MAKING HOPE REAL

Day 18 – Making Hope Real

“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel

Today’s meditation is about helping to make hope real for others. Of course, fundamentally each person must create hope from within themselves, but we can also play an instrumental role in supporting that hope-building process. The way we do this is to learn how to deeply listen, see, and feel another person. When we can be with and acknowledge another person without any judgment or agenda, then our core hope is supporting their core hope on a real soul-to-soul level.

OPRAH:

Today we set about the business of making hope real.  Welcome to Day 18.  When I opened my school in South Africa I said to Maya Angelou, “You know the girls in this school will be my greatest legacy and Maya surprised when she responded, “You have no idea what your legacy will be.  Your legacy is what you do everyday.  Your legacy is every life you’ve ever touched.  Every person whose life was ever moved or not.  It’s every person you’ve harmed or helped.  That is your legacy,”  Maya said to me.

So I started to rethink that legacy.  Because it’s how you treat that person behind the counter at the store.  It’s how your interaction with your child’s teacher.  It’s your encounters with your colleagues at work, in your family, the people in your neighborhood.  What I know for sure is that to reach people and share the energy of hope, you have to do more than just listen to them.  You have to see them.  I’ve often said that each of the tens of thousands of people I’ve interviewed had one thing in common…they all wanted to be seen and heard.  They wanted validation.

When people are validated, when they know you see me, you hear me, and what I’m saying means something to you, they feel like they’re not alone and that they matter.  That is the deepest reality, the deepest desire, we all share…is to matter.  And that’s the way to make hope real for anyone in your world.  Make them matter.

Deepak guides us to the power of deeply hearing and seeing another person.

DEEPAK:

Often in times of uncertainty and confusion it feels like no matter how hard you try something is bound to go wrong.  For many this sense of hopelessness is tied to depression and anxiety, while in milder forms it keeps others tough, in a state of expecting little in life.

If you believe you don’t deserve much happiness and success, hiding beneath the surface is absence of hope.  The problem is that losing hope buys into an illusion.  Because hope is a quality of the true self, it is grounded in reality.  Loss of hope is grounded in the past.  Old wounds, negative beliefs, low self-esteem and disappointed expectations…these are phantoms of the mind and we believe they are real because we think the fear they generate will protect us from further pain.

When someone is losing hope they will find a solution if they are guided to the deeper reality inside themselves.  Reassuring them that some external factor, meeting a person, acquiring more money or moving to a different place will solve their insecurity is not useful.  More importantly without basing your hope and present awareness the fear of uncertainty never goes away.

Ideally the path of self-awareness is open through meditation.  If this is not feasible for the other person you can still inspire hope in them.  Do they need reminding that they are strong or that they are loved?  Do they need to feel less alone or that others appreciate them?

The first step in making hope real for that person is to ask and listen from the level of the heart.  Don’t try to change a situation according to your own preconceptions.  Let your insight into what is needed come up of its own accord.  When you do speak, talk to the hope you see in the other person, whatever it is.

Also immediate hope is better than long-range hope.  Make it clear that the present moment is a place of hope because it is the only place where change can happen.  Yesterday and tomorrow are only ideas.  Your action plan is to bring no judgment, no expectations, to deeply listen to the other person, offering help, here and now, and, therefore, keeping everything real.  By your example you show that the unknown is not fearful but an opening into renewal and change.

CENTERING THOUGHT

My hope is grounded in a deeper reality.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Eem Shreem

My being radiates wisdom and abundance.

DEE:

Today I try to live my life optimistically, with the glass half full, knowing that whatever happens happens for a reason, a reason to make me a better person and to help me grow.  Of course things happen that don’t make me especially happy, that’s going to take my time and energy away from the things I love, but, oh well.  It happened.  Live with it.  Deal with it.  And move on…a better person.

I also try to live my life hopefully, faithfully, again, that what happens happens for a reason.  I have no control over people, places and things.  But I do have control over how I am going to react to them.  I don’t.  I take a deep breath and have faith that a Power Greater than Myself is guiding me through lessons I need to learn.  I am hopeful to learn those lessons.

With time and practice this way of life, at looking at life, becomes easier.  My life goes more effortlessly.  I feel better and freer.  And I try to share this outlook with those who enter my “Dee bubble”.  When one enters my bubble I try my hardest to give them my full attention, mindfulness, eye contact, respect and compassion.  I try to put myself in their shoes.  And then I go within to, “What would Dee do?  What would Dee’s Higher Power have her do?”  And then I share my hope.

Validation is key.  Helping others to know that they are gifts, that they have attributes, that they are worthy.  Yes, they matter!  The beautiful thing is that we connect.  So share your gifts with those who enter your bubble.  Be a nice human today.  Share that this present moment is perfect.  Don’t shit on it by going back into yesterday or venturing into tomorrow.  Be the HOPE!

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

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

Advertisements

HOW HOPE GOES VIRAL

Day 17 – How Hope Goes Viral

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.” – Maya Angelou

We all understand how we can be an agent of change for the people we personally interact with, but we can also affect those around us with whom we don’t have direct contact through the connection of our shared collective consciousness. When we learn to consciously live and act from a deep place of hope, love, and kindness, we are stimulating and connecting to the same level of hope, love, and kindness in others, near and far. As their hope and love is awakened, it increases the strength of the signal, awakening more hearts in turn. This is how hope goes viral.

OPRAH:

This is Day 17.  Today’s meditation is on How Hope Goes Viral.  One of the greatest joys in my life right now is gardening.  I love harvesting vegetables and posting those photos sometimes on Instagram and Facebook.  And nothing makes me happier than walking my dog through a basket full of greens.  Some photos of my harvest days have gone viral.  Imagine that!  Pictures of a bowl of fresh-picked tomatoes going viral!

I think it may be because people inherently love nature themselves and the idea of growing things, gardening, you know, is not a complex thing.  What makes it so satisfying is it’s connection to the simplest joys to the earth.  You plant a seed.  You nurture it.  It brings itself to fruition.  And those impulses are part of who we are.  I believe the root of hope lives in all of us.

And isn’t a garden the perfect metaphor for hope going viral?  You tend the soil, again.  You plant it.  You fertilize it.  You nurture it with a hope it will grow vibrant.  You begin with that hope that a seed turns into something fruitful or beautiful.  And when that seed is grown you share it.

In nurturing our hopes and dreams we often begin with just a seed.  We grow and nurture our hopes and sharing the fruits of our realized hopes and dreams is one of life’s greatest joys.

Ultimately growing a garden is about giving back and sharing with others.  You can’t eat all those tomatoes yourself!  I love to drop in on my neighbors with baskets of freshly picked anything…lettuce, snap peas, tomatoes…because I grew it and I don’t want to waste it.  And life is better when you share it.

So don’t waste the fruits of your hope.  Let it grow to abundance and share it with the world.  And may it become viral.  Let’s hear from Deepak and how to cultivate viral hope.

DEEPAK:

We’ve discovered on our meditation journey that hope is activated in the present moment.  Present moment awareness is simply conscious experience without the mind’s analysis or conceptualization, including the thoughts and feelings about the past and the future.  Present moment awareness experience is your true self and it is always fresh and new.  It is the very essence of hope, of love, of compassion and joy.

Absorbing the qualities of the true self happens effortlessly in our meditations.  But you can encourage the inner shift outside meditation.  Start at the level of beliefs.  In any situation allow yourself to be present to the experience without mental analysis and interpretation.  And you will find that you naturally drop the belief that you know what is best for someone else.

This does not mean that we sacrifice our beliefs or don’t stand up for what we think is right.  Rather we recognize that instead of trying to force people to change it is more effective to be the example of hope, tolerance and love.

Particularly in times of uncertainty negativity and aggression lead to more negativity and aggression.  But hope and compassion also beget more hope and compassion.  As this happens you now have an understanding that everyone wants to grow and evolve in their own way and at their own pace.  Know that at some level they are listening and that their consciousness is responding to your hope and compassion.  Even if you detect resistance on the surface.  Understand and feel that at a core level they share your hope.

If you adopt this approach hope will go viral wherever you are.  Social research has already proven that personal attitudes, beliefs and habits go viral all the time.  If you have a friend or family member who overeats, for example, you’re more likely to overeat.  While on the other hand if a friend or family member goes to the gym you’re more likely to do that too.

What’s mysterious is you don’t actually have to be in direct contact with the other person.  What’s at work is the power of collective consciousness.  When we become a living example of the power of hope we become a catalyst for the transformative force in others, a force that can never be extinguished.

CENTERING THOUGHT

I bring hope into the present moment.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Samprati Hum

My true self is wide awake.

DEE:

It’s the ripple effect.  When one shares hope, that hope can be carried clear around the world.  That seed can blossom into amazing abundance.  That’s why we must remember that we do count, our voices will be heard.  We must share that hope!

I learned that lesson the hard way in my sobriety.  One of the hardest things I ever did was to get clean and sober.  But what’s harder?  Staying sober.  I learned early on the slogan, “You can’t keep it unless you give it away.”  That was in reference to my sobriety and recovery.  And once I thought life was going great and I was getting “well”, I ceased going to so many AA meetings, I ceased being with the fellowship that could call me on my shit, I ceased hearing what it was like to be a newcomer, and I ceased giving away my gift of sobriety.

So unbeknownst to me when asked if I wanted a drink at a barbecue, I said, “No, I haven’t had a drink in over 13 years.”  When that drink was left for me in case I changed my mind, it yelled at me until I drank it.  To me this was a Godsend, only because I was graced with another chance in sobriety.  Some aren’t so lucky.  They never get back.  But this time around I don’t take this gift lightly, I stay close to my meetings and fellowship, and I give back what was so freely given to me when I needed it most – HOPE.

And when I work with those in need, whether sponsees or people who randomly (yeah, right) enter my “Dee bubble”, I oftentimes get to witness their hope and joy being shared with those who enter their bubbles, and on and on it goes.  It’s magical!

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

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

REIGNITING THE SPARK OF HOPE

Day 16 – Reigniting the Spark of Hope

“Each time someone stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others… he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” – Robert Kennedy

Today’s meditation is about how we can become a beacon of hope for others by offering love and support without expecting anything in return from them. You can reawaken their hope by living that example of hope in your own life. When we can accept and love another person without judgment, we are connecting our true self with their true self on the feeling level. This breaks down the barriers of defensiveness and distrust, while reigniting their light of hope.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Day 16 of our mediation experience – Reigniting the Spark of Hope.  As far back as I can recall my prayer has been the same, “Use me, God.  Show me how to take who I am, what I want to be, what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

I hold close my favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., where he says everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.  Think about your own life right now and how you can serve your way to greatness.  When you shift your focus from success to service, everything in your life shifts, everything, without exception will have more meaning.

Dr. Brené Brown says, “If you want to help others effectively, you must first allow yourself to be vulnerable.”  This is a sticking point for so many of us.  We want to be the light of hope for someone else but we’re often unwilling to open up and share our own flaws.  Are you someone who gets your self-worth from helping others?  Brené says when you extract self-worthiness from people you are helping, that’s judgment.  But when you’re helping people with a hope that one day you might need help from them, that is connection, reaching out with no expectation but with the hope of connection.  That is a spark that will light up the world.  Deepak shows us how we can instill hope in others with the bonds of giving and service.

DEEPAK:

To be a beacon of hope you cannot have an ulterior motive.  When you come from the level of the ego the motive is always self-centered.  Others will have competing agendas of their own.  How do we rise above this clash in a way that serves both you and the other person?

First offer hope, love, support and encouragement without having any expectation that the other person will change the way you want them to.  People can always sense when we are judging them or have a hidden agenda.  Once they feel this they resent and resist  the interference.  Instead of changing they contract into a self-defensive posture.  You don’t need another person to change to rekindle their hope.  You only need to be that change, to live that light of hope in your own life.  Then the natural motivating power of hope begins to work.

Your own hope comes from your connection of your true self.  Likewise when you help someone else to reconnect to their true self you give them hope that change is possible.  The feeling level is all important.  Just as people detect when they’re being judged they also detect when they are accepted.

Don’t try to help if you feel you are angry, disappointed or ashamed.  Work on yourself first.  Getting to a place where you accept and welcome the other person’s existence, then you will create a heart-to-heart bond at the level of feeling.  This bond can work miracles because it takes down barriers of distrust, defensiveness, guilt and shame.  Once inner barriers come down your hope can reignite the spark of hope in someone else.

Realistically every relationship is entangled with the past making it hard to relate without judgment toward someone else.  Especially in families there’s a tendency to put people in a box believing they will never change.  But consider how much you want to escape the box you’ve been put in.  Everyone has that feeling because everyone wants more freedom and to be themselves.  When you allow that yearning of freedom in someone else you are recognizing how much you feel the same way.  Then ego doesn’t block your view.  You genuinely hope for the best in every situation no matter what happened in the past.

CENTERING THOUGHT

I bond with others to give them hope.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Karuna Namah

I invoke the universal power of compassion.

DEE:

I remember walking into my first AA meeting.  I was scared shitless who in my town, would see me walk through that door or, more so, who was on the other side.  But for some strange reason after that traumatic first few seconds, I saw faces I didn’t know and I saw faces of those I did know.  There was no trauma nor drama.  There was no guilt nor shame.  I felt uncomfortably, or comfortably, home.  My head says uncomfortably, but my heart was comfortable.

There was no judgment.  Only welcoming and smiles and the feeling I got was one of hope and love.  I know today that these folks, the fellowship of AA, wanted nothing from me but my own well-being.  They were able and willing to love me until I could love myself and expected nothing in return.  They got to stay sober!

Today I get to offer that same greeting and hope to the newcomer.  Today I have the purpose of sharing my experience, strength and hope with those in need whether they are struggling with alcoholism, another addiction, abuse, mental disorders, or just life in general.

It took time for me to get comfortable enough in my own skin to share my experience, strength and hope with others.  For me that meant being rigorously honest.  That didn’t mean while I was a grocery checker I got on the intercom and announced, “Hi, I’m Dee.  I’m an alcoholic.  No waiting at checkstand 3.”  But it did mean that when my gut felt like someone entered my “Dee bubble” and I could offer a ray of hope with being rigorously honest about my alcoholism, but more so about my recovery, I shared from my heart.  I found my words bringing people to tears, happy tears, by sharing my word, my hope, my mindfulness with them.

To be a beacon of hope to another human being does help me to stay sober one more day.  I learned early on, and proved it 13-1/2 years after my initial sobriety date when I stopped going to meetings and relapsed, that “you can’t keep it unless you give it away.”  I don’t expect anything from the person with whom I share my hope, but I do get to stay humble and grateful and remember where I came from.

My message to all is to love yourself.  Just as you are.  For who and what you are.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Remember your unique gifts.  Share those with others.  You are so perfect just the way you are at this very moment.  Never forget that!  And never forget that you don’t have to do this on your own.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

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

THE INNER CHILD REBORN

The Inner Child Reborn

“Hope is the thing with feathers, / That perches in the soul, / And sings the tune without the words / And never stops at all…” – Emily Dickinson

Even as adults, we all still retain that part of our personality we had when we were children. The positive, healthy aspect of our inner child expresses our innocence, joy, exuberance, and hope. This accepting and fresh view of life comes from the true self. This egoless state is always there within us.

In today’s meditation, we learn how to reawaken the inner children in ourselves, as well as encourage it in others by seeing their inner child with the innocent and accepting eyes of our own.

OPRAH:

Welcome to week 3 of our 21-day meditation experience.  In week one we moved into the space where we experienced how hope is real and can be a powerful force to overcome fear and anxiety in certain times.  In week two we explored the expanse of where hope can take us and we practiced how, through meditation, we can use hope to create inner strength even during our darkest hours.  Everything is better when you share it so in week 3 we will navigate how we can offer hope and inspire it in others.  Let’s begin Day 15 – The Inner Child Reborn.

Many years ago family counselor and author, John Bradshaw, revealed to our Oprah Show audience his concept of the wounded inner child.  I often refer to an exercise he took our audience through.  It remains for me one of the most transforming moments of my life, really.  John said we first see the world through the eyes of a little child and that inner child remains with us throughout our lives.  No matter how outwardly grown up and effective we appear to become.  If our vulnerable child was hurt, abandoned, shamed or neglected, that child’s grief and anger lives on within us.  That is so powerful to know.

You see so many adults now acting out the hurt, abandonment, the shame and neglect that they suffered as children.  As the son of an alcoholic, for instance, John’s wounds were so profound that he became an alcoholic by the time he was only thirteen.  His inner child exercise was an Oprah Show moment that changed the way I felt about myself and the way I looked at the world.  Each time I talk about I learn something new, really.

He had us imagine peering through the window of our childhood home.  You can do this for yourself.  Go to the window of the house that you grew up in, look through and find yourself in that house.  And what do you see?  When you take a good look at your life as a child, what do you see and, more importantly, what do you feel what’s going on with you and your relationships with everyone in the house?  What gift did you possess that others may have overlooked or missed?  What burdens were you made to carry?

What brought you hope?  What made you sad?

I believe that healing the wounds of the past is one of the most hopeful endeavors that we have in our lives.  When you rekindle the innocence and hope that precedes pain, you free yourself to truly live more fully in the present.

DEEPAK: 

At this stage in our journey you can, if you like, reach out and bring hope to others.  The world needs beacons of hope everywhere.  This applies to the most successful and fulfilled among us and even more so the people who are losing hope.  Everyone needs hope to move forward and open new possibilities.  How can you help?  Innocence is the quality of hope that removes judgment and criticism.

Children are naturally innocent which allows them to experience hope, joy and optimism every day.  That innocence gets diminished or even erased by traumas, emotional wounds and failures.  These create a feeling of hopelessness that we then struggle against.  As adults most people do not want to be innocent again seeing it as too vulnerable and impractical.  Yet as adults our personalities still contains an innocent child, a universal archetype with both constructive and destructive aspects.

On the constructive side your inner child expresses joy, hope and innocence.  On the destructive side it expresses dependency, helplessness and uncontrolled impulses.  When hope is fading in someone’s life so is the positive side of their inner child.  To restore hope in someone first realize their inner child is still within them.  When you see the innocent self judgment is not possible.  The person we judge against is a later development created by the needs and demands of the ego.  Childhood innocence is an egoless state.  Therefore, it is closer to the true self.

In our meditations we reawaken the inner child.  To enhance this awakening in yourself and others, make time every day for play in any form you choose.  Be lighthearted as your general attitude.  When you’re carefree you trust in life and don’t worry or try to control situations.  Set judgment and skepticism aside.  Accept people in the best light.  Be gentle and allowing in your interactions with others.  Don’t be a critic or rule-enforcer.  As you cultivate this more innocent side of yourself people will notice that you’re more warm and welcoming.

Remember how, as a child, you were totally involved in playing?  How you looked with fresh eyes at everything?  That freshness and lightheartedness is the basis of hope and still exists inside you right now ready to be revived.

CENTERING THOUGHT

I see the hopeful inner child in everyone.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

So Hum

I am.

DEE:

Looking through that window into my childhood I see my dad carrying me into the house from the car.  I’m in my pajamas with the feet.  I feel little.  I feel safe.  I feel like that again today but, as a child, that is the only time I felt safe with my dad.

My dad was an alcoholic.  He was a stranger to me.  He was unable to love and nurture me the way my mom did.  When he and Mom divorced when I was thirteen, I don’t even remember his leaving us.  I remember mainly the bad times.  A lot of bad times and a lot of nightmares.

Dad and I did get together a few times since he and Mom divorced.  It was good, but still uncomfortable.  He was who he was and I love him for that today.  You see, I, too, am an alcoholic.  And once I hit my bottom and went to a 21-day treatment facility for alcohol abuse, I started to understand the disease.  And then I got to understand my dad.

When Dad died we flew one of his “friends” to California from Rhode Island for Dad’s service.  The family was told that my dad died in the gutters of Rhode Island.  This pains me immensely…his battle with alcoholism.  But everything started falling into place and the pieces of the puzzle showed me that because of alcoholism, my dad was unable to show love, nurturing, attention, or even carry on a conversation.  Perhaps it was his upbringing as well.  Who knows.  Doesn’t matter.  But I know that when I was in the depths of my disease, I either needed a drink, was drunk, or hungover.  Not a very nice person to be around.  That was my dad.  I understand.

Today my dad is with me constantly.  He’s got my back.  We love each other, have fun together and, more importantly, understand each other.  Right before going to rehab I pleaded with my dad in heaven to help me stop drinking, “I think you know what I’m going through.  Please help me!”  Soon thereafter I was gifted with a whole new life with purpose and meaning and lightness and joy.  Self-acceptance and worthiness came.  Life was good.  I had a Higher Power who guided me and taught me to appreciate, be humble and grateful.

I’d say for the first half of my 13-1/2 years of sobriety I stayed close to AA and did what was suggested.  My life was full.  Full of good stuff.  Then I allowed the gifts of sobriety to make me too busy for my gift of sobriety.  I “one day at a time” stopped going to meetings, practicing the Twelve Steps of AA, being sponsored or sponsoring, and, most of all, I failed to give away what was so freely given to me when I needed it most.  I forgot what it was like to be a newcomer.

So when offered a shot of tequila I unthinkingly and bogusly said, “No, thank you.  I haven’t had a drink for 13-1/2 years.”  “Well, I’ll leave it for you in case you change your mind.”  That drink yelled out me so loudly.  I had no insurance from going to meetings and being of service and remembering what it’s like to be a newcomer.  Damn.  I drank it.  Immediately the disease shouted, “More!!!”  And so the lying, cheating, sneaking, and all the negativity that comes with being in the disease came back like a ball of fire.  I continued to sneak drinks.  And when sneaking at my son’s wedding the next week in Puerto Vallarta, a relative of my daughter-in-law came to me at the reception to say, “I have to tell you this.  Your dad’s presence is SO STRONG here!”

For real?  My dad died in the gutters of Rhode Island the year before my son was born.  Why would he be here?  Ah hah!  To save my ass once again.  You see.  He really did love me but just didn’t know how to show me when I was little in my yellow PJs with the feet.  And to this day I have such comfort knowing that my dad is here with me.  Always.  Forever.  That’s what I see through the window.  “I love you, Dad.”

My life is once again awesome today.  But I shall not take this gift lightly.  I shall stay close to the fellowship and pay my insurance premiums.  I shall give what was so freely given to me.  I shall not forget what it’s like to be a newcomer.  I shall not forget that I am an alcoholic, a grateful alcoholic in recovery, sharing the message of Experience, Strength and Hope.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in Gifts with a Message of Hope and Inspiration, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have a great weekend!

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

LIVING BY THE LIGHT OF HOPE

Living by the Light of Hope 

“I find hope in the darkest of days and focus in the brightness. I do not judge the universe.” – Dalai Lama

Hope is a light that shows our way along the path. This light of awareness is also a light of insight and understanding, giving us the strength of our convictions as well as lightness of heart. Our meditation today shows us that the light of hope is, above all, a light of love uniting our lives and liberating our spirits.

OPRAH:

We’re coming to the close of week 2, a week of hope should be opening you up to clarity, calm and power, no matter what’s going on in your life.  Welcome to Day 14 – Living by the Light of Hope.  It’s a bright and reliable light if we let it guide us and it shines in every area of life from friendship to partnership to family and beyond.

One of my favorite super-soul conversations was with trail-blazing author and psychologist, Dr. Shavali-Sabari, about her book The Awakened Family.  Dr. Shavali says that when we try to control our children or put our own expectations on them or even try to live their lives for them, it creates confusion, disruption, and separation; in essence, we’re dimming the light of hope for them.

Well, I’ve been guilty of this myself a couple years ago I encouraged one of my daughters from South Africa to attend a college in America.  It was a school that she knew in her heart wasn’t right for her but it was a school I’d always dreamed of going to.  At the time I pushed her to go to that school, unconscious of my reasons why.  And after our conversation Dr. Shavali opened my eyes to what I was doing.  I was dimming hope for her.  I’ll always be grateful for that lesson.

Dr. Shavali believes that the root of all the world’s problems of violence and conflict is our loss of connection especially between the parent and the child.  We can all see that playing out in our world today.  She said there was some big forgetting that occurred in our history that made us believe we are separate from this oneness that surrounds us.  The awakening, the soul lighting up, happens when we realize that we are one with God, one with the Universe, and one with each other.  One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children, to yourself and the world is to grow in the awareness of this connection.  It is the light of hope.

DEEPAK:

We have learned that hope is a powerful guide from our true self that leads us out of a mindset of struggle.  But more than that when the light of awareness guides you away, you are no longer dependent upon external beliefs, ideologies or politics to give your life direction and meaning.  Buddha’s last message to his followers was simply, “Be a light unto yourself.”  When you discover your presence of awareness you can no longer be mislead or disappointed in the messages and actions of leaders and authorities.  The light of awareness resides in us already, waiting to be recognized and activated.  As this happens the light expands and every action, thought and feeling springs from that light.  This is the light of hope.

It might seem that living by the light of hope is too far removed from the cares and demands of everyday modern life.  But the light of awareness is not remote or unworldly.  It is the most intimate and real thing about you.  If you didn’t live in the light already, you wouldn’t exist.  It takes awareness to experience anything.

There is spirituality in seeing a tree outside your window, or clouds, mountains, or the sea, because everything springs from consciousness and can only be known by consciousness.  So if you are individually guided by a light of hope, how does that work?

In a world of conflicting beliefs and ideologies can we really be our own light, guidance and authority and still be effective and engaged in life?  Yes.  Enlightenment is spiritual freedom but it is also practical and effective and harmonizing.  The light of awareness is the shared level of all life where there is no conflict, no divisive beliefs, or need to defend oneself.

When you are a light unto yourself you may still practice the same religion you grew up with and hold the same political and cultural values you’ve always had, but now you’re not threatened by any values or beliefs that are different from yours.  You recognize the good that is there and celebrate the differences.  There are as many evolutionary paths as there are people in the world which means there are 7 billion ways to live in the light.  When you make the shift you live completely in the light and the journey of hope has found it’s destination.

CENTERING THOUGHT

My future unfolds with hope and joy.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Aroot Perum Jothi

I invoke divine grace light.

DEE:

Sometimes I wonder were my personal individual gifts as a child emphasized, talked about or even mentioned, how my life would have been different.  My mom gave me heaps of praise about my talents, yet I still ended up living fear-based.  I still ended up an alcoholic.

I guess where I’m going with this is once I got into a program of recovery for alcoholism I started to work on myself through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In Step Four where I took my own personal inventory I discovered that my whole life, my “me”, lived in fear of your opinions and expectations of me.  Where did that come from?  I was given numerous strokes and praise for excellent grades, talents, services, etc.  Yet I still lived in fear of what you would think of me.  And I lived with this internal fear for decades  while you loved me for who and what I am until I could love myself the same way.

No, the substances I abused were just symptoms of my fear-based living.  I believe I would have still misused and abused drugs and alcohol even if everyone in the world told me daily how unique and gifted I am.  To love myself just the way I am.  I’m an alcoholic.  Period.  No amount of praise and applause would change that.

But the fear-based thing is what I wonder about.  How much praise and accolades does a child need to not end up living fear-based?

I believe my fear comes from growing up without a purpose.  And I lacked a purpose because I lacked a power greater than myself.  That’s what we didn’t talk about.  That’s what I didn’t understand.  That’s why I had this void in my gut.

From working the Twelve Steps I was blessed with a Higher Power of my own understanding.  That’s when everything started to make sense and fall into place.  I all of a sudden had hope.  I had relief from the power of self and thinking I had to do it all, alone.  That’s where the fear comes in.

Now that my life has made a complete turnaround with this revelation and I can turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God, I shall still try to stress to our children and to you how important your unique personal gifts are.  I shall plead with you not to compare yourself with others.  I shall help you learn to love yourself and be grateful for who you are with your special gifts.  This is what living by the light of hope means to me.  I am so blessed.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

From Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience about HOPE.

FINDING THE KEY TO RENEWAL

Day 13Finding the Key to Renewal

“Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope in this deep and powerful sense, is… an ability to work for something because it is good.” – Vaclav Havel

The message of hope is that renewal is always possible because life itself is always driven and supported by the forces of renewal. We don’t have to figure out how to transform and renew our life – that knowledge and power is already there in Nature. We see this when our cut finger heals, or the tulips pop up in the spring. In today’s meditation, we learn that the key to transformation is contacting the source of renewal deep within our being and aligning our awareness to that creative energy of life.

OPRAH:

I’ve learned over time that to expand my life and experience the greatest fulfillment, I need to give my undivided attention to the activity that’s in front of me at any given moment.  We all have a natural born impulse to evolve, to deepen and to grow.  It’s in the now that we find the energy of hope and where we fuel revitalization.  So welcome to Day 13 – Finding the Key to Renewal.

When I lose focus as I think everybody does, that’s when things start to fall apart.  Falling through the cracks can become unmanageable.  I imagine that this shows up in similar ways in your own life.  In today’s world, living a present life, moment to moment not worrying about what’s going on, what’s gonna happen at 3 o’clock and what’s gonna happen at 7 o’clock, it takes discipline, especially with that smart phone attached to your hands.

Have you set your vision for your life?  Are you clear about what it is you want?  What fills you up?  What matters most?  Well for me I’m happiest when I’m either learning or teaching.  But I can do neither without giving my full attention to whatever or whomever needs my complete focus.  And that means listening with my “whole” self.  All senses attuned to this moment.

Your highest self always aims to stretch, reinvent and renew.  Being aware, moment by moment, will help you modify your vision and continue to grow and rise up.  We all know that the only way to get better at something is to practice it.  So practice living in this moment.

DEEPAK:

We’ve been talking about change that comes from within by releasing the burden and imprint of the past.  The open awareness of meditation provides that healing of the past and allows for renewal in the present.  In fact renewal is the very nature of life, with every spring, every breath, every sunrise, every thought and every heart beat we see nature’s power of renewal.  Therefore, the growth of renewal and fulfillment we seek outside is already inherent at the core of our life.

Instead of trying to overcome opposing interests and forces in the world to find success and happiness, we only need to be the presence of awareness where life continuously renews itself.  Hope is an ally here because it affirms renewal is always possible.

The core of your being is the impulse to grow and move forward.  We see this in the development of the body from childhood to adulthood.  The same evolutionary impulse exists in the mental and emotional plane with one difference…we must consciously align our awareness with it.  This is how hope fuels your personal evolution and expands your life into greater and greater freedom.  But the choices that make this happen only work in the present.  Renewal can only occur in the now.  Promising to make better choices next time doesn’t work and only pushes us into an imaginary future.

Your cells already know how to live in the present.  They store only enough extra food and oxygen to last a few seconds, relying on the flow of life to bring every necessity.  To translate this wisdom into your personal life is a challenge.  We’ve adjusted to living in a world where accumulating enough money, security, relationships and possessions has become all-consuming.  At an unconscious level we make choices out of habit and old conditioning.  When you bring awareness into the now, you are automatically renewed.  You don’t have to do anything.  Renewal just is.  Once you become aware of it.

It’s ironic that people fear what might happen next because all our lives no one has been able to predict their next thought, much less control it.  In meditation there is no attitude or expectation.  We experience an inner state that is relaxed, open, alert and quietly content.  Nothing strange or exotic is happening.  That’s how the now always feels.  All we have to do is accept.

CENTERING THOUGHT

My choices uphold and support my life.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Sarvatva Namah

The wholeness of the universe is my true nature.

DEE:

When I get in the car to drive, for some crazy reason I must talk to my Higher Power straight away, before turning on the tunes.  I ask that I be mindful, respectful, compassionate.  You see, I have lots on my mind and on my plate.  If I’m thinking about those things, I’m not a very safe driver and your life is important to me.  Asking to be mindful, focused and in the moment sets me (and you) up for a way safer driving experience.

Asking to be respectful and compassionate gets me set up for the experiences I am about to encounter with whatever human being enters my “Dee Bubble”.  I shall make eye contact with you, offer you a genuine smile, and give you the full respect you deserve.  If you give me shit I shall be compassionate and realize I have no idea what’s going on in your life.  I shall not take your shit personally.

This practice, this communication with the Higher Power of my own understanding, gets me centered and ready for the real world which is where I’m going once entering my vehicle.  It only takes a moment and makes the hugest difference on the way my day is going to go…and, perhaps, yours.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

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

FINDING THE COURAGE TO CHANGE

Day 12 – Finding the Courage to Change

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To make hope effective in bringing change in our life, we need to take action. But taking action can feel threatening and scary because it stirs up all our fears and anxieties of what that change might bring. In today’s meditation, we learn that the key to releasing these fears and anxieties is bringing self-awareness to them and then consciously recognizing that they no longer help or serve your present reality. As you reclaim the present moment, you are free to act in accord with your deepest motivations, and that is where your courage is.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Day 12 – Finding the Courage to Change.  It’s human nature to fear change.  What I’ve learned from many thought-leaders is that connecting to hope and finding the courage to make change comes down to overcoming the fear of letting go.  For me the true meaning of courage is to be afraid and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing sometimes, step out anyway.  Of course that’s not easy, I know that, but taking a leap is often the most powerful way to truly advance toward the grandest vision that the Universe, the Creator, your existence, has for you.

I’ve made two major leaps in my life.  The first was in 1983 when I left Baltimore to come to Chicago.  I remember the general manager of the TV station I was leaving said to me at the time, “You are going to fall into a landmine you won’t be able to get yourself out.”  Then he said, “Right now you’re a big fish in a little pond and my advice for you is, ‘You stay here’.”  I said to him, “Well, sir, I’m gonna leave.  And if I’m walking into a landmine when I go to Chicago, God will catch me.”

The next big leap for me was creating the O Network.  There were challenges that tested my very core.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and my heart would be pounding.  Often I was faced with circumstances that seemed overwhelming.  So I went back to the source that has sustained me.  My heart told me to get still and to listen.

The message that came back to me was when I learned so many years ago on the Oprah Show was that everyone wants to be seen and validated.  So I made a shift in the storytelling on OWN.  We focused on reflecting OWN’s viewers back to them with stories that let them see themselves with depth and with pride.  I directed my energies to a place of hope and in turn the network began to move forward in the flow that we are in now.

I took some of my own advice.  So when I look back I’m grateful I had the hope and the courage to take those leaps in spite of the challenges and the fear.  So get still and ask yourself what changes do you need to make to move forward.  What’s really keeping you from the life you want and deserve?  Deepak is going to guide us toward the courage to change.

DEEPAK:

For many people change is threatening.  They may want a more fulfilling job, relationship or lifestyle, but moving into the unknown is scary.  That’s when merely hoping for change is ineffective because it postpones taking the actual steps forward that hope can support.  One way or another we are all caught between wanting change and fearing what the unknown might bring.  But as we know the only constant in life is change.  Clinging to the old and familiar doesn’t stop change; it just keeps you stuck.  If change is inevitable, defending against it is futile.

The real question is how to guide change, to create the best outcome without anxiety.  Holding onto the past is what prevents us from accepting change.  The wounds and traumas of the past cling in memory.  The most self-defeating ones are unconscious habits, conditioning, beliefs and traumas that sank in so deep they became part of our everyday self.

To release the grip of the past we must first be aware because you cannot change what you aren’t aware of.  Self-awareness means that you consciously witness something from your past that has become ingrained.  Without judgment you say, “I no longer need this.  I’m a different person now.”  The noticing comes first.  If you find yourself reacting negatively to any person or situation, stop and look inside.  Is this reaction of anxiety, anger, worry, distaste or distress, something you’ve seen before?  Are you saying and doing things that keep repeating themselves in a regular pattern?

This is the past coming up to claim the present.  When you say inside, “I no longer need this,” you’re reclaiming the present moment.  You don’t need to force a new response.  Instead let this moment of self-awareness sink in.  Be quiet and easy with yourself.  By noticing and being aware without judgment you give your mind permission to do what it wants to do which is to settle down into a baseline open, quiet, non-judgmental awareness.

By preferring to remain in the core of your being you release the past and its imprints.  Then change happens as part of the flow of life, without threat or anxiety.

CENTERING THOUGHT

Hope tells me anything can be transformed.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Hoom Namah

My awareness is aligned with the transformative power of the universe.

DEE:

Where does all this fear come from?  As a wee tot experiencing pain brought upon fear.  Touching that hot iron created a feeling that was so not pleasant.  Physical pain.  Being ridiculed on the playground hurt in a different and emotional way.  Was I stupid?  Was I different?  Was I less than?  That kind of pain cuts to the core and is carried internally until we learn how to let it go.  Some of us, unfortunately, carry it around forever.

Now that my kids are grown up and have experienced pain of their own, I wish I would have spent the quality time with them reinforcing how special they really are.  As a mother I, of course, tried to prevent them from experiencing physical pain.  But I did not strengthen them for the emotional pain that they would certainly experience in “the real world.”

Now that I am older (and, hopefully, wiser) and have had the opportunity to take time to contemplate fear and its effects, I realize that a bit of positive reinforcement given not just to our kids but anyone who enters our bubble can change any “real life” situation.  By reassuring my kids how special they really are and how they each hold very special gifts of their own could have helped them when confronted by that bully.  Having explained that the bully has issues of his own and may be coming from sadness, confusion, or abuse could have put a whole new light on that situation.  Teaching them The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, would have helped tremendously (but I hadn’t read it yet) but even, more importantly, taking the quality time to communicate our feelings would have been the key factor.

For me realizing that I lived a fear-based life didn’t come to fruition until I started working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my sponsor.  Working those Twelve Steps with a sponsor didn’t come until I got into Alcoholics Anonymous.  Getting into Alcoholics Anonymous didn’t come until I was so sick and tired of having to drink every single day.  Having to.  No choice.  My mind made me drink every single day.  The allergy my body suffered made my drink every single day.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Not drinking was not an option.  Thus hiding, lying, extreme usage of energy to keep my behavior under wraps, wore me down.  I had no more energy.  I experienced incomprehensible demoralization.  I was a loser.  I had no self-control.  I was a waste of space on this planet with no purpose.

By the grace of God (to me, a Higher Power of my own understanding) I finally surrendered.  I was taught that alcoholism is a disease and that there is a solution.  By taking my own inventory in Step Four of A.A. and sharing it with my sponsor, the fog lifted!!!  I discovered what makes Dee tick!  Fear.  What a weight off my shoulders!  Now the work begins to unlearn everything and every experience I ever encountered in the last four decades of my life that made me fear-based.

Believing that there is a Power greater than myself out there somewhere is the key to my new life, my new outlook on life, my new me.  Turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him has lifted the heavy burden of everything off my shoulders.  Being ready and asking my God to remove my fears is the journey I am on today…the journey to living a hope-filled and faith-filled life.

I no longer have to be seen and validated to impress you and reassure myself that I am worthy.  Today I know that if I do and am the best I can, that is enough.  I AM enough.  And I want you to know that, feel that, love that about yourself too.  YOU matter.  YOU are worthy.  YOU have gifts that no one else on this earth has.  Run with those gifts!  Share those gifts!  Love your gifts!  Don’t live in fear of change.  Live in faith that all is perfect right now at this very moment…especially you and your life!

If you are not an alcoholic like me, know that they are many awesome support groups in your neighborhood understandingly ready to help you out of the fog.  It’s so worth it.  You’re so worth it!

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

From Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge “Hope in Uncertain Times”.