I am happy to report that since my initial post about my dance goal of accomplishing splits on both sides (initial post here), I have made TREMENDOUS strides!

I’m still a ways from completion of the goal but how exciting that I can visibly SEE the differences made in just two short months!!

Right split – in April the furthest I could get to was ~ 12 inches from the ground… But, now, I’m about 6 inches from the ground. OMG!

Left split – in April the furthest I could get to was ~ 6 inches from the ground… And now, I’m about 2 inches… yes that’s correct – 2 inches from the ground. Whoo-hoo!

I’m still astounded by my progress!  Though I’ll admit that it hasn’t been easy, quite painful in fact, as I attempt to convince my leg, groin, and hip muscles that getting into a split is possible at 42 (even though I haven’t been in one since my teen years!)…

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But in spite of the pain – little by little – improvement was made. Seeing myself make these physical gains has been quite encouraging… a great reminder that big things are accomplished by taking small steps on a consistent basis…

It reminds me that we Choose what Tomorrow looks like by the Choices we make TODAY!

I can’t wait to post my next update, as I anticipate continued GROWTH.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

 

Tightening the Money Belt

I am in the midst of saving for a major investment. The plan:

save $25,000 by October 1 2018

Whew!

Initially, I was excited as I thought about how amazing it’s going to feel when I reach my goal. But then other emotions soon arose. I began to feel overwhelmed and somewhat resentful about the restrictions such a goal would require. How in the heck would I be able to do anything, fun? Saving like this would mean scrapping my international travel plans for the year, forgoing birthday travel, and this last one truly breaks my heart – it would mean not being able to complete a highly anticipated week long dance intensive! Sigh 😦

Saving is No FUN!

I know – I know, without discipline and sacrifice, success is unattainable. But it sure doesn’t feel so good…

For a few days I grumbled this way to myself and even wallowed in a bit of self-pity, until I decided to search for the silver lining. It took me awhile, but I eventually found it…

Since saving will have me grounded and pinching pennies, I will just have to search for frugal ways to nurture my creative side! And being local will also give me time to get focused on a few writing and dancing goals that I have for myself…

  • Writing 2 books
  • Getting into a split on both sides

So… For the next 2 months I plan to dance. write. save. repeat… and hopefully, before I know it, I will have accomplished several of my goals!

Time will tell!  Until next time…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Father Boyle, Anxiety, & Healing Wounds

I sat listening intently as Father Greg Boyle provided his keynote luncheon speech to a captive audience. As he spoke, I jotted notes wanting to capture the nuggets of wisdom woven throughout his humorous and candid talk. However, in the midst of writing down pointers, I began to focus more on his delivery and energy. I took note of tone, pitch, inflection of speech, as well as the spacing of jokes that peppered his lecture. There I was the eager student hanging on to the words of the sage teacher. Absorbing all I could because I have already envisioned the day when I would be the invited keynote speaker…

Yes, that’s my vision and where I am directing my efforts and energies, to be a well-renowned motivational speaker. Though my dream is a tall order, I have lived a life that has taught me that:

It is the impossible that is quite possible!

So I continue to reach for the stars… And for those moments where I begin to doubt myself, I just reflect on how far I’ve already come.

I reflect back on the Donna of my yester-years. Seemingly outspoken and high achieving, yet on the inside I was a worrier, a loner, and a seeker of avoiding any and all the things that drew attention to myself. Any one who knew me when, can attest that I was notorious for burying my head in a book!

Yet, fast forward 25 years, and now I stand before others, providing them with the tools necessary to bring children out of their shell – kids locked inside of themselves, just like I was…

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Father Boyle shared various points that I shall cherish. However, the statement that resonated with me most:

We must heal wounds to heal the wounded

I can attest to that… it was through the process of unleashing my own voice, of learning to get comfortable of being front-and-center, that I can now share that wisdom with others…

We must heal wounds to heal the wounded

I challenge you to pursue your own self-growth. Where are your shortcomings? What’s your Achilles heel? Identify it, accept it, and allow the healing process to happen, for when you do not only will it help you; it will equip you to help others!

As we cherish this time of the holidays where we focus on giving, let’s give to others the greatest gifts possible: the gift of acceptance, the gift of understanding, the gift of hope, and the gift of love.

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Discipline… it’s not a bad word.

I’ve always been a HUGE believer of the connection between the mind-body-spirit… However, this lesson hit very close to home when I found myself feeling lethargic, lackluster, and sad. It wasn’t until I took a B12 vitamin, upon the encouragement of my sister, that I found some of my usual vitality returning! This experience served as a great reminder that if you want to be healthy you have to tend to each area. The secret to health or the proverbial ‘fountain of youth’ is to achieve balance in mind, body, and spirit…

Even the Bible mentions the importance of mind-body-spirit:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2)

So God is reminding us that health requires total body health. This sounds like such simple common sense, that you may even wonder why I’m writing about it…

Well, as we know, often the things that appear simple and common are often the most challenging!

To have total body health, we must be disciplined and being disciplined isn’t easy… because even if we can convince ourselves to get started on the path, it seems darn near impossible to sustain and stay the course…

So what shall you do?

You must FIRST start by disciplining your mind and then the rest becomes possible.

Here are a few tips to help you on the path to train your mind:

  • First identify a target – what is it that you’re desiring?
  • Next, visualize in your mind how you will feel once you’ve actually reached the goal
  • Finally, think of 2-3 really simple steps that you can begin immediately that will lead you in the direction of your goal

Remember it’s never too late to get in the habit of developing a disciplined mind!

I’ll leave you with a few useful quotes about discipline:

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him” Buddha, A Buddhist sage

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment” Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through” Zig Ziglar, Author/Motivational Speaker

Get Disciplined! Stop TRYING and choose to DO IT! Did-You-Know-760x760

YOU CAN!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Are you going to TRY? Life lessons learned while surviving a teenager…

I sit here watching my stepson play basketball and a thought pops into my head: raising a teenager is like a test of wills!

This idea was triggered by a recent exchange we had. The discussion began when I prompted him to put on a hoodie to temper the evening air. He grunted, complained, and mumbled under his breath “I don’t even wear those”, but he complied, knowing that this discussion was not open for debate.

That exchange occurred last night, and was forgotten by the both of us, until this afternoon. He was readying to begin his basketball practice. Before he took to the court, he removed his hoodie; yes the very same one of last night’s discussion. However, even more shocking than him wearing the garment again, was the comment he tossed at me: “I’m keeping that hoodie, I like it”, as he trotted off to play basketball. 4d210a5dbfc13fef15421664d28a8f3a

It was in that moment I knew for sure that children are sent to DRIVE US
NUTS!!

I immediately sent an SOS text to a few close loved ones:

“raising a teenager is enough to drive anyone to drink. Pray for my sanity”, the text read.

But now I sit here reflecting on my stepson’s stubbornness and his rejection of things before having all of the facts. If I were honest with myself and with you, haven’t we all been guilty of the same thing? Rejecting something, just because it’s new or unfamiliar.

How often have you missed out on things simply because you weren’t willing to try?

2015 is rapidly coming to a close and I am pleased to report that in this year, I took several risks and opened myself up to the new, including:

  • Trying Flying Trapeze

And

  • Taking an aerial silk dancing class (think Cirque Du Soleil)

And

  • Writing and self-publishing my first children’s book

However, the BEST news is that the year is not YET over! We still have two and a half months to make it count!

Take some time to think about something new that you’re going to try…

raising-teens

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Leaping Faith… A New Journey Begins.

Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering: “what am I doing here?”

Well, that was me, this past week… I was going through a mini existential crisis, wondering why certain desired things had not yet entered my life. It took everything in me just to be able to go to and from work. I was out of energy, as a car whose fuel tank was on empty. It wasn’t that anything new had occurred; yet somehow the dark cloud of depression had found a way to blot out my sunshine. I guess I was experiencing scripture firsthand because Proverbs 13:12 says that a deferred dream will make one sick… and sick I was feeling indeed.

From this place of feeling like an emotional train wreck, I showed up to volunteer for the Catalyst Conference. For those of you not familiar with the Catalyst Conference, it is a national conference intended to provide education, resources, and tools to leaders who love the Church. From this place of emotional brokenness I had to dig from within to keep a smile on my face as I greeted the arriving guests.

After the second day, all of that smiling on the outside (but not the inside) depleted me. When my duties were done, I fled the conference to sequester myself in my bedroom. But something miraculous happened on the third day of the conference. My duties were done strangely early that morning and I was free to sit in on the conference activities. As I sat there in an arena filled with 8,000+ Christians, I initially watched but then joined in as we sang about the awesome power of God to free us from past hurts, from disappointments, from broken hearts. I realized that I had found the answer to my initial question of “what I was doing there”. It struck me that I was in the right place, at the right time. And it felt good, awesome in fact!

So much so that I see it as a pivotal point in my faith walk with God because two days after the conference ended I decided to give my body back to God. I am now choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Go figure, me? Seems ludicrous yet as I was reminded, during the conference, we serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE… not the difficult… the Impossible!

And it is in that God I place my faith, all of my future hopes and dreams.

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I am in a new season and it is one that is hope filled. May my story of courage and bravery, in the face of doubt, fear, and tears give you the strength to take your own leap of faith!

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Baby AFTER 40… Do you believe?

I am 40 and still intend to have biological children. That statement often garners me incredulous looks and an inane litany of questions that go something like this:

  • You STILL want to have children?
  • Why’d you wait so long?
  • When do you plan to do this?
  • You realize time is running out?
  • Doctors say your chances are slim after 40, so how are you going to have a baby?

And on and on the list goes…

In my younger years I would let the doubts, insecurities, and disbelief of others cloud my own visions, hopes, and dreams.

However, me being as comfortable as I am in my own skin now, has allowed me to believe in every single dream within my heart… And that means I trust in me, I trust in my body, and I trust in God’s plan for my life – so I guess that’s why I have faith that I shall be a midlife mommy 🙂

The irony of this entire situation is that while outdated research studies say I should be less fertile after 35, I actually feel and look healthier than I’ve ever been. I must add in the emphasis that the research is outdated; women are having babies post age 35, at increasing rates.

If you’re interested in reading more about the outdated research take a look: http://nypost.com/2013/09/28/outdated-studies-feed-false-panic-about-older-moms-to-be/old_pregnant

I share this story about my fertility journey, hoping that it might inspire you to believe in whatever it is you desire to birth or bring forth, whether it be a baby (like me) or some other new life journey!

The moment I stopped limiting my options to what was in front of my eyes, was the exact moment that I broadened my perspective and life began to unfold before me…

So here I sit on the cusp of birthing my first book as an author! Watching my professional speaking career flourish! And being able to complete a few must-do activities like flying trapeze!!

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I’m so EXCITED and THANKFUL for this season that I am in…

I am happy – I am healthy – and I am ready for that which is to come.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Peace in a WORLD turned upside down! Learning the Art of Inner Contentment & Happiness

I sit here reflecting on this season of life that I’m in… and it is good…

✖ Not because life is perfect

✖ Not because there is an absence of life stressors

✖ And definitely not because I have everything I desire

In fact the amazing thing is that my life feels good in spite of the negative situations I’ve had to face!

How could that be you wonder?

Well, I’ve arrived at this very interesting space in time where I not only truly love myself but I know, I accept, and I appreciate my life purpose – my reason for living – the contribution/mark I intend to leave on this earth.

This place that I’m in is pretty awesome, particularly when I reflect on just a few short months ago I was struggling with the waiting:

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/04/30/spring-anticipation-patience-and-strength/

In that previous blog from Spring 2015, I mentioned the song ‘Conqueror’ by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. At that time, I needed the song to encourage me and help push me in the direction I desired to go. Now I listen to the song, and I smile… it is a smile acknowledging and confirming – YES indeed, I am a Conqueror!

I am a conqueror because I learned the secret…

Would you like me to tell it to you?

Here goes:

You can truly have happiness and peace NO MATTER WHAT is going on around you –

once you’ve found inner contentment!

It took me many, many, MANY, did I say many – years to get here.

But here I am… I finally understand and LIVE the true meaning of inner peace.

Here are two quotes about inner peace:

  • Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Saint Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Saint
  • My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace. Denzel Washington, Actor

I leave you with a final word… Namaste; which you will hear Yogis (practitioners of Yoga) say as a form of greeting to one another. It means the spirit within me, honors the spirit within YOU!

May you come to know the inner spirit that dwells within you, so that you may find peace, happiness, and inner contentment!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

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

4th of JULY reflections – More than hamburgers, hotdogs, & fireworks!

It’s another 4th of July…

As I reflect on this day known for barbecues, time with the family, and being poolside, my mind wanders. Independence – freedom – the pursuit of happiness. It’s quite ironic that a few days ago I was reflecting on the season of life that I am in. It is a period where I am finally and truly open to change, growth, and releasing the past! So this year is a bit special. July 4th will not only be a time for remembering the freedoms fought for and that we’re still striving for, but it will also signify a turning point my life.

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Moving on to the new can be a very daunting and overwhelming task! Most may opt to remain with the familiar. However happiness, true happiness can only be obtained when we are free – when we allow ourselves the chance to seek the things that encourage our inner passions, creativity, and spirit.

This Independence Day I am channeling the sage wisdom and bravery of my ancestors to walk courageously into happiness!

So what is the first step on the path to happiness?

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It is letting go of the past hurts, pains, and even regrets… this first step is often the HARDEST but it is necessary!

I give myself permission to be happy

I give myself permission to be free

I give myself permission to be whole

I forgive those who have hurt me and …

I liberate myself from feeling any further self-blame that I allowed them to hurt me

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I am eager to see the amazing new things that will walk into my life because I am a new me. Marriage, babies, publishing books, and amassing wealth… an exciting time is on the horizon, indeed!

Well that’s my Independence story, what’s yours? What are you focused on this Fourth of July? Will you take a moment to reflect on what new pursuits will add flavor to your own life?

I hope you do!

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6