every morning now excited for what this new day will bring.  I know that I will be presented with new lessons, new relationships and new growth.  I was never excited before getting sober when I “came to” in the morning.  I had nothing to look forward to except my battle with alcohol, and my battle with myself.

My Higher Power gifts me each day with this new excitement.  Today I don’t have to pick up a drink.  I can if I want but why would I?  I know that first drink will wake up the Devil in me, my disease, and shout out for more.  I know that because I’ve tried it, after 13-1/2 years of being sober.  Yes, the disease is there doing push-ups, waiting for that pinhole of weakness, and then it is off and running worse than before.

So I turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand God.  I know my god will protect and guide me today.  I know that my god has a plan for me today and I will do my best to listen to my heart, and learn and grow the way I believe is meant to be.

Deepak:

In Sanskrit the word for desire is karma and from the ancient times it was considered neither bad nor unspiritual.  The fulfillment of desire is one of the main goals of life, in fact, taught to every child in the traditional Indian household.  

Once you stop judging your desires you will realize that you’re designed to fulfill your intentions.  You begin to ask for what you want.  You do what it takes to get what you want.  You plan your whole life around desire.  Therefore, becoming skilled in manifesting your intentions is a worthy goal.  It doesn’t make you a selfish or greedy person.

When negativity is attached to desire intentions can run into trouble.  They become misguided or harmful, obsessive or desperate, frustrated and unfulfilled.  These problems don’t arise when the desire is life-supporting.  Without desire our existence would be flat, inert and uninteresting.

Dee:

I have got to keep myself in the moment.  When I do, I am centered; I am grateful; I am humble.  I can remember where I came from and where I am today.  Night and day.  I remember that I am not in control.  I remember that everything is perfect at this moment…that I am perfect at this moment.

And when I can remain in the moment I can remain positive.  I can remain good and whole.  Because when I was in rehab my affirmation was, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  And I felt anything but.  I was a loser.  I was a waste of space on the planet.  I had no purpose.  I hated myself.

Deepak:

So the second step in harnessing the energy of attraction is to celebrate the fact that you have wishes, hopes, dreams and aspirations.  Inside your awareness lies the means to make any possibility come true.

As we prepare to meditate together let’s take a moment to consider our centering thought, “My desires make me feel alive.  My desires make me feel alive.”  Now let’s prepare for our meditation.  Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe, slowly and deeply.  With each breath allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed.

Now gently introduce the mantra, “Rasa Hum.”  Rasa is the essential quality or emotional flavor of life.  This mantra connects you with the vital energy or feeling of life itself.  As you repeat the mantra, feel the flavor.  Feel the aliveness of your spirit.  Repeat it silently to yourself.  “Rasa Hum.”  With each repetition feel your body, mind and spirit open and receive just a little more.

Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises, or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra, “Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.”

Please continue with your mediation.  I’ll mind the time.  And when it’s time to end you’ll hear me ring a soft bell.  “Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.”  Just mentally, “Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.  Rasa Hum.”

Dee:

Getting sober and practicing the 12 Steps I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous opened up for me not only a sober life, but a spiritual life.  I am so drawn to meditation and yoga and this new way of life today.  I am so glad I am an alcoholic.  I may never have found this new way of life!

Thank you being here today.  I encourage any and all feedback as we are not meant to be on our journeys alone.  Namaste.

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

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

From Chopra Center Meditation

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The Nature of Desire

Energy of Attraction

Welcome to the 21-Day Meditation Experience, Energy of Attraction. We are honored you’re joining us as we seek our true nature and discover our path to health and happiness. You will discover your soul’s purpose and create a life in which all things are within reach.

Day 1 – The Nature of Desire

“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed.”― Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Mindful Moment

Welcome to our 21-Day Meditation Experience, Energy of Attraction – Manifesting Your Best Life. We are delighted to have you with us. Together we will explore and experience the forces of attraction to create a balanced life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Human desire is the essential energy of attraction. Our hopes, dreams, wishes, and intentions are the forces that impel our growth and forward motion in life. We will learn that desire is not only basic to everyday life, it is essential to our spiritual evolution as well. It is through desire that we create more love, joy, and vitality. In our meditations together we will experience the source of desire – our true inner self – and begin to desire from that silent awareness. This is the key to manifesting the life you want.

CENTERING THOUGHT

My life moves forward through desire.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Eecha Shakti Namah
I honor the universal power of desire.

OPRAH:

Welcome friends to the Energy of Attraction.  The next 21 days is going to open up so many possibilities.  I’m literally tingling about them.  Deepak and I are grateful to have you join us on this journey.

As Deepak will show us the Energy of Attraction is about much more than getting the things you want.  It’s about aligning in order to get the things you want.  Aligning your deepest desires, the innate desires, that give your life meaning at the truest level with the source of all energy that keeps the planets aligned, the earth rotating and the sun rising…everyday.  Alignment is the key.  There is unlimited power in alignment.  Embrace it and you will discover a whole new way of being in the world.

What I know for sure is that we are all energy.  “We come from star stuff,” as Carl Sagan says.  We’re connected to the powerful, constant, universal force that is creation.  And every moment of every day, whether or not we’re conscious of it, we are sending out vibrations…vibrations like love, vibrations like fear, like anger which is also fear, and joy which is also love.

The energy we put out is always, no matter what, returned to us.  You don’t have to believe it.  It’s Universal Law.  And that law guides how we fulfill our lives and our dreams.  Just as it guides the planets.  I’ve seen it at work over and over again.  Like attracts like.  You don’t draw in what you want, you attract who you are.  Change your energy and you can change your entire experience in the world.  Change your intention and you change your path.

How do we tap into that powerful source of guidance?  How do we begin to understand how our deepest desires, our intentions create our thoughts, our words, our actions, and, ultimately, our experiences?  Well, the next 21 days is going to take us there.  So let’s start now.  So exciting as Deepak sheds new light on the nature of desire, and then we’re going to meditate.

DEEPAK:

Right this minute what do you want?  It seems like a simple question.  You might answer, “I don’t really want anything right this minute.”  But every cell in your body wants to survive and thrive, seeking the nourishment it requires.  Your heart wants to beat, your lungs to breathe, your blood to flow through your veins.  The circle of life is about desire.

In nature’s scheme there is enough abundance for every cell to survive and thrive.  And this is true on the personal level too.  Like your body you as an individual inherently strive to be nourished.  In order to thrive you naturally desire more of the good things that create fulfillment…security, vitality, success, love, joy and inner peace.

In this 21-Day Mediation Experience you will learn to connect with nature’s deepest source of nourishment and abundance.  On this journey you will practice the art of making desires come true by using your awareness to produce the results you want.

The circle of desire begins inside whenever you have a wish, dream, hope or intention.  There is an inner intention.  From this seed you want to bring something desirable to you.  Will it happen or will you fail to get the outcome you want?

The secret lies in knowing how to close the circle of desire so that your inner intention leads to an outer result.  In here and out there look like separate worlds.  But there’s a traditional wisdom in every culture that says inner and outer are connected.  A thought, if it is powerful enough, can create a change in outer circumstances.  Something you don’t want can go away.  Something you do want can come to you.

What closes the circle of desire, connecting inner and outer reality, is the energy of attraction.  This will be the focus of our meditations together.  Like every cell that attracts nourishment to itself, you’re always attracting nature’s abundance.  But if your awareness is constricted, if you have conflicting desires that cancel each other out, if your past conditioning keeps attracting negativity, you need to use the energy of attraction in a new and better way.

The energy of attraction is channeled through every and any intention.  The process isn’t mystical.  But there are layers of desire and attraction.  If you ask a waiter in a restaurant to bring you a glass of water, your inner intention becomes manifest.  This is something we all do everyday.

And you’ve probably experiences a deeper level of attraction as when you think of someone and, unexpectedly, they call on the phone.  The energy of attraction is built into your desires and at the deepest level where you create your most personal cherished desires you can achieve incredible results.

We will go deeper than wanting material things because our deepest desires are the most life supporting.  They give our lives meaning and, at the same time, they harness more of the energy of attraction.  This meditation experience provides the tools and understanding to benefit you physically, mentally and spiritually. 

 I hope you feel inspired.  Now let’s begin.  As we prepare to meditate together let’s take a moment to consider our centering thought, “My life moves forward through desire.  My life moves forward through desire.”  Now take a moment to make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe, slowly and deeply.  With each breath allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed.  

Now gently introduce the sound, “Eecha Shakti Namah.”  This mantra helps you connect with nature’s primal impulse of creative desire.  As you repeat the mantra feel yourself connecting to the universe’s power to create through desire.  Repeat the mantra silently to yourself, “Eecha Shakti Namah.”

With each repetition feel your body, mind and spirit open and receive just a little more.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises, or physical sensations, simply turn your attention to silently repeating the mantra, “Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.”

Please continue with your meditation.  I’ll mind the time and when it’s time to end you’ll hear me ring a soft bell. “Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.”  Just mentally now, “Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.  Eecha Shakti Namah.”

DEE:

Alignment.  My alignment has changed dramatically due to my journey with alcoholism.  It was that struggle that helped me to finally get aligned.  Before getting clean and sober I was lost; I had no purpose.  I felt I was just existing…a waste of space on the planet.

I couldn’t go a day without drinking, no matter how hard I tried and what method of the day I would enforce.  One glass of water with every glass of alcohol.  Wait until 4 PM before having my first drink.  Just drink at home.  Don’t drink at home.  Etcetera.  Etcetera.  Life was totally getting in the way of my drinking.  Drinking was all I could think about.

When I finally hit my bottom and reached out for help I was afforded the opportunity to learn about the disease of alcoholism.  OK.  Now it all makes sense.  Being the intellectual person I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why I couldn’t stop drinking.  Oh, I’m an alcoholic with the disease of alcoholism.

When my 28-days were over in rehab I headed to the rooms of AA where I learned how to live a life without alcohol.  I also learned what makes Dee tick and I learned I wasn’t on this journey alone.  I have been gifted so many like-minded people who have gone through what I have and are willing to help me on this new journey of recovery, asking nothing in return.

Today I get to do that too.  Today that is my purpose…to share my experience, strength and hope with those who enter my Dee Bubble.  Everything is perfect today.  I am in alignment.

I know now that my life and its journeys are not coincidental.  Whether it’s Universal Energy, a Higher Power, or God, my life is unfolding exactly the way it’s supposed to.  For me this new way of looking at life is so amazing and so much better than being that intellectual self…Dee being in control and “thinking” that whatever I wanted, if I wanted it badly enough, I could get it, “will” it.  Bullshit.  I couldn’t will away my alcoholism.

Today I turn my will and my life over to a god of my own understanding, a higher power that has my back, that I can trust to guide and protect me and teach me what I need to learn today.  Interactions with people and daily experiences I now look at with excitement and anticipation for the enlightenment they will bring me.

And I’m finding today that what I reap is what I sow.  If I choose to look at the glass half-full and remain positive, I receive positivity in my life.  If I can practice rigorous honesty with those who enter my Dee Bubble, I receive rigorous honesty.  If I give, I get way more and way better than I could have ever imagined.

So what do I want right now?  I simply want to be the best me that I can be and be OK with that and be OK with me.  I want to be mindful and respectful with, not just myself, but with everyone with whom I interact.  I want to remain grateful and humble for this life in recovery knowing, feeling, that I could not have done this on my own.  Only with the love of a Higher Power did I get to where I am today.  And with this mindset I receive all the security, vitality, success, love, joy and inner peace that I need.

Thank you for reading and wishing you all the best.  

With much aloha, Dee Harris

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

From Chopra Center Meditation

8 Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success 

8 Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success 

By Nicolette Stinson

You have infinite potential but sometimes your results don’t reflect that potential. Deeply ingrained unconscious beliefs (feelings of certainty about what something means) are influencing these results in ways you cannot see. When you have a deep belief, even unconsciously, it can sabotage your potential through the actions or non- actions you take based on the belief. That then creates the less-than-desirable results that hold you back from real success. 

Dee:

Why is it that in this society we learn early in childhood “More”, “More is better”, “More money”, “More Power”?  And we learn that it’s okay to do whatever has to be done to get “More”.  “Stab him in the back”, “Lie”, “Cheat”, “Do whatever it takes.”  Then we’ll be successful and reap the rewards for doing so.

Shit on ‘em, all of them, for teaching us that.  Now I have to unlearn all that bullshit that I’ve been carrying around most of my life.

But because of who you truly are—and your infinite potential—you can learn to move through all that hinders you from living your dharma. In fact, such obstacles can actually be used as opportunities for further expansion. 

Dee:

I’m so glad this old dog CAN learn new tricks and I’ve come to the realization that what does not serve my highest good must be discarded. 

What follows are eight common limiting beliefs (https://chopra.com/articles/create-the-next-chapter-of-your-lifes-story) that hold you back from creating success and true fulfillment at work and in life.
New empowering beliefs to replace your old limiting beliefs.  New habits to instill your new empowering belief.   Inspirational quotes from Deepak Chopra to help support your new belief and habit. 

Limiting Belief 1: I Am Not Unique 

You may say that you don’t have anything different to offer from others who have the same title or credentials, or who work in the same industry. You don’t believe that you are unique and don’t know how you can stand out from the crowd. This belief can kill your confidence and your ability to believe in your unique gifts and excel. Don’t let it hold you back! The reality is, it’s ENTIRELY untrue! You are unique from every other person on this planet in immeasurable ways and you have the ability to change or affect someone else’s life like no one else can. 

Dee:

OK, I’ve gotta admit that one thing I learned early on while in a recovery program for alcoholism is that I am not unique.  My addiction and inability to fight it on my own was not a unique problem.  With that I found comfort in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous where like-minded people shared their experience, strength and hope with me, loved me until I could love myself, and wanted nothing in return.  This fellowship and its principles have served me well in my recovery.  Today, in sobriety, I have a life second to none that I could have never even imagined.

However, while I share my experience, strength and hope with those who enter my “Dee Bubble” today, I do emphasize that we are INDEED unique…that we all have unique gifts and attributes that no one else on the planet has.  This belief helped me so tremendously when I had no purpose, no self-respect, no self-worth.  Why would I even bother trying to go on?  I have nothing to offer.  I’m a loser, a waste of space on the planet.  

It was the journey through this deep low that has brought me to the light of a meaningful life today!  Today I get to share my journey and offer hope and inspiration to those who find themselves in their own deep place.  Today I have a purpose!

New Empowering Belief: There is no one else who has my exact experience and knowledge and who can serve in the way that only I can.

Dee:

In my recovery I have been given the opportunity to create my own Higher Power over to whom I can turn my will and my life.  This Higher Power has a purpose for me and has guided me to share my story with others.  And when I had a relapse He didn’t give up on me and got me back right-sized, humble and grateful.  I cannot take any part of my journey for granted.  I am here for a reason!


New Empowering Habit: Write a list of your interests, passions (https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-bring- your-passions-and-purpose-to-life), skills, knowledge, experience, and desires. Each day, read this list and decide one thing you can do that day that uses a facet of yourself to help someone you know or come across. 

Inspiration: “Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”— Deepak Chopra 

Limiting Belief 2: I Don’t Know What I Want 

You may be able to describe what you don’t want in your life, but when asked what you do want, you become unsure. Staying confused or being overwhelmed and complaining about what is not working can be comfortable because it has the pay-off of not having to take decisive action or responsibility and take what feels like a risk. But repeating this story will quickly put the brakes on your success. 

Dee:

I guess I was lucky to have bottomed out in my alcoholism.  Finding recovery and living a life in sobriety made it so apparent what I am on this planet to do.  And through meetings and fellowship, volunteering to speak at DUI Classes is just a small way for me to give thanks.

My Higher Power has also given me a creative passion, and with that I create stained glass and mosaic pieces of art that emphasize well-being, self-love, positivity and inspiration.  Through the Promises of AA I no longer have to fear finances, future, opinions, anything because I have found that if I remember who is running the show (not me) and have faith that all is perfect at this moment, I receive gifts I never even thought of!

New Empowering Belief: I have a clear vision for my future and the completion of the steadfast actions I take toward my vision is the best measure of my success.

Dee:

And all I have to do is just my best, give back what was so freely given me when I needed it most, and be rigorously honest!
New Empowering Habit: Research (https://www.naifa.org/news-publications/yat-chat/february- 2016/the-power-of-visualization) shows that keeping visual reminders of your personal goals will help you achieve your results. Create a clear vision for what you are creating as well as a vision board (https://chopra.com/articles/vision-board-101-how-to-use-this-manifestation-tool) and reflect on it daily. 

Dee:

The Secret is an awesome book to help visualize and keep you in focus and on track!

Inspiration: “The more boundless your vision, the more real you are.”—Deepak Chopra 

Limiting Belief 3: I Don’t Have Time 

This belief can sound like “I don’t have time for <insert self-care habit such as exercise, meditation, or hiking>,” “If I take time off I will fall behind,” or “I must respond to every request right away.” These are all a conversation about lack of time and putting off the things that you “should” do for yourself for another time. 

Dee:

As an alcoholic (in recovery) I can rationalize anything!  Procrastination is definitely a rock I need to drop from my life.  I am learning more each day how important self-care is.  I used to always put everyone’s needs before my own.  But that way of living no longer serves me.  I can give you the best “me” if I am at my peak.  A bit of meditation, exercise, yoga, good eats all help me to perform my best and I find that my list of “to do’s” gets done more quickly and in a more positive way.  And, yes, this is easier said that done.  We are works in progress!

P.S.  I set the alarm for 5AM and went to work out at the gym this morning because “I must”.  I must just talking about it, thinking about it, dwelling on it, and just damn “do it”.  I’m feeling pretty good!

The key is to turn your “shoulds (https://chopra.com/article/stop-should-ing-yourself)” into “musts.” Investing time in meditation (https://chopra.com/meditation) and self-care allows you to tap into the infinite field of creativity—the place where insight and inspiration lives. Without accessing this space you risk the potential of perpetuating problems, serious burnout, or disease. 

Dee:

I learned early on in sobriety to stay out of HALT…hungry, angry, lonely, tired.  When I get all crazy in my head it’s usually because I am in HALT and have failed to care for myself properly.  Today I practice nipping HALT in the bud before I ever get there.

New Empowering Belief: Everyone has the same amount of time in the day and I allow infinite intelligence to work when I am connected to the present moment.

Dee:

Staying in the present moment, or bringing myself back there, always puts me back in touch with my Higher Power, reminds me that I am not in control, and emphasizes the humility and gratitude I have in my life.  This moment is perfect.  This life is perfect.  I am perfect.

New Empowering Habit: Start by tracking where you spend your time. This will help you to better prioritize and schedule your activities accordingly. Begin each day with a plan for what you want to accomplish personally and professionally and schedule in non-negotiable time for self-care. 

Dee:

First thing when I wake up I remind myself that my Higher Power is in control and that I am along for the ride to learn and grow and get done what He sees fit for me.  That doesn’t mean I just sit around waiting, but I listen to my gut as to what directions to take.  And then I just do my best.

Inspiration: “If you change your relationship with time, you will change your life. The most important time of your life is right now.”—Deepak Chopra 

Dee:

Right now is all we have!

Limiting Belief 4: Inevitable Change Will Make My Skills and Knowledge Obsolete 

It’s no secret that this is a fast-paced world where new knowledge or skills can quickly become outdated or even obsolete. For some this can feel disheartening, like the invested time in gaining that knowledge or skill was wasted. The key, however, is to be enthusiastic about the potential these changes have to make things better for you and the world at large. Staying engaged, eager, and enthusiastic about new possibilities and change allows you to apply your knowledge and skills in unique ways that people without that prior experience would not be able to see. 

Dee:

Please do your best to live your passion!  The rest will fall into place.  Gaining new skills and improving your knowledge will be exciting and not a dreaded task.  And as you stay enthusiastic about your growth and learning, you will find yourself at a new level of being in every way!

New Empowering Belief: Change (https://chopra.com/articles/3-techniques-to-help-you-embrace- change) allows myself and the world to evolve in positive ways and my enthusiasm about it brings new opportunities I would never have had otherwise.
New Empowering Habit: Subscribe to blogs and newsletters of leaders in your field or industry and be on the lookout daily for changes or potential changes. Reflect on what excites you personally about these changes and how you can stay ahead of them through training or new experiences. 

Inspiration: “There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component. . . But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.”—Deepak Chopra (https://chopra.com/free-programs/discover-your-purpose-toolkit_ga=2.57344367.498719510.1525121461- 557740326.1524243263)

Dee:

When I got rid of the notion that prosperity in my business was money, everything changed.  I was able to cherish the new bonds made with people interested in my wares and interested in me.  I looked at people not as dollar signs but as channels of growth for me.  I started to give others the mindfulness, respect and compassion they deserve…we ALL deserve.  And the money comes when my Higher Power sees fit.  I am not starving.  My needs are met.

Limiting Belief 5: Everyone Else Has It Figured Out Except for Me 

With social media being such a huge part of life, comparison (https://chopra.com/articles/stop-comparing- yourself-to-others-tips-and-tools) is more rampant than ever before. Ideal lifestyles that can never be lived up to —and which don’t actually exist—are broadcast daily. It’s almost impossible to avoid and easy to start believing that everyone else’s life around you is working out for them perfectly and something is wrong with you. But it’s not true! Focusing on other people’s highlight reels and comparing them to your own experiences—especially when you feel confused or lost—will instantly put you into a downward spiral. The moment you start looking outward at everyone else is the moment it’s time to begin looking inward and owning what is true for you. 

Dee:

I don’t post my shit on social media.  Do you?  So mainly what we see there is “the good stuff”.  It’s so easy to compare our lives with others’, but we haven’t walked in their shoes; we don’t know their whole story.  I bet they have other things going on in their lives other than “the good stuff”.

I’ve found that if I am doing my very best, and that by no means implies that I am perfect, then I am dang proud of myself, and thankful, at the end of the day.  If I’ve given one person a glimpse of hope today, then my purpose has been served.  

Just like watching the news.  We’re inundated with madness.  Madness and negativity sells news.  But it’s just a drop in the bucket of what is really happening here on this planet.  There is still so much compassion we have for each other.  Most of us still care for our planet and are doing what we can to save it.  The majority of us are not money-hungry monsters on power trips.  Let’s not compare apples to oranges and continue to live our lives in a healthy and positive way!

New Empowering Belief: The more that I focus on my own experience and truth the more connected with, and certain I am, about my true path.

New Empowering Habit: Learn to let go of comparison by turning your attention inward through a practice like yoga (https://chopra.com/yoga) or meditation. 

Inspiration: “Owning your own feelings, rather than blaming them on someone else, is the mark of a person who has moved from contracted to expanded awareness.”—Deepak Chopra 

Dee:

If you find yourself still living in fear and doubt, blame and negativity, I urge you to really delve deep into your soul to find out why.  I was fortunate to be able to do this through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my sponsor, someone I trust with my life.

I no longer live in fear nor self doubt.  I live in acceptance that I am my best me.  I can live my life today moving forward in a positive direction.  I can use my experiences to help others achieve this light and freeing way of living.

There are many support groups in your area to help you achieve this new-found freedom.  There are doctors, churches, women’s groups, men’s groups, you name it, there’s a group.  Be selective.  Go with your gut.  Shut off your head.  And don’t use a bartender to spill your guts out to…

Limiting Belief 6: I Can Do It Myself, I Don’t Need Anyone’s Help 

No one has ever created success alone. You are an inherently social creature and must rely on others all the time. There are various reasons you may hang on to this limiting belief. It can come from feeling guilty for, or ashamed of, asking for help or from a fear of being let down by or rejected by others but you need others to do great things in the world. 

Dee:

I used to “think” that asking for help was a sign of weakness.  I now “know” and “feel” that the opposite is true.  Picking up that 2,000 pound phone to ask for help always amazes me that the act of asking for help is so not the fearful, all-encompassing task that I make up in my head.  We’re all human and most of us are compassionate beings that thrive on helping others’ in need.  Don’t deprive us of giving the gift of love and service.

Asking for help started when I found I could not go a day in my life without drinking.  I couldn’t stop drinking on my own and I tried every way I could.  When I finally hit my bottom (and my Higher Power knew I was ready for a new chapter in my life…”When the student is ready, the Master appears”), I found myself in a treatment program for alcoholism.  So out of my comfort zone.  When I left that program it was suggested I attend AA meetings.  Yikes!  I’m from a small town.  People will find out!  I might know someone in those rooms.

This is when I truly discovered the gifts received from being a human being and asking for help.  I was embraced by so many like-minded, loving and genuine people who wanted nothing more than to help me through my recovery.  And, yes, I did know many people in the rooms that, I realize now, made it that much more special!

New Empowering Belief: It is safe to ask for help. In asking for help, I inherently also help others.
New Empowering Habit: Practice the law of giving and receiving by asking for help, guidance, or simple presence from someone else every other day. On the other days practice giving your own time, kindness, or presence to those around you.
Inspiration: “If you want to do really important things in life and big things in life, you can’t do anything by yourself. And your best teams are your friends and your siblings.”—Deepak Chopra 

Limiting Belief 7: I’m Not Good Enough 

This belief is embedded in human nature and has a tendency to get the best of you. It can take form in believing you are not skilled enough, talented enough, or even deserving enough; it shows up in life as anxiety, perfectionism, and procrastination (https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-stop-procrastinating). But building self- awareness can help you distinguish the voice of “not good enough” and beat this persistent limiting belief. 

Dee:

Who is the judge of “I’m Not Good Enough”?  Before getting sober and working the 12 Steps of AA, YOU were the judge of me.  I lived my life trying to win your approval.  It was exhausting and unfulfilling.

By asking for help with my sponsor in AA, I found that I lived my life fear-based.  I was awarded the task of really delving into my being, finding out who I am and why.  And then I started a new journey of ridding myself of all the defects and unhealthy thoughts that were not serving me.  I slowly but surely started to get comfortable in my own skin and love myself for who and what I am.

Having a Higher Power in my life today really lightens the load that I carry on my journey through life.  Without my Higher Power (my new judge) my head takes over and Dee once again takes control.  Not pretty.  I have to work on being mindful, being in the present moment, grateful and humble.  And then I know and feel that I am, indeed, “good enough”.

New Empowering Belief: I am 100 percent worthy of all of my dreams and desires.
New Empowering Habit: Practice self-awareness and learn to separate thoughts from your truth by starting a meditation practice, reflecting, or talking to a counselor or coach.
Inspiration: “Once you know who you really are, being is enough. You feel neither superior to anyone nor inferior to anyone and you have no need for approval because you’ve awakened to your own infinite worth.”—Deepak Chopra 

Limiting Belief 8: I Have to Fix or Change ______ Before I Can _______ 

One of the biggest barriers to success is believing you are not ready right now—once you are in that relationship, lose that weight, feel better, heal, and so on. Then you can take action toward your dreams and achieve your goals. However, it is the belief that this is true that is holding us back from having what you desire. 

Dee:

I’ll never be ready so I have to act now.  If I don’t, I’m depriving myself of the gift of learning and experiencing the hardships…and rewards…of taking that journey towards success.  I don’t want to miss anymore miracles because my head told me I wasn’t ready (fear).  I’ve reaped so many, many rewards by being imperfect!

New Empowering Belief: I am already perfect and whole; I can create whatever I desire now.

Dee:

Whoa!  This just brought me back to being in treatment where the group would sit around in a circle and repeat an affirmation of their choice everyday for 28 days.  I came up with “I am a good person.  I am a whole person”.

Only a day or so sober I felt anything but good nor whole.  I hated myself for allowing myself to get to this point.  I hated that I had to drink everyday and that I was a horrible mother, wife, child, and sister.  I was exhausted from lying, hiding and cheating.  I was tired of not sleeping forever, but just passing out and coming to.  My eating habits were atrocious.  But I did wake up most winter mornings to ski!

Anyway, this affirmation I hold true to my heart.  I finally believe that I am a good person and a whole person.  It all makes sense to me now, this journey I’ve been given.  There have been absolutely no coincidences.

Today I get to share affirmations, motivational quotes, and just enlightenment with those who enter my Dee Bubble.  I want everyone to feel good about themselves and their journeys and to share that and their gifts with others.  I get to do that through my art and blogging and speaking at AA meetings and DUI classes.  How do you do it?

I encourage feedback.  I would love to hear your story!  Remember that you are unique and have gifts that no one else on this planet has.  And when you find yourself in a dark place, know that you are not alone.  Please share with us and do not deprive us all of YOU!  Try to stay in the moment and know that it is perfect.  Try to live from your heart and not your head.  We’re all in this TOGETHER 🙂

With warmest aloha,

Dee Harris

For those interested in motivational and inspirational affirmations, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!
New Empowering Habit: Notice where you tell yourself you are not ready and bravely take action toward your vision and goals (https://chopra.com/articles/accountability-the-key-to-reaching-your-goals) every single day. Make sure to reward yourself for taking action!
Inspiration: “You must find the place inside you where nothing is impossible”—Deepak Chopra 

You can find experiences to back up almost any belief, but the key is to make sure that you are consciously aware of the beliefs you are creating. If your beliefs don’t empower you, change them. Will your beliefs be the reason you stop taking action toward the results you want from life? Or will you change them into the ultimate opportunity to create something extraordinary—whether it is a transformation in yourself, your career, or your life? 

Harness the power of your emotions and desires to create a life that feels deeply meaningful with the Chopra Center’s Discover Your Purpose Toolkit, which includes a free e-book, worksheet, 1:1 discovery session, and guided meditation. Get your free toolkit now. (https://www.chopra.com/free-programs/discover-your- purpose-toolkit) 

About the Author 

Nicolette Stinson (/bios/nicolette-stinson)
Certified Coach, Yoga Instructor and Perfect Health Instructor 

Nicolette is an online personal brand strategist for coaches and wellness professionals. She is also a Certified Coach, Chopra Center Perfect Health Instructor, and Yoga Teacher as well as an avid student of mindfulness, creativity, personal development, and spirituality. Visit http://www.nicolettestinson.com (http://www.nicolettestinson.com) to learn more. Read more (/bios/nicolette-stinson) 

From The Chopra Center

9-Step Strategy to Make a Decision

9-Step Strategy to Make a Decision 

By Tamara Lechner

It’s no secret that adulting is harder than you thought it would be when you were growing up. Children assume adults have all the answers. As a kid, this leads you to draw the conclusion that when you grow up you will automatically have them all, too.

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You may have been educated into believing that you don’t know yourself best. This begins in school when you are taught to listen to the rules rather than your own internal guidance system. You can no longer eat when you are hungry, move when you feel fidgety, or rest when you feel tired. In following the schedule designed for you, you begin to believe—because it is implied—that your teachers know what is  best for you. 

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Sure, you might want to color the sky green, but when you are told that the sky is supposed to be blue, you think that your impulse to use green was wrong. Eventually, you begin to subtly believe that you don’t know what is best for yourself. And this tiny shimmer of self-doubt grows as your coaches, parents, and peers point out that your music, clothes, sleep schedule, and food choices aren’t good choices for you. By the time you are college-aged, it’s amazing that you can make any choices at all. 

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Finding answers becomes a process of looking outside yourself for advice from experts who can offer experience and an educated opinion. It can also be about making pro/con lists. After you have gathered all the information you need, you frequently find yourself stuck in analysis paralysis—that place where rather than making a choice, you want to keep getting opinions from others. It seems you have lost the  ability to trust yourself. 

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Here’s a simple guide to reconnect with your self-trust, keeping in mind that nobody has your answers except you. 

Listen to Your Body 

Your body sends you signals of what is good for you and what isn’t. Practice hearing them. Sleep when you feel tired, eat a reasonably sized portion of healthy food when you are hungry, and move when your body needs to move. Be mindful of what your body wants.  

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Dee:

HALT…Hungry.  Angry.  Lonely.  Tired.  I realized early on in sobriety that being in HALT explained a lot of unhealthy thoughts and actions I had.  So when I flipped you off on the freeway or vomited out hurtful words that were supposed to remain in my head, I had better get a bite to eat or take a time-out.  Today I strive to stay out of HALT by practicing self-care prior to getting to that stage.

Go Inward 

Meditation allows you to tap into the inner wisdom you were born with. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the more comfortable it becomes with being used. Listen to these guided meditations (http://www.chopra.com/articles/guided-meditations#sm.00075k7e71eb0fe7rd51mmcjg2a5w) to get you started.  

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Don’t Buy Into the Panic 

When a decision feels rushed, your brain sends out chemicals that signify it is in a state of alarm. These chemicals actually turn off the brain’s ability to process. This was great when our big urgency was that a dinosaur was about to eat us, but choosing who to date, what to study, or where to live shouldn’t create that same panic. Take slow breaths or if time allows, a quick little walk. Allow your body to return to a  more balanced state. 

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Dee:

The alcoholic in me wants to check it off my “to do” list NOW!  The newly-found spiritual person in me says to stay in the moment, be mindful, get back centered and right-sized.  Being mindful of the perfect moment in front of my nose gets me back to being grateful and humble.  It brings me back in touch with the greatest gift I’ve been given in sobriety, a Power Greater Than Myself, over to whom I can turn my will and my life.  

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I can remember that I am not in control.  That my god is in the driver’s seat and I am just along for the ride (a magic carpet ride of a lifetime!) to learn and experience what is meant for me right now.  Ssshhhh!  Quiet my head…  Remember, Dee, everything happens for a reason.  There are no coincidences.  You’ll miss it if your brain is all over the planet. 

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Lean In 

When confusion happens, instead of deciding not to decide, experience and embrace your uncertainty. Repeat your choices slowly as many as six or seven times. The time and the process of repeating the options will allow an unfolding of what you want. 

Dee:

And once I embrace the confusion or some negativity that has entered (or I have allowed to enter) my life, I thank it for coming and then ask it to leave.  In my perhaps imaginary head I can imagine the confusion or negativity being whisked off into the clouds…softly…gently.

I am in that mindful present moment with my Higher Power remembering gratefully that I am not  in control and when the student is ready, the master appears, as shall the answers. 

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Flip a Coin 

Heads is one choice, tails is the other. Usually as you flip it, you will root for heads or tails. This quick process allows you to access information at such a quick speed that there is no time to process, just to listen to your gut. This is called quick logic, and it gets you out of your processing and directly to the answer. 

Dee:

I’ll use this method to decide who will go first in a game.  Or Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Moe.  Maybe even Rock-Paper-Scissors.  But for decisions with a bit more weight, I’ll use my God Box, patience and faith.

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Know Yourself 

The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the easier it is to make choices that align with who you are. Being a student of how your body works (https://store.chopra.com/dosha-quiz), and what your core values are can help. 

Dee:

This is a gift I’ve been given by getting sober, allowing a Power Greater Than Myself to guide me through life, and by working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with a person I trust.  I have learned that most of my life had been driven by fear.  Most of it I do not understand as it makes no sense to me.  However, by learning today to live through my feelings and not my thinking, I no longer have to, nor wish to, expend unnecessary energy on the reasons. 

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By learning to live without fear and with the faith that a Higher Power has my back, I have grown to become more comfortable in my own skin.  The person who looked in the mirror and called herself a loser while in active addiction has finally accepted who and what she is, with all her gifts…and flaws.  And by staying in the present moment, learning and growing and becoming a better human being because of my past, and having no fear, but faith, regarding the future…all is perfect.  I am perfect! 

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Encourage Yourself 

Remember a time when you made a hard choice successfully. The stories you tell yourself about your ability to make successful choices will either buoy you up or weigh you down in future choices. 

Dee:

I’m getting older by the minute (and let me add, I wouldn’t go back a second from this content state of being I’m in now!).  It’s taking a lot more energy to accomplish things the older I get.  So today I choose to expend all my energy in a positive direction.  When I have a hard choice, I’ve embraced it, thanked it for coming, and given it to my Higher Power, I know I still have to do the foot work.  I need to get it done, cross it off my list, and move forward.  

I have a 50-50 chance that it will go my way.  If it doesn’t, learn, embrace, let go and move forward.  I can’t afford nor choose to have anything weigh me down.  It does not serve me.  I’ll be fine.  I’ll be a better person when I can move forward.

Take a Musical Interlude 

Spending a moment blasting your favorite rock n’ roll ballad or listening to a peaceful song takes you to a different part of your brain. When the song finishes, it’s almost like gaining a fresh perspective.  

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Dee:

Aaahhh, Grasshopper.  Such a true statement.  I have bunched my favorite songs together on my computer, phone, and other electronic devices so that at a push of a button, I am a new person.  My body moves.  My blood flows.  I’m in my happy place.  And when I sing, I breathe.  Sometimes unknowingly I am not breathing.  Go figure.

Delay Deciding 

Give yourself a vacation from decisions. If you can wait until tomorrow, sleeping on it allows your brain a little respite from the work of decision-making. It’s amazing that your brain continues to work on integrating information to help with choices while you sleep. You just might discover that the answer is more obvious after a good night of rest. 

Dee:

I love being married no a “normie” (doesn’t have a problem with alcohol or drugs).  He has chosen to not attend, learn about, have anything to do with any support groups, such as Al Anon.  However, he has witnessed me living a life of sobriety, having relapses, working with others, doing homework, reading, etc.  And he has picked up on so much of the spiritual way I strive to live.  And I love it when he makes fun of me on that path I have chosen.  We have good fun.

When I have a decision to make and it’s too late to call my sponsor, he suggests that I sleep on it.  Huh?  I want to get this done NOW!  So I sleep on it and awaken with the answer as clear as day.  These crazy kind of things happen to me a lot and I can’t explain it.  It makes no sense.  Like having the obsession to drink and drug removed one morning when I walked out to the patio.  So bizarre!  (And thank you, God!)

Life is full of seemingly impossible decisions. In the present, they can seem like obstacles to overcome, but your choices define not only who you are, but also how you want to spend your time. Have gratitude that you have the freedom to choose, and know that no matter how your decision unfolds, you have made the right choice for you in that moment.  

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As Anne Frank said, “Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us.” 

Dee:

My life has been altered by my being an alcoholic.  In 1998 I did not have choices.  I HAD DO DRINK.  I had to drink everyday.  My life revolved about drinking.  Today my journey has brought me to a calm and beautiful life where I do have choices.  Today I do NOT have to drink.  I can if I want.  But I respect the disease of alcoholism enough to know that ONE IS NEVER ENOUGH.  I’ve tried it.  The first drink caused my brain to yell “MORE!”

Treatment programs and, more importantly, Alcoholics Anonymous (for whom I do not work nor represent, but am a true believer that this program works…for me) has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams.  I have contentment that I never even wanted, but I got it anyway.  I feel good in my skin and love myself for who and what I am.  I make positive choices and practice self-care. 

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Dang!  It’s all such common sense yet I had to go through various chapters in my life to bring me to this page of my book.  I encourage you to find this place of gratitude and serenity in your life whether you struggle with substance abuse, physical and mental abuse, depression, or just life itself.  It’s not easy but you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be!

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Embrace your journey.  Make positive choices.  Know that you are not unique and are not to blame or be guilt-ridden.  Together we can all find peace in this crazy world we live in and share our unique gifts with others in need.  Today I have a purpose and that is to share my Experience, Strength and Hope with all  who enter my Dee Bubble.

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I’m glad you made it!  And thank you for reading.  I encourage any comments, concerns or feedback on anything.  I live a rigorously honest life today, but I’m gentle and compassionate.

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!

Commit to making the best decisions and creating the most fulfilled life with support from like-minded women and wonderful speakers at our Women’s Retreat. Learn More. 

About the Author 

Tamara Lechner (/bios/tamara-lechner) Certified Instructor: Meditation 

Tamara Lechner is a happiness expert and Chopra-Certified Primordial Sound Meditation (/articles/what- is-primordial-sound-meditation) Instructor. Her mission is to be so happy that those around her cannot help but step into her light. She enjoys writing, speaking, and teaching about how a positive mindset affects business, relationships, health, and life satisfaction. Tamara is often found throwing epic parties or walking barefoot in the sand. Join her on The Happiness Trajectory (http://www.ahamoments4u.com/free-online–the-happiness-trajectory.html), a free online mindset reboot, or find out more about her at… Read more (/bios/tamara-lechner) 

The Chopra Center 3/28/17

 

7 Virtues for Self-Improvement

7 Virtues for Self-Improvement 

By Melissa Eisler

Virtues are universal moral habits that are widely recognized as good character traits. By practicing virtues every day, you can build and live a purposeful and value-driven life. After a week of focusing on doing good, you’ll notice that you’re attracting more positivity and happiness into your life. 

Some might say that virtuous qualities are innate or developed early in life, but you can also learn and cultivate virtues so that they become more prevalent and habitual in your daily life. By practicing being more virtuous, you can live a more intentional life with greater fulfillment, peace, and joy. Here are seven common virtues. Focus on one a day for a week to gain insight into yourself and bring more joy to those   around you. 

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Dee:

I always thought I was a good, kind person.  But it wasn’t until I got into recovery from alcoholism that I discovered that I was a mean and self-centered human being.  That word “thought” in my first sentence is a word I am grateful to be releasing from my vocabulary.  Being in recovery, becoming more a spiritual being, means for me I no longer have to think so much, to understand it all, but to feel and to live from my heart.  What a foreign way to live my life, but so freeing!

When I left a 28-day alcohol treatment program it was suggested to stay on track that I attend AA meetings and do what was suggested to me there.  I did.  I attended meetings.  I got a Big Book.  I got a sponsor.  I worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my sponsor.  I got into service.  I got better.

Working the Steps with my sponsor showed me how fear-based I had been living my life.  With that fear came defensiveness and selfishness.  I knew no other way.  I hadn’t been taught a different way to be.  That part of my journey didn’t come until I reached rock bottom and then found recovery. 

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When I made my amends to my kids they told me how mean I was.  I was baffled.  Just like alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful.  When I got the drink in me I turned into another creature; it brought out the worst in me.  And I certainly didn’t like “that” person.  As a matter of fact, I loathed and hated her and called her a loser when I saw her in the mirror.  I also had no purpose and felt I was a waste of space on this planet.  How sad is that to have lived 50 years of my life purposelessly?  Again, my journey with a Higher Power in my life today that knows “When the student is ready, the Master appears.” 

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I don’t know if that mean person in me is really who I am inside or who I became when the alcohol changed me.  It doesn’t matter.  Again, no need spending precious energy dwelling on that.  All I know is that today…finally…I am comfortable in my own skin and can truly say I love myself for who and what I am and what my journey has given me.  Virtuous qualities innate or developed, learned or cultivated?  Doesn’t matter.  Today I live as rigorously honest as I can, being me, not fearing your thoughts of me.  Today I turn my will and my life over to the care of a Higher Power Greater Than Me.  And today I emanate something good that I don’t even know is happening that attracts people to me in a wonderful way.  Do I understand this?  Nope.

1. Acceptance 

Are you facing a challenge in your life right now or experiencing an emotion you would rather not face? Join the club—this is part of the human experience. The trick here is to reduce resisting experiences that come your way, where you are unable to affect change. Practicing acceptance does not necessarily mean you like, want, support, or endorse everything you cross paths with.

Rather, it means you’re choosing to allow it to be there without resistance, when you can’t change  it anyway. 

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To practice acceptance, identify anything in your life you feel you may be resisting. Notice if there is something you can do to change the situation for the better, and if not, begin the process of releasing that resistance and embracing acceptance. Just as the familiar Serenity Prayer states, “God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  

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Dee:

When something is bugging the hell out of you I can suggest that you embrace it, thank it for coming, and then let it go…whisked away into the clouds softly and forever.  Well why can’t I walk my talk?  Because I need to dwell in my doo doo for just awhile longer, beat up on myself, and wait to get to that point where I can no longer take it.  Why can I not remember for myself that everything is perfect at this moment? 

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2. Authenticity 

To be authentic is to feel at home in yourself and be true to your values. Authenticity is important in creating healthy relationships, but it can also be challenging to practice on a daily basis due to fear. You may fear that if you showed up as you truly are—saying, doing, and feeling the things within you without censoring yourself— that others might reject you.  

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To practice authenticity, do something that truly reflects your deepest needs, wishes, and values. Give up changing your behavior because of the desire to be liked. Speak up for yourself and say/do what’s in your heart. 

Dee:

Finding out who I am and what makes me tick by working the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was the most eye-opening journey I have ever walked.  I feel such a weight off my shoulders knowing how fear-based I lived most of my life and why.

Today I accept it, embrace it, and let it whisk away whilst concentrating on self-love and self-care.  Turn my head off.  Meditate.  A bit of yoga.  Get out in nature.  Enjoy quiet.  Write. 

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Today I get to live in rigorous honesty.  I was so exhausted from lying, hiding and cheating for decades in my active disease.  No more.  I’ve got to use my energy in positive ways.  And today my Higher Power has given me purpose…to share my experience, strength and hope with whoever enters my Dee bubble and might need a ray of light and inspiration, a glimpse of hope, some optimism, and knowing no one needs to go through anything, ever, alone!

3. Compassion 

Sara Schairer, founder of Compassion It, a nonprofit dedicated to the social movement of fostering daily compassionate actions and attitudes, defines compassion (https://chopra.com/articles/whats-the-difference- between-empathy-sympathy-and-compassion) as “the willingness to relieve the suffering of another.” It can be difficult to sit with your own suffering or observe/feel it from someone else. But like the other virtues, compassion is a skill that gets easier with practice.  

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Practicing compassion for someone (this can be yourself) who is suffering can come in many different forms. To get started, read Sara’s article (https://chopra.com/articles/4-steps-to-finding-peace-through-compassion) and follow its four steps. Before you know it, you will be connecting with others and yourself in a more meaningful way. (https://chopra.com/free-programs/discover-your-purpose-toolkit?_ga=2.12561396.1726373736.1526314196- 557740326.1524243263) 

Dee:

One thing I do daily to keep myself centered, grounded, humble and grateful is to thank my Higher Power for everything, and I mean everything.  If it doesn’t go my way or isn’t what I want I know there are no coincidences and that I am meant to learn from it, grow, and become a better person.

I also ask my Higher Power to help me to be mindful, compassionate, respectful and loving.  That means for me to make eye contact with you and give you my complete attention.  Shut my head off from my to-do list.  I ask my Higher Power to help me not judge, to put myself in your shoes.  I have no clue what your life is like or what you’ve been through.  But your sharing your journey with me will help me better understand and, again, grow and be a better person. 

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4. Curiosity

When you’re curious, problem solving becomes easier because you see more options, paths, and ways of solving a problem than your non-curious counterparts. You question more; you gather more opinions; you don’t stop at the first solution–which can lead to greater possibilities. 

To truly embrace an attitude of curiosity means you begin to question things in your life and the world around you with no attachment to the answer. This last part is the key. Even if the subject at hand is something you know a lot about–pretend like you are getting to know it for the first time and with wonder, begin to inquire, observe, and learn. To do this without judgment requires an incredibly high degree of openness. Embracing curiosity involves playfulness, lightness, and openness–all fun qualities to practice, so remember to enjoy the process! 

Dee:

Of course I have curiosity.  Thank God for Google.  But if I can’t get the answer I need, if technology isn’t going smoothly today, I let it go for now.  If I feel the answer to my curiosity isn’t going to be something that serves me favorably, I let that go, too.  I only have x amount of energy and I must pick and choose how I spend my time.  I always choose to spend it in a positive way.  A way that will help me and others to achieve our highest good.

Another option I always have waiting for me is my God Box.  If I’m in a dilemma and don’t know which way to turn or what choice to make, I put it in the God Box.  This alcoholic wants instant answers and gratification.  I’m learning my Higher Power is teaching me patience and faith. 

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5. Forgiveness 

Forgiveness can be difficult to achieve, especially toward loved ones who you feel have wronged you in some way. To forgive is to let go of anger and bitterness, making room for peace and love. 

To begin practicing this virtue, focus on someone to start forgiving. Read Deepak Chopra’s 7 Steps to Forgiveness (https://chopra.com/articles/the-7-steps-to-forgiveness) to get you started, and then put those steps into action. 

Dee:

It’s been easier for me to forgive others I feel have wronged me by putting myself in their shoes.  Again, I have no idea of their journey nor hardships.  I also live by Don Miguel Ruiz’s agreement of “Don’t take things personally” from his book, The Four Agreements.

If you want to live a positive, light life, let go of the negative shit, the wrongs done to you and the hardships you face.  Try to look at the glass half-full and make a positive out of your negatives.  I promise you there is a positive.  Remember to be grateful for this moment.  There are many on this planet who would love to live in your worst day! 

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6. Courage 

There are different types of courage, including physical strength, endurance, mental stamina, and innovation. No matter the type of courage you’re trying to embrace, the presence of fear is part of the process. Ultimately, courage doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid, it means that you take action despite your fear. As Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who  conquers that fear.” 

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To practice being courageous, you’re going to have to face a fear in your life. It can be something small, like singing in the shower, or something big, like confronting (https://chopra.com/articles/mindful-confrontation-9- steps-to-handle-conflict-in-a-healthy-way) a friend. You choose where to begin. Another good way to practice courage is do something new every day. This widens your comfort zone and allows you to experience things you may not otherwise try.  

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Dee:

How many times have we dreaded something we have to face, dwelled on it until it made us sick and sleepless only to find out once face that it wasn’t that bad?  Today I just want to cross if off my damned “to do” list and move on, rather than moving it to the next day, the next day, week, then month.  For pity sake.  It’s a negative.  Embrace it.  Do it.  Let it go. 

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7. Detachment 

The Law of Detachment (https://chopra.com/articles/the-law-of-detachment) states that you should detach yourself, and your ability to be happy, from a desired outcome. Otherwise, attachment to a specific outcome will show up as disappointment when/if that outcome doesn’t happen. 

Find out what you’re attached to—is it a goal? An object? A person?—and follow these five steps (https://chopra.com/articles/5-steps-to-detaching-for-a-happier-life) to detach for a happier life. 

Dee:

“No expectations…no disappointments.”  I love this quote, affirmation, slogan I learned in AA.  So true.  Expectations for me means going into the future.  Why am I going there?  All I have is this moment here and now in front of my nose.  So don’t shit on it.  Why am I “thinking” I can control people, places or things?  My Higher Power has got my back and will protect and guide me on the journey best for me.  So  stop it, Dee.  Detach.

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If you’ve made it this far and kept up with the recommended practices, you’ve probably gained some wisdom along the way. Wisdom—another virtue [noun: goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, worthiness, purity; principles, ethics.]—is about utilizing knowledge and experience with commonsense and insight. 

Which virtue did you find the most challenging to practice? Which was the most fun? Take the knowledge and experience you’ve gained from these exercises and see how you can incorporate these virtues into your everyday life. 

Dee:

My most challenging virtue is walking my talk…staying positive, optimistic and in the moment.  But when I bring myself back to earth and get right-sized with my Higher Power, everything falls back into place, including myself.  

The most fun virtue is just being me, that kid in me, spontaneous and goofy…all about fun!  I stress to my kids who are adults now, “Never grow up.  Never lose sight of your passions!”  And with that I thank you for taking time to read this.  I truly welcome any feedback.

And if you find yourself in a funk know that you are not alone.  Contact me.  Contact the wealth of support services in your area.  Together we can get through anything and make this world a better place!

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in Art with a Message of Well-Being and Self-Love, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Remember the intention of focusing on your virtues is for you to become more aware of your actions and live a value-driven life—not to master each virtue after one day. See if you can find ways to practice virtues each day. Over time, they will become daily habits. 

Get personalized guidance to create a clear roadmap to self-improvement with the Chopra Center’s Discover Your Purpose Toolkit, which includes a free e-book, worksheet, 1:1 discovery session, and guided meditation. Get your free toolkit now. (https://www.chopra.com/free-programs/discover-your-purpose-toolkit) 

About the Author 

Melissa Eisler (/bios/melissa-eisler)
Certified Leadership & Career Coach, Yoga & Meditation Instructor, Author 

Melissa is the Senior Content Strategist at the Chopra Center. Also an ICF Certified Leadership and Career Coach (ACC) and certified meditation and yoga instructor, she is passionate about motivating people to live a healthy, balanced, and purposeful life. You can learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at MelissaEisler.com (https://melissaeisler.com/). Melissa is also the author of The Type A’s Guide to Mindfulness: Meditation for Busy Minds and Busy People (http://amzn.to/1J1dYvz), a practical guide for new meditators in the modern world, and the creator of mindfulminutes.com (http://mindfulminutes.com/), a… Read more (/bios/melissa-eisler) 

The Chopra Center

 

 

 

 

 

8 Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior 

 

8 Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior 

By Adam Brady

What does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? This somewhat contradictory term appears in multiple wisdom traditions throughout human history. A fascinating concept, a spiritual warrior implies one who combats the most insidious and universal enemy—ignorance. 

Known as Avidya in Sanskrit, ignorance of the true nature of the world invokes countless forms of suffering. The spiritual warrior deliberately takes up the fight against this cunning foe, choosing to bring light to the darkness. 

The path of the spiritual warrior is not an easy one. It can challenge you, require sacrifice, and force you into the cognitive dissonance often encountered when you search to discover the causes of your ignorance. However, the rewards are great:  

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1. In the act of self-liberation from your fears, doubts, small mindedness, and limiting  beliefs

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2. In service to the world as path makers and leaders of a global shift in consciousness and world transformation 

What then, are the qualities of a spiritual warrior? What attributes or states of mind are necessary to become warriors of light? 

1. Awareness 

A spiritual warrior must possess expanded awareness (https://chopra.com/articles/the-three-qualities-of- awareness). While spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation enhance and accelerate the growth of awareness, a spiritual warrior must have the specific awareness to recognize that you are at war with the darkness of ignorance. If you are to take up the call of spiritual warriorship, you must remain vigilant that in the lack of awareness, ignorance will grow. As you pay attention to yourself—your thoughts, speech, actions, and beliefs—you deprive ignorance of a fertile field in which it can take root.  

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2. Courage 

A spiritual warrior has courage. Martial artist Bruce Lee said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” This is what it means to have courage. As previously explained, the path of the spiritual warrior is not necessarily easy. You can face danger, fear, pain, and uncertainty on the path to spiritual mastery. 

Spiritual warriors press on when confronted with adversity, doubt, or the inconsistencies or irrationality of their beliefs and behavior. This doesn’t mean you don’t feel the fear; it means you feel it and keep going. Deep down you know that the enlightenment you seek is worth enduring the temporary discomfort of the journey.  

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Dee:

This brings to mind The Serenity Prayer…God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  This is a prayer we in Alcoholics Anonymous and many other support groups recite during our meetings.  For me, the the path to spirituality came from facing the danger, fear, pain and uncertainty of not being able to go a day without taking a drink (ALWAYS more than a drink!).

When I found myself in a 28-Day Treatment Program for Alcoholism was when I slowly found myself in the spirit of the sunlight.  I began to learn about the disease of alcoholism.  I learned I was fear-based and my thoughts and actions followed suit.  With this enlightenment I did what was suggested in the rooms of AA and from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book to learn a new and spiritual way to live.  My life has never been better!

I do need to emphasize that I am in no way a representative of A.A.  All I know is in my deepest, darkest place of existence with no where else to turn, Alcoholics Anonymous gave me what I needed at that time to turn my life around and to help me to love myself  for who and what I am.

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3. Discipline 

Next, the spiritual warrior possesses discipline. Discipline is the ability to restrain yourself—to control your impulses, desires, or emotions for the sake of improvement. It’s important to note that such discipline comes not from some outside authority, rather the spiritual warrior forges in the fire of your will. You make the difficult choice to pursue spiritual practices or Sadhana (https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-live-your-sadhana-every- day) over the often more comfortable or conventional ways of life with the intention of attaining higher states of consciousness. 

Discipline can also mean simply staying on the path. The spiritual warrior knows there will be obstacles on the journey, but when those occur, self-discipline keeps you keeping on when others are content to quit. (https://chopra.com/overcoming-chaos-workshop/thank-you) 

Dee:

I realize that this writing is about the 8 qualities of a spiritual warrior, but for this alcoholic in recovery, I must put my sobriety first.  I have learned to live this way and everything in my life is about the gratitude and humility I feel being able to live without drugs and alcohol.

On this journey in recovery I have discovered that I am on a spiritual path, which I believe AA promotes (do note that many who have and have not experienced Alcoholics Anonymous believe that AA is a religious cult.  We are not.  And I embrace your opinions).

So all of my writings come from my heart.  My heart is who I am.  I am sober and spiritual.  That is the focus of my writing and my life.

So regarding discipline I have found that keeping close contact with the fellowship of AA helps me in all regards.  When I go too long without a meeting or some kind of contact with a like-minded human being, my brain gradually starts taking over.  My brain is sick.  I stop living from my heart and my life gets pretty shitty again.  I get off my spiritual path.  So my discipline is self-care which means for me AA meetings, time for Dee with meditation and yoga, and the common sense things of good sleep, nourishing food, exercise, etc. 

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4. Relentlessness 

Relentlessness is another key attribute of the spiritual warrior. Being relentless refers not to being harsh or inflexible. Rather it implies a persistent and determined intention to seek out false beliefs, attempts to fool yourself, and ego delusions. The spiritual warrior understands that ignorance is a tenacious adversary that requires daily and consistent attentiveness so as to not let it take you by surprise. 

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Dee:

Aaahhh, Grasshopper.  So right!  I learned this lesson the hard way (but the way it was intended I learn it) by getting complacent in my life of recovery.  My life got busy.  Everything was good.  I told myself I was on a spiritual path and in contact with my Higher Power.  I no longer attended AA meetings nor had any contact with the fellowship.  More importantly because of this, I stopped giving back what was so freely given me in the rooms of AA when I needed it most…me, my body, my service! And I no longer heard the newcomers’ stories nor witnessed their struggles.  I forgot how bad my life was before getting sober.

So false beliefs, attempts to fool myself, and ego delusions finally got the better of me.  When offered a drink, although I courteously replied I haven’t had a drink in 13-1/2 years, that drink was left for me in case I changed my mind.  I had no defense.  The drink yelled at me until I drank it.  The disease once again surfaced with just one shot of Tequila.  I needed more and my life once again revolved around drinking, hiding, lying, and cheating.

Relentlessness also means ruthlessly slaying the 1,000-headed dragon of self-importance. Your sense of self-importance can slow spiritual progress and obscure your understanding of who you really are. Relentlessly seeking out opportunities to subjugate [conquer, vanquish, defeat, crush, quash, bring someone to their knees, enslave, subdue, suppress. ANTONYMS liberate] the ego (https://chopra.com/articles/understanding-mind-intellect-and- ego) creates space for spirit to enter your life. 

Dee:

So when I tried to get sober again and got back into the rooms of AA, 90 meetings in 90 days, doing all that was suggested (just like the first time around: sponsorship, Big Book, meetings, service), I thought calling 4 women a night to say my name and that I was not in the spirit of the sunlight was lame!  How was that going to help me get sober?  How was that going to lift the obsession to drink.  But I continued going to meetings and rigorously honestly stated at each meeting that my name was Dee and I drank last night.  Day after day.  Night after night…until I played the 1,000-headed dragon of self-importance and picked up the 2,000 pound phone and made those 4 calls every night for God knows how long.  I’m sober today. 

5. Cunning 

The spiritual warrior is also cunning. As your awareness and spiritual discipline grows, the warrior of light recognizes the slippery nature of the mind and how easily you can fool yourself. You, therefore, must be equally cunning and crafty when it comes to outwitting your habitual thought traps (https://chopra.com/articles/retrain- your-brain-how-to-reverse-negative-thinking-patterns) and cognitive biases. In the space of expanded consciousness you learn to anticipate the stories you tell yourself, the ways you hide from the truth, and how you stubbornly defend your false sense of self. 

This alert witnessing and understanding of your thought process or metacognition allows you to intercept your conditioned behavior so you can course correct toward more conscious choices in thought, word, and deed. 

Dee:

I know for me that alcohol was just a symptom of my disease.  My head is so sick.  I can justify anything and I always find myself lost or in trouble.  So with that I shall not let my guard down to slip back into that deep and dark place of alcoholism nor stinking-thinking.  I’ll just suit up and show up at meetings (which always makes me feel better anyway), I’ll reach out the hand of AA to those who need it (alcoholic or not), and I’ll continue to practice self-care.

I look at the disease of alcoholism like I look at the ocean.  It is not to be feared.  It is to be respected in all its power.  It can take you down in a heart-beat if we let our guard down.  Don’t live in fear.  Just live cautiously.

6. Patience 

Patience is the next quality of the spiritual warrior. Patience is the calm acceptance that not everything happens according to your timeline. It allows you to be content as well as pause, wait, endure, and allow things to unfold in their own way. 

The spiritual warrior doesn’t act needy. You don’t push or demand that the universe comply with your wishes. Instead, you recognize that a bigger picture is unfolding; in the absence of a broader perspective, you can’t always know what action to take. Therefore, you can calmly be in the moment and wait for the universe to act. When the right time becomes known, the spiritual warrior seizes the opportunity and takes spontaneous and transformative right action. 

Dee:

I love this part of my journey.  That I am not in control.  That it’s not about me.  And that I have a Higher Power in my life that has my back and a journey for me that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams.  So I let my Higher Power drive as I sit in the passenger seat of life knowing that everything is perfect at this moment.  I stay in the moment and know that everything…life…will pan out just the way it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to.

7. Sweetness 

The spiritual warrior also possesses sweetness. Sweetness might seem like a strange attribute of the spiritual warrior, something associated with weakness or sentimentality. In this context, however, sweetness refers to impeccability in word and action. The spiritual warrior holds yourself to the highest of standards, refraining from anything that could be considered potentially cruel or hurtful. 

As the Dalai Lama reminds you, “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” It’s easy to be hurtful and mean to yourself or others. Kindness, compassion, and sweetness in the face of anger or ignorance require enormous strength and understanding. Seeing the world from higher ground allows you to act and speak from a place of sweetness that benefits everyone you encounter.

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Dee:

Are we not bombarded every day with negativity?  A newscast.  A newspaper.  A magazine.  Overhearing co-workers at the time clock.  It’s not always easy to be sweet, which I choose to call positive.  But I choose to live my life in a positive way as I have found the negativity takes a lot more energy and I don’t have all that much left.  The disc-space in my brain is full-up and I am discarding unnecessary shit to make room for better things.  I am in my sixth decade of life so I don’t have the physical vitality I had in my twenties and thirties.  But guess what?  I wouldn’t go back one single day!

You see, today I am a new person.  A positive and hopeful and optimistic person.  I have been given a new lease on life.  I have a purpose today to share my experience, strength and hope with whomever enters my Dee Bubble and has like-minded beliefs as me.  And when we don’t connect I do not take it personally because AA and spirituality and my Higher Power have gifted me with love of self and being comfortable in my own skin.  

Hey, and sweetness doesn’t mean being a doormat.  Set your boundaries  Hold your head high and stand your ground…when necessary.  Walk away if you must.  Don’t lower yourself to the levels so many on this planet are living in.  Be you.  Love you.  You’re awesome just the way you are! 

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8. Love 

The final quality of the spiritual warrior is love (https://chopra.com/articles/choose-love). To the spiritual warrior love is all that is. It is the core of your being and core of all other beings. Removing the veils of love is the spiritual warrior’s quest. You exist with love at your source, but often it lies hidden beneath anger, trauma, or suffering (https://chopra.com/articles/transcend-suffering-through-the-5-kleshas). Expanding the field of love for both yourself and others is the ultimate goal of the spiritual warrior. Love heals all wounds. It is that transformative power that can change the world. The spiritual warrior shines the light of your love into the darkness of ignorance, not to destroy it, but to transmute it into knowledge.  

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When the spiritual warrior possesses these attributes you become a powerful force for change in the world. The spiritual warrior fights against the self-delusion, fear (https://chopra.com/free-programs/awaken-to- happiness/week-7-replace-fear-with-love), and ignorance that create suffering in your life. This battle is fought within; an effort to shed the chains of conditioning and false beliefs that lie within you. The reward of this campaign is the expansion of consciousness; the spiritual warrior becomes a beacon of awareness who brings healing to the entire world. 

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Join Deepak Chopra for the free, four-part online workshop Overcoming Chaos, where you’ll learn how the science and magic of meditation can help you dissolve painful emotions, calm the anxious mind, and move past the chaos of daily life. Learn More (https://chopra.com/overcoming-chaos-workshop/thank-you). 

Dee:

Please, share your gifts…your experience, strength and hope.  Brighten someone’s day with a smile, or an open door, a hug, or a hello.  Know you are never alone on your journey and your journey can help others in their struggles.  Let’s make this world a better place to live, with love and compassion, one day at a time, one kindness at a time can trickle around our planet over and over and over…

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for being you.  Wish warmest aloha, Dee Harris

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

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About the Author 

Adam Brady (/bios/adam-brady) Vedic Educator 

Yoga teacher, author, and martial artist Adam Brady has been associated with the Chopra Center for nearly 20 years. He is a certified Vedic Educator trained in Primordial Sound Meditation (/articles/what-is-primoridal- sound-meditation), Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (/teach/seven-spiritual-laws-yoga-teacher-training target=), and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle (/teach/perfect-health-certification-program), and regularly teaches in the Orlando, Florida, area. Over the last several years, Adam has worked to introduce corporate mind-body wellness programs into the workplace within a large… Read more (/bios/adam-brady) 

From The Chopra Center

Holding Space: The Art of Being Present with Others

Holding Space: The Art of Being Present with Others 

By Adam Brady

Holding space is a conscious act of being present, open, allowing, and protective of what another needs in each moment. The term has been growing in popularity among caregivers, healers, yogis, and spiritual seekers. It’s a broadly used phrase to define the act of “being there” for another. The effects of this practice, however, go much deeper than simply offering support. 

Consider the individual words for a moment. To hold means to embrace or encircle someone or something in your grasp. Physically, this might take the form of a hug or the cradling of a hand in yours. But you can also embrace someone non-physically with your intention, attention, and energy. Space refers to the immediate environment you are sharing with another. This, too, may be the physical space of a room, but more frequently refers to the mental and emotional environment you are in with others. Put together, these words embody the principle of surrounding the environment with your awareness (https://chopra.com/articles/the-three-qualities- of-awareness) in way that provides comfort and compassion for all. 

Holding space involves several specific qualities of consciously relating to others, the sum of which are greater than the individual parts. Let’s explore these attributes and see how they can deepen your ability to hold space for others. 

Safety 

A key component to holding space is the quality of safety. For others to be open, genuine, and oftentimes vulnerable (https://chopra.com/articles/5-ways-to-feel-less-vulnerable), they must feel secure and have a sense of trust. People won’t let down their defenses until they know it is safe to do so. 

Like a medieval cathedral nestled within the city’s fortress walls, you need to create an environment in which all who enter feel protected from harm. This safety implies an unspoken “sheepdog” mentality that serves as a guardian and authentically maintains confidentiality, transparency, and impeccability in all you say and do. 

Dee:

I’ve learned from Alcoholics Anonymous the importance of anonymity.  Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.  I treasure this tradition and I strive to live it as best I can.  I try my hardest to treat others as I would like to be treated.  Anonymity, confidentiality and, more importantly, respect are the behaviors I endear; therefore, I sow.

I have also learned in A.A. to practice rigorous honesty.  So I do.  Opening up myself whole-heartedly to those who enter my Dee Bubble has gained me much trust and more openness from those I encounter.  When I share my experience, strength and hope, they seem to feel less threatened by sharing the events in their lives with me.

The Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz has taught me to live impeccably with my word.  Impeccably…without sin.  I try to live the way Thumper’s mom taught him, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  That doesn’t mean I won’t stand up for myself or my rights, or for those I feel cannot do this for themselves.  I do have boundaries.  I do have self-respect and self-worth.  And so do you.

But I try not to waste my energy on negative things, and this includes words and thoughts that don’t serve my highest good.  So I have blocked myself off from gossip.  Bullying and name-calling has never been an option.  Having been bullied as a child, I realize how harmful words can be.

Suspended Self-Importance 

A vitally important aspect of holding space is the understanding that it’s not about you. When you hold space you must make the conscious decision to leave your ego (https://chopra.com/articles/is-the-ego-your-friend-or- foe) at the door. Holding space is about serving others and your personal concerns or needs are not part of the process. Suspending your sense of self-importance can be challenging and should be considered a prerequisite for the practice. If you aren’t able to put your ego in the back for a time, you’ll be ill-suited to be present for the needs of others. Holding space requires radical humility and the willingness to be a temporary caretaker of the feelings and concerns of another. 

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Dee:

Not only have I learned in AA that I have no control over people, places, nor things, I have also learned that the world does not revolve around me.  I am so grateful for having worked the 12 Steps with many women and each time learning so much more about myself and becoming a better human being.  Please note that I do not represent Alcoholics Anonymous.  I share my experience, strength and hope with you as a true believer in this Program and in its miracles.

So one of the things I learned to help me get out of myself and out of my head was to be of service.  It works.  It feels good; I feel good.  I learn to give back what was so freely given me when I needed it most…hope, compassion, empathy, a safe place to hang out.

I also learned from working the Steps what a selfish, fear-based, all-about-me piece of work I was.  Yet I had no purpose, no reason for living.  I was so empty in my active disease and even before as I had no god nor power greater than myself, no god of my own understanding, no nothing.

Today I no longer have to live in fear.  I no longer have to hate myself.  I no longer have to have your approval.  I can just be me and be okay with that.  But I’m not just okay, I love myself for who and what I am with all my defects of character, with all the incomprehensible demoralizing things I did in my past.

Today I have a Power Greater Than Myself, a Higher Power of My Own Understanding and making.  I turn my will and my life over to the care of this being.  I have faith that everything is happening for a reason, that there is a journey out there for me that serves my highest good.  So if I just go with the flow and trust in the process, my head is quiet, my life is calm, and a beautiful and purposeful life appears before me. 

1_God&amp;SleepMOS (Gimp wht) (DbH)

Living in the moment has been such a precious gift in my sobriety.  I no longer have to dwell on my past but to embrace it and use it in a positive way.  I no longer have to worry about the future as there might be no future.  Again, I am not in control.  So I make sure that I stay present and not shit on the moment before me.  This helps me to stay humble and grateful for what is right before my nose.

Attention 

One of the most precious gifts you can give another is the gift of your full and complete attention. However, listening attentively without the need to respond, interrupt, or comment is a skill that takes considerable practice to master. Even with the best of intentions, your ego may sneak back in; it looks for opportunities to subtly make things about you instead of the other. 

When holding space you must work diligently to maintain eye contact, be free of distractions, be fully attentive, and cultivate an openness or “space consciousness” in which there is no “me,” but rather the ever-present witness of the sounding board of consciousness. 

To this end, make the commitment to cultivate what British author Stuart Wilde called silent power by resisting the urge to speak unless you are asked to. This, coupled with your full awareness, can be a profoundly powerful experience for those in your presence. Your attention, focused and all-inclusive of whatever is happening in the moment, opens the door for others to see the reflection of their own soul in you—the Self talking to itself. 

Dee:

As I drive to the Pure Kona Green Market early every Sunday morning to sell my art I center my thoughts to the folks who will enter my Dee Bubble that day.  I ask my Higher Power to help me to be mindful, respectful, compassionate and loving.  I no longer base my prosperity of the day on financial rewards; I base my prosperity on the interactions I have with those I get to know and meet, with nature and nourishment I put in my body, and with the day as it unfolds.  When I start my day with this attitude, my day always unfolds in spectacular ways.  The financial rewards come if that is what is meant to be.  But the new interactions I have with other like-minded human beings never disappoints me.  I learn.  I grow.  I add these new experiences to my Experience, Strength and Hope Box to share with you.

Practice Acceptance 

Holding space is all about allowing—allowing this person or group to feel what they feel. Allowing them to say what they need to say. Allowing yourself to be whatever they need you to be right now. Holding space, therefore, isn’t about controlling anything. Your role is that of a guardian of the space. Like two cupped hands filled with water, you are there to hold the other with your awareness. In doing so, you must allow that experience to take whatever shape it will. 

Accept this moment as it is. Accept others as they are, without any desire to change them, or wanting them to be something different. This, too, can be a challenge since you are conditioned to immediately try to change things you think should be different. But, in holding space, practicing acceptance gives others a priceless gift—the freedom to be just as they are. (https://chopra.com/live-events/seduction-of-spirit)  

1_BeYrslfMOS (Gimp wht) (DbH)

Dee:

Another valuable gift I have learned from AA is not to judge, not to take other people’s inventories.  In other words, I mind my own business and make sure my side of the street is kept clean.  I have no clue what other’s have gone through, what makes them tick, what makes them who they are.  But when I quiet down my head and listen to their stories with a mindful, present, and respectable heart, I get to experience their journeys and, again, add them to my Experience, Strength and Hope Box to share with others in an anonymous and general way to help them along their journeys.

Keeping my side of the street clean means accepting and loving myself for who I am.  Self-care is key.  I cannot be there for others if I have unresolved doo doo going on in my own life.  So that is where my priority lies before I can reach out to others.  Am I in a good space?  Is my life free from poison arrows?  In other words, am I mindful of what is right in front of my nose?  If I am then I am in tuned with my Higher Power.  I am aware that everything is perfect at this moment.  I am able to love myself and my life for what it is, but not only love it, but embrace it for all its glory.  Then I know I am humble and grateful.  I can now help you to that place.

Non-judgement 

Holding space is an impartial process. You’re not there to pass judgement or to evaluate another. When you judge another’s experience you create additional mental static that will only get in the way and obscure the truth. In the moment when you’re holding another’s fears, suffering (https://chopra.com/articles/a-modern-take-on- the-roots-of-suffering), or grief, your opinions are irrelevant. 

Unless you’ve been through what they’re going through, you’ll never truly understand their feelings. Being there is enough. Good and bad are merely a matter of perspective and in this moment, your perspective isn’t the one that’s important.  

8_PlaqueORN (Gimp wht) (DbH)

Dee:

I love that I am able to see the glass half-full, that I can turn any negative into a positive.  That is me and that is how I choose to live.  With hope.  With light at the end of the tunnel.  So again, I quiet my head (it’s not all about me) and I open my heart.  I get mindful and respectful.  I make eye contact.  I give you my full attention.  I listen.  I feel.  I have new experiences.  I grow.  I become a better human being.  I share with you how you can turn your negatives into positives.  We thrive…together.

Compassion 

Although you non-judgmentally practice acceptance with your full attention, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t prefer things to be better. Compassion (https://chopra.com/articles/4-steps-to-finding-peace-through- compassion) is an essential quality for the practice of holding space. To embrace another in acceptance is an act of compassion in and of itself. In your openness to the pain of others you are essentially saying, “How can I help you? I don’t want you to hurt. What can I do to help support your highest good?” Even if not spoken aloud, these intentions to relieve the suffering of others are the essence of compassion. 

In many cases, simply being a loving presence can bring about a deep sense of relief that eases the pain of another. The world can use more compassion, so the practice of holding space provides an opportunity to continually build this vitally important skill.

1_StryInsprMOS (Gimp wht) (DbH)  

Dee:

I remember how alone I felt when I was a practicing alcoholic.  I was ashamed that I could not go a day without drinking.  I was confused as to why I could not get a grip on my drinking.

The miracle came when my Higher Power stepped in and told me this part of my journey was over.  He felt I had suffered just enough to not take my own life, but to share my experiences with others feeling just as alone.

He sent me to rehab.  He taught me about alcoholism.  He had me feel that there was hope and gave me a group of like-minded folks going through the same confusion and hardship.  And when my 28-days was done with these professional counselors and GOD (Group Of Drunks), He sent me to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This is where the real magic begins.  To learn I have a toolbox for living.  I have a book (The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous) that spells it all out for me as suggestions, with testimonials, and the whole nine yards.  Yes, this is where the real magic begins.

Because I grew up in a society (yes, America) where we are taught at a young age to suck it up, be strong, achieve more shit, more material stuff, more power, step on those who get in my way, I was a hot mess.  How do I share with those who might get in my way of achieving this “stuff”.  How can I let them or anyone know I am suffering?  What a crock of shit!  I had to unlearn all that bullshit!

We ALL have our obstacles.  We ALL have life to endure.  But why do we feel we have to endure?  Let’s embrace it in all its glory…together.  I feel such a part of in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We are one big family (no, not a cult) who genuinely care about the well-being of others in the rooms.  And we take that compassion to the real world, where it trickles out over the entire planet, one small wave at a time, one day at a time.  It’s magical!

But whether you are an alcoholic or not, you may have some obstacle that feels so huge that there is no hope in sight.  You are not alone.  There are many others out there going through what you are experiencing.  You’ll know when you let your guard down, when you shut your head off and open your heart, who you want to open up to.  Just let it happen.  What do you have to lose?  Remember, it’s not all about you.  If you keep it closed up because you want to save face, get over yourself.  In a minute that person you shared with won’t remember what you said anyway.  You’ll probably never see him/her again.  Unless this was a like-minded, caring and compassionate person who realizes there are no coincidences and that you were put in his life for a reason…so that you can thrive together.

Witnessing 

Witnessing allows you to play a special part while holding space—that of the observer. Like in quantum physics, the observer is what triggers the collapse of the wave of potential into a particle, the non-local into the localized phenomenon. But this doesn’t involve any action on the observer’s part. In holding space you’re just there as the witness, almost like a fly on the wall. Naturally, you can participate if requested to do so, but essentially your role is that of the watcher. 

It is said that when Gautama (the future Buddha) was on the verge of enlightenment, he was tempted by the forces of darkness and their king, the demon Mara. With his entire demon army descending upon them, Mara demands the Gautama produce a witness to his awakening. Gautama simply touches the earth with his fingers and says, “The earth itself is my witness.” With this gesture, Mara and his arm vanish, and Gautama becomes the Buddha or Awakened One. Like the earth the Buddha touches, you are the witnesses to those who you hold space for. 

Through the practice of holding space, you serve as a container for which the healing and transformation can take place. It’s a powerful gift of presence that you can give to others through the quality of your attention. 

Spend six transformative days expanding your awareness and deepening your presence at Seduction of Spirit, our signature meditation and yoga retreat led by Deepak Chopra. Learn More. (https://www.chopra.com/live- events/seduction-of-spirit) 

Dee:

I remember learning early on in sobriety that if something is bothering me (let’s say, a resentment), write it down, say it out loud, better yet, share it with another human being, and that will take the power out of it.  Why do we keep all this shit bottled up in us?  Am I the only one going through this and every other human being out there is perfect and might think less of me?  Bull shit.  We are all human beings and we’re in this together.

Why do so many humans sit at the bar and share their shit with the bartender?  Why do so many humans pay millions of dollars and spew their junk with therapists?  Why do so many humans go to confession on Sundays?  To take the power out of what’s ailing them.  So share it.  Embrace it.  Then release it.  Let yourself be free of negativity and open up your limited disc-space for positive things. 

Mahalo for reading this and allowing me to share my experience, strength and hope with you.  Have a great day and share your gifts!

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!

About the Author 

Adam Brady (/bios/adam-brady) Vedic Educator 

Yoga teacher, author, and martial artist Adam Brady has been associated with the Chopra Center for nearly 20 years. He is a certified Vedic Educator trained in Primordial Sound Meditation (/articles/what-is-primoridal- sound-meditation), Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (/teach/seven-spiritual-laws-yoga-teacher-training target=), and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle (/teach/perfect-health-certification-program), and regularly teaches in the Orlando, Florida, area. Over the last several years, Adam has worked to introduce corporate mind-body wellness programs into the workplace within a large… Read more (/bios/adam-brady) 

Taken from the Chopra Center