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?

Hope in Uncertain Times

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

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

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

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

…Deepak Chopra

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

…Dee Harris

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

Faith Connects Us Heart-to-Heart

FAITH CONNECTS US HEART-TO-HEART

(from Oprah and Deepak – Become What You Believe)

OPRAH:

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

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

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

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

DEEPAK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CENTERING THOUGHT:  My faith calls me to love.

DEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With much aloha, Dee

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

Beyond Belief Lies True Knowledge

Beyond Belief Lies True Knowledge

from Become What You Believe by Oprah and Deepak

DEEPAK:

The world has been changed many times through the power of belief.  And you are part of the current change which is bringing more light and fulfillment into your personal reality every day.  Yet there’s another dimension to this path using belief to reach a state of true knowledge.  In the Worlds Wisdom Traditions there are many statements and promises about the higher self.  Whether we speak of the higher self, the core self, the true self or higher consciousness, the reality is the same.  It means finding your source and living in the light permanently.

How do we know when we have found this state of being?  Clues have been left and yet they can be puzzling.  Existing in the light has been described as unconditional love, unity consciousness, enlightenment emerging with the divine.  These are lofty terms that imply a state of transformation beyond everyday experience.  However, if the light is eternal and unbounded as is described in every Wisdom Tradition then it is already present in everyday life.  You do not have to seek it, pray for it or reach out with a cry of the heart.  The light is your source.  Therefore, you only need to remember who you really are.

At the beginning of this path a person has forgotten what the true self is.  At the end of the path the true self is as close as the next breath.  In between is where faith is needed.  Imagine a day when the sun is sometimes hidden by clouds and other times shines brightly.  The sun does not come and go.  Its light is steady and only appears to be darkened.  This is the same image often used to describe the relationship that we have with our true self.  Its support is unconditional and constant.  But our perception is sometimes clouded or not especially clear.

Perception is a powerful influence of us.  We can see ourselves as weak, diminished, fearful and unloved.  But through the practice of meditation clarity begins to dawn.  This is the testimony of thousands of years of personal seeking.  Exposing the mind to its source and the light of the self brings your existence into the light everyday.  The clouds begin to pass away and the sun begins to shine more brightly.

FAITH BRINGS COMMUNION WITH MY SOUL.

DEE:

Not only has the world changed many times, but so have I because of the power of my belief.  I strive each day to bring more light and fulfillment into my personal reality.  I learn.  I grow.  I put my faith into a Power Greater Than Myself, my light.  I am not the person born 62 years ago.  I am not the person I was yesterday.  I am the person right here, right now, sharing my thoughts and feelings on paper.

I believe that my greatest change came from being an active alcoholic in the decades of early adulthood to becoming an alcoholic in recovery in my later adulthood.  Prior to my recovery I felt lost, that something was missing in my life.  I had no true peace nor happiness.  I had no Power Greater Than Myself.

But Alcoholics Anonymous (please note that this is my story and I am not a representative of Alcoholics Anonymous) has awarded me with the 12 Steps, which has awarded me to choose a Higher Power of my understanding, which has awarded me a whole new outlook on life and a whole new me who I can finally love and be comfortable with in my own skin.

And I no longer have to live in self-will and “think” that I am in control of my destiny.  What a relief!  What a weight off my shoulders!  To turn my will and my life over and to have faith that everything is perfect at this very moment and all my needs will be taken care of.

 

I believe that I am finally walking in the light.  Yes, I still have my shadows, my defects of character, but were it not for the light, there would be no shadows!

I am not a religious person but have found a very spiritual presence that fills and feeds my soul.  Yes, the light is my source and I need to just remember who I really am.  I am a woman who is a recovering alcoholic who is grateful for every moment of every day who intends to share this message of hope and optimism and joy with everyone who is meant to hear my message.  Today I have a purpose to fill that empty void of uselessness and unworthiness.

And how do I share this message?  I share by being mindful and respectful of everyone and everything that purposefully comes into my bubble.  Whether it be at an AA meeting, a grocery store, on an airplane, anywhere.  My heart, my Higher Power, tells me whether and what to share.

I am grateful to earn a living sharing this message via my art.  I strive to create art that has meaning and hope and healing and love of self.  Art that brings out the emotion in you and connects our hearts.  Art that helps you to love yourself for who you are and helps you to be grateful for your journey through life and your assets.  Yes, we all do have defects of character, things we need to improve about ourselves that annoy us, but we all have special gifts as well!  Never let go of your special gifts!

Yes, exposing the mind to its source and the light of the self brings your existence into the light everyday.  The clouds begin to pass away and the sun begins to shine more brightly.

Healing Self-Judgment

HEALING SELF-JUDGMENT

(From Deepak Choprah and Oprah Winfrey “12-Become What You Believe”)

OPRAH:

Glenda the Good Witch said to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had it, my dear.”  The divineness of who you really are you’ve always had.  That divineness is your belief in the truest YOU… the YOU that is free of limitations, judgment, resistance, and doubt.  True belief and pure awareness is generous and accepting.  It can heal us; it uplifts us; it frees us from struggle, and that which holds us back.  Allow it to flow freely.  Healing comes when we recognize our true self as wise, joyful, and loving.  When we release resistance we invite the power of the Universe to affirm our truest, deepest, purest beliefs.

DEEPAK:

Everyday involves many situations that require decisions.  So why do we sometimes allow and at other times resist?  The answer is that we either face resistance and obstacles or expect resistance and obstacles.  Beliefs are expectations.  Most obstacles and resistance we expect, and then we have to face them.  What needs to change, therefore, is expectation.

Let’s examine the belief “I am fulfilled and whole.”  In wholeness there is no resistance.  Instead harmony and an effort flow prevail.  The opposite of wholeness is separation.  We all have aspects of ourselves we want to be separate from.  These are the paths we judge against.

If you look inside, which aspects of yourself would you like to be separate from?  They’re not difficult to find because we apply emotional tags to them…tags like “bad”, “guilty”, “shameful”, “embarrassing”, and “failure”.  These tags are the actual obstacles of self-judgment.  The self chooses to reject, avoid and hide from the feelings we just listed.  Much effort is wasted in the process.  Guilt and shame remain no matter how hard we avoid, fight and resist.  But unless we overcome self-judgment we can’t allow life to flow the way it wants to.  We are too anxious about having our weak spots exposed.  The answer lies in strength of self.

Yourself is more than what you feel, and far more than what self-judgment is trying to make you feel.  Everything about self-judgment makes you feel weaker and smaller.  But you do not have to adopt the role of judge.  You can adopt other beliefs.  To feel fulfilled and whole you must take any moment of self-judgment and turn it around.

Let’s say you have a guilty moment.  Your natural reaction is to blame yourself, which is a judgmental, negative self-belief.  Pause instead and ask yourself this question, “What feeling do I actually want?”  No one will say the feeling they want is blame and judgment.  Even so, we inflict it time and again.  You can begin to phase out this activity by telling yourself, “I don’t want blame and judgment.  It has never done me any good.  It is not doing me any good at this moment.”  This is a message from your true-self.  You will be reinforcing your wholeness every time you meditate and every time you remind yourself in your daily activity that self-judgment is totally unnecessary.

I joyfully accept myself.

DEE:

As I listened to this meditation this morning I was reminded of my life journey…of who I was and who I am today.  The biggest life-changer for me was admitting that I am an alcoholic, then accepting it, and then embracing it.  That is when the self-judgment began to subside.

I always knew “I am a good person and a whole person,” but when in a 28-day treatment program for alcoholism I chose this affirmation to repeat daily in our community meeting as I felt anything but good or whole.  The disease of alcoholism thrives on self-judgment and negativity when active.  Only when I surrendered did love of self slowly begin to surface.  Yes, I’ve always had it; the disease smothered it.

And when I started to do…to live…the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was my spirit lifted to new heights.  I began to be and to live the person I always was meant to be.  Yes, I’ve always had it; the Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous brought it to the Sunlight of the Spirit (made me see it! and feel it!).

Here is a blog I kept written by turkeyboneheaven on April 2, 2014, explaining our Fourth Step…

Facing Our Darker Side 

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 

By the time we get to the Fourth of the Twelve Steps, we are ready to face our darker side, the side that prevents us from loving others, from letting others love us, and from enjoying life and ourselves. The purpose of Step Four is not to make ourselves feel worse; our purpose is to begin to remove our blocks to joy and love.

We look for fears, anger, hurt, and shame from past events – buried feelings that may be affecting our life today. We search for subconscious beliefs about others and ourselves that may be interfering with the quality of our relationships. These beliefs say: I’m not lovable . . . I’m a burden to those around me . . . People can’t be trusted . . . I can’t be trusted . . . I don’t deserve to be happy and successful . . . Life isn’t worth living. We look at our behaviors and patterns with an eye toward discerning the self-defeating ones. With love and compassion for ourselves, we try to unearth all our guilt – earned and unearned – and expose it to the light.

We perform this examination without fear of what we shall find, because this soul searching can cleanse us and help us feel better about ourselves than we ever dreamt possible.

God, help me search out the blocks and barriers within myself. Bring what I need to know into my conscious mind, so I can be free of it. Show me what I need to know about myself.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher

What I learned from my Fourth Step is that I have lived my life fear-based.  I was so fearful of what you thought about me.  I lived for your approval.  Why?  Because I did not love myself for who I was, who I am.  I did not feel good in my own skin.

Alcoholics Anonymous has given that to me.  I finally love myself for who I am, defects and all.  I can accept myself for who I am and accept that is okay that you don’t.  That was not my purpose.  I realize now that my purpose is to help those around me love who they are, to accept themselves for all they have to give, to embrace themselves, to embrace life at this very moment…this very “perfect as it is” moment!  Yes.  We all have our own special gifts.

This is why I have finally found contentment.  I knew what happiness was; I’ve had happiness.  But I never realized that I wasn’t content until I had it…I felt it…that freedom…that weightlessness…that peace.  It’s awesome!  I love it!  I want to share it!  I want everyone to have it!  That is my purpose given to me from the Higher Power of My Understanding, another great gift I received from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today I continue on sharing this gift, this message, to all who enter my life, my circle, my bubble.  I am grateful to be an artist who can share this message via stained glass and mosaics and lauhala and whatever other medium that comes to me throughout each and every amazing day.  I am grateful to be an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I am grateful to be a a loving family member and dear friend.  I am grateful to be alive and to give back that which was so freely given to me when I needed it most.

Dee Harris

DeesignsByHarris.com