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.

she-finally-saw-what-god-saw-in-her-she-became-10333460.png

Until Next Time,

Dr. Donna

Jealous Paparazzi

What a season this has been!

In the midst of my own struggles, several family members have attempted to slander my name… I didn’t think it could happen in my family, thought we would be immune to the human condition of jealousy and envy. But alas, we are not.

For a few days it left me confused, hurt, and distraught – as my mind attempted to rationalize why would someone related to me desire to hurt me? What could they gain from my demise?

And then I ran across this quote from German composer Johannes Brahms:

“Those who enjoy their own emotionally bad health and who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of suspicion, jealousy and hatred, as a rule take umbrage at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in trying to denigrate them.”

It made perfect sense… because I always strive to seek the positive, surround myself with positive, and exude positivity – so those who have not found that balance within themselves will attempt to degrade and malign me, in hopes that I would lose my focus on what is right, and good, and beautiful about life.

I am happy to report – that plan was foiled! I will admit that I shed a tear. I cried for the pain and malice that was inflicted. But then I dried my eyes I reminded myself that the only one who gets to decide how I feel – IS ME! images


I choose to surround myself with positive people

I choose to pursue the things that make my heart sing

I choose to have family and friends that support and encourage me.


Everyone and everything else [that is negative] can “kick rocks!”


In your life, if you ever run into jealousy – here are a few quotes to encourage you:

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius”. Fulton Sheen, Catholic Bishop

Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.” Mary Schmich, American journalist

As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” Antisthenes, Greek philosopher

People are taken aback by a confident, pretty girl who knows what she wants in life and isn’t going to let anyone get in her way. And you know what it’s all about? Jealousy.” Summer Altice, Actress aba6f2f6b994e084c6752fddeeb38b3f

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.

images

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?

lettinggoquote

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

16757493a5180e1e153a2c0651e4a669

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

Your BREAKthrough… Thrive…

Are you waiting on a BREAK through?

In the bible there is a verse that talks about God TRANSFORMING sadness. Psalm 30:11 states: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

What I LOVE about this verse, is that it reminds us of two important lessons.

The first lesson is that though life is often plagued with struggles and strife, we can find PEACE amidst the chaos. The ability to dance or praise in the middle of mourning or sadness, would suggest one has the ability to feel GOOD no matter the external circumstance. How’s that possible, you may wonder? Well… Our feelings are not caused by the things that happen to us instead our feelings are chosen by us in response to the things that happen to us. In other words, we have a CHOICE. We can choose distress or ease? We can choose anger or calm? We can choose sadness or happiness? We make these choices by deciding what to concentrate on and what to give our attention to. You want to feel good, you want a sense of peace – choose that, even when you find yourself in the middle of a challenge or adversity.

The second lesson is that all situations can be turned around. No matter how bleak or hopeless a circumstance appears, it’s not over until it’s actually over or you quit. So adopt an attitude of persistence and perseverance. Be ENCOURAGED that you will make it through and be ready to remind yourself of this, on those days when it just seems impossible! I personally have experienced many situations that seemed hopeless, yet here I still stand. And my ability to keep going motivated me to share my story in my soon to be published memoir (Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-healing). However, we each have a story. We each can have the conviction to keep going, we just need to be reminded of it, from time to time.

I want to leave you with a final word from a song that I came upon by happenstance. I was at the gym, my usual Sunday spot since I am raising a boy that loves basketball! As we were preparing to leave I hear on the radio these words ”we were made to thrive”. I immediately stop in my tracks so that I can Google the source of the lyrics. It is a song by Casting Crowns. When you get a moment, you may want to check it out… It is a great reminder that in this life we are living – breakthroughs are possible! Joy is possible! Transformation is possible!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Find and Work your Purpose

Purpose is the reason for one’s life. It’s often said that our purpose on earth is to help one another. There are an infinite number of ways to help. But we are all different. Therefore, our unique purpose is identified when we find our individual way of helping others.

Purpose is such a central piece of who we are that most of us spend life trying to identify our purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

Do you know what special contribution you were created to do in order to help others?

If you’re wondering how to identify your purpose, the first place to start is to consider your gifts. For when we find a way to use our talents to help others, we have discovered our purpose.

Here are a few quotes on the idea of purpose:

  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others – Philosopher Albert Schweitzer
  • I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation – Pastor Joel Osteen
  • 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 – Author Srikumar S. Rao

I mentioned earlier that identifying one’s purpose is an important part of life. Not only because it allows us to help others, but also because with purpose we experience an increased sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace – in day to day life.

So are you willing to discover your purpose? If you’re needing a resource to help you figure it out, take a look at this quiz from Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz

This year, may you endeavor to find more fulfillment, joy, and peace in your life!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Tap into endless Creativity

I am a new blogger. Or at least I view myself as new, considering that I began consistently blogging about six months ago. For years I contemplated starting a blog, but just never got around to it. I made excuse after excuse.

I didn’t have the time

I didn’t have the energy

And even scarier, I didn’t have enough to say…

Or at least I didn’t think I’d have enough to say. I wondered things like “how will I know what to post?” or “what if I run out of topics to discuss?”

However the amazing thing is that as I write more I find increased motivation and inspiration. The more I blog, the more I have to blog about. This is the wonderful cycle I’ve found myself in…

And the best news is that creativity is infinite! So there was no need for me to fear running out of things to say. Poet Maya Angelou eloquently captured the endless fountain of inspiration in this quote: “you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.

So what’s the moral of this message? If you want more, you have to do more. If you want to be inspired, you want to achieve success, and you want to tap into your creative abilities, you just have to start. You just have to use them!

If you’re wondering how to start… just take the first step by doing something different, something new. Take a look at this quote from motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown

And if you’re wondering where your creativity lies, remember that we are all creative, just in different ways. As educational advisor Ken Robinson states: “you can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance

So as I end this post, I want you to remember that creativity is infinite, we are all creative, and we tap into our creative potential by stepping out and doing something new.

I am excited about life and have renewed purpose as I delve into my creativity within the areas of writing, teaching, and speaking.

What is your creative ability and what new things will you do with it this year?

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna

Your Gifts and Talents… Get to Work!

I sit here reflecting on a recent sermon I heard in church. The pastor spoke about the importance of “working your gift”. I thought this title was quite fitting and a bit ironic because earlier that same morning I was singing along to the contemporary gospel song “The Gift” by Donald Lawrence and Company. Both that song and the sermon expressed three important points:

  • We are each “gifted”
  • No one else on the earth can exhibit our gift the way that we can, for we each are divinely unique
  • We have to work our gift

Although all of the above points resonated with me, it was the last that I seemed to fixate on… the importance of working the gift that we’ve been given…

That third point held a lot of weight because it reminded me that although we are given talents and gifts – it’s not until we do something with the endowment that we get to see and feel the power of the blessing.

How many of you have talents that you are just “sitting” on? Gifts that are going wasted because you feel you’re too busy, tired, or afraid to step out on faith?

I can relate to your reluctance, for at times I too want to shy away from using my gifts, for with gifts comes responsibility.

For even the bible talks about this greater responsibility in Luke 12:48: But what about the servant who does not know what his master wants? He also does things that deserve punishment. But he will get less punishment than the servant who knew what he should do. Whoever has been given much will be responsible for much. Much more will be expected from the one who has been given more.

And with increased responsibility, comes increased pressure. Sigh. Yes, pressure!

However, despite the heavy load of responsibility and pressure, I know that I can’t not walk in and make use of the talents I’ve been given because there’s always this little push or voice from within that keeps propelling me forward. And more importantly, I know that my gifts were meant to be shared, to be a blessing to someone else. Or in the words of the pastor delivering the sermon: “the gift is given TO us but NOT for us… so be not prideful and be not a hoarder…. Bless the world around you.”

I hope you find the inspiration and the courage to share your gifts and talents with others, knowing that we each have something valuable to contribute to this planet we call Earth.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

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/

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

Not by random chance or coincidence … God is a God of Order…

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the fact that God is a God of order. You may be wondering, what do I mean by that… well the God we serve believes in arranging things, providing direction, and being a source of stability for us. Don’t believe me – just check out 1 Corinthians 14:33 and you’ll see that we serve a God of order.

Order was on my mind one morning, as I said a prayer for a friend who is at a crossroads and is questioning her decisions. Her words were “pray for me Donna, as I am feeling confused and just unsure about the choice I have to make”. As soon as the request left her mouth, I immediately knew I needed to send a prayer up on her behalf, because God would respond by providing her with instructions that would bring clarity to the confusion and order to the lack of certainty.

I said the prayer and went along my merry way.

A few hours later I found myself meeting with two illustrators, one a professor and the other her student. I had located the professor through her university bio. We chose a date and time to conduct in person introductions and for me to provide them with an understanding of the project to illustrate. They were both quite nice, engaging, and seemed eager to learn about my children’s biblical book idea. As I shared the proposed topics, they expressed interest and provided positive feedback about the focus I was taking. However, it wasn’t their demeanor or even their eagerness to take on the project that blew me away. What caught my attention was when the student expressed that her mother is a minister, and she wished that she had a book like mine when she was growing up. And then I was again flabbergasted that the professor began sharing that she’s Christian and can see herself reading such a book to her two young children.

So why did it amaze me that both the professor and student proclaimed themselves as Christians? Because I had contacted them in what I thought was a random fashion. However, I soon realized that our meeting was not by chance – it was by design. God’s design… And there is it was… A perfect example of my initial point…

We serve a God of order.

When God does something it will bring clarity, it will bring peace, it will make sense, and it will seemingly just “fall into place”.

So if you have big dreams and there are things you desire to do…

First be sure that it’s your purpose, because if it’s your purpose, God will bring order and allow it to come true.

Second, don’t be afraid to step out and just try! Because, God will bless your attempts – when you are doing what you’ve been blessed and called to do.

And lastly, have a little faith in the vision and dreams that God has given you.

So remember, God given purpose, Step out and try, and finally Have a little faith.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna