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

 

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

Prayer + Action = Miracles! What Miracles will YOU Complete?

Completion on the Earth…

Have you ever stopped to wrap your mind around the fact that everything is already complete? Tomorrow has already happened! It is mind boggling for our human minds to fathom this, but everything already exists within the spiritual realm. This is not only demonstrated on a metaphysical level (good old science) but it’s also scriptural.

So if everything already exists why don’t we have all we desire right now?

Why do some people die with unfulfilled dreams?

I don’t think anyone has the definitive answer to either question; we may have to wait until we can ask God himself. However, I do believe that part of the answer rests within the person. I wonder… do dreams die because we fail to bear them? Do we quit? Do we get frustrated? Or do we not chase them at all due to fear or unbelief?

There are so many signs and wonders that prove when we never quit – we make it to the finish line! And what we speak is what is…

Here are two short examples:

Example 1 – Two weeks ago I repeatedly teased one of my pregnant students that she was having twins, and I forewarned her that words have weight. So since I put it out into the universe, it was probably going to come back as truth. Guess what that same student emailed me to say: “so you were right, I’m carrying twins. We just found out in the ultrasound.”

Example 2 – Seven months ago friends and I began a Morning Prayer Circle. We pray over our finances, our family, our health, and our hearts. We also stand in the gap and pray over others: our nation, our coworkers, and even people we don’t know. For seven months we have kept up this practice and this week one of my friends shared that God has blessed her and answered her prayers! It took seven months for the blessing to appear but we prayed without ceasing and we never stopped believing, so the blessing was completed!

If you’re reading this, I hope you are getting inspired. I pray you are experiencing motivation. My wish is that you feel a burning desire to go after, chase after, and pursue each and every promise God has JUST FOR YOU!

Remember prayer and positive thinking is where it begins, but it can’t stop there. You have to take persistent and consistent steps in the direction of where you hope to be!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Faith in the Next Step…

This morning I listened to a song called ‘Lord You’re Mighty’ by a group called Youthful Praise. The lyrics continue to echo in my head as they repeatedly chant: “Lord you’re mighty”…

There are so many reasons that I could cosign with that tune, but right now I just want to hone in on one point – the Lord is MIGHTY because GOD IS EVERYWHERE! I mean literally everywhere! Just look for God in the church and out of the church. You will find God in the flight of the birds and the waving of the trees. God is even on our jobs and in our neighborhoods.

You may be wondering why I’m on this God Love Fest? Well… it’s because this weekend I was struck by the seemingly random yet synchronous events of life! Only GOD could take the seemingly accidental happenings of life and string it together so that it reveals a little bit more about this journey called life.

Let me share what happened.

On Friday, of last week, I decided to participate in a webinar on total body health. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a health nut and the eternal nerd, so I am always seeking to learn something new! While listening to the webinar, the speaker shared that true health involves not only physical health but also mental and spiritual health. She went on to elaborate that health begins with a desire to be healthy and even when we don’t know the next step we have to trust that our desire will guide us in the direction of the information that we seek.

Now fast forward a few days… I was spending some time at my sister’s house and decided to peruse her bookshelf. My fingers for whatever reason stopped on a book entitled The Magic in the Extra Mile by Larry DiAngi. Wasn’t familiar with author, nor his work but for some odd reason I decided to skim through his book. As I peered into the pages, reading some but scanning most, my eyes fell upon these words:

YOU WILL KNOW THE NEXT STEP

How odd! The phrasing of the words in the book was almost identical to the words spoken in the webinar.

It was as if those particular words were being repeated because it was intended for me to not only receive that message but to do something with it!

I now share these same words with you hoping that they inspire you to trust your life path, trust the journey, trust God to give you the next step!

Believe and never stop…

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

HANGING by a thread… In Life and Laundry…

My task this morning was to do the laundry. The bag overflowing with clothes cued me that this routine chore was overdue. I grabbed the detergent, clutched the laundry bag, and walked out. I took several steps in the direction of my car, but realized that the bag may not survive the entire trip. It was literally hanging by a thread!

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The irony of my current situation was that at various points in the last month, I felt like I was hanging by a proverbial thread.

There were many days during the months of May and June where I felt frustrated, disappointed, and fed up! Maybe it was the agony of waiting for dreams deferred to come true. Or maybe it was that wicked bout of food poisoning followed by a week of bronchial wracked coughs. Whatever it was, I knew I felt like quitting – just throwing in the towel.

But I was rescued by a consistent support team of family and friends, who continued to believe in me even when my vision became so foggy that I could no longer believe in myself… With their encouragement I forged ahead and I began to find the strength to attend to the things I had sorely neglected during my weeks of pity, agony, illness, and despair.

There were many things I learned during this time of instability, but the greatest lesson: even superheroes need a little help. Even though I was courageous, strong, and determined – I could allow myself to lean on those I trust. My ultimate success did not need to be won by “doing it myself.”

Accepting this lesson was a monumental step for me, as I always prided myself for doing things my way, independently and without the assistance of others. However, I’ve come to realize that the truly successful don’t make it to the top because of sole might. Instead their journey was made possible because of knowing when and whom to reach out to for help.

The Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as stating: “people are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

It’s nice to know that in this season of my life wracked with difficulties, I am planted amongst a group of family and friends determined to see me thrive!

If you too can’t make that same assertion, it’s time to reassess those you’ve surrounded yourself with…

Just in case you’re wondering, the laundry bag made it – and so did I. But I decided to make a slight detour, on the way to the Laundromat, to buy a new bag…

Continue to grow, continue to expect, continue to believe…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser.

Sometimes life is such a lonely journey because you are the only one traveling your particular course… family, friends, loved ones can listen, empathize, and attempt to relate but have you ever had a moment where that was just not enough?

Well last night I was having one of those evenings…

I am in the midst of following a path that I believe I was destined to follow, but sometimes staying on the path is hard because of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. Each difficulty seems to beg the question:

– Maybe you’re not on the right path Donna?

And the follow up to that question, is the thought:

– If you’re going in the right direction, why haven’t you reaped rewards for your efforts, by now?

Those questions, those doubts, the fears make it so tempting to give in, to turn back, and to give up. But if I did that then I would be sealing the coffin on my fate. Quitting is a guaranteed loss, whereas to persevere means I continue to put myself in position to win!

Yet I was still at a loss – my options seemed to be 1) continue to sacrifice and struggle while chasing dreams that seem so far-fetched and out of reach or 2) take the more realistic approach, play it safe, and take the well intentioned advice to give up my dreams…

Neither option seemed to be appealing and I went to bed with a heavy heart; a heart full of hurt that had no more tears because too many were shed during the day.

As I closed my eyes I had the final thought: “the advice they’re all giving won’t work because I’ve been doing it already. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve read. I attend church. I do self-care activities. I’ve waited. I’ve done everything humanly possible, so now what?” And then I remembered the line from Donnie McClurkin’s famous song Stand: “after you’ve done all you can, you just STAND!”

And as if to confirm that I am on the right track, this morning still needing some encouragement I decided to read another dream chasers story. Figured they too had experienced moments of doubt. Thought their story might inspire me. I Google’d ‘Tyler Perry and Quit Your Dreams’ and stumbled upon a 2008 post from him that said:

I am a dreamer and sometimes when you have dreams you are met with obstacles, and your dreams will start to fade. But what I’ve found is that when God has given you a dream, no matter what it is, when you want to give up and believing becomes hard, and when you can’t go any further, the dream itself will start to believe for you. The dream itself will start to carry you through with visions and hope and encouragement.

So, the new mantra for Tyler Perry Studios is “A Place Where Dreams Believe…” Don’t worry if you’re met with opposition on your path to your goals. When you’ve done all you can, stand and surrender. God will allow your dream to motivate you.

What confirmation for me that I was indeed on the right track. That others before me had felt the same moments of doubt and questioning. And to continue on my path means that in the end I will WIN!

So I intend to STAND.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

The Negativity Trap: Bitching, Venting, Whining

Accept Discipline

Do you ever find yourself wanting to complain about things gone awry? Doesn’t it feel so much easier to have a ‘bitch session’ focused on venting? I believe we’ve all been there, those moments where we need to ‘get it out’!

Emotional expression is healthy; it’s best to air the negativity instead of keeping it bottled up. However, it’s important to remain aware so that the complaining, whining, and venting doesn’t start to become who you are. When you find yourself complaining more than talking, venting more than appreciating, then you probably fell into the negativity trap.

How can you get out of the negativity trap?

Two things you can do – 1) just start to be appreciative for what you have right now. I know that it’s commonly said we should show appreciation, but I’ve never challenged myself to actively do anything about it.

So this morning that is what I did. I decided to create a list of things I am thankful for and things I am asking God for (waiting on/aspiring to). I have to admit that the right side of waiting/aspiring was quite long! However, what was even more surprising was the left side of the page. Can you believe that my list of thankful items was longer? Not only was it longer, it was two times longer than my waiting/desires list. It felt really good to be able to find reasons to smile, reasons for joy, opportunities for thanks.

The second thing you can do – 2) be encouraged in the fact that those very same things that are distressing have the potential to be used for your future gain. How do I know this? Well check out this verse from Hebrews 12:11 (No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it).

And if you need more motivation, take a look at a few quotes about discipline:

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn

“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” – Buddha

“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

Get out of the negativity trap! Endure! Persevere! You CAN DO IT! You WILL make it, if you keep going!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

You are a potter, life is clay… What shall you make of it?

I was recently listening to Ruben Studdard’s song “I Need An Angel.” I’ve always liked that song, but on this day my attention gravitated to these words:

Take me – Shake me – Mold Me – Change Me – Teach Me – Fill Me – Save me…

Those particular lyrics echoed in my mind as I pondered what things did I want God to change in me… Hmmm… that was a tough decision because I finally feel I am on the right path. However, if you were able to pin me down about 7 years ago, I would have had a LONG laundry list of items that I wanted God to correct!

But isn’t that the beauty of life. If we don’t like the direction it is going in, we have the ultimate power to change it! No we can’t change others and no we can’t always change our immediate circumstances, be if we START with making small changes within ourselves, it Will ultimately SHIFT EVERY Thing around us!

How awesome is that! That God gave us the ability to have choice and power to create life!

Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves – Rollo May, Psychologist

A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself – James Allen, Writer

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character – Samuel Butler, Author 

I think it’s pretty exciting to have that much freedom and influence over the life that we live. But I will admit it’s also pretty scary to have that much responsibility. To know that all of our choices: big and small, affect the state of our existence.

The first 30 years of my life I took for granted our ability to affect the life that we live. However, around age 30 I had a great realization! But I had to spend the next 10 years cleaning up the mess that I made in my 20s! Now that I’m 40, I intend to use the learned lessons to create the life I’ve always wanted… And I’m already in the process of doing just that!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Nausea, Cramps, & Gas… Oh MY! Surviving Food Poisoning…

I have been sick with food poisoning for twenty-one LONG days! It’s been awful… I didn’t know which symptom was worse – my choices: fevers, stomach cramps, bloating, stomach pressure, nausea, and the minute-by-minute runs to the bathroom. NOT FUN! By the 16th day I was so OVER the whole experience and at my wits end! I didn’t know what else to do, in order to get well.

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I drank teas (peppermint & chamomile), drank cola, drank ginger ale, ate soup & crackers, ate rice, did a colon cleanse, and ate yogurt. Nothing seemed to do the trick. On day 16 I decided I would ignore the stomach cramps, and still do my weekly walk to the park. I read somewhere on the Internet that exercise is sometimes helpful for aiding stomach issues.

As I walked, initially I could barely stand up straight and forget taking note of the pretty day, I was just trying to get down the street without having an accident in my pants. However, I refused to quit and after a half-mile my muscles started to loosen and the walking seemed to ease some of the gas in my digestive system – Ah finally some relief! I could finally look up and take note of the lush greenery, pretty blue sky, and warm sun. It was a beautiful day.

After walking a mile, I decided to turn back and head on home. On the return walk home, I thought about how good this small window of freedom from my symptoms felt and I didn’t want to let this feeling go! I clutched by stomach and prayed “God please remove any and all foreign objects that do not belong.”

foodpoisoningTwo days after my walk I opted to do a second colon cleanse and I think it did the trick.

It caused me to spend two more days running to the bathroom but I think I finally got whatever didn’t belong inside of me, out of me…

Not sure what finally worked, maybe it was the combination of remedies, maybe it was my body running through the natural course of the poisoning, or maybe it was my little prayer to God.

It doesn’t really matter what lead to my healing, but something shifted inside of me in these last 21 days. I have a newfound appreciation for health and I NOW roll over thankful for it every day!

Two quotes that ran through my mind during those days of being doubled over in stomach, colon, and kidney pain and misery:

  • “Dear Jesus, do something.”
    Vladimir NabokovAuthor
  • “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
    Søren Kierkegaard, Author

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Forget Perfection, Be Persistent

I recently gave a presentation that went really well until… I made one mistake. I hesitated but quickly regrouped, attempting to gloss over my error. On the outside the misstep was probably not noticeable but on the inside my stomach was in knots and I continued to replay the blunder, over and over and over, in my head. While reviewing comments from participants no one seemed to notice the error, even when I pointedly asked: “so how obvious was my stutter?” No one heard it.

It was confusing, why was I fixated on something that others didn’t even seem to catch? Maybe because somewhere in my mind I have the false notion that success is equated with perfection.

However, the funny thing about success is that the “accomplished” individuals achieved their position not because of perfection but often in spite of their imperfection. For it was their mistakes that provided exposure to valuable experiences and necessary lessons.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at a few examples:

  • The American Negro Theater initially rejected Sidney Poitier. He was later was accepted into the theater and went on to become the first African American male to win an Oscar for a leading role.
  • The University of Southern California (USC) Film School denied Steven Spielberg’s application. Years later he was chosen to become an honorary alum by USC.
  • Michael Jordan’s high school varsity team rejected him when he was a sophomore.
  • Twenty-seven publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book.

And these snippets are just a few! There are many more stories of individuals who achieved greatness, only after an initial failure or setback. Their testimonies were the reminder I needed that excellence comes through persistence not perfection.

So in the end I needed to get over my mistake, and instead focus on the positive experience that I gained from doing the presentation.

How might this post help you? I hope it inspires you to persevere even when you face setbacks on the road to bringing about all of your dreams.

I’ll leave you with a final point, a quote that I came across:

“Good things come to those who work their Asses off and never give up!”

Note: if you want to read a few additional examples of successful individuals who overcame setbacks, here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kimberlywang/extraordinarily-successful-people-who-failed-miserably-be#.ndBOb500j