THE INNER CHILD REBORN

The Inner Child Reborn

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

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

What brought you hope?  What made you sad?

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

DEEPAK: 

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

I see the hopeful inner child in everyone.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

So Hum

I am.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

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.

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”.

Activating the Hope Inside You

Day 8Activating the Hope Inside You

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT

Today I activate my hope.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Shara Vana Ya

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

DEE:

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

The Secret to Finding Hope Everywhere

Day 7 – The Secret to Finding Hope Everywhere

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENTERING THOUGHT

I find a reason to hope in every situation.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Shree Gum Namah

My limitless awareness overcomes all obstacles.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

Aloha, Dee

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

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

How to Grow in Trust and Belief

Day 6 – How to Grow in Trust and Belief

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

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

OPRAH:

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

I trust in my core self at every moment.

SANSKRIT MANTRA

Om Aieem Namah

My true self is inspired and wise.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

With much aloha, Dee

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

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

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?