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

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

What the HECK is your problem?

Have you ever had a moment where someone was snippy with you and you thought: “what the heck is your problem?”

Recently, a good friend suggested that we get out and walk one of the local trails. It was a beautiful day, and so the idea appeared to be a brilliant one. Once arriving to the location, we realized that we needed to pay a parking fee in exact change. Neither one of us was prepared, as we stood there deciding what to do, my question “so should we leave one car here and drive the other to get change at the store?” was met with a grouchy “what else would we do?” The response caught me off guard and I was taken aback. The answer did not seem to be warranted.

Thank goodness I am an evolved Donna because I simply got in my car, took a billion deep breaths, turned on the radio, and said “God give me something to calm me.”

And the first song I hear “I’m Letting Go” I was not familiar with the tune but this line really caught my attention “when I let go, it started to flow.” Just hearing that I could feel the tension easing and the anger lessening. From my calmer state I could see that my friend’s irritation wasn’t about me – it was about them, so why should I be upset? So I decided I would no longer be…

The most ironic thing about this situation – it was the second time for this week that I found myself in this predicament. The other occurrence happened while in conversation with an agent about my book, and she was quite crabby. So much so that she became aware of it and apologized for her presentation.

I’m pretty impressed that I kept my cool in both situations, as not that long ago I would have done one of two things:

  • Let someone else’s negativity bring me down and put me in a bad mood
  • Responded to someone else’s negativity with anger

Neither option would have included remaining calm, level headed, and balanced.

It feels awesome that my emotions are no longer dictated by what others are doing or saying. Or as Pastor Joel Osteen reminds us “every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed, or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.”

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Which one is it? Problem, Challenge, OR Opportunity?

I woke up early this morning ready to begin my day. I stood in the mirror going through my typical routine. During this time, I usually allow my mind to wander as it may. On this day, various thoughts ran through my mind. I thought about my soon to be published children’s book, I thought about the bloated look I want to get rid of around my torso, and I even thought about the fact that I was feeling quite happy this morning. I paused to ponder that last thought a bit more. I was HAPPY… not sure why, but I was… It wasn’t because my problems miraculously disappeared and it definitely wasn’t because I somehow found a way to put aside all rumination about my difficulties.

I was happy because it that particular moment all was well. And as long as I didn’t veer into the past or too far into the future, I could feel happy.

Isn’t it funny how HAPPINESS can be achieved by staying in the PRESENT MOMENT? I once heard a speaker say: “your mind is your most powerful tool.” He also noted that the MIND is so powerful that in the bible it is stated that we worship the Lord with our mind.

And the bible isn’t the only source that discusses the mind’s strength; take a look at a few famous quotes:

  • Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poet
  • How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most” – Stephen Covey, Author
  • The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free” Charles Swindoll, Writer

So if the mind is so powerful, why aren’t we all using our minds to its fullest potential? I believe the answer to that question points to the two infamous culprits – Fear & Doubt…

Fear will cause you to be frozen, immobilized from taking any necessary steps forward

And Doubt will cause you to question yourself so that even when you take a necessary step forward you stop in your tracks or even turn back to retreat to the familiar.

However, success, in any endeavor and towards any goal will require you to use the strength and power of your own mind to overcome fear and conquer doubt!

I leave you with these lyrics from the song Hold On by James Fortune & FIYA. I hope it encourages you on your journey –

Know that flowers bloom when rain falls

You just hold on

The tears may come, but stand to the end

Remember you CAN succeed in spite of the fear and despite the doubts!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

I am a Gardener: a planter of greenery, life, and dreams.

I arose this morning to a blue, cloudless sky. There was a gentle breeze and birds chirping, as the sun kissed my cheeks. Today was Arbor Day, a day of nurturance and promoting the GROWTH of our beloved Earth. This was the first Arbor Day that I decided to take an active part. I participated in a garden project with my beloved sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

Our task for the day was to rake mulch and plant flowers. There I was crouched down, and as I held the soil I felt a sense of PEACE. It felt good to get back to basics and travel back to a simpler time in life when I could just play in the dirt. We each took to our individual activities and when two hours rolled around the project was done. I stepped back to assess what had transpired and was amazed to see that our final product had beautified the area. We were finished. As I walked to my car, I marveled at the awesome morning I had experienced. And it was in that moment I stopped to take stock of things. I felt a sense of pride because I finally created for myself an existence that included taking time to PLANT LIFE.

However, these plants meant more to me than their physical ability to beautify the area. These plants were actually an indication of faith. You may wonder FAITH? How could a simple act of planting, demonstrate faith? Well, because you put the green leaves in the ground expecting them to grow, trusting them to thrive into something bigger and stronger than their humble beginnings. If we can do that with leaves, why can’t we do the same with our own lives?

As I drove home the song Help Me Believe by Kirk Franklin came on the radio. I reflected on those lyrics and thought about how they coincided with my morning’s planting. Kirk sings:

I wanna believe

But I’m having a hard time seeing past what I see right now

His words reminded me that some times when things haven’t YET happened, it’s easy to give up and turn back! It seems so simple to give up on your dreams and walk away from your heart’s desires!

But, just as planting involves faith, having the determination to continue pursuing one’s dreams will also require faith! And that’s exactly what I plan to do, going after EACH and EVERY dream! Will you join me?

Let’s plant in faith and watch a beautiful future, unfold.

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

How to Dance in the Rain

Have you ever had one of those days where it just seemed like everything that could go wrong, did? Well, that’s the kind of week that I’ve been having… Door after door seemed to be closed, and opportunity appeared to be nowhere around. You name it – I’ve been stressing about it… money, bills, relationship, and career. It was all too overwhelming and so standing in the shower this morning I burst into tears. “ENOUGH GOD”, I shouted… “I’M TIRED OF LOSING”.

As I stood there allowing the tears to stream down my face, I could feel the emotional weight of my plight shifting. Although nothing tangible changed, at least I was no longer carrying the burden of how I felt, and that brought a huge sense of relief. The sense of calm that I now felt even allowed a SMILE to creep in. Just the act of venting my distress helped to break up the cloud of depression.

I finished my shower, dried off, and pondered for a bit what had just transpired. I went into the tub sad and depleted. I stepped out feeling just a little bit lighter, just a tad bit more motivated to face my day. It seems I had just experienced what one might call “DANCING IN THE RAIN”.

I share this with you because there may be some days that you’re going to have to dance in the rain. So how do you do that?

  • You acknowledge what it is that you’re feeling. Be completely honest with yourself and then vent it. You may decide to let it out by writing in a journal, by singing a song, or by just yelling it out as I did. Whatever you do, just allow yourself to express it
  • Allow yourself to feel, whether it is a feeling of sadness, frustration, confusion – whatever. And if that means tears fall, allow them to.
  • Then take a deep breath

You would have now learned the art of dancing in the rain. Nothing about your situation would have changed. However, your mood will change, which means your outlook will change, which translates into having more energy to face the challenges that lie ahead!

And you WILL face your challenges! Be assured of that! I find the toughest challenge is not the situation, but instead to believe that each and every situation will be overcome!

Be encouraged and remember as gospel singer J Moss sings in Psalms 150 “he moves right before we stop believinghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqkdzgGv8H0

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Questions as I approach 40!

What’s your DESTINY?

Do you ever WONDER where you’re headed? Or what direction your LIFE is taking? What is the point to each day?

Well I often wonder about these things… Especially as I approach the age of the BIG 4-0!

I look forward to turning 40!

I look and feel great! Especially when the young people say: “you don’t look your age”.

However I must confess that 40 looks nothing like I thought it would. When I was 18, I thought that by the age of 40 I would be married, with teenage aged twins, living in some suburbs of New York.

How vastly different my life is from that? Which causes me to wonder if my 18-year-old vision of 40 was so off the mark, what other vision do I have to guide and order my steps? And I also question why would God have me on a path so different from where I thought I would be?

But in the midst of my questioning I am reminded of two things:

  • If we live our life according to God’s guidance we shall be immensely blessed (see Proverbs 29:18)
  • Sometimes God’s plans don’t seem to fit with our plans (see Luke 22:42), but God will bless us if we obediently follow his plan (Luke 11:28).

So I boldly embrace my upcoming 40th birthday, trusting that God has amazing and awe inspiring plans for the next 40 years! This first phase of my life was all about preparation for the purpose that God intended for my life (from the start!)

As for the specifics of that purpose, I think it’s encapsulated best in this quote by novelist Ayn Rand: “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values

Each day I now awaken with renewal of energy and a determined focus to go after and achieve EACH and EVERY dream, desire, & aspiration.

Will you too adopt such a courageous spirit? I have faith in you, Do YOU?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Who do you TRUST?

Where do YOU place your TRUST?

Do you ever wonder who has my back? Have ever questioned who is GENUINE and TRUE in your life? Or maybe it’s not the people in your life that you wonder about, but the path that your LIFE appears to be on…

For me, the issue is definitely the latter… I often sit and think about my day to day, as I try to make this journey the best it can possibly be! See, I believe since I’ve been given the gift of life, I should make the MOST OF IT, each and every day! But, I must admit, I wasn’t always this positive and I definitely didn’t always think this way.

There was a time that I would become engulfed by the negative pressures of the world. I let the gossiping whispers of detractors – distract me. I allowed the uncertainty of tomorrow – to worry me. And I let the regrets of my past – weigh me down in sadness. However, I am happy to report, I am that woman NO MORE.

But, yes there’s a But… I am still human. So some moments, I do worry, I do care about what others say/think, and I do get sad. In those times I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that I am only worrying, sad, or distracted because my trust has wavered.

Let me explain…

The gospel singer Fred Hammond (I’ve always loved me some Fred Hammond) has a song called I Will Trust. In the song he says:

Some put their trust in earthly possessions

But in the end it won’t bring them through

I will not lean to my own understanding

But with my whole heart here’s what I’ll do

I will trust (trust in the name of The Lord)

I love those lyrics because they remind me that nothing on the earth will be able to consistently make me happy, so why put my trust in it… Instead, I should put my trust in the Lord.

So on the sad days I remind myself – (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

On those worrisome days I tell myself – (Matthew 6:31-34)

31 “Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries.

And when the detractors (yes those haters) attempt to do their thing I keep in my heart – (Matthew 5:11)

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

I hope you will take comfort in the fact that our trust in God will see us through each and every time!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

http://www.donnadoctora.com