MAKING HOPE REAL

Day 18 – Making Hope Real

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

My hope is grounded in a deeper reality.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Eem Shreem

My being radiates wisdom and abundance.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

HOW HOPE GOES VIRAL

Day 17 – How Hope Goes Viral

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

I bring hope into the present moment.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Samprati Hum

My true self is wide awake.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

REIGNITING THE SPARK OF HOPE

Day 16 – Reigniting the Spark of Hope

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

I bond with others to give them hope.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Karuna Namah

I invoke the universal power of compassion.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

THE INNER CHILD REBORN

The Inner Child Reborn

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

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

What brought you hope?  What made you sad?

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

DEEPAK: 

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

I see the hopeful inner child in everyone.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

So Hum

I am.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

Activating the Hope Inside You

Day 8Activating the Hope Inside You

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love.” – Bradley Whitford

In today’s meditation, we discover that to activate hope within we only need to bring attention to the presence of our awareness: the quiet consciousness that is having an experience of reading right now. Activated hope will then begin to gradually exert its transformative effect in our daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. Life becomes easier, more fluid, and more enjoyable.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Week 2 where we begin to explore where hope can take you.  The journey is transformative.  Today is Day 8 – Activating the Hope Inside You.  I believe hope flourishes when you are in the flow.

I remember a photo I pulled from O Magazine of a woman gliding through water.  It was such a striking image of freedom and possibility.  I put it on my vision board.  Some time later after a swimming lesson I passed by my vision board and I had an “ah ha moment”.  I had become that woman gliding through the water.  For years I’d been a challenged swimmer afraid of the water.  Fighting it I realized all I needed was to learn to move with the flow…literally.

This is one of the great metaphors of life, “Move with the flow.”  Don’t fight the current.  Resist nothing.  Let life carry you.  Don’t try to carry it.  Deepak tells us that if you get this idea, that this is the moment, the only moment you that have, then you live in the present and you move with the flow of that.  The point of arrival is “now”.

So many of us look to the future for our moment of happiness or contentment.  “I will be happy when…”  But when we get there we don’t recognize it because we are not present for “it”.  And that’s how many people lose hope.  They miss the moment.

I also believe that allowing the truth of who you are, your spiritual self to rule your life, gets you into a flow that activates hope and defeats the struggles that show up in life.  As Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth, “There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living.  The secret of all success and happiness.  ONE WITH LIFE.  Being one with life is being one with now.”  You then realize that you don’t live your life but your life lives “you”.  Life is the dancer and you are the dance.  The hope, joy and vitality that being committed that dance are unmatched by any pleasure you can imagine.  It takes being committed to experience life’s beautiful essence.  And that is the decision that you make daily.

Deepak is going to guide us to activate the hope inside.

DEEPAK:

By activating hope and awareness you bring new possibilities to light within yourself.  You do not have to force yourself to feel hope; you summon it as part of who you are, allowing your trust and optimism to arise naturally.  To activate hope we bring attention to our presence of awareness.  This awareness is like the screen on which our feelings, thoughts and sensations are projected.  Typically we only pay attention to these contents of the mind, but not the presence of awareness which makes all experience possible.

In meditation we experience that inner awareness which activates the qualities of consciousness, including hope.  And then what?  Daily life goes on as before except that a shift starts to occur.  We discover first in small ways that life can take care of itself.  This is the activation of hope and consciousness beginning to exert its organizing, harmonizing, and creative power in our life.  This is a transformative discovery.

Most of us are so used to the idea that we need to control our lives.  The notion that life can take care of itself from our awareness seems impossible.  But the infinite intelligence of consciousness has always been taking care of life.  Your body has always been functioning and thriving without your conscious direction or control.  Your heart beats without you choosing to make it happen.

The struggles and obstacles we encounter in daily life are the result of losing contact with the cosmic intelligence of our present awareness.  Hope becomes real when in any situation you trust that your awareness can lead you to a resolution.  However, this is not passively watching and waiting.  Awareness remains alert to the signals coming to you from inside at the level of insight and intuition and from outside.

In practical terms the process is quite simple.  You recognize an issue that needs attention.  You hold an open and neutral intention for a creative solution, then you let go and you allow the presence of your individual awareness to join universal awareness and show you what’s next.

This is the secret of creative living.  Living with hope and optimism.  When you notice hope arises naturally and effortlessly then you will also notice it is truly activated and supporting you.  Life takes care of itself more and more as awareness expands.

CENTERING THOUGHT

Today I activate my hope.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Shara Vana Ya

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

DEE:

Before getting sober I had no hope.  I wasn’t in the flow.  The only feeling activated in me was one of feeling shitty.  I would open my eyes to blue-bird skies after an epic night of snowfall wishing I would have awakened earlier to make first tracks in the virgin snow.  I wish I would have awakened with clarity and purpose.  I wish I would have awakened rather than have “come to”.  I wish I would have felt energetic and joyful.

“Moving with the flow” is a treasured gift I have today.  It did not present itself overnight as living in the disease of alcoholism was a hell I lived through that went on “like forever”.  There are many gifts I have today that are the results of my being a work in progress.  Yes, progress not perfection.  Yes, progress…activation…movement…and purpose.

Allowing the truth of who I am and finding my spiritual self has brought me to a place today of being filled with great hope.  This did not happen by coincidence.  This didn’t happen by my own accord.  This happened because a Power Greater Than Myself knew that I was ready to move on, to fulfill my purpose.  “When the student is ready, the master appears.”

So through a series of incomprehensible and demoralizing events, I was able to admit I need help.  My HP (Higher Power) I didn’t even know yet brought me to a treatment facility where I learned the truth of who and what I am, where I began to find I had a spiritual self, where the beginning of my new life began.  And it was to this HP to whom I learned to turn my will and my life over.  So not easy.  So against every fiber of my being.  But that other way of life was apparently not working for me, so I would just “fake it ’til I make it”.  It worked!  My life got easier; my brain shut off; I got better!

Aloha, Dee

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

*From Deepak and Oprah’s 21-Day Mediation Experience about Hope.

The Secret to Finding Hope Everywhere

Day 7 – The Secret to Finding Hope Everywhere

“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm, and genuine people.” – Tena Desae

Today’s meditation is about realizing that when you expand your awareness you are shifting your orientation to the world from perspective that only sees problems to a viewpoint that only sees the solutions. When your attention is aligned with the universal intelligence of Nature, then you always find a way through your challenges and difficulties. Another way to understand this experience of unbounded awareness is to realize that everywhere you look, you find hope.

OPRAH:

We’re already wrapping up our first week together, sharing in building hope.  In this first week we learned that hope is a real and powerful force.  The energy of hope can help eclipse fear and anxiety in uncertain times.  Welcome to Day 7 where we uncover “The Secret to Finding Hope Everywhere.”

I find my greatest hope in the space of gratitude.  I just got to tell you because I believe the more grateful you are the more hopeful you automatically will become.  I have volumes and volumes of gratitude journals.  Every night before I go to bed I write down five things that gave me great pleasure or gratitude for the day or five things that I’m really grateful for.

This has been part of my spiritual practice for many years.  Here’s what I was grateful for on October 12, 1996.  That’s over 20 years ago.  Number one…a run around Florida’s Fisher Island.  I had a nice little apartment there with a slight breeze that kept me cool.  Number two is eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.  Number three was a long hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with a guy who I will just refer to as Mr. Potato Head.  Number four…sorbet in a cone so sweet that I literally licked my fingers.  And number five Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem.

What I realize was that gratitude was expanding my awareness as well my happiness and my sense of hopefulness.  The more you praise and celebrate your life, well, the more there, literally, is to celebrate and praise.  Appreciating what shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration you radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have versus focusing on all the things you don’t have.  Gratitude expands your awareness.  It creates unbounded energy to feel and explore every moment and every encounter with freedom and creativity.

A wise thought from our friend Deepak, he says, “The power, the wisdom, the creativity of the Universe, you open the door through gratitude.”  That’s why I say gratitude is the ultimate spiritual solution to help you connect to the power of hope everywhere in everything.  Deepak and I are grateful for you.  So let’s follow Deepak’s path to finding hope in all things.

DEEPAK:

Consciousness is organized and holistic so that every obstacle or problem has a solution.  When we find hope we are shifting attention from the problem to its solution in unlimited awareness.  Realizing every problem or question has an answer or solution

in the light of awareness you find hope in every situation.  When you can find hope everywhere a sense of peace overtakes you.  The burdens of doubt and anxiety are lifted.  Connecting yourself to that cosmic intelligence is an essential part of the journey of hope.

Most people focus attention only on the level of the problem rather than the level of the solution.  Imagine your problem is to find a book in a dark cluttered basement.  You cannot see clearly and you keep banging your head.  If you focus on the problem you might try to protect your head and squint harder as you keep searching through every box.  If you focus on the solution, you pause, find the light switch and turn on the light so you can see everything clearly, and then find the book.

Expanding our awareness through meditation is like turning on the lights.  We automatically open ourselves to the universal intelligence, that light of consciousness which gives us the ability to solve the problem.  Knowing our expanded awareness always offers a solution gives us a reason of hope in every circumstance we may encounter.

How any given solution turns out depends on your state of awareness.  The more unbounded your awareness, the more freedom you have to create and explore.  If you have constricted awareness, on the other hand, your default perception is limited.  You see few solutions, narrow possibilities, worst case scenarios and the repeat of past outcomes.  It’s just like stumbling around in a dark basement.  The brighter your light of expanded awareness is, the clearer your perception is.  This makes your task easier, more enjoyable, and more effective.

It takes no effort to expand your awareness.  In the Worlds Wisdom Traditions it’s as simple as waking up.  Fortunately because consciousness is organized each person’s path is uniquely arranged to send the right signals at a time when they will be noticed.  Your conversation with the Universe belongs to you alone.  Your only responsibility is to see, to be open and alert, and to know that hope is always on your side.

ENTERING THOUGHT

I find a reason to hope in every situation.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Shree Gum Namah

My limitless awareness overcomes all obstacles.

DEE:

Being positive and happy is like living on another planet when you’re deep in the hell of addiction or depression or abuse or whatever seems to be weighing you down.  All energy seems to be on just existing.  While active in my disease of alcoholism I had no hope or gratitude, except irrationally being grateful to be able to get the next drink in me.  My priority became drinking.  Period.  Everything else…life…just got in the way of that “reward”. Thank goodness our cells know what to do to keep us alive!  I needed to hit my bottom, to experience that chapter of my book, in order to move on and out of the darkness.  It seemed like an eternity.  It is what it is.  But I finally reached a place in my life when I no longer wanted to go on living like that, dying like that.  I finally reached out for help.

And that is where the “rewards” really started to appear.  Firstly, to be able to ask for help is so damn freeing.  Why did I not try this before?  To realize that I am not alone or unique and that I would not be burned on the stake because I was “weak” and could not stop drinking.  Secondly, to walk into a treatment facility and have that obsession to drink lifted.  It that odd or is that God?  Yes, I could have walked out anytime to that corner liquor store.  So why didn’t I?  Thirdly, to learn I have a disease called alcoholism.  My dad had it too and died from it.  Genetics?  Doesn’t matter; I have it.

Yes, that is when the miracles started to happen.  I became a sponge soaking up heaps of knowledge and new feelings.  I allowed myself to focus on me and my well-being.  I learned what makes me tick and react and found solutions to make my life easier and brighter.  Crazy, this journey of mine.  Beautiful, actually.

And what is exciting for me today is to help you on your journey and to witness the blossoming of your becoming who you really are.  To see hope in your eyes.  To see your self-worth and self-love evolve.  That is where my journey has brought me.  To have a purpose today that I never had before getting sober.  To share my gratitude.  To share my hope.  Awesome journey it is!

Aloha, Dee

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

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

How to Grow in Trust and Belief

Day 6 – How to Grow in Trust and Belief

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou

Today in meditation we learn that hope is not effective if we do not believe in our self or have inner trust. Building a life of hope means we base it on a foundation of self-awareness. This core self is where real trust must come from.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Day 6 of our meditation, “How to Grow in Trust and Belief.”  In a Super Soul Session best-selling author Renee Brown, a master of research on vulnerability and how it can lead to a better life explained “The Anatomy of Trust.”  She told a story about her daughter’s teacher using a marble jar system of discipline and reward system in the classroom.  When the class did positive things the teacher would add marbles to the jar.  And when they did something negative marbles were removed.  When the jar was full the class got a party.  Renee shared a story after her daughter feeling hurt and afraid after some friends broke her trust.  To comfort her daughter Renee used the teacher’s marble jar as a metaphor for trust.  You share yourself and your vulnerability with friends and each time it’s honored and kept safe, your jar fills up with more marbles.  Renee calls them “trust moments”.

Trust is not built on the grandest gestures of others at crucial moments in our lives, but built in very small moment one marble, or one moment, at a time.  We trust those friends and loved ones whose jars are full, people who have built up a store of trust moments with us.  In fact, the most important person you need to build trust with is yourself.  Get still and hone in on the whispering sensation that pulses just beneath the surface.  I think it’s the way the Divine speaks to us.  That is your true being, your truest place of trust and peace.  That is hope and it is magnificent.  Now let’s let Deepak to grow and trust in trust and belief.

DEEPAK:

Trust and belief are two other qualities that support our journey of hope.  If you hope for an outcome but don’t believe it will happen you are giving yourself false hope.  If you have no trust that a good outcome is possible that, too, defeats hope.  When belief and hope are weak trust is weak.  Fortunately trust and belief are two things we have control over.

Everyone has core beliefs about how life works out.  These core beliefs are about what we think is fair and unfair, right and wrong.  When someone believes life is unfair they see unfairness everywhere.  To get past restrictive beliefs you can try to examine them one at a time.  But in our meditation practice we go to a place inside where there are no beliefs where negative or positive is not relevant.  This all-inclusive non-judgmental awareness is vital because no matter how uplifting or sensible your beliefs may be they won’t hold true in every situation.

Good and bad experiences defy our belief systems.  But in the World’s Wisdom Traditions there’s an organizing power in consciousness that arranges our lives in an evolutionary way.  By connecting with our own awareness at this level there is no need for beliefs that originate in opinions and limited experience.  The only belief necessary is the belief that expresses itself as the presence of self-awareness.

Where our self-trust lies determines how positive or negative we are and how we see the world.  If we have self-doubt life is pretty bleak; if we have self-worth we have hope and optimism and positivity in our lives.

Trust is very similar.  People develop notions of who can be trusted or not trusted based on a limited viewpoint, basically the ego’s desire to pleasure and avoid pain.  The journey of hope is not about learning to trust others or outside forces it’s about inner trust, trusting your true self.  With inner trust no one else is trustworthy or untrustworthy.  Other people are reflections of yourself, bringing signals from the Universe that you can use or not use; it’s your choice.  When we ignore our inner guidance of self-awareness, however, hope can devolve into denial, self-deception and wishful thinking.  When we cooperate with our own evolution we respond to the signals sent to us at every moment.  Trust that reality is leading you to new insights, truths and creativity.  This is the foundation that invites evolutionary impulses to guide you everyday.

I trust in my core self at every moment.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Aieem Namah

My true self is inspired and wise.

DEE:

Hope is not effective if we do not believe in ourselves or have inner trust; as a matter of fact, I don’t believe anything is effective.  Where did that inner trust go?  Why did we lose trust in ourselves?  Where did the self-doubt come from?

From the moment our awareness surfaced we started to have experiences.  Many of those experiences contained other human beings.  Those human beings had opinions.  Those opinions we either took to heart or shrugged off.  And those experiences helped to develop who we are today.

If those experiences were kind and nurturing, we have a pretty high opinion of ourselves and self-worth.  If those opinions were degrading and hurtful, we started to feel pretty shitty about ourselves.  One experience at a time our inner trust was either strengthened and developed or lost to the world around us.  You are comfortable enough to share yourself and your vulnerability with others because you feel good about yourself at your core.  You have trust.  You have peace.  You have hope.

So connect with your own awareness where there is no need for beliefs that originate in opinions of others, where the only belief necessary is the belief that expresses itself as the presence of self-awareness which determines how positive or negative we are and how we see the world.  Shed your self-doubt and those layers of onion skin that do you no good.  Trust your inner-self and live a life full of hope!

Share that practice with those who enter “your bubble”, especially the children.  Bring hope and optimism back into the world.  I guarantee the world will be a better place!

With much aloha, Dee

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

(Taken from Deepak and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Series)