The Reality of Inner Strength

Day 10 – The Reality of Inner Strength 

“Hope is the sun. It is light. It is passion. It is the fundamental force for life’s blossoming.” – Daisaku Ikeda

Despite what modern cultural beliefs tell us, true personal strength is not about power, influence, or domination. Real strength comes from a sense of inner security, peace, and contentment. Our meditation today shows us that this real strength is available in the peaceful, contented consciousness of our true self.

OPRAH:

How do you define success?  For me success is getting to the point where you are absolutely comfortable with yourself.  It takes some work to get there.  Welcome to Day 10 – The Reality of Inner Strength.

For a long time at the beginning of each year I used to ask God through my resolutions to help me master a new virtue.  The year I requested strength I was confronted with one exhausting sole-sucking experience after another.  After that year I quit asking for what I thought I wanted.  Now I just take what comes.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  I can rely on the strength I inherited from those who came before me.  Each one of us has ancestors who were tested with unimaginable hardships; and they survived.  When I try something new or I’m faced with a challenge I bring all of my history with me, all of the people who paved the way for me.  Everything I’ve ever done in my life is a part of who I am.  I take my strength from their strength.

I’ve also come to realize where there is no struggle, there is no strength.  Inner strength comes from having been challenged, having adversity and often pain in the problems that make you want to throw your hands up and shout, “I give in”, and can also build your tenacity. courage and determination.

We all have the ability to stand up, face resistance and walk through it.  If you feel you’re walking into fear, know that you already have the enduring power that you’re asking for.  Then say thank you because you know at your truest core your greatest struggle will produce your deepest strength.

The mantra for today’s meditation rings true for me.  I know it’s ultimately true…being at peace is my greatest strength.  Let’s embrace that peace.

DEEPAK:

Generally speaking many people lead lives that seem stable and purposeful, but deep down they feel insecure and anxious.  We’ve been talking about trust and hope, and nothing destroys hope more than feeling insecure.

The opposite of insecurity is strength.  What does it mean to be strong?  Looking around we can see the strength of an authority figure like a boss who dominates others.  With or without consent they take charge and make it clear that only their will, their desires, and their emotions are important.  This is a sad distortion of true strength.

Society rewards this distorted strength by giving some people power and millions of others seem more than happy to give away their power to those who appear strong.  All of this comes about because we haven’t learned how to be strong inside ourselves.  Out of insecurity we build defenses to keep threats away and defenses like castle walls enclose a small protected area while shutting out the great wide world.

When you feel safe and secure inside yourself the world expands infinitely because consciousness is infinite.  When you feel strong inside you don’t feel afraid, anxious and isolated; you are open to life instead.  And in openness there is strength.

In meditation you experience the unchanging level of awareness that cannot be shaken.  This is permanent strength.  In practical terms becoming strong feels like a puppy who is safe only beside its mother until its curiosity lures it into the outside world.  At first the puppy rushes back to its mother’s side when it feels unsafe.  But over time standing on its own feels natural and right.  It has no more desire to be protected by another.

The self behaves the same way.  It starts out needing protection or the illusion of protection by clinging to externals like money, status, ego-strokes, the bonds of relationships, developing a fit body, etc.  These are good things on their own.  But they aren’t good if they reinforce the attitude of “me against the world” or “us versus them”…in other words, a defensive posture.

The secret is to experiment with standing up for yourself, speaking your truth, holding fast when you must, and always taking responsibility.  When your inner strength and hope gets activated you realized there was never a “you against the world” or “us versus them”.  There was only the power of hope in your consciousness and the reality it constructs.

CENTERING THOUGHT

Being at peace is my greatest strength.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Gum Namah

Expansive consciousness dissolves obstacles.

DEE:

As a younger human being I developed the notion that power and strength was external.  Probably too many cartoons.  But today I cherish the power and strength that is within me, not the forceful kind, but the calm and peaceful kind.

It has taken me many decades to finally be comfortable in my own skin and to actually love who I am.  And I owe that to finding and clinging to a Power Greater Than Myself.  I was awarded this Higher Power when I realized I’m a sick puppy, I cannot stop drinking.  I’m a loser.  I have no self-control.  What the hell is the matter with me?  An alcohol treatment program and Alcoholics Anonymous showed me that I can have a higher power of my own understanding and that I can turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.

So I faked it ’til I maked it.  I made up my own higher power, turned myself over to its care, and my life has never been the same.  I was able to quiet my mind.  I was able to open my heart.  I was able to become rigorously honest.  I was able to shed the guilt and shame.  I was given a new lease on life that I never “thought” possible!

Today I allow my Higher Power to be in the driver’s seat of our pink convertible cadillac, drive me through life, and teach me the lessons I need to learn.  I can just go with the flow doing the best I know how.  And life today is good.  Life today is easy.  No expectations; no disappointments.

Yes, I’ve had my struggles.  I’ve battled my demons.  I surrendered.  I got sober.  My inner strength and hope got activated.  And from that journey I have been lead to a peaceful and contented life.  What is hope for me?  Hope is my Higher Power.  I know, I “feel” that everything is perfect at this very moment.

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”.

How to Truly Trust in Yourself

Day 9 – How to Truly Trust in Yourself

“Assurance of hope is more than life, it is health, strength… and beauty.” – John Charles Ryle

Today’s meditation is about finding a deeper understanding of the word “trust.” Typically, trust is something we have in other people or situations. But such a trust is as fragile as the next unexpected event that could change everything. But there is an unchanging, stable presence of awareness within, which is your true self. When you learn to center yourself in that awareness, you trust in your true self. From there you can never lose that inner trust regardless of what others may say or do.

OPRAH:

Welcome to Day 9 of our 21-day meditation experience.  Today is a big day.  You’re opening the door to trusting yourself, your deepest, most essential you.

At some point most of us have been betrayed, hurt or rejected making it difficult to trust other people.  And many times the real problem isn’t that we can’t trust other people it’s that we really can’t trust ourselves.

Best-selling author and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant says, “There’s no greater battle than the battle between the parts of you that want to be healed and the parts of you that are comfortable and content remaining broken.”

Are you in a fight with the world or are you in a fight with part of you that says, “You’re not good enough” or “You can’t do that.”  Well those battles are struggles of the ego.  When you trust your true self you listen and believe the part of you that knows, “You can.  You can do this.  You can do better.”

Iyanla says the key to trust is going within, following your intuition and facing the unknown.  Even though you can’t control the unknown you can control what you believe.  Your beliefs determine what you manifest in your life.  And when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you can trust that, no matter what happens, greater and grander possibilities will rise up in your life.

This meditation is about trusting yourself.  Let’s listen to Deepak and let the trust deepen.

DEEPAK:

When the realization dawns that inner awareness can take care of life, there is an end to struggle, self-doubt, pessimism, anxiety and lack of trust.  As real hope grows within

a sense of trust and self-assurance rises with it.  This kind of trust based on an unchanging core of consciousness is quite different than our conventional understanding of trust.

For almost everyone the feeling of trust depends on whether other people do and say what you expect of them.  But if you’ve had experiences where your trust was betrayed you know how fragile trust can be.  If our trust requires that other people in outside situations won’t change, then our trust will always be weak.

Because people’s life situations are always changing and unpredictable, basing trust on the expectation of permanence, is unrealistic and below the surface of that kind of trust.

There is doubt and fear.  Real trust must be based on something unchanging, permanent and, therefore, reliable.  That foundation is inside yourself and you have been experiencing it in mediation.

Trusting in the true self is the same as trusting in pure consciousness, the core of your being.  Trusting in yourself is the opposite of having a big ego.  It’s recognizing your true strength, value and ability for what is.  If you don’t look for this inner trust and strength in ourselves, we can mistakenly believe an outside authority can provide it to us.

There are authoritarian figures who may project supreme self-confidence and strength.  But this projection holds up only if others give their power to them.  Trusting in someone else who says they can protect or save you because they have the strength or intelligence you don’t have will only diminish your connection of your own strength, hope, and self-trust.  This is what it means to give your power away to someone.  But your hope, trust, love and creativity is your essence;  it’s your power, and your life.

When hope and trust are grounded in the true self you don’t need to look to others for direct or strength.  You’re confident in your ability to create your personal reality because your trust in yourself is unshakable.

CENTERING THOUGHT

I trust in life because I trust myself.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Eem Hreem

My reality is pure intelligence and wholeness.

DEE:

In order to trust in my true self I must first know who and what my true self is, right?  I have to say I was blessed in finding out who and what I am by being an alcoholic.  It wasn’t until I was in Alcoholics Anonymous that I was given a toolbox for living which included a lesson-plan in Step 4 of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which lead me to discovering who I am and what makes me tick.  Exciting, yeah, that that foundation is inside yourself?

Now that I’ve finally discovered my true self, I can be comfortable in my own skin.  I can finally love the person that I am, defects and all.  I can realize that I am not just a barrel-full of defects, but that I also have my God-given gifts.  And one of these gifts is sobriety.  And in order for me to keep that gift (which I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world!) I must give it away.  So now I have a purpose as well…to share my experience, strength and hope with all who enter my “Dee Bubble”.  I had none of this before surrendering to a Power Greater Than Myself (another huge gift of Alcoholics Anonymous) and being sick and tired of being sick and tired in my disease.

I can trust my thoughts and actions today because I have turned my will and life over to my Higher Power.  I’m just along for the ride of my life which is so much easier and lighter and fulfilling and pleasant since I have changed my thinking and myself!  Yes, I trust in life because I trust myself…and my Higher Power!

I am not a spokesperson nor representative of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I am a true believer of the Steps and Traditions.  If you find yourself needing to discover who you really are, there are a wealth of support groups to fit your needs.  I highly recommend taking some time to delve deep within yourself, to shed the shit that weighs you down, to focus on your gifts and to share those gifts!  Get out of your comfort zone (or shall I say “uncomfort zone”) and discover the gifts the Universe has waiting for you!

With much aloha, Dee

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

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.

What is Deesigns by Harris? Who am I? What is my purpose?

I have spent the beginning of this year on the business-side of Deesigns by Harris.  I have taken online classes, read a wealth of information, listened to many a tutorial, and done heaps of homework.  I have learned that in order to run a successful business, I must first know my “why” and my “who” with whom I would like to connect.  Here is what I have learned thus far…

The What and Why of Deesigns by Harris

Deesigns by Harris is a business that offers inspiration, hope and motivation to you via the empowering art of artist and owner, Dee Harris.  I am Dee and I create art for you!  My purpose is to  remind you that at this very moment everything is perfect just as it is.  YOU are perfect.  Life is perfect.

My passion of choice is stained glass.  Glass has a life of its own and I use this vivacious media to create works of art that will touch your heart, to let you know that that everything will be okay, that you are awesome, that life is good..  Not always easy in this hectic world bombarding us with chaos, negativity, and the busyness of life.  But just for a moment, be in the now.  All is as it should be.  All is perfect.

My Purpose:  To share my experience, strength and hope with others to bring hope, optimism and light into their lives.

Who is Dee and what makes her tick?

I remember my counselor asking me who I am when I was in rehab.  I thought for a moment and responded, “I’m a mom.  I’m a wife.  I’m a grocery checker.”  “No.  You are not.  Think harder.  All these responses can change in a heartbeat”, she replied.  “You are a woman.  You are of Chinese descent.  You are an alcoholic.  These will not change.”

It was during these 28 days in a treatment program for alcohol abuse that I started to really think, more so, to really feel.  To start  having moments of clarity.  To begin my journey in learning who I really am and what I really stand for.  Yes, today I am still an American woman of Chinese descent.  I am still an alcoholic in recovery.  I am gratefully still a mom and wife, but am no longer a grocery checker.  Today I am an artist who offers emotion.  Heart-felt emotion from the core of my being to the core of your being that we can share.  Together we can share our experience, strength and hope.  We can love and appreciate each other for who we are with all our flaws and defects and insecurities, knowing that we all have our own unique gifts that we can share with the world!

Affirmations

While in rehab one of the exercises we did every morning in Community was come up with an affirmation (noun:  1 an affirmation of faith: declaration, statement, assertion, proclamation, pronouncement, attestation; oath, avowal, guarantee, pledge; deposition; formal averment, asseveration. ANTONYMS denial.) and recite that affirmation every morning to the group.  My affirmation was (and still is) “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”

Coming out of a pretty heavy alcohol addiction (dabbling with other substances as well leading up to that point) I felt anything BUT being good and whole.  I had no purpose.  I was a waste of  space on this planet.  I would look in the mirror and see “LOSER”.  I hated myself and who I had allowed myself to become.  Repeating this affirmation every morning allowed me to have hope, to have vision. to “fake it ’til you make it”.

One day at a time I began to feel more and more like a good and whole person.  I began to learn about the disease of alcoholism.  I began to learn about myself via the Twelve Step of Alcoholics Anonymous.  The door was open and the seed was planted.  I was a sponge excitedly learning who I am, like a baby adventuring out into the real world.  And to this day I awake excited every morning to experience what the day, what my Higher Power, has in store for me to learn and expand my horizons.

My Mission:  To remind you that you, too, are a good and whole person. 

I shall create art that brings out your emotion…good and bad emotion…but taking you to that place of gratitude and humility.  I shall create art that reminds you of living in the NOW, to feel proud of who you and and where you came from, about what matters and what doesn’t.

My Unique Value Proposition:  Create art that makes you feel, that brings you back into the moment, to appreciate who and what you are.

Human beings (not human doings) on a spiritual journey whose  lives can be enlightened by the message of Experience, Strength and Hope represented in my art.  My target market is people who care about mankind, our planet (plants and animals) and, most importantly, themselves and sharing their message of hope and light.

My Target Market:  Adults living a full life who need to be reminded of their gifts of self, their priorities, their journeys and accomplishments.

The Mana of Hawai’i

The honu, the aina, the aloha, the healing and nurturing, the people, the calmness, they all beckoned me to Hawai’i.  I am  blessed to live on the Big Island living a calm and peaceful life of joy and contentment, of service and passion.

One of the joys the islands have brought me is weaving lauhala.  When my husband and I were unexpectedly care-flighted to Oahu for my husband to have an immediate bypass surgery, I found a Pandanus tree on the hospital grounds from which I plucked and prepped her lau to weave some bracelets.  This was a very trying time with just the clothes on our backs, but I was able to stay calm and in the moment by weaving a ton of lauhala bracelets.  I was able to be present and nurturing for my husband, while the island was present and nurturing for me.  (My husband and soul-mate has  recovered beautifully, by the way!)

Healing Hands

For as long as I can remember hands have talked to me.  They are so powerful and magical and strong.  They are so healing and loving, protective and nurturing.  This is the reason I create so many pieces of art with the Healing Hands, hands that carry a message that words could never say.

The fun and imaginative part of creating this pieces is that one never knows whose hands they are.  I leave that up to the recipient and where that recipient is at that moment in time.  Do these hands belong to our kupuna or our keiki?  Are these God’s hands  or those of our elders?  Are they yours and mine?  You choose.  The hands and message will change as you change.

Shows

Currently the only show I am committed to is the Pure Kona Green Market which is the most awesome, feel-good market around!  Many vendors share our hand-made and -produced local art, organic produce, baked goods, Kona coffee, and healthy foods with you.  It’s such a fun market with live music I could listen to all  day.  And the people who attend and allow me to connect with them enrich my days…and my life!  This market is held every Sunday at Amy Greenwell’s Botanical Garden in Captain Cook, Hawaii, from 9am – 2 pm.  The rest of my sales come via my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com, Facebook at facebook.com/DeesignsByHarris, or word of mouth.

Classes

I have been approached to teach classes in stained glass, mosaic making and lauhala weaving.  It is my hope to someday soon be able to offer small and intimate classes in which I can share my passions with you.

I have put mosaic and lauhala bracelet kits together which I shall soon offer on my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Before I post these though I would like to put together tutorials with fun and easy to use instructions.  Please bear with me while I get my  act together.  I’ll keep you all in the loop!

Videos

Another suggestion I learned from my recent business classes is to put together videos.  I now have a wealth of information to use so that I can use videos for my social media, blogs, newsletters, etc.  I know I’d much rather watch a 3-minute video than read, read, read.  How about you?

Releasing Fear and Anxiety with Hopefulness

Day 4 – Releasing Fear and Anxiety with Hopefulness

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

 

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Durgaya Namah

I am fearless.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

Turning Doubt and Uncertainty into Hope

Day 3 – Turning Doubt and Uncertainty into Hope

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

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

Hope makes me strong and secure.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Eem Hreem Kleem

I radiate confidence and strength.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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