2017… what a year…

I began the year sick and I’m finishing the year… you guessed it – sick… SMH! Sounds like not much has changed – and yet so much has DRASTICALLY changed!

During these last 12 months I have grown in many immeasurable ways, but I will try to quantify them here:

  • I am able to do a left split
  • I climbed Stone Mountain in 24minutes & felt strong
  • Although I’ve been a dancer my whole life, this was the year I danced with full abandon & a smile
  • I returned to work full time for the school system, so that I’ll have predictable income to reach my savings goal!
  • There was local and domestic travel (fun times)
  • I reconciled and strengthened several family bonds
  • There was a slew of dance rehearsals for my various dance performances
  • I began building my own comunidad (community) and it feels awesome to have the support (no longer wandering alone (except when I choose to))
  • And there was a TON of concerts, broadway shows, and movies. Just a few of my favorites were: Movies– Wonder Woman, Leap, The Star, / Broadway– Annie, Finding Neverland, / Concerts– For King & Country, Anthony David, & Fantasia

Through it all… what I take away from this year is a newfound and hard-earned love and appreciation of who I am. I walk with an air of confidence in my capabilities and my purpose. However, thanks to all of the struggles, that confidence doesn’t spill over into the realm of arrogance. I will never forget the struggles for they keep me humble…

There’s something to be said for the season when I women truly comes to understand her value and her worth. The essence of Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman poem captures what I’m referring to – this place of knowing who you are so intimately that it radiates for others to see… I am in that season…

Gone are the days of running from anxiety and hiding in the shadows of depression. Goodbye to the periods of self-doubt and self-deprecation. And no longer am I unclear about who I am and where I am going.

These are exciting times!

So as we all ready ourselves, to sing the well-known Auld Lang Syne, I smile at the bittersweetness of this time. For although there were tough roads and tears shed in 2017, it was intermingled with pops of sheer & utter JOY! And so I shall miss 2017! Those moments of sunshine & mountaintops, as wells as those dark, gloomy valley days… for they have propelled me into knowing who I truly am.

A new year awaits me… and you… I eagerly step through the door and into the new experiences that shall come with 2018. Per my usual, I don’t set resolutions, but I do have clear and high expectations for 2018. I’m excited to see the germination of seeds planted oh so long ago!

I’m proud of this new me – the one who is no longer waiting to live life. The one who appreciates and is grateful for this life she’s living, right now, in this moment! No longer waiting for a husband or a baby to define me – trusting that I AM ENOUGH… and when the husband and baby do come (for come they shall), they will come to complement this wonderful (though far from perfect) life I’m living.

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Until Next Time,

Dr. Donna

Single Woman Chronicles

The Earnest Prayers of A Single Woman…

It was New Year’s Eve morning and I began the morning with a BANG! Not the type of explosion associated with fireworks and festivities. Instead I found myself on my knees in prayer. I began the eve, the dawn of a new year – a new season – on my knees. That alone causes me pause, yet even more draw dropping was the message within my plea to God. I was crying. One of those hushed weeping, body slightly trembling, tears falling, kind of cries. There I was crying and I said:

God please let my husband know I Am Praying For Him… God please SEND MY HUSBAND!

As I said those words, the stream of liquid coming out of my eyes, intensified. It felt as if every pore and every cell of my body – desired that request. I was finally ready to meet my life partner. I was finally ready to enter into a marriage covenant with God and that man; the one I was designed to help.

Now I should pause this story to share that the craziest part of this whole entire experience was that, in that particular moment I was single. I was praying for a man who didn’t even exist – and yet I could feel him, AS IF he already did!

You may now be curious… what is the impetus to all of this?

I met a man. Those four words are not that amazing but, and this is a monumental BUT, this man came at a time when I was starting to falter in my hope about my future. I didn’t know if anything would materialize with This man, for I had met many men during this journey called dating. However, this man’s presence reminded me of three things:

  • God’s peace endures – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 KJV)
  • God is a GOD of HOPE so don’t give up (ever) – My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him (Psalm 62:5 KJV)
  • God will fulfill every single promise he’s made over your LIFE – The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV)

May this eve of a New Year find you in hopeful anticipation of all that shall be in 2016!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

 

P.S. If you missed my December 31st 2014 and January 1st 2015 posts, here they are:

https://donnadoctora.com/2014/12/30/forecast-for-2015-slow-steady-wins-the-race/

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/01/01/do-persist-in-2015/

“Persist with a heart full of gratefulness for what you’ve overcome (the past) and what you have yet to accomplish (your future)!” From Dr. Donna 

 

Time to Move On… Say good-bye to Regrets!

In life we are accountable for making millions of decisions. That’s a huge responsibility, and sometimes we may not make the best choice. However, the mistake is often not realized until later, for as they say “hindsight is 20/20.” When you look back you typically have more information than you previously did, and that’s why you can say: “I wished I had handled that situation differently” or “I wish I could change that decision.”

But guess what? It’s done… you can’t get it back, so why mull over it, why beat yourself up, and live your life focused on regretting decisions of old. Isn’t this the type of advice often given? However, it’s often hard to forget the poor choices of your past because they can have real consequences in your present and future!

So how do you move beyond the past, even when the past is having an effect on your right now? That was a question I asked myself and that question remained unanswered for a few days until I this morning while I was listening to the song Different by Tasha Page-Lockhart.

At first I was focused solely on the tune and the catchy beat, but then I honed in on the lyrics. She sang about making unwise decisions. Allowing temptation, distractors, and negativity to cloud her good judgment. However, she really caught my attention when she sang:

But there’s not a hole too deep

That God won’t reach down and save me

See he cleaned me up and made me new

Said welcome back and now I’m standing here in front of you

That part of the song really got me to dancing because it was the reminder that even though I could never undo any decisions made in the past, God could help me through any of the consequences (of those decisions) I would have to endure in the present and future.

It felt good to be reminded that I would never be alone even amidst “the mess” that I created by my former decisions. And the bonus – I am different, better now because of all the lessons learned through my experiences.

So now I fix my gaze to the present and future, acknowledging that I am shaped by my past BUT I am NOT my past. As Olympian Jacki Joyner-Kersee is quoted as saying: “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

I’m a GROWN woman…

What is a woman?

I’ve been on quite the journey, as I grew from a young girl to the woman I am today. There were many changes as I shifted from my beginnings (as a Tomboy), into my young lady stages of being a “handful” (think of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderful), and finally into the more balanced and centered woman I am today. I have evolved, akin to the process that a caterpillar embarks on to become a butterfly.

As I reflect on my evolution into womanhood, I can’t help but think about my distorted views of what it meant ‘to be a woman’.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud has been quoted as stating: “Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love”. This statement alludes to an invisible division – women are either loved (the Madonna) or lusted (the Whore).

For years I struggled to answer the question: do I want to be loved by a man or desired by him? I wasn’t sure, so I opted to create my own answer. I wanted to be feared, because then I would be viewed as powerful and in control. My chosen path of control and domination seemed to be the best option because loving hurts and control doesn’t, or so I mistakenly thought. I would soon discover, the hard way, that my controlling thoughts, reactions, and mannerisms were not only blocking me from loving a man, they were blocking me from loving myself!

So I went on a quest to find a new definition, my definition for womanhood. And, in time, I reached a place of understanding and acceptance. Soft does not mean weak! A woman, a real woman – can balance strength and calm, initiative and grace, and achievement and nurturance.

I could no longer relate to the disconnection or disharmony Freud referred to. I now know that I can be sexy and I can be lovable – all at the same time! A man can love a woman that he desires, when that woman first loves and desires herself. And when she comes to understand that this entire journey is what we choose to make it – we just have to decide to start making that choice consciously.

I love being a woman! It’s awesome. We are the makers and givers of life.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

P.S. Stay tuned because in my upcoming memoir entitled Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-Healing, I will share my journey with you.

And, if you want to see visual images of my evolution, you can see pictures here: https://donnadoctora.com/the-evolution-of-me/

I’m Annoyed! Accepting my flaws…

I’m annoyed…

He rattled off a play-by-play of the activities taking place, as he drove in the car. I held the phone to my ear and listened for a bit, until I couldn’t take it anymore. “I don’t care to hear about what’s taking place on the roads”, I impatiently snapped. He simply replied “okay”, and I excused myself off of the phone.

That very short and simple exchange had me wondering is something wrong with him for his topic choice? Or is something wrong with me that I was experiencing annoyance? I wasn’t sure of the answer, but it did cause me to stop and think.

Throughout my life I’ve had a tendency to be easily annoyed. And the immediate and typical conclusion that I come to is to avoid the source of my annoyance. However, in the spirit of seeking to grow and learn, I challenged myself to dig deeper in order to better understand my annoyance.

“Hmm, I wondered, is it that I don’t like this guy?” But then I stumbled across this quote by Swiss author Alain de Botton: “You have to be quite heavily invested in someone to do them the honour of telling them you’re annoyed with them”. As I read that quote I couldn’t help but to burst out into laughter. Ha! So I guess lack of interest was not the impetus for my annoyance.

I then decided to peruse some of my old reading materials and I found these two very important points:

The minute you start to close and defend yourself, get back up” – author Michael Singer

“Try to stay open to learning, not judging yourself for the things you do” – authors Erika Chopich and Margaret Paul

These quotes both echoed the point that it is important for the heart to remain open. So instead of running from my annoyance (prior way for handling things), I was on the right track by seeking to understand it (current way of handling things). The moral of this story is that we each have a choice, everyday, to learn something new about ourselves. We can grow and welcome new life into our atmosphere, as long as we stay courageous to remain open.

As for my feelings of annoyance, each day I am learning to make peace and accept myself, just as I am – flaws and all…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Love means Accepting HELP…

Would I accept help?

I was down to my last dollar and running low on gas. I shared my plight with him, not because I wanted sympathy and/or assistance, but only to explain why I needed to bail on our plans due to monetary reasons. His reply – “will you allow me to help? Will you receive it?” I found his question somewhat baffling. I had never voiced that I was opposed to help, but I guess by not requesting support I inadvertently communicated that I didn’t want it.

This disconnect was somewhat perplexing to me… he wanted me to ask for help.

Why would I ask for help? It was so confusing and somewhat in opposition to my independent and go-getter personality. I rationalized that my struggles were my responsibility to handle. However, he clearly saw it differently. He believed that he was somehow responsible for my welfare.

I continued to mull over this situation, until I ran over this quote about love:

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

That quote reminded me that we are each here to look out for one another, that we are each responsible for one another, and that when we love – love won’t allow us to turn a blind eye to someone in need.

But I continued to ponder my discomfort with asking for help. And I finally realized that my resistance to asking for support was based on my unwillingness to be vulnerable. You see if I always did things for myself, then I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else. However, when I reflected further I realized that to refuse the hand of another was to keep myself separate and to make a decision based upon pride. If I were honest with myself, both are limited ways to live one’s existence.

So I decided to push myself to do something different. The art of growth – is allowing change and doing something new. In the end I allowed him to provide me gas money. He felt good that he could assist, and I felt better that I was continuing to be brave enough to be a new me.

“Generosity is giving more than you can…pride is taking less than you need” – Poet Kahlil Gibran

“It’s only in our minds that we are separate from the rest of the world” – Psychologist Gay Luce

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

What’s going to happen? Believe…

I sat here listening to the contemporary song by Jekalyn Carr, and what caught my attention was the chorus where she repetitively sings: It’s Going to Happen.

I turned that same phrase over and over in my mind… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen.

Some may say that it’s easy for the talented songstress to have such optimism because of her youth. And others may wonder incredulously, how could she sing that a statement with such certainty?

But I challenge you to pause for a moment and consider, how successful, how productive, and how fulfilled you would be if you wholeheartedly believed your dreams, your desires, and your purpose was a certainty!

Just imagine, with me, a life where you were lucky enough to do what feels good to your heart, and right with your soul… Now let’s go one step further…

What if I told you: That life is attainable. That life is possible. And you don’t need luck to have it!

All you have to do – right where you are, in whatever current situation you are, start to speak what positive blessings you want to come into your life. But you can’t just voice these desires as a passing thought. You have to believe it! When you believe in it, it shall come to pass…

Remember it’s going to happen – but will you have the courage and audacity to believe it?

The choice is yours…

What is the ‘it’ that you’re waiting on? Visualize it, as if it were already a reality! And then take baby steps towards manifesting that vision.

Here are three quotes to encourage you on the path of choosing to believe that your IT, is going to happen!

  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
  • “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
  • “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Start to believe in the impossible, that which does not yet exist – for that vision is merely the beginning of wonderful adventures that await YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Do you truly believe in yourself?

Someone new came into my life. I am the ultimate optimist. However, after years of dating, somewhere along the way I have adopted a more cautious approach to men. I tend to be somewhat hesitant to place all my proverbial eggs into one basket. Call me a little “gun shy”, but I tend to approach love from a more thoughtful perspective. So in comes this new guy and for some odd reason it mattered to me what he thought of my writing. I decided to share a piece of my work and with bated breath I waited for his response. He uttered the words: “Donna you have a way with words that draws people in”.

…. Crickets….

I was speechless and somewhat moved by his comment. I’m not sure what I was expecting to hear, but for some reason I was stirred by his reaction. I scanned my mind trying to make sense of what I was feeling, only to be further confused when tears started to fall.

Why was I shedding tears? It befuddled me. Until I was able to take a step back and realize that I was still waiting for validation from others.

No matter the accomplishments, vast successes, or varied achievements – I still had a desire to be told that I am okay. And to hear this new man share something I have heard others state about my writing, was a reminder of what God’s been trying to tell me – I am special, I am wonderful, and I am destined for a great purpose. You see, because God has already accepted me. But I guess I have continued to be more critical, than God. Part of my struggle is due to wondering how could one think highly of them self when they are quite aware of the areas where they fall short?

I guess the most succinct answer would be to practice the art of self-acceptance. To be able to look yourself in the mirror and feel good about all of you, not just when you’re your best self – but even in your moments of anger, frustration, or jealousy. The acceptance of self seems to be the way to feel good about the ‘you’ that you are!

This little refresher lesson that I was receiving on self-acceptance reminded me of two quotes on this topic:

  • “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with your self” – Mark Twain
  • “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her” – Lao Tzu

So I shall continue to strive for absolute self-acceptance, while still acknowledging that we’re all just a work in progress.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Have I met the One?

I met someone and he has captured my attention. However, the cynical side within queried: “how do you know he’s truly worthy of a second glance?” I wasn’t sure how to answer my probing mind. I then wondered how does anyone know when he or she has met the one?

The one… isn’t that what women and men alike, are seeking during the journey to find love? Isn’t that why we subject ourselves to the craziness of dating, because we hope in the possibility of meeting that individual we have been seeking?

I tossed these thoughts around in my mind for sometime, never really finding a true answer. The lack of resolution was starting to get to me, and from that frustrated place I replayed some of my former breakups and wondered do I even want to be in love. Doesn’t love hurt? What would be so different about love this go-round? But then it hit me, even with no answer to all of my musings, I realized there is one thing I am quite certain of now. I am in love with a God who never fails, and that love is guaranteed!

And as if to confirm that my thinking was on the right track, later that day I went to church and heard the choir sing: “my hands are lifted up, my heart is ready to receive a blessing from you”.

An open heart… an open heart… everything around me was the resonating with the importance of having a heart that is receptive, unlocked, and willing to be vulnerable.

Tears of amazement streamed down my face as I realized and accepted that I was finally in a life space where I am ready to love. The past heartbreaks and disappointments would no longer cloud my horizon because the light of God was now resting with me. I had received and accepted the love of God, which now made me accessible to welcoming a loving relationship.

The verdict is still out about the new guy. Time shall reveal his merit, and his ultimate purpose in my life. However, in the meantime I find comfort in knowing that it is God that I put my trust in, God who reveals all things, and God who will answer the prayers of those that believe, persevere, and praise him.

Will you find the courage to let go of past hurts?

Will you open your heart to love?

For it is only with an open heart that you can walk into all of the remarkable blessings waiting just for YOU.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Your emotional imprint… What’s your impact?

I sit here shedding tears… yet AGAIN…

Why am I crying? Well, I received yet another confirmation that this journey I have been on was not for me…

Why would that make me cry? Because it was God reminding me yet again “fret not child”, for God sees and knows all, and the battle is NOT Mine. It was also a validation that the struggles I have endured, the pain that wouldn’t go away, and the doubt – oh the doubt, none of it was in vain. It will ALL, and I mean all – be used for good. Good that will help release, free, and uplift others. And, good that will result in overflow to bless my loved ones and little ole’ me!

So what was the trigger that prompted this teary entry?

I received an email from a dance mentor of mine. She was responding to my email where I informed her that I wouldn’t be able to complete the dance minister training program because the rule was to choose the dance program OR the writing program. And I chose writing… not because I see myself as a writer, but because I prayed about it and everything within my soul said this is the season for my writing to be released!

I sat there reading her response and I saw the words

“… Going through EITI (dance program) would have been for YOU but going through EIAI (writing program) is for someone who needs to read your story and whose deliverance is captured within the lines that you are penning even now”.

Her words hit the nail on the head and captured the weighty sacrifice I had made. Not only in having to choose between the two programs, but also in the many things I gave up on this quest to emotionally heal. Here was my mentor restating what I knew, that the things we experience in life are often not for us. Many times it’s so we can go through it and then help someone ELSE!

This reminder that my life is mine yet at the same time it is not mine is mind-boggling. But it’s true… we each live to impact one another. We, however, have the choice of whether that impact will be positive and encouraging, or negative and defeating.

What imprint are you leaving on this world? What imprint are you teaching your children to leave upon this world? Have you taught them the power of sacrifice? Do they know how to give, just because, and not look to receive in return? Do you live by these same ideals?

I will leave you with a quote by William Shakespeare: “how far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”