How to Forgive Others When You Feel Hurt

How to Forgive Others When You Feel Hurt

By Heidi Paavilainen

I remember a time when I was young I got upset with two of my friends and stopped talking to them for two years. I can’t even remember why I got upset, but at that time it made sense to me to hold on to my hard feelings. At that young age, I thought that my behavior was reasonable and I didn’t understand that the only person I was hurting by holding onto my feelings was myself.


I reacted the same way when I was younger because I, too, did that “thinking” thing.  From a young age I was taught to “think” and if I thought about it hard enough and wanted it badly enough, it would happen.

Off on a tangent for a moment.  No matter how hard I wanted to stop drinking each and every day, I couldn’t will power up enough thoughts to make that happen.

Back to thinking.  I learned, once I was gifted with sobriety and a life in recovery, that thinking wasn’t my friend.  It only rationalized me into many a dark hole and a life of feeling like a loser, a waste of space on the planet.

Once I left the alcohol treatment program I did what was suggested, go to AA.  And there I did what was suggested.  Go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps, and get into service.  But the hugest transition for me came when I got to make up my own Higher Power, a Power Greater Than Myself, over to which I could turn my will and my life.  That’s when the thinking went away and living from my heart became my “go to”.

Over the years I came to understand more that I didn’t need to take the behavior of another person so personally. That’s when forgiving suddenly became easier. What looked like a personal attack before now looked like a behavior of a person who was suffering, and therefore unable to act from a place of kindness (


I live by Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements.  “Don’t take anything personally” has taken the power our of unkind words and actions directed at me.  And I, too, can now put myself in that person’s shoes, knowing that I am unaware of the journey they are on, but able to be more compassionate and less judgmental when people behave like assholes.

Taking on this perspective opened me up for a new understanding of seeing my experience of other people more objectively. Not only did I learn to forgive more easily, but it also became easier for me to show up from a place of compassion.

Here are a few tips to help you see your situation from a wider perspective when you find it difficult to forgive another person.

1. Know That It’s Never Personal

Understanding where the other person is coming from and how their behavior has nothing to do with you makes forgiving them a natural response.

When someone says or does something that hurts you, they are not reacting directly to you—they are reacting to their own thinking. They are not reacting to the reality as it is, but rather to their own perception of the situation.

When you are able to see this at a deeper level, you can become less reactive. If the other person does something that hurts you, instead of taking it personally, try to become curious. What makes them act like that in the first place?


And when I feel a true connection to that person I can be mindful and respectful and really listen to his words and actions.  I can offer hope and optimism and share that everything is perfect at this very moment.  It’s all just part of the journey through life to bring us to greatness…or, at least peace, knowing we made it through to the other side wiser and stronger.  Yes, this too shall pass.

However, if I don’t feel that true connection, if that person has walls up and is not open to compassion, then I walk away.  He is on his own journey.  We have boundaries too and must respect them and ourselves.

2. Know That You Are Always Doing Your Best

You, like everyone else, are always doing your best you can with the tools and knowledge you have in the moment.

What looks reasonable to you when you feel the anger burning inside often looks like a mistake afterward. If you had known this in the middle of the storm of your emotions, you would not have acted from that place. But you didn’t know.

This is why you may sometimes do things that you regret later. The more you understand this, the more innocence you can see in every act of unkindness—yours and others’.


AA has given me a toolbox for living (by the way, I do not represent Alcoholics Anonymous, the organization.  My words are just that…my words, my opinions).  When I get that uncomfortable knot in my gut I know that this situation isn’t serving my highest good.  I embrace the feelings, thoughts and emotions, then ask that they be taken away.  I let them go into the clouds.  I also ask myself why I allowed them to make me so uncomfortable in the first place.  I find that I am either usually in a place of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) or I have become disconnected from the present moment; therefore, disconnected to my Higher Power.  When I get back centered, knowing I am not in control of people, places, or things, I can go about my business freely.

3. Remember That Anger Clouds Thinking

When you feel stressed, upset, or angry, you lose your ability to see the moment clearly and objectively. Your perspective narrows, your negative emotions blind you momentarily, and you see everything in a more negative light than usual.

Your feelings of hurt are overshadowing your experience. When you see this and take a moment to allow your mind to calm down, your understanding of the situation becomes deeper.

In the heat of the moment, you might do or say things that you regret later ( You might be in the middle of an argument and say something that really hurts the other person. Deep down you know that you don’t really mean what you are saying, but your heated emotions override your ability to think clearly.


I hate myself when lower myself to someone else’s level.  I know I’m better than that and that I shouldn’t do it.  It doesn’t serve me, right?  But it feels so damned good.  And sometimes I’ll make an amends to that person, even when I feel they don’t deserve it.  But I deserve it.  To move on with a clean plate.  And I learn from it.

Why am I using my precious energy on such negative shit?  Why am I giving away my power to such a useless cause?  Because I’m human.  I grow.  I get back in the moment.  I’m grateful.  I’m connected again.  I move on.

Every act that comes from a place of unkindness is coming from a mind that is struggling.

Whenever you do things that hurt other people, you are suffering inside. Understanding this allows you to forgive others more effortlessly and gives you an opportunity to see your situation from a wider perspective. Not only will you realize that you don’t need to hold onto your negative emotions, but you can also recognize the humanity in every single person.

Everything resolves, one way or another, with the understanding that comes when your mind is calm.

What all this means is that you can forgive and choose to continue your life without the weight of your past, regardless of whether you still want to have the other person in your life, or not.

”Forgiveness is the discovery that what you thought happened, didn’t.” ~ Byron Katie


I learned awhile back that if a situation really bothers me I should look at it (better yet, write about it) from three different perspectives.  One, from my perspective.  Two, from the other person’s perspective.  And, three, from an outsiders perspective.  It’s really enlightening.  Try it!

Thank you being here.  With warmest aloha,


If you are interested in Art with a Message of Hope and Encouragement, feeling good about you and your life, please visit my website at  Enjoy and mahalo!

About the Author

Heidi Paavilainen (/bios/heidi-paavilainen) Transformative Coach, Yoga Teacher, Writer

Heidi helps people connect more with their inner wisdom so that they can find their own answers to the questions they are facing in life, enjoy a greater sense of well-being, and have relationships that feel good. Learn more about Heidi (, and find out how she can help you make positive changes in your life. Read more (/bios/heidi-paavilainen)

From The Chopra Center 6/20/17


No Regrets: 10 Ways to Start Each Day with a Clean Slate 

No Regrets: 10 Ways to Start Each Day with a Clean Slate 

By Tamara Lechner

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss”—Jonathan Larson 

There’s a Buddhist parable called The Second Arrow. The story explains that in life, pain is inevitable. You will experience the pain of loss, betrayal, diagnosis, or grief. The pain is likened to being shot by an arrow and is outside of your personal control. However, when you get stuck pulling on the arrow and complaining about the arrow to show people that you have been shot, the subsequent pain, anger, and suffering is entirely your fault. This is the second arrow. 

Living a fully present life keeps you from rehashing your mistakes, your breakups, and the job you should have taken. It allows peace of mind. You may know this already and yet pain from the past intrudes on your present- day happiness. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the second arrow. 

1. Practice Gratitude 

Being truly grateful keeps you in the moment. When you focus your attention on something or someone, your feelings of reverence will keep you in the moment. Gratitude ( develop-a-gratitude-mindset) happens in the now, no matter when the experience that you are grateful for actually happened. 


Getting in the moment takes practice.  Concentrating on what is right in front of my nose is not an easy task when thoughts and events are whirring through my mind and in front of my eyes.  But when that happens I feel yucky.  And when I feel yucky I thank those feelings for coming, let them know they are not serving me, then ask them to leave.  That takes effort as well but is part of getting back in the moment.  When those feelings are whisked away in the clouds I am once again present…for that I am grateful.

2. Make a No “What Ifs” Rule 

Spinning on what might have been keeps you from moving forward. Your thoughts may seem to circle back again and again to the things you think you could or should have done differently. When you catch yourself thinking a “what if,” just recognize that you didn’t and move forward. 


As I age my energy seems less.  So the energy that I can scoop together I choose to use in a positive way.  Why would I want to zap it all up by wallowing in the past of “what if’s”?  Also the disc space in my brain is about full.  I need to free up some space by deleting and trashing information that I no longer use, nor need.  So I make more disc space by relinquishing the regrets and resentments that I might be holding on to, again, into the clouds.  Ta Da!  Lots of room now for the adventures and learnings I am supposed to experience today!

3. Reframe Your Past to Make You the Hero in Your Life Story 

You may tell your story in a way that doesn’t paint a flattering picture. Try to rethink your scenario in a way that has you in a position of power. For example, if you regret not going to college, instead of continuing to tell a story of regret, decide to either make a plan to get to college or to tell a story that supports the path you chose instead. 


I entered sobriety with such guilt and shame and “incomprehensible demoralization”.  I actually hated myself and wondered why I was even taking space on the planet.  Lo and behold, I today have come to terms with those feelings of self-loathing and realize now that was the journey necessary for me to get where I am today.  Today I have purpose.  Today I have peace.  Today I “get to” share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are in that dark place of self hate, confusion or hopelessness.

4. Get Physical 

Take a dance class or a yoga class, or give surfing or rollerblading a go. When you choose an activity that requires your focus to balance or to learn a sequence of motions, your brain will be busy doing something other than ruminating on your past. 


It works!  I am not a health nut but I have found that getting out of this chair and getting my blood flowing works wonders on my mental wellbeing.  This is such common sense but is way harder for me to do than letting go of my shitty thoughts.  I feel like I can carry the weight of the world on my shoulders after a yoga class, meditation or a hike in the woods.  I’ve got to stop making excuses and put “physical” on my To-Do List.

5. Make a To-Do List 

Having a plan for today keeps you from feeling ungrounded. If you fill your day with meaningful tasks (, you will have something to keep you from falling back into the pattern of regret. 


My To-Do List, just like yours, runs off the page.  But I’ve disciplined myself to not get overwhelmed with this list and strive to check off just three To-Do’s per day.  This seems to work for me as most days I can accomplish way more than just three things.  But on the days that it’s a struggle to get anything done, three things is not such a big deal.

6. Go Outside 

Nature is like a natural reset button on your brain. The chemicals it releases when you get fresh air and sunshine help to overcome the ones released when you are sad, angry, or anxious. Use nature to sweep away the negative. 


I am so grateful to live in Hawaii.  Most of my day, everyday, all year round, is spent outdoors.  “Hey, wait a minute.  That’s not fair,” you say.  “Life isn’t always fair” is what I taught my kids.  Besides, living on the Big Island with Madam Pele’s plumes of poisonous gases isn’t all fun and games.  Feel better?

I do still spend as much time as I can outdoors until my eyes burn and throat feels scratchy.  There is something magical about feeling the wind (God wrapping His arms around me) and hearing the birds.  I can’t get that from the mole hole of indoor living.  Now go outside!

7. Remember, Happiness is a Choice 

In every moment, you have the choice to be happy. Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust and founded the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,” is quoted as saying, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” If you are choosing regret as a pattern, consciously make the decision to replace regret with a different emotion. Happiness (, hope, excitement, or curiosity are a few good ones. 


I choose to live in a “glass half full” state of mind.  When negativity comes my way, I turn it into a positive.  Living with optimism and hope changes not only my mindset, but my physical and spiritual wellbeing.  Life is too short, energy is too precious, and brain disc space is too limited to fill it with negative.

8. Start with a Mantra or Affirmation 

If your day begins with a thought like, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life” or “I’m excited for what today will bring,” it keeps your focus on the present and future. Choose a positive affirmation ( to start each day. 


When I found myself in a treatment program for alcoholism, one of the exercises we did each morning before meditation was to repeat an affirmation aloud to the group.  The affirmation I chose was “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”

If you recall from above, before getting sober I felt anything but good nor whole.  I was a piece of shit who hated herself for not being able to go a day without drinking.  I had no self-control nor self- will.  I would look in the mirror and say, “Loser.”  I hated that the drink was more important than my kids.  It was my life.  I was exhausted living a life of hiding, cheating, deception and lying.  I couldn’t go on any longer.  Thank God I didn’t kill myself or anyone else.

Today I am so thankful for that affirmation and still repeat it to get myself back in the moment of gratitude and humility.  It brings me back in the moment and to a Power Greater Than Myself.  I finally feel good about myself, who and what I am, my journey.  It all happened perfectly, just the way it was supposed to.  “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”

9. End with a Highlight Reel 

Getting to sleep can be difficult if your thoughts keep circling to what could have been. Try counting your blessings instead of counting sheep. It makes for a nice transition from waking to sleeping state and sets your mind up to begin positively the next morning. 

I start my day with thanking my Higher Power for the journey we will take together today, that He is in control and I am not.  I am just along for the ride to experience and learn from the events I am supposed to encounter today.  I just ask to do my best, to be mindful and respectful, compassionate and loving.  His will; not mine.

I end my day by reviewing today’s events and being thankful for doing my best and the “we” of my Higher Power and me.

10. Avoid Comparing 

Social media like Facebook or LinkedIn has a way of showing you the highlight reel of your friends’ lives. Make sure you don’t compare their highlights ( survive-social-media-envy) to your unedited version. 

Life isn’t a contest. Wherever you are at this time is exactly perfect for you; otherwise, you wouldn’t be there. Discover Deepak Chopra’s daily habits to find peace and happiness—no matter what is going on in your life—at our Weekend Within retreat. Learn More. ( 


I feel it is so important for you to feel good in your own skin.  To love and accept yourself as the perfect human being you are at this very moment.  If you can do that, social media doesn’t matter.  Our society-fed bombardments of wealth, power and beauty don’t matter.  We have to unlearn all that to get us to a place of self-love and self-worth.  It can be done.  It takes time and patience.

For me the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Fellowship, and a good sponsor helped me to peel away the onion skin of what makes Dee tick.  I understand who I am now and why I did what I did.  I understand now my journey through life that lead me to today.

I wish this for you and with that,

Aloha, Dee

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

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Section: Personal Growth (/articles/139/all)
Topics: Psychology (/articles/all/50) Personal Growth (/articles/all/27) 

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 (–the-happiness- trajectory.html), a free online mindset reboot, or find out more about her at… Read more (/bios/tamara-lechner) 


How to Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Confrontation 

How to Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Confrontation 

By Adam Brady

Your core values are a fundamental quality of your personality and sense of who you are. They define the concepts and principles that shape your being and influence your choices throughout the course of your life. Most of the time these values work quietly behind the scenes as they subtly influence your thoughts, speech, and actions. However, on occasion you may find the need to stand up for your beliefs and hold firm to what you believe to be right and true. Doing so in a skillful, conscious, and non-confrontational manner can make all the difference in helping your perspective be heard in a firm, yet compassionate way. 

Consider the following suggestions whenever you feel the need to hold firm to your beliefs in the face of opposition: 

Know What You Believe and Stand For 

While this may sound like an obvious first step, it is one that can be easily overlooked. Dedicate some quality time to prioritize your fundamental beliefs. Write them down in order of importance so you can clearly see what matters most in your life. This is also a perfect opportunity to connect with your higher self through meditation ( By tapping into the deeper level of your soul regularly, you can more easily access the most profound qualities and values you wish to embody. 


Before I ever considered tapping into my higher self through meditation, I had to take a real look at myself.  I knew that when I looked in the mirror I despised that person I was looking at.  That was when I could not go a day without a drink.  Drinking was my life; everyone and everything else came later.

When I finally surrendered and asked for help, I found myself in a treatment program for alcoholism.  There is when I was given the opportunity to not only prioritize my fundamental beliefs, but to find out who I am, what makes me tick.

Once I started to do what was suggested to me in the recovery program, which included attending AA meetings and following the suggestions I heard there, everything really started to fall into place.  Working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (by the way, I do not represent AA in any way, shape or form.  I am just a true believer that it works!) has given me “Dee” back, the Dee I can be proud of just for doing her best in a rigorously honest and loving way.  And AA has shown me how to find my Higher Power and that is where my fundamental beliefs really start to take shape.

Consciously Choose Your Battles 

It’s important to recognize that not all situations require you to defend your beliefs tooth and nail. As the great military general Sun Tzu once said, “If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it.” When circumstances arise that may challenge your beliefs, consciously consider if it ranks high enough on your list of values to take a stand for or if it’s not worth the time and energy involved in trying to convince another.  Remember the well-known adage: A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. 


This reminds me of when I filed an appeal with my Union for what I felt was unfair treatment.  I know in my heart that I was right.  I wrote letter after letter and made call after call.  I documented everything.  It wasn’t about the money; it was all about the principle that they were getting away with something, probably so petty to them, but major for me.

It took me years of going back and forth on this issue that I realized it so was not worth the energy, the NEGATIVE energy, that I was expending on this effort.  I want to spend my energy going forth in positive directions, to made a difference to better my life and those of others.  This was not worth fighting for.  Would I rather be right or happy?  I choose happy!

Take Action or Say Something 

Once the conscious choice is made to stand up for your beliefs, commit to taking action. Take a deep breath, muster your courage, and speak up; take a stand and point out that a line has been crossed. This is not a time for neutrality—your beliefs aren’t much good if you’re unwilling to act upon them. Being an agent of change requires that you call forth the fearlessness of your soul to speak through you and hold firm to what you know to be true and right. 


Ok.  The boss is calling me into his office over the intercom.  I say four Serenity Prayers as I walk to his office.  He’s unhappy with a choice I’ve made; it’s inconvenient for him (and his business).  I realized that before I made this choice, but I made the choice nonetheless because he was a horrible boss and human being.  Yikes!  Did I say that?  Yes!  And to his face.  We spoke for 45 minutes.

Those Serenity Prayers helped tremendously in getting me centered for this confrontation.  I handed it over to my Higher Power.  I asked for the words to say and that I not react.  I did not shake.  I did not cry.  I felt grounded and calm.  God had my back as He always does and when the meeting was over, my boss and I had gained a newfound respect for each other.

Speak with Impeccability 

When standing up for your values, it’s vital to be impeccable and skillful in your speech. Assertively hold the line yet strive to be courteous and polite while defending your point of view. Understand there is a difference between criticizing another’s beliefs and attacking them as a person. Try to take the higher road and utilize what Buddhists call Right Speech: abstaining from lying, divisive and abusive speech, or idle chatter. Essentially, you should speak only words that do no harm, especially when defending your beliefs.


I love the book The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.  It is one of the tools in my toolbox for life, along with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Learning to be impeccable with my word is still a work in progress for me, but I find myself thinking and feeling my thoughts more now before they leave my mouth.

Remain Objective and Avoid Emotional Reactivity 

When boundaries of beliefs are threatened, it becomes very easy for the situation to escalate emotionally. In such situations, it is key to remain objective and maintain a clear head. Try to see the issue from a removed, third-party perspective. Avoid taking things too seriously or personally and work to remember that your true identity is the ever-present witnessing awareness that doesn’t judge or evaluate; it simply observes. Harness that stillness to project a calm, confident energy as you stand up for what you believe in.


Over the years in my life in recovery, I’ve expanded my horizons by practicing yoga and meditation.  These practices help me to remain calm, balanced, centered while AA has helped me to finally be comfortable in my own skin and love myself for who and what I am.  Why would I want to invite drama or chaos in?  I don’t.  I love no longer having to react.  I love being able to walk away and to honor my boundaries.  The energy I expend today is going to be used in a positive way.

Compassionately Respect Other People’s Perspectives as Valid for Them 

While you may not agree with their perspective, those who challenge your values have beliefs of their own, which from their perspective are completely appropriate. The experiences of your life have shaped your choices and beliefs, and the course of another’s evolution is just as sacred and valid as your own. Oscar Wilde is keen to remind us that, “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” Their soul has chosen a life with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and you are not qualified to judge those choices. The best you can do is to compassionately work to find the middle ground where you can coexist in harmony. 


I try so hard not to judge, but I do observe.  And this includes me walking in “their” shoes.  Yes, we’re all on our own journeys.  Journeys that reserve respect and compassion.  Our journeys have shaped us into who we are today and shall continue shaping us until the day we die.  Sharing our journeys is magical when we intertwine our journeys together.

Having different beliefs I find exciting, spicy.  If we were all on the same page, life would be pretty boring.  You were not put on this planet to please me, nor I, you.  And today, because I finally feel worthy in my own skin, I’m okay with that.  We don’t need to start the next war.  We just go on about our business giving each other the respect we deserve for the opinions we have.

Let Go of the Outcome 

Remember, your objective is to stand up for your beliefs, not necessarily change another person’s beliefs. Sometimes, it may be enough to hold your ground and be a voice for what matters to you. Having done so, you can let go of trying to change others and let the universe handle the outcome. Know that every thought, word, and deed that supports the expansion of peace, harmony, compassion, justice, honesty, truth, and love influences the collective consciousness of the world. Or as Robert F. Kennedy put it: 

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.


These words give me chicken skin.  Yes, we all do matter.  Our opinions.  Our voices.  We can make a change in the world we want to see.  But it all starts with knowing, then loving, who you are and what you stand for.  With that empowerment we can stand up for our beliefs without confrontation and set the example for the next person…and the next person…just like those ripples.

For those interested in Art with a Message of Hope and Empowerment, please visit my website at

Mahalo and Aloha, Dee

About the Author 

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 6/20/17

Don’t Believe Everything You Think 

Don’t Believe Everything You Think 


donnasartofnow Articles, Spiritual Art, awareness, Design, Donna J Parker, Illustration, inspiration, life, light worker, meditation, motivation, self empowerment, Spiritual, Thoughts

Secret to Being: Just because you think something does not make it true. Thoughts are incredibly powerful and can take control of our lives. Some thoughts are meaningful and are worth paying attention to, and other thoughts are noise that are renting too much space in our brains. 

Imagine you are introduced to a business associate named Mark. When you shake Mark’s hand, you notice him look away. What you say to yourself about Mark’s behavior will be automatic, and will determine how you feel about the encounter. If you say to yourself, “Mark is rude. He insulted me by not looking at me,” you may feel angry. If you say to yourself, “Mark could tell I am uninteresting,” you will feel dejected. If you say to yourself, “Mark must be nervous because it is his first day,” you may feel compassion. How you act toward Mark will directly follow your thoughts and feelings. If you thought he was rude you might avoid him. If you thought he was feeling nervous, you might try to make him feel welcome. 

Life provides us with an endless supply of opportunities to create meaning and it is how we interpret those events, and what we decide they mean about ourselves and the world. To a large degree our thoughts determine our feelings, behaviors and outcomes. But YOU are not your thoughts. You are the consciousness from which your thoughts arise. The human capacity to think (while great in comparison to other living creatures) is incredibly susceptible to error. Cognitive bias, false assumptions, misinformation, ego and limited beliefs are just a few patterns of unhealthy thought processes that can interfere. 


I try not to think too much today.  I have learned that living from my heart, that feeling in my gut, my intuition, me, is a much better place to be.

I have also learned as an alcoholic in recovery that I am not in control.  Not in control of people, places and things, so pretty much nothing.  But I am in control of my thoughts.  And today I have a Higher Power in my life to which I can turn my will and my life, and my thoughts, over to.

I am all of the experiences I’ve had over my lifetime.  How I look at them, how I feel about them is up to me.  I look at each and every occurrence as non-coincidental, that everything happens for a reason, put there by my Higher Power.  I can use these to learn and grow as I feel is the intention, or I can get back in my head, take over control, and resist.  Today I choose to live positively, hopefully, and optimistically, so I can treat everything that happens to me as nurturing.

The average person thinks between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. Ranging from the mundane — I need to buy milk, to the significant — I love you, to the self-destructive — I’m not good enough. In the moment, our thinking seems logical. According the Psychology Today, “When we examine long patterns of brain activity, it’s clear that thoughts can be unstable and often arbitrary, shifting depending on context and contradicting our better instincts.” 

Our internal decisions/thoughts determine whether we are “rich” or “poor,” happy or sad, angry or joyful, appreciative or resentful. Unfortunately, we give our automatic thoughts too much power. When you choose to believe a thought your mind works to find ways to support that idea with evidence that may or may not be based on pure truth. Many of us do this on a daily basis: we find a thought that we believe to be true and we build ideas around it to support or deny it. We don’t always use facts or truth; often relying on emotionally driven concepts or feelings. By becoming aware of our thoughts, evaluating them, and changing those thoughts that are inaccurate or unhelpful, we can improve the quality of our lives. 


No matter how shitty I “think” my day is going, I strive to get back in the moment in front of my nose as quickly as I can.  This moment is all I have, and it’s perfect.  I can feel gratitude and humility.  Knowing I don’t have to pick up a drink or a drug today gives me heaps.  Realizing how many people who would love to have my worst days gets me back right-sized.

And if I remember that everything is happening for a reason I am afforded the ability to change that negative into a positive.  I will learn from this.  I will grow from this.  I will be a better person.  I will share this lesson with optimism with others.

Are your thoughts serving you well? If you suspect that your automatic thinking may be having a negative impact on your mood, relationships, financial health or quality of life, consider the following techniques to maximize productive thinking and minimize mental clutter. 

How do you react when you believe that thought? Is the question to ask yourself when you are unsure of whether or not to believe what you are thinking. Consider what the thought does to you. Even if it is 100% true and valid, it is important to now look at whether or not the thought is worth having. Is it helping you in any way? Is it bringing you down? Is there any value in the thought? If not, you need to let the thought go — or take action so you can let it go. 


It’s taken me six decades to learn that if it doesn’t serve me, especially my thoughts, and I get that oh-oh feeling in my gut, I’ve got to let it go…now.  I embrace it and thank it for coming.  And then I let it go…into the clouds to be taken far, far away.  I also use my God Box if I’m in a conundrum about what to do about a thought or feeling that I know needs my attention.  I’ll know in my gut when my Higher Power gives me the answer and direction.  In other words, I can let go of the alcoholic in me that wants it here and now.  When the student is ready, the Master appears.

Know the difference between Ego and Higher Self. Your Ego is your lower animal nature. It is all about self, fear and survival. The Ego talks very loud and is hard to ignore. By contrast, your Higher Self is your wisdom, creativity and intuition. The Higher Self speaks very quietly and can be difficult to hear. Listen closely to the Higher Self (and edge out the Ego). It will create a healthier, happier mind. Bottom line: listen more, react less. 


Live from your heart and not your head…Ego vs. Higher Self.

Focus on the narrative you want to live. Mental clutter distracts us from our personal mission. Because what you focus on for a sustained period of time becomes your reality, it is essential to decide the purpose you want to fulfill and direct your mental focus toward this narrative. 


Today I am sober and that is a gift I do not take lightly.  Were I not sober I would not have my awesome Higher Power nor the miracles presented to me.  Sobriety and my Higher Power has given me a purpose that I never had before…to share my experience, strength and hope with all who enter my “bubble”.  Sharing optimism, compassion, respect and mindfulness feels right for me and allows me to wake up excitedly, gratefully and humbly every morning.

Meditate. Businesses executives, entrepreneurs and artists are using mindful nonthinking to achieve higher levels of creativity and success. Twenty minutes of meditation each day gives you a break from your thoughts and helps other aspects of your life and business fall into place. 


It’s amazing how much “stuff” I’ve crammed into my brain over the last six decades.  My disc is full and I’ve got to start emptying the cache to experience this moment.  So I’ve learned I must simplify and clear out not only my head, but whatever doesn’t serve me in my life.  It’s freeing.  Try it.

And taking that small amount of time for YOU to just be quiet will help you to get back in the moment.  The regrets of the past doesn’t serve you, nor does worry about the future.  All we have is now…and it’s perfect…you’re perfect!

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration, please visit my website at  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

In summary, what we CAN control is our response to these thoughts. By becoming aware of our thoughts, evaluating them, and changing those thoughts that are inaccurate or unhelpful, we can improve the quality of our lives. 


Note: this is a repost of my January 2017, Capital City Hues ( article. 

Posted by donnasartofnow 

Artist, Writer, Graphic Design, Jazz Radio Host here to Inform, Inspire & Ignite you to live the life you really want. 

Donʼt Believe Everything You Think – THE ART OF NOW 5/26/17, 9*19 AM 

How to Bring Your Passions and Purpose to Life 

How to Bring Your Passions and Purpose to Life 

By Nicolette Stinson

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you were born, you were given a GPS programmed with the destination: “MY PURPOSE”? Then, you would always be alerted to the exact turns to make, and know when you are on or off course to your purpose. 

That sounds wonderful, considering studies have shown ( purpose-in-life) that having a sense of purpose makes you more resilient, supports you in reaching your life goals, and contributes to a longer, happier, and healthier life. 

Well, good news! You actually were born with an internal GPS alerting you to when you are on and off course to your purpose; you just haven’t been taught how to use it. Learn how to use your internal GPS (Guided Passion System) to direct you toward your purpose and live a more abundant life. 


“When the student is ready, the Master appears.”  I really believe this, that from the moment we were born, or even before, that our lives have been plotted out by a Power Greater than Ourselves.  There are no coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason.  Perfectly.  It’s up to us how we want to interpret those experiences.

I didn’t always feel this way.  As a matter of fact, I was the total opposite.  I didn’t have a God or a Higher Power throughout most of my life.  Therefore, I was the controlling factor.  Just me and my brain.  If I wanted it badly enough I would “think” of a way to get it.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and drinking myself to death that I realized I couldn’t “think” myself out of not drinking everyday.  With that drinking came a life full of negativity…lying, hiding, cheating.  I had no self-worth and, definitely, no self-love.  I would look at myself in the bathroom mirror with a drink in one hand and and made an “L” with the other hand which I placed over my forehead.  “Loser.”  That’s who and what I was.  Then. 

 I had no purpose.  I was a waste of space on the planet.  I had two beautiful sons, an awesome husband, a great job, a warm home, a dog, and two cars in the garage.  Yet I had no purpose, but to get that drink in me.

To make a long story short, the Master appeared.  I was ready to surrender, or at least desperate enough to get some help.  That’s when the miracle happened.  After spending 28 days in a l treatment program, I found that I had the disease of alcoholism.  I learned what alcoholism was.  I was introduced to AA.  I was told I could make up a Power Greater Than Myself.  The rest is history.

Throughout the years of my recovery I have found that, indeed, I do have a purpose.  One that was plotted out for me by my Higher Power.  The student was ready.  My purpose is to share my experience, strength and hope with others who are struggling and have yet to find self-worth, self-love, purpose, and, of course, sobriety.

Finding Your Passion 

A passion is simply a topic or activity that: 

You enjoy


If it ain’t fun, I ain’t doin’ it.
Comes naturally to you


If it’s too hard, it ain’t fun.
Energizes and lights you up


Every morning I wake up with an excitement to take on the day.  Me and my Higher Power.  I know that all will flow just the way it is supposed to.  I have no expectations; therefore, no disappointments.  I shall go with the flow, let my god do the driving, enjoy the ride and learn and meet what and who I should.  Such an easier way to live than being in control.
Puts you in flow and makes time seem to fly by when you engage in it 

It can also be akin to an obsession—something that you can’t get enough of. It’s where you go in daydreams or what sometimes keeps you awake and excited at night. 


How bizarre to have a job that I love to do.  One that feeds my soul.  I remember my counselor, Judith, saying to me before leaving rehab and knowing I would be going back to my grocery-checker job, how it was a waste.  A waste for me to be a grocery checker.  I copped a resentment, being a pretty raw newcomer.  I didn’t realized then that there are no coincidences.

I took an early retirement from my grocery checker job to live my passion…to do art, to create, to live from my heart and not my head.  It’s taken a few years to get this business up and running and I still have so far to go.  But it’s exciting.  Not only am I learning something new everyday about business, I am learning something new everyday about me.  Change is good.

And not only am I creating art from stained glass, I am creating art with a message.  A message of hope, inspiration and motivation.  Art that brings out the emotion in you to take life more simply, take yourself more lightly…and that you are perfect, a gift to the world, unique, just the way you are.

The spiritual Law of Dharma (or purpose in life) teaches that you have one thing you do, and one way of doing it—that is a particular need in the world can only be filled by your unique expression. Living your dharma all starts with strategically following your passion. Write a list of the topics and activities where you feel any of the above, and these are your passions. 

How Passion Leads to Purpose 

You have a built-in GPS mechanism keeping you in alignment with your purpose. Its signals are communicated in bodily sensations telling you when you are headed away from or toward your purpose. This GPS is your own personal compass. Your true passions will guide you on your purpose path by sending your body positive signals. 


I get those signals.  Don’t you?  Deep in your gut something just ain’t right.  When I get them I talk to them, those feelings.  “Thanks for coming.  You are not serving me.  You can go now”, and I let them get whisked away into the clouds.

When you fail to honor your true passions, and start moving away from your purpose, your physical self sends out signs of discomfort such as: 

Low energy or chronic fatigue


Nothing worse than using the little energy and small amount of disc space I have left in my brain for thoughts and tasks that do not serve me.  I want to crawl back into bed; but better yet, let that shit go.

Feeling trapped, having a pit in your stomach, or digestive disorders 


There’s that oh-oh feeling I was talking about.  Embrace it.  Thank it for visiting.  Let it go.

Forgetfulness or inability to concentrate


I get this way when I forget to live in the moment.  My head is all over the planet like I’m running on a hamster wheel and nobody’s home.  Easy remedy.  Get back in the moment.  Get back grateful.  Get back humble.

Disease, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction 


Been there; done that.  Not such an easy remedy.  Just know that you are right where you need to be at this very moment, but that this, too, shall pass (even the wonderful pink-cloud moments pass).  Do not carry shame, embarrassment nor guilt.  We all have our demons.  No that you are not unique nor alone.  We can get through this together.

Pick up that 1,000 pound phone and reach out.  The one who answers the phone doesn’t know who you are or can see.  And when you are ready, the master appears.  Remember, things happen for a reason.  There are no coincidences.  Know your journey is taking you to a place of greatness, contentment, freedom.  One day at a time.

On the contrary, when you follow your passions, and are moving toward your purpose, you experience: 

Once you are clear about which passions are leading you towards true purpose, you may feel called to start a purpose-driven passion project that benefits others. 

Bringing your purpose to life requires feedback in the real world, and having a solid plan to launch your passion project is vital to the fulfillment of your purpose. Your passion project plan should: 

Be built around a specific niche; or use a unique blend of your passions and skills to serve as the answer to a problem faced by a particular segment of the population.

Have a basic financial plan and structures including a personal savings plan if needed, project expenses, and sales goals.

Include specific targeted goals including the objectives of the project. How many people do you want to reach? In what amount of time? How do you want the project to affect your audience? How will you reach your audience?

Have a unique brand message and identity as represented in your online presence. 

Present a specific value and voice that differentiates you from potential competitors in the market. 


It’s very important to write a Mission Statement and Business Plan.  I read about this early on and put it on the back burner.  For the first year of my business I stayed super busy doing nothing.  I wasn’t really getting anywhere because I didn’t have a plan nor did I know where I wanted to go.  Doesn’t sound fun, but will give you direction and goals to achieve.

Before starting your passion project you may want to: 

Ask for advice or mentorship from someone who is a step ahead of where you ultimately want to go.


There is a wealth of mentorship at your fingertips.  Get on the internet and learn from other’s direction and mistakes.  Helps tremendously in saving you the time of trial and error.  Helps you to focus your energy in a positive direction.

Create a positive mindset and using affirmations to build confidence and let go of your fears and doubts. 


My art business has grown from my passion of creating stained glass pieces to using the glass scraps and creating mosaics.  Because I’m a word-nut and a big believer in affirmations, I include quotes and inspirational sayings on my mosaics.  In this way I can not only bring out the emotion in you with a beautiful work of art, but I can also bring out the emotion in you with my words.

When I was in rehab we had a meeting every morning in which we came up with an affirmation which we repeated out loud to the group.  My affirmation was, “I am a good person and a whole person.”  I can remember deep in my gut how I felt so unworthy and damaged and purposeless that when I said this affirmation, I felt anything but good nor whole.  

But this affirmation I took with me beyond my 28-days and, one day at a time, I finally feel good and whole.  Not only that, as I peeled the layers of my onion away, I can start to feel good in my own skin…even love myself for who and what I am.  What a gift!  Affirmations work! to get you back in the moment knowing your journey is perfect for you.

Take part-time trainings to develop your passion-based skills in your spare time.

Become a volunteer to gain experience in an area you are passionate about.


Service is key in my recovery.  Recovery is my everything, before my art, before my family.  My everything.  Being in service not only includes going to meetings and sponsoring in AA, I’ve also been given the opportunity to volunteer at our local AA office, speak at DUI classes, and have a book study in my home.  But more importantly I can use my recovery, my story, my experience, strength and hope, to give anyone who enters my “bubble” a little glimpse of hope and optimism, a little bit of “you are not alone” and “you are an asset.”

 Find a champion who supports your desires for finding purpose and consulting them often.

Seek to understand what you care about most, what drives you and what change you want to create in the world.  Write it down, have conversations about it, and systematically test your assumptions about what gives you deep purpose.


Writing these blogs helps me tremendously in moving forward on my journey.  If one person reads one thing that gives hope, even a crack of a smile, I have achieved my purpose.

When I sell my art at markets I have been gifted with the most awesome and heart-felt relationships and conversations with like-minded people who have entered my booth and my “bubble”.  When I let my guard down and practice rigorous honesty, I allow the strength of those interactions achieve their highest goals, and I get to experience my highest self.  This miracle has happened only because I can love myself and be comfortable in my own skin, for who and what I am.

Deeply understand how your passions and skills are valued by others.


I “feel” the feedback via words and actions of others.  The responses I get on social media have been wonderful, even when I doubted myself and my postings.  I “feel” the value of my art and my message when someone buys my art and from the aloha and hugs I receive from that purchase.  Or “just” from a conversation or a future non-coincidental encounter.  I get to feel today.  I don’t have to think.  I don’t have to worry.  I just know that everything is perfect at this moment.

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in checking out my Art with a Message, please visit my website at  Mahalo and enjoy!

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 ( to learn more. Read more (/bios/nicolette-stinson) 

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 ( of-awareness) in a way that provides comfort and compassion for all. 


I’ve been practicing being mindful, attentive and respectful to all that enters “Dee’s bubble” for awhile now.  I pray on my way to market every Sunday to sell my art, to be present, in the moment, for prosperity.  Prosperity, no longer means financial, as the rewards I’ve been given for making eye-contact, lending an ear, and offering a hug to those that enter my bubble have taught me more about human beings and compassion than money could ever buy.  The bonds I have made have lifted me to a whole new level of living and mind-set.  That we are all on this planet together, for each other, hopeful, optimistic, loving, and together we can ripple our message across the planet.

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. 


A key component to holding space is the quality of safety. For others to be open, genuine, and oftentimes 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. 


The first thing I thought of when reading this was about my physical safety.  Being born and raised in California in an area where crime was rampant caused me to be aware of my safety and surroundings at all times.  It has taken time for me to let my guard down now living on the Big Island of Hawai’i (I shall never be stupid enough to entirely be blind to my safety altogether) and feeling safe and protected.  I have found that when someone offers a helping hand there is no ulterior motive.  The Hawai’ian way of living with aloha has been so beneficial and healing for me.

Being an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous has helped me to let the guard of my feelings and actions down, to trust others with me and my bubble, to people who honor each other’s anonymity and trust that other’s will do the same for them.  With that trust we can become rigorously honest about ourselves and our lives.  We can close the door on the past, learning and growing from our experiences, moving forward to a hopeful, optimistic and free future.

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. 


I’ve learned to live my life with the principles of Hawai’i and AA.  This new outlook on life and others has invited beautiful and meaningful relationships and experiences into “my bubble”.

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 ( 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. 


Ok, getting out of self took me a long time to grasp and will always be a work in progress; I shall always be a work in progress.

Finding I could not go a day without drinking brought me to the rooms of AA.  Getting a sponsor and working the Twelve Step of Alcoholics Anonymous has totally changed me.  I found that I lived fear-based my entire life before recovery; I feared what you thought of me.  I put your needs before my own, and not in a good or healthy way.  In a way that told me I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t love myself nor feel comfortable in my own skin.  Yikes!  I was so into my selfish self, again, not in a good or healthy way.  I was sick.  My thinking was sick.

Working through the Steps has afforded me the ability to love myself for who and what I am and know that all is perfect at this very moment…especially me!  I can be present for those who haven’t received that gift…yet…and be there with every fiber of my being to help them on their journey of self-love and self-worth.  It no longer is about me, but I reap the benefits!


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. 


I love the saying, “Excuse me.  Did I interrupt the middle of your sentence with the beginning of my sentence?” when someone abruptly butts in.  I diligently practice not doing this.  My head might start to spin out of control with thoughts and ideas I want to add to the conversation, but…”Hey, Dee, you’re not in the moment, you’re not being respectful nor mindful to the person in front of you.  Knock it off and get back right-sized”.

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. 


Learning to be rigorously honest in AA has been very freeing for me.  When I practice honesty I no longer have to waste my energy or data space in my brain remembering what I might have said or done in the past.  It frees me up for living positively.  However, when someone asks for my opinion and I get that gut feeling that my answer might hurt or not be what they are expecting to hear, I allow them the choice of whether they really want to hear my “rigorously honest” opinion or not.  They usually do.

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. 


If there were a magic pill to “fix” me when I was active in my disease of alcoholism, I wouldn’t be in the “happy, joyous, and free” place that I am now.  I realized that there are no coincidences.  People, places and things have come into my life just as they were supposed to, and that includes decades of drinking and drugging.  I had to trudge my own road to happy destiny, to experience my own journey, and I allow and embrace that is what other’s are doing in their lives.  I don’t even attempt to fix; that would not serve them nor help them to become who they were intended to be.


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 ( 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. 


But I really do try to put myself in the other person’s shoes.  I will never know everything that person has experienced and those experiences have made the person who they are at that moment.  Accept and be present.

No one is better than me, nor worse than me, and vice versa.  We are all equal no matter our history, where we live, our gender, our education, on and on…  We are human beings sharing this planet, meant to do so in harmony.  Let’s just try to do that lovingly, compassionately, the best that we can in the moment…and let it ripple across the planet.


Although you nonjudgmentally practice acceptance with your full attention, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t prefer things to be better. Compassion ( 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. 


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. 


…and this gift of presence will be returned to you tenfold!

With much aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in Art with a Message of Being Mindful and In the Moment, please visit my website at  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

About the Author 

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

Let Your Feelings Lead You to Prosperity 

Let Your Feelings Lead You to Prosperity 

By Louise Laffey

Have you ever watched the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory? Did you love the idea of a special chocolate river flowing through a secret chocolate factory? Or did you love the idea of tasting wonderfully, beautiful creations beyond your wildest imagination? You may have loved the idea of exploring exciting new places and receiving lots of fabulous surprises. And you may also have loved the idea of living a magical life, full of happiness and fun. 

How can you create that prosperity in your life? 

Your Happiest Life 

Your adult version of living your happiest life may be linked to the notion of needing to be financially wealthy and secure, and of being materially comfortable so you can lead your perfect life, doing what you want when you want, without the unwanted pressure of your always having to work to make ends meet. 

If you spent time following that dream, you may have found that there were a number of on-off, stop-start moments—moments that felt perfectly right, followed by moments that felt awfully wrong. Those may have felt like the normal ups and downs of life. You may have thought that once you reached a certain point things would settle down—that you’d be content. But that isn’t true; something is missing. 

Feel the “Bad” 

When you begin practicing the feeling-your-feelings experiment you may notice how much of your life is spent avoiding feeling the present moment. You may want to feel something else, something better, to feel anything but what you are feeling in this moment. Why? Because when you are truly honest with yourself, in this moment you feel bad—the last thing you wanted. But that’s exactly what you need to feel. 

When you stop resisting the moment and allow yourself to sit in the discomfort of your feelings, you may notice your heaviness starting to shift. Before you know it, your bad energy lifts. You may begin to feel light and free. And that right about “now,” things start to flow. 

Dee:  Being able to live in the moment, in gratitude and in humility, didn’t happen for me until I got sober.  The first miracle was being able to stop drinking every day, which was a must.  Whether I wanted to or not, I couldn’t go a day without drinking.  

Once my mind started to see clearly I was taught many things about myself and my alcoholism.  Through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous I was given the opportunity to create a Power Greater Than Myself over which I could turn my life and my will.

Well, that seemed impossible being the intellectual self that I was.  But what did I have to lose?  So I chose the neon clown head that I could see from my room in rehab, the Circus Circus clown in downtown Reno.  He was smiling and warm and colorful.  Just the way I thought a Higher Power should be.  From there my Higher Power has evolved beautifully and has given me a contentment and freedom beyond my wildest dreams.  I live my life totally different today, in the moment, in acceptance, in trusting that everything is perfect at this very moment.  There are no coincidences.

Be Open to Your True Self 

The longer you continue your experiment, the more the Universe will point you back to the source of your resistance—to every unwanted feeling that you had avoided until now. At times, you may want to blame your pain and suffering on an unkind, unforgiving God, but the evidence will prove otherwise. 

A loving and benevolent energy will guide you every step of the way, showing you how to unblock your flow. Feel the exact vibrational source of your resistance, knowing that if you are willing to feel, your energy will integrate and heal. With each new unfolding comes a sense of relief, a feeling of being open to receive, and, best of all, a fresh and genuine excitement to uncover more of your true Self. 

Dee:  I have spent years fine-tuning my Higher Power from the cherished Circus Circus clown to what it is today.  My Higher Power today drives me around in a pink convertible Cadillac (kind of like we’re on a magic carpet) while I enjoy the ride learning and experiencing what I need to at that moment.  You see, I no longer have to be in control, or at least think I am.  I turn my will and my life over to a Power Greater Than Myself and trust that I am on the right path.  I have found over time, trial and error, doubting and questioning, that this works.  And when I feel agitated in my gut over people, places and things over which I have no control, my Higher Power tells me these feelings are not serving me.  Embrace them, then let them go.  I do and whisk them away into the clouds.  So freeing.

When you can open yourself up to the truth of how you feel in any given moment, you open yourself to the power of presence, to the healing power of self-love. You start to experience a sense of spaciousness where there was no space before, an awareness that shows you that you are not your judgment, nor your resistance. You allow yourself to see that every moment is given to you effortlessly, every moment filled with everything you require to return you to your flow—a flow you recognize as your own, full of the joy and freedom of your purest potential. 

Dee:  I never yearned for contentment.  I didn’t even know what it was or that I was lacking it.  But I did yearn for happiness, serenity, good health and well-being.  I realized that these all went hand-in-hand not being able to have one without the other.  When I stopped yearning for them they came.  I feel them.  I feel light and worry-free.  I am happy, serene, healthy and well.  Without even trying.  But more so I received this awesome gift that, again, I didn’t know I was lacking.  I couldn’t put my finger on it for a long while but then it came to me.  I am content.  

Receive Your Gifts 

Your resistance will start to give way to receiving; your mental grips will turn into gifts. Your familiar moments of on-off, stop-start frustration will become welcome signs to show you when and where you are limiting your willingness to receive and to expand. Learn to trust the magic in the amazing opportunities being dropped in your lap—all the synchronous meetings, exciting connections, fun invitations, and thousands of incredible moments bursting with creativity and beauty. 

As your confidence in your experiment grows, so does your happiness—a deep and lasting contentment born from living in the moment. You can feel your truth—the flow of prosperity is already within you. Feeling your feelings sets it free. 

Dee:  Being the intellectual self before finding recovery and the freedom from alcohol was exhausting.  Rationalizing any and every thing was a full-time job that got me nowhere.  I was weighed down with the lack of my self-control and self-will.  My energies and drive weren’t making me happy nor healthy nor free nor serene.  I was living in a cycle of More…More…More and all I was getting was More…More…More of “You’re a loser” and “I hate you.”

A complete turnaround came for me when I experimented with living from my heart and not my head.  Turn off my brain and feel what’s being said in my gut.  Don’t react but nurture those feelings from within and go with them.  They speak my truth.

I have found this new and freeing way of living has awarded me great gifts that I wasn’t even striving for because I didn’t know they even existed or my brain told me they weren’t in my reach…that I wasn’t worthy enough…or smart enough…or good enough.

My heart never tells me to dwell in the past nor worry about the future.  If I stay in the moment in front of my nose, I know that everything is perfect at this very moment…and that includes me!  If I remember to turn my life, my worries, my everything over to a Power Greater Than Myself to control the outcomes of my life, all will unfold perfectly.

Embody the Flow 

When you can feel that your prosperity is effortlessly given to you in every moment, you start to embody the Truth that your natural state of being is one of well-being. You recognize and acknowledge that your most authentic operating system is one of relaxed ease and grace, of abundance and flow, and not the false, learned conditioning of resistance and struggle, of lack and limit you have grown used to. 

The more you practice your feeling experiment, the more you learn to hold this truth. You learn to lessen the grips of your old patterns of resistance and open your hands to receive all of the goodness, all of the wonder life has to offer you. With experience comes confidence and faith in the knowing that you can be safely carried by the river of abundance that flows within you, and that in every moment, you are worthy of receiving the full magnificence of who you truly are. 

Dee:  Try it; you’ll like it.  Fake it ’til you make it.  Trial and error.  It’s a journey.  Odd at first and definitely a whole new way of living.  But it works!  All burdens are removed from your shoulders.  The doubt starts to lift because you begin to experience that this surrender and change in mindset produces wonderful results and miracles.

Live Magically 

You can live a magical life like Charlie did when he discovered the chocolate factory. You hold a golden ticket— the ability to tap into the power of your feelings, and your true well of being that feeds you with unconditional love and prosperity. You must choose this new adventure for yourself, for only you can be the hero of your story. 

It’s up to you to discover the flavors of your happiness and your unique life purpose, and to learn to trust that you are always—and in all ways—supported by an intelligent field that knows and honors your heart’s deepest intentions to live your best life. 

This feeling way of life is a magical ride. Find out for yourself if it’s your new way to fly! 

Learn how to tap into the power of your feelings and manifest your deepest desires with loving support from like-minded women and wonderful speakers at our Chopra Women’s Retreat. Learn More. ( 

Dee:  I live a Disney-type life…the happiest place on earth.  From the Circus Circus neon clown to where I am at this very moment I shall never grow up.  The adult-shit that I’ve experienced throughout my life has not served me.  Being who I am and loving who I am has.  Not having to prove anything to anyone else is the way to be.  It’s all between me and my Higher Power.

I live very optimistically, very positively, even in the turmoils that surround us.  There is always good to come from EVERYTHING…compassion, love, understanding, forgiveness, faith.  If you chose to live this way, the ripple-effect will spread throughout the planet and great things will come.  Feels good to live this way.

With warmest aloha,  Dee Harris

For those interested in my Art with a Message of Optimism and Hope, please check out my website at  Mahalo and have an awesome day!

About the Author 

Louise Laffey, Guest Speaker 

Once a young lawyer and an intuitive spiritual seeker, Louise Laffey, struggled to reconcile what she viewed as two separate lives. As a lawyer she enjoyed many of trappings of the modern world, but always felt like she was compromising herself and her values to meet someone else’s agenda. She escaped to South America, where she embarked on the spiritual journey that led her to create the process of fully aligning prosperity with her purpose. For the past nine years, Louise has travelled the world, teaching more than 50,000 people from over 20 countries to identify and clear the unconscious blocks standing in the way of their prosperity, freeing them to consciously create more wealth and abundance in… Read more (/bios/louise-laffey) 

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