Releasing Fear and Anxiety with Hopefulness

Day 4 – Releasing Fear and Anxiety with Hopefulness

“Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!” – Barack Obama

In today’s meditation, we see that our hope is undermined by fear and anxiety. Past disappointments lead us to anticipate present and future disappointments. We learn that if we awaken to the presence of awareness, then our past will no longer be our present reality. When we recognize that our fear and anxiety is based on an illusion, we become free, hopeful, and fearless.

OPRAH:

Today Deepak guides us to imagine the darker expectations within our hearts and begin the journey to knowing the darkness does not have to be our truth.  Welcome to day 4 of our meditation, “Releasing Fear and Anxiety with Hopefulness.”

There are many ways to confront what is really holding you back from living the life you want.  Tony Robbins, a powerful life coach, believes that most people are wired for fear and worry.  He says, “There is a highway to upset and a dirt road to happiness.”  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  What road are you on right now?  What are you afraid of?  What fear is stopping you in your tracks?  Do you expect that things won’t go your way?  Fear is a powerful and convincing emotion.  Find out where your fear is coming from.  Only then can you let it go.

Through meditation we can connect with openness and trust, defensiveness, self-doubt and let fear diminish.  Centered in deep awareness we expand when we stay in the present without anticipating.  Anything is possible.

You become what you believe, not what you wish for or what you want.  You become what you expect in your heart.  Let’s open our hearts to the positive possibilities of uncertainty.

DEEPAK:

When you have true hope you meet every situation openly, without fear or feeling the need to retreat or defend.  The situation is just another new possibility life has presented.  Your attitude is not complicated by self-doubt or self-criticism.  You are hopeful because experience has shown you uncertainty can bring out the best in you and can be a win-win proposition.  Either you win because the situation turns out well or you win because you have found something to heal and improve.  But emotionally this can of hope is undercut by fear and anxiety.  We’re afraid our hopes won’t come true because of pass disappointments.  Wounds from the past feel very real and strongly affect current behavior.  But this fear is an illusion…the ghosts of painful memory.

Reliance on the past makes you expect pain in the future.  To overcome fear and anxiety we stop looking to the past and live in the present.  Anytime you’re in a situation expecting the worst, pause, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and say to yourself, “Fear is not real.  My presence of awareness is real.”

When you contact your true self in meditation you place yourself where there is no fear in the peace and calm of pure awareness.  You have a choice anytime you want to center yourself there by closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and taking notice of present experience.  When you are centered deeper awareness can expand and bring a better outcome.  This is where uncertainty is your ally.  Good things happen without being anticipated using the power of awareness to reveal the solution.

The Worlds Wisdom Traditions say, “All experience is a mental construct.  Anything you perceive, feel, think, say or do is a function of consciousness.”  You already use your awareness to create the joy and fulfillment in your life, and the barriers, obstacles, and resistance you experience are also created in consciousness.  As self-awareness grows you gain more creative control over your personal reality and this not only conquers fear and self-doubt, but it gives you confident hope you will reach the goal.

 

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Durgaya Namah

I am fearless.

DEE:

Live in the moment!  Try hard!  Forget the past that weighs you down.  Don’t worry about the future.  Don’t shit on today!  Be free, hopeful and fearless in this present moment.

From the moment we are born we are filled with experiences.  Some of them we take more to heart.  Some of them hurt us and start filling up our jar of fear marbles.  As this jar fills up with uncomfortable, humiliating and even traumatic marbles, we begin to change from that innocent and light-hearted child to adults weighed down with fear and anxiety that we are not enough, we are less than, we are not worthy.

Get back in the moment.  Go back to that care-free child.  That child is still within you.  Remove those haunting experiences from your life and know that you have done the best you can and you are the best you can be and you are perfect just the way you are.  Remember that you have your special gifts that no one can take from you.  You are awesome!

I believe good things happen in our lives for a reason, as do bad things.  The bad things, the uncomfortable things, the humiliating things, have taught me much more than the good things ever can.  For that reason I believe these experiences have happened to bring me to a higher level, only if I can get past them and realized that they are only experiences and not who I am, not what I caused, not what I deserved.

I use these experiences to share with others in the same or similar situations that they have strength and hope that the future holds great things for them.  That we have a purpose to share our lives and experiences with others and to help them dig out of their hells.

So shed those fear marbles and turn them into hope marbles.  Be optimistic.  Be happy for the experiences you have had and turn them into hopeful and positive truths.  They have happened.  They are gone.  Don’t dwell on them and allow them to ruin this beautiful day, this beautiful moment, this beautiful YOU!!!

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in Inspirational and Motivation Art with a Message, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have a great and in-the-moment day!

From Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience, Hope in Uncertain Times.

Turning Doubt and Uncertainty into Hope

Day 3 – Turning Doubt and Uncertainty into Hope

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

Self-doubt and fear in the face of uncertainty can paralyze us and blind us to the good options that are available. Even in the midst of doubt and uncertainty, we always have within us the creative capacity to meet the situation and make use of it for our personal development and growth.

In today’s meditation, we find that when hope is awakened in the silence of meditation, we become self-confident and fearless. This allows us to look at uncertainty calmly and clearly, and to find the opportunities for growth and new possibilities.

OPRAH:

We are now on day 3.  Today’s meditation is called “Turning Doubt and Uncertainty into Hope.”  When it feels like nothing is going your way, when it seems that your path is being blocked by outside forces, at work or in your relationships or even with everyday problems, what is your typical reaction?  Do you move towards feelings of “Ugh.  Why me?” perhaps without even thinking it, or do you pause and think about “What is my life trying to tell me right now”?  That is the question.

How you respond to the difficult things that happen to you can mean the difference between a life of anger or joy, between despair and hope.  Eckhart Tolle describes it this way, “Life is an adventure.  It’s not a package tour.  Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.  If you’re dissatisfied in the unsettled state you can’t hear the guiding messages from your higher self.”  I believe that uncertainty is really your spirit’s way of whispering, “I’m in flux, something’s off balance here.”

For me hope lives in these uncomfortable moments when you have doubts and don’t know what to do.  Well, when you don’t know what to do, get still.  Like Eckhart says, “Wait for a guiding message from your higher self.  That’s what hope is rising up to meet you if you clear space and allow it.  Let’s open up to hope as Deepak guides us toward getting comfortable in the uncomfortable spaces.

DEEPAK:

On the journey of hope fear can hold us back, especially in uncertain times forces out there feel beyond our control.  But ultimately it is not the uncertain political or personal circumstances outside us that determine whether we respond with fear or hope.  By itself uncertainty is neutral.  Great things can emerge from it, like the next important discovery, insight or realization.  Everything depends on how we choose to relate to uncertainty which is just life’s constant stream of new events and challenges.  Becoming a source of hope, strength and optimism allows you to embrace uncertainty.  Without this inner strength of hope we are left to suffer through crises and uncertain times which leads to self-doubt and fear.  You feel weak and afraid, not because of outside forces beyond your control but because of the self-doubt that comes from being disconnected from your true self.

When you doubt yourself you can’t trust anyone or anything.  The most loving and trustworthy person will only reflect your inner doubt.  You fear being let down which is the same as expecting to be let down.  People who have been wounded by failure in their career, finances or personal relationships typically believe circumstances outside themselves are at fault.  “Life,” they say, “is unfair.”  With that mindset you have already surrendered your power to the thing out there that defeated your hopes.

But imagine two people hired on the same day at the bottom level of a company, perhaps as an intern.  They both say, “I hope to be president of this company someday.”  One is full of self-doubt and the other of hope.  We can break it down into the ingredients that make dreams come true.  Taking responsibility for your destiny.  Embracing the possibilities that arise today.  Being open and alert to changing situations.  Having a confident, flexible response to change.  Finding solutions when problems and obstacles block the way.  None of these depend on God-given attributes, good luck or a happy childhood.  They are awareness skills and it’s totally realistic for you to develop them if you use hope as part of your inner strength.  That’s the vision we are on our way to achieving together.

CENTERING THOUGHT

Hope makes me strong and secure.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Eem Hreem Kleem

I radiate confidence and strength.

DEE:

Developing hope does not come easily nor overnight.  At least it did not for me.  I believe being fear-based develops over a lifetime of experiences without having faith in oneself, nor a strong relationship with a higher power of your understanding.

As a child the bullying begins.  Not only are we battling with peers who put us down, but sometimes we are, unfortunately, demeaned by parents and teachers whom we disappoint.  And then we get into the workplace where our bosses put such demands on us that we oftentimes put everything, including our families and ourselves, on the back burner to get the recognition we think we so much need and deserve.

How could I have allowed this to happen?  I did not feel good in my own skin.  I did not realize the asset that I am, nor the gifts that I have.  I had to prove myself.  How stupid and what a waste.  But it was part of my journey that brings me to this place of contentment and love of self where I am today.  One day at a time.

I cannot say that the disease of alcoholism brought me to that place of insecurity, but I can say that it relieved that self-doubt, for a while.  But thankfully my disease brought me to a place of desperation where I could no longer cope with myself nor my drinking.  It brought me to a place of surrender.  And from there I found recovery, not only from my disease but from that self-doubt.  For me it was through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are many organizations and groups available to those in need of freedom from self-doubt.  I truly hope that you know you are not alone if you find yourself thinking you are a loser, a waste of space on the planet, that you can’t do anything right.  I was there.  But with a fellowship of loving and caring people who loved me until I could love myself, I no longer find myself in that deep and dark place.  The weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.  I can accept things, even embrace things, as they come.  Life is good.  I am good.

Aloha, Dee

For those interested in Inspirational Gifts and Art with a Message, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and have a great day!  Don’t forget to love yourself for who you are, right now, right here.  You’re the best you can be.  It’s perfect!

Hope is Always Available

Day 2 – Hope Is Always Available

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

 

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

The power of hope is here every day.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Samprati Hum

My true self is wide awake.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

The Power of Hope is Real

Day 1 – The Power of Hope Is Real

“The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful.” – Abraham Lincoln

Welcome to our 21-Day Meditation Experience, Hope in Uncertain Times. We know many of you are feeling uncertainty and confusion about what is happening in the world and what that means in your life. And uncertainty isn’t just present in world events; it can also appear personally in your relationships, your career, or any number of life circumstances. This Meditation Experience will show you how, by directing your attention within, you can find a real hope at the core of your being that will give you the strength, clarity, and purpose to navigate these turbulent times.

We are happy you are joining us to learn how to find and activate this deep hope in your heart. Over the next three weeks, we will explore and experience the power and the freedom that comes with living life from a place of unshakable hope.

In today’s meditation, we learn that uncertainty is not our enemy. We can embrace uncertainty from a place of inner security and harness its creative potential. Secondly, we discover that hope is activated through self-awareness. Our journey together will reveal that hope is not only a powerful center of security and guidance in life, it is our also our true nature, our essential being.

OPRAH:

Deepak and I welcome you to a healing 21-day meditation experience.  In uncertain times many people are feeling a sense of disruption and discord in our world today.  And I know many of you are experiencing unease.  You may feel on edge or you may even feel your sense of hope faltering.

This 21-day meditation experience is created to help you move away from feeling overwhelmed to feeling a sense of strength and hope, to feeling your own strength, our united strength and hope.

Deepak and I are grateful you’re joining us.  We believe this mediation program is arriving at just the right time which is just how the Universe always works, for sure.  Deepak says, “Now more than ever hope can actually become our power source.  This meditation will teach us how to tap into that renewable resource and help us maintain it even through challenging events.”

Our first week will focus on awakening to the hope within each of us, in you, in understanding that the power of hope is not just rhetoric but it’s real.  It’s not just a wish on a wing on a prayer.  In week two we’re going to learn where hope can take you while tapping into inner strength, compassion, renewal, and living within the light that is all light.  And finally in week three we will explore how to take this sense of hope to the next level and inspire strength and promise in the people around you.

So welcome to Day 1…The Power of Hope is Real.  Hope has always been a guiding light in my life.  A light that’s never gone out.  Even in my darkest days.  As a child I lived with my grandmother on a farm in Mississippi.  We used an outhouse.  We had no running water and no electricity.  You would think a little girl in my circumstances wouldn’t have much hope for the future.  But for as far back as I can remember I always had an awareness, a connection to a positive force larger than myself.  I called it God.  And it was this internal knowing that gave me hope always, and continues to.  I do know in my heart that the positive force that is bigger than ourselves also lies within ourselves.

The goal of this meditation experience is to help you find that hope and to use it to help fuel your life forward.  No matter what you’re going through, a break-up, losing a job, a health issue, allow hope to be your guide.  Give yourself that.  Maya Angelou once wrote, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space.  Invite one to stay.”  Let’s listen to Deepak on how hope is real and together let’s invite the vibration of hope to stay.

DEEPAK:

We’re often told that hope is a precious commodity to call on in difficult situations.  We hope for the best when someone is sick or in trouble.  But there is a deeper understanding to hope.  Hope can be a life-supporting force that gives us more control over how each day unfolds.

Most people don’t realize hope has enormous power.  It’s not enough to hope for the best.  We need hope to deal with the uncertainty of life.  Everyone knows at some level that life is always uncertain.  We all know the saying, “Change is the only constant in life.”  From this knowledge two paths emerge.  You can fear uncertainty and try to control every detail of your life.  That is the path of fear and anxiety which leads to a life of insecurity, low expectations, and limited fulfillment.  The other path is to embrace uncertainty for its creative potential, it’s ability to make life new everyday and the wisdom hidden behind seeming chaos.  If we take this path life becomes ever expanding with greater fulfillment and security, a strong sense of self, and a steady process of awakening going forward.  In that light hope becomes very different.  Instead of being a form of wish-fulfillment it becomes an intention the Universe carries out.

The purpose of this 21-day meditation experience is to ignite the power of hope, making it a real force in your life.  Is there an aspect of your life that you hope will get better, a job that has stopped being challenging, a relationship that is less fulfilling, or simply a nagging weight problem?  Have you been hoping these areas will get better?  Everyone does.  But a passive hope is not affective.  In fact it can turn into an excuse to do nothing.

Yet for others hope already has power.  They have taken the steps that make hope realistic and optimistic.  The power of hope comes from your self-awareness.  When hope is known and felt as your inner-being, your true-self, it transforms your life.

Our journey begins today and the first step is to ask yourself how hope is working for you right now.  Are you moving steadily in the direction at fulfilling your hopes and dreams?  Together we can discover the kind of hope that supports life from the very center of our being.

Centering Thought

Hope is my source of strength.

Sanskrit Mantra

Sheevo Hum

I am pure potentiality.

DEE:

Most of my life has been lived without true hope.  I had kid hopes like wishing for a new bike or that I fit in.  It wasn’t until I was completely hopeless when I was hitting my bottom in the disease of alcoholism that “Experience, Strength and Hope” was introduced to me and started to take on new meaning.

If you’ve ever found yourself battling an addiction or an emotional or spiritual void, or even a physical struggle, you may have found yourself hoping or hopeless, or making deals with God.

I found myself there.  And praying to a God I knew nothing about to please help me not drink today, to remove this hangover, to help me remember what I did in that blackout.  This went on which seemed an eternity.  I was exhausted.  I could no longer play that game that everything was peachy when all I wanted to do and had to do was drink and hide and lie and pretend.

When I found myself in a 28-day treatment program, when I finally admitted I had a problem and couldn’t go on living the way that I was, that I need help!, then the doors opened up.  “When the student is ready, the master appears” is an affirmation I have hanging on my wall.  And it is so true.  When I finally succumbed and stopped battling my demons, I had hope.  I was gifted with a new way of life and a new mind-set.  Hey, if it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to my old ways, but for today I’ll give it a try.

I have learned so much about turning it over to a power greater than myself, a god of my own understanding.  The weight has been lifted and am finally comfortable in my own skin and have learned to like, and even love, myself for who and what I am!  And the beautiful thing is I didn’t have to do this alone; I couldn’t do this on my own.  And no one judged me; on the contrary, I was embraced with open and understanding arms with nothing asked in return.  Go figure.  This isn’t the way of the world.  Something for nothing.  Wrong!  Once I changed my mindset and outlook I have found that, indeed, it IS the way of the world.

So if you find yourself struggling with hope and self-love and purpose, know that you are not alone.  There are many of us on your side, willing to help you get through your battles and past your demons.  Suck it up and ask for help.  Do us a favor and ask us for help.  We’ve found our purpose and you are it!

For those interested in Art with a Message, a message of hope and inspiration, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.

From Hope in Uncertain Times (Oprah & Deepak)

Hope in Uncertain Times

Nothing destroys hope and trust more than feeling insecure.  The opposite of insecurity is strength.  What does it mean to be strong?  Looking around we can see the strength of an authority figure like a boss who dominates others.  With or without consent they take charge and make it clear that only their will, their desires and emotions are important.  This is a sad distortion of true strength.  Society rewards this distorted strength by giving some people power and millions of others seem more than happy to give away their power to those who appear strong.  All of this comes about because we haven’t learned how to be strong inside ourselves.

In practical terms becoming strong feels like a puppy who is safe only beside its mother until its curiosity lures it into the outside world.  At first the puppy rushes back to its mother’s side when it feels unsafe.  But over time standing on its own feels natural and right.  It has no more desire to be protected by another.

The self behaves the same way.  It starts out needing protection or the illusion of protection by clinging to externals like money, status, ego strokes, the bonds of relationships, developing a fit body, etcetera.  These are good things on their own.  But they aren’t good if they reinforce the attitude of “me against the world” or “us versus them”, in other words, a defensive posture.  The secret is to experiment with standing up for yourself, speaking your truth, holding fast when you must and always taking responsibility.

When your inner strength and hope gets activated you realize there was never a “you against the world” or “us versus them”.  There was only the power of hope in your consciousness and the reality it constructs.

…Deepak Chopra

The message here is learn to love yourself, like you did when you were a child.  Nurture yourself.  Grow.  Know that you are the best you can be…today.  Your past is the past and you’ve grown immensely from your experiences.  The future is not here yet so don’t go there.  Stay in the moment and realize all of your gifts.  No comparing your gifts with those of others.  Your gifts are your gifts…unique to you…special.  Give away those gifts.  Make someone’s day.  A smile.  A hug.  An open ear.  Be yourself.  Love yourself.

…Dee Harris

For gifts with an inspirational message of loving yourself, please visit my website at http://www.DeesignsByHarris.com.

Faith Connects Us Heart-to-Heart

FAITH CONNECTS US HEART-TO-HEART

(from Oprah and Deepak – Become What You Believe)

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT:  My faith calls me to love.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With much aloha, Dee

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

WHAT YOU IDENTIFY WITH YOU BECOME

(FROM OPRAH AND DEEPAK…BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE)

OPRAH:

It’s been said that what every you believe, you are.  Your beliefs are that powerful.  They literally can dictate your reality.  Wherever you are in your life is a reflection of what you believe to be possible for you in this world.  What do you believe is possible for yourself?

Each of our beliefs is influenced by a myriad of life experiences, good and bad.  When you take charge and build up on your positive beliefs, when you are the master of your beliefs, when  you are the creator of your perceptions, you have the power to shift your reality.

When you begin to shape your beliefs the Universe will dream a bigger dream for you than you will have yet dreamt for yourself.  Believe in your dreams and every part of your world will open up in new and glorious ways…because everything is possible!

DEEPAK:

We’ve seen that your identity, the “I” you call yourself, is built from your beliefs.  This includes the negative and positive beliefs, the hidden and visible beliefs.  Your identity is always on the move depending on how you see yourself and what you believe in.  Static beliefs make life’s journey much more difficult.  If you always have to be a winner, you face an uphill climb everyday.  If you always have to be the one who gives in, the hill is just as steep.

The power of belief should be your strongest ally…and it can be.  At this moment what you believe is already guiding what your life is becoming.  All the labels, tags, memories and assumptions you have tacked to your sense of “I” are churning out responses in your mind and body.  So the question is this, “Are your beliefs directing your life or are you?”  A static belief is like a microchip sending out the same signal over and over because that is how it was programmed.  The process is automatic.  You always have the option of unplugging the chip and changing the program.  You are in charge of your beliefs, not the other way around.

Many people have adopted an exercise.  They write down exactly where they want to be in five years, along with an action plan for how to get there.  For the exercise to really help, however, the action plan must be based on the right beliefs because everything we think, do and say expresses a belief either directly or indirectly.  Because that’s true a better exercise is to write down what you want your beliefs to look like, not five years from now, but five days or weeks or months from now.

Take a common belief like, “My life is working out the way I wanted it to”, which is a belief in low expectations.  The new belief you’d want is, “My life is working out better than I expected it to”.    This is a belief in rising expectations.

What would it take to make this belief become part of who you really are?  Several practical steps are involved.  The first is not to let yourself fall into low expectations.  Examine how you’re selling yourself short.  The second step is to find one part of your life where you can reach greater fulfillment.  And the final step is to take action in this one part of your life, however modest it is.

Higher expectations can be achieved in relationships, in caring for your family, in doing a better job, or in expressing more love.  It can be about asking for more appreciation or taking on bigger challenges.  The same steps work in any situation.  Once you see where the limiting belief is undermining you, you have the choice to believe in yourself instead, going step by step at your own pace, but always progressing.

DEE:

So true our beliefs are influenced by a myriad of life experiences from the day we were born.  Each sight, sound, taste, smell and feeling has influenced who we are today, like it or not.  Today I strive to shed those “not’s”, to build on my positive beliefs.

But for many decades in my life I did not know how to build on my positive beliefs.  My microchip was screaming out that I was a loser.  I had no positive beliefs.  You see, I am an alcoholic and for a great chunk of my life, I couldn’t stop drinking.  That’s all I could think about.  Everything else was getting in my way of filling that need for alcohol.

It wasn’t until I finally succumbed, surrendered, accepted I needed help…and asked for it…did my beliefs change.  My outlook on life changed.  My love of self slowly emerged.  Freedom and peace was felt.  I couldn’t do this on my own, unplug the chip, change the program.  I had no control over my life.  But surrendering, accepting, and even embracing this disease called alcoholism has allowed this new identity, this person I call “Dee” to surface, to flourish, with the help of a treatment centers and Alcoholics Anonymous.  They taught me the action plan I needed at that time and I sucked it up like a sponge.  Sweet stuff!

Now I can write down a plan for action for 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months.  But I have learned to never stop “living” in the moment, being grateful and humble for it.  Yes, I need a plan to give me direction for today.

I shall not fall into low expectations, nor shall I fall into high expectations.  I have learned that no expectations lead to no disappointments.  Again, I shall have an action plan to drive me forward, but I shall allow a Power Greater Than Myself guide me to where I need to be.

For those interested in my art with a message of inspiration and unity, please visit my website at DeesignsByHarris.com.  Aloha!