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.

LIVING BY THE LIGHT OF HOPE

Living by the Light of Hope 

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

My future unfolds with hope and joy.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Aroot Perum Jothi

I invoke divine grace light.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

FINDING THE KEY TO RENEWAL

Day 13Finding the Key to Renewal

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

My choices uphold and support my life.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Sarvatva Namah

The wholeness of the universe is my true nature.

DEE:

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

COMPASSION CHANGES EVERYTHING

Day 11 – Compassion Changes Everything

 The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope.” – Daniel Berrigan

Compassion is based on the truth that as humans we all have an intrinsic worth and share similar aspirations, fears, and struggles. When we feel compassion for one another, we honor and respect that truth. In today’s meditation, we discover that the openness and expansion of awareness in a compassionate heart helps to nourish the power of hope in our life.

OPRAH:

Today is Day 11 and we’re learning that compassion changes everything.  We all have moments of doubt and uncertainty, moments when patience with others wears thin.  Trying to manage issues of family or work, moments when people you rely on let you down.  Try to remember this the next time you feel that energy coming on.  If you take time to look at people in the light of compassion everything can change.

Powerful forces come into play when you stop and ask, “What do I really know about this person?  I may see them every day but do I know what makes them cry?  Do I know their home circumstances?  Do I know their suffering?”  If you begin to know that each person is a divine being worthy of hope and compassion, your perception of any situation will shift.

Best-selling author Karen Armstrong, a former nun who writes about the role of religion in the modern world says that all the world’s religions have one thing in common…compassion.  She says compassion can be summed up in the Golden Rule, “Never treat others the way you would not like to be treated yourself.”  It comes down to the simple act of listening and respecting others, with kindness.  Karen says, “We don’t have certainty in this life if you let it go and act in this compassionate way all day and every day, you begin to lose your fear.  When fear is removed, compassion flows.  And from that flow, we unleash the power of hope.  That is where our work begins today.  Open your heart.  You will find hope.

DEEPAK:

Compassion is another quality of our consciousness that gives hope its power.  Compassion creates an intimate bond from heart to heart by being open and accepting.  In everyday life when we meet someone who could become a close ally, friend or lover, the first steps usually feel uncertain and nervous.  It can feel vulnerable and when we really feel a strong attraction, that’s when we are most afraid.

Compassion, however, is not constrictive or selective. It radiates like light shining on everyone.  The ego, the part of ourselves always looking to protect itself, can only pretend to be compassionate.  Deep down it wants something in return such as admiration or submission.  We pick and choose who to be emotionally open with because we’re afraid we’ll be hurt if we choose wrong.  Yet the choice is being made from insecurity and distrust to begin with.  Therefore, it’s not reliable.

The alternative is simply to be open and caring without worrying that your love might end up in the wrong hands.  Openness is either with everyone or no one because openness is a quality of the true self.  If you have found this quality through meditation and expanded awareness, being open is simply who you are with everyone.  Openness leads to loss of defensiveness which leads to acceptance of others.  From this acceptance comes compassion because when you look inside anyone else’s heart, you feel your heart.

We tend to exalt unconditional compassion as a spiritual quality possessed only by saints.  But compassion is a shared inheritance that comes from inside.  You begin to grow in compassion by feeling empathy.  Empathy is like emotional merging, whether you cry at a romantic movie with a sad ending or feel joy at the marriage of a friend.  An ego barrier melts if only for a few moments and your empathy flows outward of its own accord.  When you are empathetic you feel what another feels; you are one in that moment, connected to your shared consciousness.

You can bring empathy into any situation overriding your ego and simply saying or doing something kind.  If you can accept that people are doing the best they can from their level of consciousness, you no longer need to judge.  You feel sympathy and compassion rises on its own from a flowing heart.

CENTERING THOUGHT

I meet any situation with loving kindness.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Karuna Hum

I am compassion.

DEE:

Before getting clean and sober I felt like a waste of space on this planet.  I had no purpose.  I had no worth.  Having been graced with recovery I feel I have found my purpose and that is to share my “experience, strength and hope”.

Sharing with others is not an easy feat.  It took a long time for me to build self-esteem and self-worth with the love and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.  But over time, one day at a time, I can finally say I am comfortable in my skin and I value and love myself for who and what I am.  When fear is removed, compassion flows.  And from that flow, we unleash the power of hope.

I have found practicing rigorous honesty with those who enter my “Dee bubble” is the easiest and most freeing way to sharing my experience, strength and hope.  I am no longer ashamed of being an alcoholic, nor am I hesitant to share that information.  For I am an alcoholic in recovery forever grateful and humbled for being chosen to carry this message.  My life is good today.  I have happiness and peace and freedom.  How can I not share this gift?

And when one enters my bubble I strive to not judge.  I strive to be compassionate and mindful and respectful.  Putting myself in others’ shoes is so much easier than copping resentments or being judgmental about them.  My growth is huge from this practice.  And the bonds I have made with complete strangers is priceless!

Aloha, Dee

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

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

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.