Dancing (Moving) to clear my mind – Getting Refocused…

I was single and that was not were I desired to be… an apparent disconnect between my wishes and reality existed. It was so apparent that I was awakened from my sleep with a sense of unrest! It was 2am and I was no longer in the oblivion of REM, which meant I had to face the truth. I was lonely…

The weight of loneliness began to get heavy and the disheartening bordered on unbearable. But then I had a thought! What if I started using all of the things I’ve learned about happiness? Now that would be something novel – to use the information I’ve amassed! So that’s what I set out to do. I combed my brain for remnants of something that could help me in this moment of despair. And that’s when I bumped head first into the idea –

WHY NOT FOCUS on where you are HEADED instead of where you are RIGHT NOW?

Eureka I think she’s got it!

The more I turned the thought over in my mind, the more I realized that it was indeed the answer. And keeping with the nickname given to me by my father (The Scientist), at 2am I went on a search to find evidence for my proposed hypothesis. Here’s what I discovered:

Elizabeth Gilbert – “You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings” – from the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ – read August 2008

Tracey McMillan – “you really do have to believe something before you can see it” – from the book ‘Why You’re Not Married yet?’ – read June 2014

Michael Singer – “learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey” from the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ – read November 2014

Ralph Carson – “See yourself getting better each day and use your mind to visualize where you want to be and how things will be when you get there” from the book ‘The Brain Fix’– read July 2015

Cindy Trimm – “Focus[ing] on the problem [prohibits you] from seeing the solution” from the book ‘Command Your Morning’ – read July 2015

After 1 hour I decided to stop, though I could have continued… The evidence seemed to be clear: what we think, see, and believe becomes what is. So I refuse to allow my current state to dictate what is to come. I will dance in advance, for I claim the victory as mine! 1768189e7a921e8ba2b9be1fb61ceb3c

My hope is that you too will find the courage to start dancing DURING your situation. See yourself successful, think about your next step, believe you’re going to WIN, and by God’s might it shall be.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How deep are your roots? Will you quit or will you persevere?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back on your life?

April and May of 2015 were really tough months for me. There were many moments of doubts and questions about the path of life I had chosen. Some of the questions arose because this year marked 10 years gone by since the Commencement ceremonies for my doctoral degree. I silently wondered why life seemed so vastly different from how I imagined it would be. The things I pined for in 2005 were in such stark contrast to the wishes of 2015…

I questioned: How did life evolve in the way that it had? And as I glanced around at my struggles of present day I wondered why was my health failing, debt accumulating, and life seeming to move on forward without me?

This can’t be the life of a child of God! Wasn’t I promised abundance, dominion, and lands of milk and honey? If I am blessed, shouldn’t my life reflect that? I started to become so disheartened at the efforts I’ve made to create the life I wanted. The seeds I had planted appeared to be in vain, so shouldn’t I JUST QUIT?

And then I came across a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham:

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

That quote was a necessary reminder to me that being a Christian does not mean I won’t have struggles. In fact, it appears the closer I strive to follow God’s word the more obstacles that seem to cross my path. However, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not on this journey alone. God promised to never leave, nor forsake me!

It was from this place of feeling encouraged that I decided to research the idea of bearing fruit.

I found an image that mentioned the importance of planting roots. take-root-bear-fruit-11-638

After seeing that picture, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Of course! It makes sense that the deeper the roots – the greater, the stronger, the more lush the fruit. I realized that this same idea could be applied to my life… I was dreaming BIG, shooting for the stars – which meant it would take time, energy, and effort to plant sturdy roots.

Although we live in a world of instant gratification… I remind myself that the works of God are often not instantaneous and as Christians we must toil, work, endure, and persevere despite what is momentarily seen.

So although my dreams have not yet happened, I trust that if I don’t quit – I shall one day bear fruit and reap the benefits of my labor!

Will you have the courage to plant deep roots within your own life?

Which dream will you pursue without quitting?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

The purpose of life…

This past weekend my maternal grandmother passed at the age of 87. The nurse that was with her in her last moments said she did 3 things: first she asked for her children, then she began to profess her love for God, and finally she stopped talking to the nurse and began talking directly to God. After she was done she said she was going to rest. The nurse left her to allow her to sleep. When they returned a little later to do a usual vital sign check, she was gone.

My grandmother’s peaceful passing has me wondering many things about LIFE, why we’re here? Why do we roll over and awaken to a NEW DAY?

There are some who say we live because we still have a PURPOSE to fulfill on earth or as the church folks would phrase it: “I’ve got work to do”.

About 7 years ago I came to the realization that we are each here for a larger and beautiful purpose. So in 2008, I made the commitment to myself that I would discover that purpose and then LIVE it out each and every day that I ARISE to a new morning! And that’s what I’ve been doing, since.

But that leads to me to question, are YOU living your purpose?

Author Srikumar Rao shares his thoughts about purpose in this quote:

“I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you, then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste”

So, if you aren’t yet living your purpose – I encourage you to not waste another day. Life is precious and never guaranteed; so seize each new morning that you are given.

I have peace about my grandmother’s passing for she lived a long life and death is truly just a part of life. Our physical bodies may pass away, but our spirit lives on. As so eloquently stated by Author Guy Finley:

“Once something has outlived its usefulness in one area of life, its purpose for being in existence is no longer the same. The leaf that captures a stream of sunlight, and then transfers its energy to the tree, serves one purpose in the spring and summer, and another completely different one through the fall and winter.”

I wish you abundance, courage, and a purpose filled life.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Frowners never win… Coping with the Blues…

Coping with the Blues…

Have you ever wondered how to feel the SUNSHINE in your life? How to bring HAPPINESS, LAUGHTER, and JOY into your everyday? It would seem that SUNSHINE, HAPPINESS, LAUGHTER, and JOY comes when you let it in

I came to this conclusion as I sat wrestling with my own “blue thoughts”. I was feeling sad, restless, and incomplete. Nothing new had occurred to trigger those emotions, but there I was facing the same old struggle. My initial thoughts were “things will never change”, “I will never get better”, and “I will always struggle with depression”. Those first three internal judgments did nothing but pull my mood further down.

Then a fourth idea struck me! From somewhere within I remembered the saying “once an addict, always an addict”. I toyed with that idea for a bit… could it be true? Would I struggle with depression for the rest of my life??? That was a frightening thought!

However, the fighter in me… my rational side refused to give in to, to believe the defeatist side in me. The warrior within reminded me that no matter the emotions, I am not my emotions which meant – no matter how long I suffer with sad emotions, that is not me. Reminding myself that I am NOT sadness, and I am NOT depression, helped to elevate me out of “my funk”. I was lifted up enough to also remember that because I am not my feeling; I was the one who could decide how to handle those feelings.

So what did I decide to do?

I chose to refer back to an old childhood song that I remember watching on an old episode of the Flintstones, Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In.

Do you remember the song? Here are a few lyrics to jog your memory:

When you are unhappy the devil wears a grin

But oh! he starts to running when the light comes pouring in

I know he’ll be unhappy ‘cos I’ll never wear a frown

Maybe if we keep on smiling he’ll get tired of hanging round

So let the sunshine in.

So let the sunshine in face it with a grin smilers never lose and frowners never win

So let the sunshine in face it with a grin open up your heart and let the sunshine in

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

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

Speak life… What are you thinking and saying?

It’s often been said that you have to “think positive”. And I agree with that sentiment because thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions and actions become what is your reality. So there is a direct link between the things that we think about and what occurs in life.

However, have you ever stopped to think about your thinking?

What do you spend most of your time pondering about?

If you take a survey of your inner mental activity, you will be amazed to see that it will give you a clear picture of the person you are and the direction that your life is moving in…

So if you ever find yourself in a place, in life, where you desire change to occur – it first starts within your mind! Start working to change what you think!

A few things to help you shift your thoughts:

  • Be mindful of what you read and if you’re not a “reader” – you need to begin! Reading feeds the mind
  • Be mindful of what you watch via the internet and/or television
  • Be mindful of the company you keep, as the thoughts of others can be infectious. Negative thinkers can influence how you think about life
  • Remember the power of the tongue

I think #4 is SO important, that I want to spend more time talking about it.

The power of the tongue, what exactly does that mean? It refers to the ability for us to speak things into existence. If you speak positively, then that is likely where your thoughts and focus with shift. By the same token, if you’re a naysayer, doubter, or worrier, then the odds are you’re probably talking about and thinking about the obstacles, struggles, and problems.

You need to be more aware of the things you say or speak over yourself and your life. For me, I speak positivity because it encourages me, it reinforces positive beliefs about self, it refuels my energy tank so that I can persevere, and it confirms what God already told me – that his children are beloved, beautiful, and accepted in spite of their flaws!

So what positive things will you begin speaking over your life?

  • I proclaim that I shall be a published author
  • I assert that I will be seen as a social-emotional leader
  • I anticipate that my writings will provide emotional and social healing to those that it touches
  • And I expect to enjoy my future roles of biological mother and wife

What positive words and thoughts will you start to proclaim, assert, anticipate, and expect in your own life?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Healed Hearts in 2015

It was an interesting day. I had three different people thank me for my blog posts. While I was humbled and appreciative of their feedback, it was the phrase “thank you for allowing God to use you” that caught my attention. Those who know me know I don’t believe in random coincidences, and the repetitiveness of the message struck me, as this is more than just a fluke of nature. So I decided to think a bit more about their choice of words…

Thank you for allowing God to use you…

It seemed that they viewed me as a messenger conveying something from God through my blog. That’s a pretty awesome confirmation, as the focus of my message is always to share something that will inspire, uplift, and spread some love. However, as a writer you’re not always sure if you hit the mark, until you hear the reactions from the receiver of your words. It felt nice to be acknowledged – I was doing something positive and worthwhile. But even larger than that, I was doing something that people could see God from within me. Now that, for me, was mind blowing!

It blew my mind because my spiritual walk has not been a straight and narrow path. There have been many twists and turns, even some days where I wondered if God had forgotten me. But then the tide began to change, and with one touch I could feel God turning my life around. The shift was so GREAT that it prompted me to start penning my memoir; a memoir that I am still in the process of writing.

At times I wondered why did God seem to overlook me in one season, but then in the next I can so clearly feel God’s presence all around me and within me? And then, I came across a chapter in the Stormie Omartian book that talked about hardened hearts. She explained that God needs our hearts to be softened.

Wow… I wondered to myself “could it be that my heart had been hardened before?” Then I reflected on all of the hurts, disappointments, broken promises, lies, and all the other negative encounters I’ve endured. Yes, it would seem that I had sealed off my heart to protect myself from further injury. However, once I started to open myself back up – to seek God and to love God, it made it a lot easier to heal from everything I had endured. And I guess that why God can now use me.

My hope, for you, is that whatever blockages, whatever has happened to you that keeps you closed off and protecting yourself from hurt – I pray that 2015 is the year that you are healed from it. For in your healing, you will then allow God to make you a vessel of his message, so that you might then go out and bring hope, light, and inspiration to someone else.

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

Path to Happiness = Shake IT Off (Taylor Swift style)…

Today I wanted to talk about living a life that is fulfilled and that feels chocked with purpose, promise, and happiness. However, I wanted to discuss these ideas within the content of Taylor Swift’s song, Shake It Off.

Initially, I enjoyed Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off just because of the musicality. As an eternal dancer, I thrive on grooving to an awesome beat! However, for some reason that song dropped into my spirit, this morning. So I Google’d the video and found it on You Tube. As I twisted around to the beat, I stopped for a moment and took a pause. For the first time I listened to the lyrics. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that not only was the beat awesome but there was actual substance to the lines of the song.

In the second verse, Taylor sings:

I never miss a beat,

I’m lightening on my feet,

I’m dancing on my own,

Make the moves up as I go…

I shake it off!

I LOVED that! These words resonated with me because they emphasized resiliency, hope, encouragement, and confidence; all ideas that I focus on.

Let’s look at a few lessons we can learn from what presents on the surface as a lighthearted song.

I never miss a beat – This line made me think about the importance of continual progression. Keep moving, keep striving, and keep going. We all have dreams, but sometimes it’s really easy to lose momentum because we start to doubt, we lose hope, or we become impatient.

I’m lightening on my feet – Think about lightening. It’s a quick flash and burst of energy! The pursuit of anything will require energy, but sometimes we all feel burnout. We’re stressed, overworked, and sometimes questioning our purpose. If you find yourself in that space, you need to get reenergized! What helps you burn stress and feel like your running on all cylinders? For me, it’s dance and Bikram yoga. You should take some time to figure out what helps you feel recharged.

I’m dancing on my own – Happiness is truly an individual pursuit, meaning only you can define what makes your heart sing. So stop trying to keep up with Sally and Tom Jones. Seek to discover what your personal passions are. It may require you to be a trendsetter. Setting trends can feel lonely and a little nerve wracking, because you’re putting yourself out there! However, to do anything less means to cheat your self from living a full life.

Make the moves up as I go – Too often so many of us want a step-by-step delineated plan. However, life is usually unpredictable! So we need to just go with the flow, of life, trusting our instincts and faith in God to help us navigate the twists and turns of life.

Taylor ends the stanza with the words Shake It Off! So although we need to: 1) keep making progress, 2) learn how to recharge, 3) be unafraid to set trends, and 4) be flexible – in all things it’s important to forgive ourselves! If we miss the mark, we make a mistake, we hit a dead end, just remind your self it’s all a part of life! And THEN — Just Shake It OFF!

Choose Consciously… What will you choose?

Relationships are a great way to learn about … your SELF! Does that sound counterintuitive to you? Did you think that I was going to say that you choose relationships to learn about the other person? Well that is actually not the case. We choose relationships to learn more about who we have been and to explore the potential of who we could be! Dr. Margaret Paul discusses this notion throughout her website (www.innerbonding.com). You can also find similar ideas in a book by Cheri Huber called ‘Be The Person You Want To Find’.

Based on this understanding that we engage with others to develop a better relationship with self, I have been reflecting on the course of my past relationships. This increased thinking about my dating patterns was sparked by a recent situation that occurred in my current relationship. I began this interaction feeling very enthusiastic and excited by our future. However, there came a day when we “bumped heads” and momentarily did not see things “eye to eye”. We maintained differing opinions and appeared at a standstill. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, whether that relationship be an intimate one, a friendship, or familial. However, that conflict, our conflict, had me questioning the future of the relationship. I even began wondering was the person I now disagreeing with, the same individual that I was so mesmerized by? It was all quite perplexing… And then… I read the following quote:

“[Your inner voice can pull] you right out of whatever you’re doing, no matter how enjoyable, and suddenly you’re paying attention to whatever it has to say”

This quote, from the book The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, reminded me that when we are conscious (paying attention) we are able to experience the fullness of life. However, when we fail to pay attention, we can slip into old habits, habits that may be destructive and leftover residue from past experiences. Just think about Erykah Badu’s song Bag Lady. Mz. Badu sang “Girl I know sometimes it’s hard. And we can’t let go; Oh when someone hurts you oh so bad inside”. If we don’t learn to put down (i.e., let go) of our (emotional) bags, then we are destined to carry them around – weighing down our present and future hopes, dreams, aspirations!

So how does this relate to my relationship? Well, there I was allowing my old baggage to impact my current interaction. Somewhere in the past, I learned and adopted the mantra that conflict = bad, conflict = destruction. As a result, whenever I even sensed conflict, I would “run for the hills!” However, thanks to all of the emotional and spiritual growth that has been occurring, I no longer have a need to run. I have learned to “relax in the face of melodrama” as Michael Singer would say. Yes, I must admit that I can be quite dramatic! J I have also learned that letting go is a matter of choice. I can choose to “take the risk to let go, rather than go with the [negative] energy” (Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul).

Two take away points for you:

  • Remember we always have a choice! Nowadays I am choosing happiness. What will you choose? What will you focus upon?
  • Even when you make a mistake (and mistakes will happen), by slipping into old patterns, at ANY moment you can choose a new path and start anew.