It all began with a Thought…

Have you ever took a moment to think about how cool you are? And not in a cocky, obnoxious way – but in a serious deep reflection about the unique things that make YOU – YOU…

Well I had that moment this morning!

As I sat in a swinging chair (my favorite type of chair by the way), on a porch of a landmarked Victorian home, in the sleepy suburban area of Frederick Maryland (just south of the Mason Dixon line and founded in 1745), I thought about how cool it was that I manifested this moment… I brought it into being with a simple thought that I backed up with some action (to actually make it here physically).

I’ve always been a go-getter / a risk taker – so this mini vacation to stay at this B&B was definitely something I have a track record for doing. But I’ve never really stopped to appreciate that part of me… the side of me that sees what she wants and then does it!

So here I am, sitting on my swing & giving myself a pat on the back. Kudos to me! Another wonderful life memory to cherish. Another story I’ll be able to one day share with my children’s children 🙂

When I turned 30, I began to somewhat entertain the idea of becoming a mom. Then at 35, I was first resentful and then saddened that pregnancy was not something that I just fell into or stumbled upon. For some of my friends, many of my friends, motherhood came easy for them… Alas, that was not my story and it made me sad – really sad! But now… after 12 long years, I look back on my journey with feelings of gratitude. Go figure! Because in those years (since age 30) there is so much that I’ve accomplished and experienced that was just for me – ALL ME! And now, I’m truly ready to share the lessons, the wisdom, and the love with someone else.

I hear my future child calling me – and I am ready 🙂  But in this moment, for now, I just sit, swing, and appreciate all that I am – right now.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

 

 

 

When you look up the phrase hopeless romantic… I bet you find my picture! I am one of those naive for love types! I love happy endings, believe in “magic”, and I’m always rooting for love. So you can imagine why being without my soulmate, for years, has been wreaking havoc on my psyche!

However, I recently had a moment of clarity that led to me making a decision that was sort of a jolt to my system:

I am going to remain single for 2017

Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought this would be the route for me, yet here I am.

This thought process was probably brewing for some time, but I believe my recent 42nd birthday was the proverbial icing on the cake. I am 42 and have never ever been single for an entire year.

Since I began dating at the age of 16, I have never truly been single… 26 years of spending time with numerous iterations of “mr wrong” has taken it’s toll! So I’ve decided to step back, be a bit selfish, and take this time to just spend it on… ME!

Now don’t get me wrong, I still know that one day I shall marry again. And I also know that our relationship shall be amazing (how do I know, well because I’m preparing for him – but that’s a different blog post, for another day).

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A preview of my preparation for my future marriage… here are 2 books that I’m currently reading.

 

But for right now, in this brief snapshot of time, I am going to take a little time to focus on Donna…

Feels good to love myself!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

 

 

 

“Home” for the Holidays

We are in the throes of yet another holiday season. The holidays are a time that people often reflect on their life and their families. The idea of family is closely tied to the idea of home. While in my own process of deep thought I pondered this notion of “home”. What is “home”? This is a particularly relevant question for me as I am in the process of moving, yet another holiday season. Since returning to Georgia, in 2011, I have moved every single December, as if the characteristic of a nomad has somehow been adopted into my persona. However, I wasn’t always a drifter.

There was a point in life where I remained situated in the same home. I prided that home and took the time and care to clean, paint, and decorate that dwelling. I also made sure to coordinate and accentuate the décor with favorite knickknacks, figurines, and pictures. In fact, I was quite careful about ensuring that my home was filled with all of the right elements. However, I know I’m not the only one, as many of you will be able to relate. So many of us dedicate precious time to the details of our home, because as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz said: “there’s no place like home”. However, there came a time that I decided to leave my home and walk away from it all.

In the process of selling my home, I decided to go for a clean slate – so I gave away furniture, curtains, essentially everything. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the action of getting rid of my home and its beautiful objects, was symbolic of me shedding my reliance on material things to fill my home. It would be a few years before the ramification of what I did would hit me. I had got rid of everything external and was only left with what was on the inside!

Being left with only my internal resources, forced me to take stock of who I was: the good and the bad. Through that process, I came to a powerful conclusion – I finally accepted me, the lovable and even the not so lovable parts. Another realization that I had was the idea that “there is no place like home”, however, that “home” is not an external building. Instead that home is the body that encases the essence of “you”. Once you’re “comfortable with the skin you’re in”, then you’ll always feel at home (no matter where you are) because you’ve come to realize that “home is where the heart is” and that heart is within you!

I initially started this entry talking about my nomadic moving patterns. It may seem counterintuitive that it was during this time of excessive moving and lack of external stability, that I learned the most about me (the me that is within). However, a quote from the Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer, does a nice job of summing up my experience. He states: “No matter what happens, just enjoy the life that comes to you” because that is the path to unconditional happiness.

So as I stand here amidst the mountain of packed boxes, I eagerly anticipate the life that is coming to me, next.

May this holiday season be a time that you reflect on your own (internal) “home”, and the actions you take to fill it.

You Have What You Need…

The poem Invictus by W. E. Henley is a well-known and often cited work because of its last two lines: I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. 

A central theme of the poem is the notion of choice and self-responsibility over one’s life path. Therefore, this poem was an important piece of the curriculum during my work as a counselor for the Prep for Prep program (https://www.prepforprep.org). Prep is a program created to provide at-risk minority youth with opportunities for acceptance into and completion of studies at various prestigious institutions, of higher education, throughout the country. The curriculum developers understood that in order to “beat the odds”, these students would need to be intellectually and emotionally strong!

Although, it has been several years since I have worked with the Prep for Prep organization, the Invictus poem has never left my memory, particularly the first two lines which read:

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever Gods may be for my unconquerable soul. 

An unconquerable soul… an unconquerable soul… that means – no matter the circumstance, no matter the obstacle, no matter the challenge – that soul cannot be defeated.

These first two lines resonate with me because no longer are they merely two abstract sentences from a poem. Instead, they now describe a journey that I can personally identify with… you see I have had to face many difficult and downright overwhelming circumstances. Yet, here I still stand. Unconquerable, not defeated, unstoppable.

In the book, the Untethered Soul, Michael Singer explains that “through the ongoing journey of self-realization, you will develop a tremendous sense of respect for who you really are.” This discovery of self-respect and self-appreciation came as a result of realizing just how capable and strong I could be, in the midst of adversity. I wasn’t strong because I avoided trials and mistakes – instead I was strong because I challenged, faced, and overcame the trials – head on.

However, I will admit there were many days that I thought about quitting, but in each of those moments I found the resolve to keep going because of my renewed faith in the power of God. Psalm 138:3 states that “in the day when I cried thou answerdst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in soul”. In other words, when we cry out for help, God will answer; so cry out I did! And guess what I discovered… not only would God accompany me for the journey – but I was already equipped with EVERYTHING I needed to endure, to survive, to recover, and to thrive. How could I already have all that I would need?

Glenda the Good Witch, from the Wizard of Oz, would explain it this way: “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You’ve had it all along”

Michael Singer, in the Untethered Soul, would explain it this way: “once refocused, you will realize that you not only have the ability to find yourself, you have the ability to free yourself.”

Either way – the answer was still the same… we are each equipped to be strong, we just need to be reminded of it from time to time.

Find the Love Balance… A Continual process…

There’s the old adage that relationships take work… but why is that? Does it have anything to do with the fact that we were warned by our mothers, as the Shirelles sang in 1961: Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlImg2bm28

Maybe… But there has to be another reason…

I recently came across a picture of stick figures working to find the love balance. There they were – putting their little red hearts on the balance beams, until they were finally able to reach the point where each individual was equally invested. That picture illustrated several important relationship points:

1) Achieving balance will require the efforts and investment of BOTH parties

2) Imbalance will be inevitable, until balance is achieved

3) The process of finding balance is evolutionary – it is not a static/fixed point, which means it can and will change.

Although point #1 seemed like a no-brainer to me… I must admit, #2 and #3 did cause me to pause. Let me explain.

Point #2 points out that imbalance is a natural part of achieving balance within a relationship. So why did I find that so unsettling? After reflecting, I realized that I was hoping, in some naive way, that “the right relationship” would mean that I could avoid any and ALL uncomfortable feelings! However, not only is that impossible, I also now realize that way of existing would be limiting.

As Michael Singer explains in the Untethered Soul,

“don’t think you’d be free if you didn’t have [negative] kinds of feelings. If you can be free even though you’re having these kinds of feelings, then you’re really free – because there will always be something”.

So moral of the story, it’s important to get cozy with the idea that there will be imbalance and discomfort in a relationship. That’s okay. If both people are invested, you will work through and get to the place of balance.

Now on to point #3. That one was unsettling because it raised the idea that after putting in the hard work to achieve the balance earned in point #2, there would be moments where the whole process would have to be started all over again! Yikes! Which then leads back to my opening line about relationships requiring work.

Yes… the process of sustaining balance is a continuous one – just as the process of understanding oneself is a never-ending one. We will always need to make the conscious decision to love — love for others, love for ourselves. Each moment, of life, will beg the question of will you take the risk to be aware and learn or will you retreat into old habits and patterns?

Although I initially felt somewhat intimidated by the uncertainty involved in finding and keeping the balance in love, I now find comfort in the fact that I always have the power to choose. It is this ability of choice that leaves me feeling empowered, strengthened, and encouraged to love each and every day. And that I believe is what they call finding the balance…