Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Find Meaning in Time of Tragedy

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

I was hesitant to write this blog because of recent tragic events. I felt strongly that I was not in the place to write my piece on the horrific event. I feel at this point my heart is ready to say whatever flows through my fingers. I noticed, especially lately, every time I turn on the news there is some horror that has occurred. It seems as if I am watching a movie unfold. I cringe at the thought of turning on the news these days, but you can't get away from it. The second you go on the Internet you are bombarded with images, stories, and the social media. I am very active in social media, but lately I have strayed a bit. I think we all need to remember to take a break from certain things and go back to our lives for awhile. It is very easy to forget what is important and to go outside and just breathe.

When I first heard of the news on what happened to those angels and teachers at the elementary school, my heart dropped, my throat clenched, and I was in complete shock that a person could commit such an act. What could I do, where can I go, and how can I help were my first thoughts. As the type of person I am these are my normal thoughts and emotions. I was frantic in my thinking at that moment. Once I took some deep meditative breaths, I realized there was nothing I could do. I felt a bit a helpless, but I soon realized I was doing it. I was praying and sending my heart and love to all those people. It was at that point that I finally moved from my frozen space after awhile. The first thing you do is look at the people around you in your life. A million thoughts run through your head at the speed of lightening. Each person loved more that day and held each other more that day.

The truth is we never really think these things will happen to us or where we live. It doesn't matter how the nice the area or neighborhood Who believes such a thing would happen in a quiet, close knit, almost picturesque town? The fact is we should be thinking this way each and everyday of our lives. We should be striving for change daily. We must love fully and with our whole hearts all the time. There is no such thing as part-time love. The time is now. We must live for the now not knowing what is ahead, and we must do it the right way. Regardless of your religious beliefs or faith, when you are given a loud awakening you must respond to it. Life is not going to wait for us to get right. Life can mow you down in the blink of an eye if you allow it.

If someone told me tomorrow I had cancer, I would probably feel like I just ran into a brick wall. Why did I use this as an example? Well, even if I was never cured, it would create a different healing in me as I have experienced in other ways in my life. You fight for life with purpose and strength that you pull from anywhere you can find it. It is there, you just have to reach for it. The only way to heal is through finding something without ourselves that we never ever thought existed and becoming that person. You often hear people say I should have followed my dreams. Guess what? You can and should. Most of the time we wait until something happens that prompts us to finally LIVE. We should always be living and not settling as just a presence. Through bouts of healing I have found an entire person that I had no idea was inside of me, so I would never change anything that has happened for that very reason alone. It is the greatest gift I have ever been given.

We moan, we complain, we are saddened, we are angry, and just full of so many emotions over things that can't even compare and are trivial in relation to events such as what recently happened. It makes it all seem so full of ego. I pray, but do we pray all the time or just when it suits me? Do we go to GOD only when something bad happens and when he is needed or all the time as we should? We are all guilty of it in some way, but something like this makes you think twice about how you live your life. It makes you appreciate it that much more. We need to be grateful and appreciate our lives in full abundance no matter how many good days or bad days.

I can't fathom what to think, say, or feel after such heartbreaking news that we all have mourned over the past couple weeks. There are no right words. There is no quick fix. There is no softening the blow. There is no consoling that will fill the big hole in all the broken hearts. All that is left is to just love and love some more. Have faith and believe that in time healing will come, but it won't happen overnight. In fact, it won't happen for a very long time.

I don't want to make this blog about politics, gun control, mental health, or the man responsible. That is not what this is about. This is about connecting, feeling, and getting in touch with what is missing. It is to spread awareness and love throughout. We are in desperate need of those vital things. Our world has become superficial, violent, narcissistic, and dark in many ways. We need to wake up and spread glory and happiness without hesitation.

I will say it again...Love! That is the answer to so many things. It is not a magic potion, but it is what heals. I believe that with all my heart and soul. Don't wait for anything. Just do it! We need to come together as one unit, as a community, as a group, as a city, as a town, as a world, and as a universe.

It shouldn't be what can I do. It should be what can we do. What can we do TOGETHER! I pray for healing, for the souls, for the hearts of all those involved. I pray that GOD keeps his arms wrapped around them and protects them. My heart goes out to each and every one of them as my heart aches for them. We felt what happened as a nation and it hit hard. How many of these have to take place before something is done? That was the question that surrounded that day of unimaginable events Right away it became a debate. How many times have we all asked that question in the past decade? Let's not just ask questions. Let's take steps to create the world that we want and implement the changes.

I am not here to answer the plethora of questions that are being asked. All I want to do is reflect and love. I want us to REALLY see what is going on around us. We must open our eyes wide, because after several red flags it is time we take some type of action as ONE!

Our deepest fears are are no longer so deep. Everyday is a gift. Every person in your life is a gift. YOUR life is a gift. The greatest gifts in life often do not come in packages. Love unconditionally, have compassion, listen, open your heart, be grateful, forgive...One love!

There is always time to smile big, laugh hard, and dance like you have never danced before. In fact make it a priority. Put it on your to do list when you wake up. The sun can shine even when it is the darkest of days.

Many Blessings
D :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Magic of Broadway!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

It has been awhile since I've been to Broadway. This is my first show since I went with my grandmother before she passed away. As a child growing up I absolutely loved the bright lights and whole magic that Broadway brings. I adored every moment. I could see any show, and I was completely content. I was blessed to be brought up around the theatre thanks to one of the best people I have ever grandmother Rose. I fell in love with theatre the moment I walked through the doors of my first show Cats. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. My dream for awhile was to some day be a part of the magic.

Not many kids walk around talking about Broadway. I got to see shows and even meet some of the greats casts along the way. You walk into such an elegant setting as it dazzles you. The giant doors to an amazing escape open up and there you are. The lights, the stage, and the ambiance is breathtaking. This is before the show even starts. I would sit there waiting for the lights to dim and the show to begin. At that moment a smile would appear on my face as big as the sky. Those moments are some of the greatest of my childhood. I wanted to go every week to see every show.

That magic died along with her as I had not been to Broadway until today. It was truly AMAZING. I recently entered a contest on Facebook and to my surprise I won tickets to the show Scandalous. I contacted a good friend of mine with the awesome news of going to see a Broadway show and she was more than happy to accompany me.

I was right back where I was as a kid. I was back watching that magic of Broadway. I was smiling from ear to ear and just in awe of how I could have missed this experience so much. The thought that I had been away so long never crossed my mind. I guess I was used to going with my grandmother that it never came up often. I am not sure if I felt it wouldn't be the same, but she was there with me today. I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry sitting there watching these amazing performers on stage. The show was indescribable. It just so happened that we chose the final performance to attend, which always make it that much more special. One thought that came to mind is that what this show was about was not a mistake. It was not a coincidence this is the show I won tickets too. My grandmother would have enjoyed this show very much.

Carolee Carmello and Roz Ryan were ASTOUNDING. I look forward to their future performances. The voices, the acting, and the humor had me on the edge of my seat. I have never seen either actress on Broadway, but I did see some of the cast in Times Square for the free Broadway on Broadway awhile back. Carolee Carmello put on an incredible performance and her voice is that of an angel. The strength, power, and feeling that comes out of her is beyond words. It was a very well chosen ensemble. Everything from the set to the story was just great. It was as if I never left.  I wish I can recommend you all to go see this fabulous musical; however, they have had their last hoorah. I DO highly recommend going to see both Roz Ryan and Carolee Carmello on stage in any show.

When it was all over and done, I walked out those doors with a renewed sense of love for the theatre.

All I can say now is that my grandmother would have definitely approved! :)

Many blessings,

Enjoy the show!

D :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Are Not Too Busy! It is Bullsh*t!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

I’m so busy! Bullsh*t!
How often do we say time goes by so fast? We say it a lot right? I know I say it all the time. It was just yesterday I felt like I was graduating high school and not too long after that getting married. Now I am 33 and divorced. Not exactly the plan I had for my personal life. I don’t have regrets because I would not be where I am, who I am, and have the life and new amazing people that have become such good friends. I have come a long way, and accomplished quite a bit since my days where I felt a bit lost. I definitely lead an exciting life. I also reconnected with old friends over the last few years as well. Life changed for me, but I did regret losing touch with all those people back in the day. Of course years later thanks to social media life for me drastically changed in a variety of ways.

My main point today is that on a regular basis I either told people I was too busy, I will call you soon, or I will visit soon. Those days never came. I ended up losing touch for years or it was a touch and go every once in awhile. That is not how friendships or any relationship should work. Nobody is that busy. I used it as an excuse when I was tired or not in the mood. I should have just been honest, but instead I came up with a plethora of excuses. I even did that when making plans. I would make them and have to cancel for whatever reason or simply because I was exhausted. It was not because I did not want to see the person or hang out with the person, but eventually people stop asking, they stop calling, and they go about their lives. This rule should not just apply to friends, but loved ones (family) too.

When this happens we can’t expect anything less. People should not have to wait weeks or months for a call back or make plans just to have them broken. It was not on purpose, but things happen or come up. We make decisions on the spur of the moment. I have noticed I am not the only one who falls into this category. I think we all do to a certain extent, but I noticed people who truly don’t. They say they are going to call and they do. If you call them they pick up even if it is to say I have to call you back. They send a text and respond to a text. It might not be that second, but it doesn’t take a day to a week later. They make an effort to keep in touch. Some do this more than others. Does it depend on the friendship or how close you are? Friends are friends. Yes we have close friends, good friends, best friends, and friends that are like family. In my opinion, a true friend eventually becomes all of these at some point. It sounds funny, but they say you know it is real when you have survived your first fight. My friendships mean the world to me, but sometimes we need to show it more. We can’t just randomly, when we remember, say I miss you and love you. There needs to be communication on both ends. I can recall several times where a friend of mine called me various times and I kept forgetting to call her back. Shame on me! It had been months when I finally called her. Than it is a game of phone tag, which delays it even longer. It becomes a vicious cycle.
I have weathered plenty of storms with my friends, and they are still there. I guess that saying is true. I might even say they are stronger friendships because of those disagreements or arguments. I have lost friends, family, and other people that once were a part of my life quite a bit over the last year or so. It makes you sit down and truly ponder what if. All those times I cancelled or didn’t pick up the phone, and now it is too late. That feeling is horrendous. I never want to live through that again. So the next time, I won’t be too busy. The truth is it is bullshit anyway. Yes, all my friends are going to kill me for admitting this. Ha! Truth is the ones who know me already know this. We all have lives and are busy. Yes, some are busier compared to others, but spare me the speech that you don’t have a few minutes in a day to make a call, answer a text, and eventually have a conversation at some point. Is it really strenuous to hold a conversation these days where it does not involve texting? We have become so impersonal over the years. The fact that talking is now seen as inconvenient and secondary to texting is truly a shame. That one day will come when you go to call a person and they won’t pick up the phone or you will hear of news that breaks your heart as I have in the past.
You don’t have to talk for hours, just make time in your schedule for those that mean something to you, that you care about, that you love, that you cherish, that you are grateful for, and that are there for you. We get very few chances in life and if we are lucky we meet some of the most amazing individuals that we now call out friends. Life is just not long enough for us to say we are too busy every moment of every day. Don’t just wonder how someone is doing or try to have a conversation through a text message. I can’t tell you how many times I have done that and others have done it to me, and it is just absolutely ridiculous. By the time you do all that, you might as well have picked up the damn phone. If you don’t want to talk to that person just tell them. I don’t wanna talk right now or I can’t deal. Just stay away from the words “too busy” because again…it is BS!
Also don’t tell someone you are gonna call them and don’t. I won’t lie I am guilty of everything I have mentioned, but I had an epiphany over the weekend. I read an article about someone who took their life much like a couple of people I have known. If you don’t pick up the phone, visit, or make an effort to keep a relationship strong, it fades. I know I don’t want to be one of those people who sits and has regrets about something as silly as keeping in touch and visiting. I have already been one of those people. Not all of our friends are close, so it is important to stay in touch until we do see them. Being far away is just another excuse. A few loving words every now and then feel forced, and it is just not enough. I don’t want to have to always contact you, because I start to feel like a pest. That is what I say in my mind when I continue to make an effort and that person doesn’t. You begin to analyze and your mind wonders. You start to question the friendship and that person.
Oy vey! Fuggedaboudit. I can’t tell you where my mind goes. :0) It is really not that hard to forget about people, especially if they are far away. So make time, don’t waste time, make an effort, let them know you love them, let them know you care, and just give everything you have into your relationships you build both new and old. It is like nurturing a new born baby. We must nurture our relationships and cherish them. Be grateful for the people in your life. Saying it to yourself and knowing it is just not enough! Share the love, show the love, and spread the love! Love Love Love! It is all about the love people!

Many blessings
D ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Never Goodbye, Only See Ya Later!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

How many times in our life do we think that we have to say goodbye. The truth is we really don't. Is it truly ever goodbye anyway? Think about it for a second. Even in death, we will see that person again if that is your belief. Saying goodbye is like closing the door on that person. For the ones who are still here, you are still going to talk on the phone, text, Skype, email, and visit. Let's not forget the ever growing trend of keeping in touch through Facebook and Twitter. 

I very rarely say goodbye to anybody. I will say see ya later, talk to you soon, ciao, etc. I don't believe in goodbyes, just as I don't believe in going away angry. I don't even like going to bed angry. I am the type of person that likes everything solved the same day. Call me anal...maybe, but that is me.

I remember all the times while I was growing up and people were leaving or passing away, and I was so upset that I never got to say goodbye. I kept saying I will see you soon or I will call you soon. You procrastinate and soon becomes later and later. The sad thing is that later eventually becomes too late. We never know when someone will leave, so while they are in front of you make sure that you are not too busy to make time for that person even if it is just for a moment. That moment can last a lifetime. You don't want to kick yourself down the road. You don't want to say I shoulda, coulda, or woulda if only...blah blah blah.

Just do it! It is not hard, and it does not take much time to keep in touch. For those that live close to you, there are no excuses! Eventually, I realized that I didn't need to see them to say goodbye, and I did not want to say goodbye anyway. As far as I am concerned, I carry anybody who is gone around with me in my heart everyday. I know somehow I will see them again. I see the same strangers everyday living in NYC. It is amazing the familiar faces that you see. If I can meet the same strangers at any time of the day in this huge city, than I am sure as hell not saying goodbye to the people I know.

Even when a relationship is ending and you know you will never see that person again, you still don't necessarily have to say goodbye as in forever, because we should NEVER say NEVER! It is equal to us getting snockered one night and saying that we are NEVER going to touch another drink until a few days later when we do it again. We all know we have been there. There is no getting away from that one.

The truth is, is that we are all connected in some way. It might be further down the line, but you would be surprised how life works that way. A mutual friend might be friends with a person that you never thought you would see or speak to again. There is a reason these things happen when they do. When I got divorced I figured I would never see him again because we had no children. The hilarious thing is that we had a blast at our divorce hearing (if that even makes sense) and we remained best friends after that. I never had plans to say goodbye, but I was prepared to go our separate ways.

It wasn't until I moved back to NY where things started to fall apart with the friendship we tried to keep alive. Life just became different for both of us, and I think it was time to finally go down our own paths in life. Those paths were very different at that time in our lives. At one point I thought we would always be on the same path, but as we got older we grew apart. This happens with family, friends, and lovers. It just IS!

To this day, maybe about two or so years now if not more, we have not spoken. Do I think one day we will again? Maybe...just maybe. My point is, is that people come and go in our lives. They make an impression. It might be a good or bad or both, but they leave a mark. I think of all the people I have lost and it saddens me, but than I remember it is not the end!

To me when you say goodbye, you are saying that you will forget everything about that person and what they meant to you. I have no time for goodbyes in my life. My heart is big enough for everybody to fit inside of it and take along for the ride. Goodbye is much too final...

I left so many great friends when I moved back home to New York. It had been years since I had lived here, and I had made tons and tons of friends while I lived in Florida for all those years. That was about the only thing that might have stopped me from leaving; however, it didn't, and you know why? I felt it was vital for me to follow my heart at that point. You can't be afraid to live because of a fear of saying goodbye. This is another good point to mention. The fear of those words or actions prevents people from living or just simply doing. I have to say at that time it did not even cross my mind who I saw and who I did not see. I had a goal in mind, and I went for it.

At first this bothered me, but than I realized that I was going to see them when I visited or they visited me. Not to mention the fact I speak to most of them often. I will admit I got angry with some of them because I couldn't believe that they had no problem not seeing me off or saying goodbye. Did they think like I did? They sure did. I found out some were not able to bring themselves to see me, because it was much too hard. I understood that in a way, but I told them it will never be goodbye. I had no right to be upset because I made no effort myself due to the same fear. I let fear stop me from seeing people I loved for what would be a long time until I was back. In the end, that was the real reason I was upset. It was not about the goodbyes.

I remember one of my last encounters before I left Florida was with my ex-father-in-law, as my ex-husband was the one who drove me back to New York. This was what ended up being our last hurrah together! It was bitter-sweet I will say. It was a new chapter for me and I was both scared and excited. He helped me with the scared part. My last day in Florida as I looked up at my ex-husband I saw tears rolling down his face just as they did when he left me in New York. I will admit they did for me too. It was not because it was goodbye, it was because it was the end of our life together. It was the end of a life I had built there for many years as well, but it was good for us to have that moment. I did not let fear stop any emotions that day as I normally would have. I never said goodbye to him, because it wasn't goodbye. It was I will speak to you soon. I spoke to him for a long time  until after that until the time came to completely close the book on our relationship. Unfortunately, there are endings even without goodbyes.

My friend said, "I thought you don't believe in goodbyes." I said, "I don't, but I do believe in endings" I wasn't exactly sure what the difference was or what I meant by that. I am still not sure if I do. The way I see it, an ending is just a new beginning. An ending just means the story is over, but not that it can't be re-written or a new chapter added. An ending might be closing a door, but I will always leave a window open. In my book, a goodbye is forever!

When my Nonna passed away, I never not once said goodbye to her. I refused to even when she was alive I told her she had to live forever, and she will do just that inside of me. You can keep anybody alive when they have passed on. They live through you, your family, your children, and your memories. Unless you are giving up on all of those, than they are never completely gone. I see her all around me in total strangers. Of course I get upset when I think about her not being here with me, but oddly, it puts a smile on my face.

Even when the book is closed, it does not mean it can never be re-opened. Just might need a little dusting! :)

I will see YOU later!  

D :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Special Day!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

I have to be honest when I say this is one of the most awesome things I could have received on my birthday from a friend. The fact that she knew it was probably hard for me for my first birthday without my grandmother was so thoughtful, and it was in fact a very different birthday compared to any other. It was sad and difficult, but I got through it. The fact that I was injured threw my plans out the window anyway; however, I was completely overwhelmed by the love, the messages, the texts, the calls, and posts from my friends and loved ones. It made my day much easier.

You know for years I haven't done much. I am not sure exactly why I never did. I have always seen it as just another day, and I have had some awesome birthday opportunities that I just turned down flat. People always asked me what I did because they expected something huge as I always go big. When I used to sit on the couch and have those talks with my Nonna she always told me that it is not just another day. She said it was my special day and should be celebrated. I never took it seriously when she said that. I figured I will make her happy and tell her it was fabulous. I am just not in the mood to do anything was not an answer she was willing to accept.

To this day, I wonder what happened along the way where my birthday became almost non-existent to me. It is almost as if in my mind it was already ruined for whatever reason that escaped me. I was completely negative in every aspect of my "so called" special day. I guess I was always waiting for a shoe to drop or something to happen as it did in the past that would ruin it. I figured I would stay ahead of the game by just expecting a catastrophe or for someone important to me to forget. I no longer waited for phone calls, texts, cards, or messages.

The truth is , every year there was always something that I felt took the feeling out of my birthday. In my opinion, the zest was gone. I realized I was the one holding onto something that no longer made birthdays a big deal. My Nonna was right! They are a big day. It is celebrating life, health, and happiness with the ones that are close to us. It is all about the love. Rather than being stubborn or a party pooper, I should be the life of the party as is expected of me. I don't want to bring other people down around me or assume I am going to treat their special day as I do mine. In fact, I always went way beyond on birthdays for those I cared about and loved. I wanted to do for others, but I did not let others do for me.

Now, that makes absolutely no sense...right?! I guess I figured since I am older why does it need to be this big extravaganza. By doing this, how can I blame a person for not making a big deal or forgetting. That would be my own fault. When you treat something as if it does not exist, than it tends to fade away on its own.

Now that my grandmother is gone, I have to make a promise to myself to make sure that on my special day I make it exactly that...a special day! I know she would disappointed in me if I did not. Now that she is seeing every move I make from up above, it a bit harder to fib :)  Why shouldn't I celebrate my special day? It is another year I am grateful to be alive and have the life that I have. I have amazing people in my life that I cherish. Why not go big? Boy, I have been missing out!

The true meaning of a birthday "a special day" is not about presents or parties (although those are good too hehe). It is about people who want to share that day with you, wish you the best, show you they love and care about you, and celebrate being YOU and all the special amazing things about YOU! It is indeed a special day! Sometimes we get caught up in being busy and the unimportant things that we lose sight of this.

Make sure that each and every year you celebrate your "special day" in a very special way! Don't underplay it, ignore it, or ever be too busy to do something no matter how small it might be. It is a day that should be acknowledged.

My Nonna gave me an amazing gift this year...she reminded me what my special day is all about! Of course, she always drilled this into my head for years, but for some reason this year it stuck!

Actually, from now on I am going to wish the people in my life a "HAPPY SPECIAL DAY"! It just works.  

D :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Life Is Funny That Way!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

Ya know life is funny sometimes. I recently have been saying that a great deal, and I have heard it from my friends as well. Rough times come like a whirlwind and overwhelm you to the point of insanity at times. When it rains, it certainly does pour. We often find ourselves saying...
"what else could possibly happen?" Be careful what you ask for because the universe WILL show you!

Recently it all came to a head for me. I fell off my path for a bit awhile back because it became too much, and I was holding it down inside. Exhaustion is the best word for it! The funny thing that in venting this to my friend I realized a world of change about myself. As I am listening to her and of course cracking jokes while spewing words redundantly due to stress, I was proud of myself. Usually I run, hide, push back, and don't open up. I would reach out and than pull back. Everything I am pretty much against and tell other not to do. You know how frustrating that is when people want to help because they care and love you? Oy vey! I can imagine because it has happened to me, and I was like grrrrrrrrrr! I never realized how much I did it myself. I didn't do that this time. I crossed some major bridges. Not to mention, I broke other old habits as well. When you are not used to talking about yourself and being the one to help others and offer guidance, this is a common occurrence. You stay strong and tough, and that is all you know how to be. This is me! I am not sure I know how to be any other way. You get used to it when doing it for so long. I don't like to talk about myself; however, the past year I find myself doing it a great deal. It is because of amazing good friends that I was able to open up again and find trust. Good, loyal, real friends.

We are not perfect. Even the best of mentors, counselors, therapist, coaches, and so on have their moments or their quirks. We all do. Nobody is exempt or immune from normal human emotions, craziness, tragedy, or falling off track. If someone tells you they are, than I would question that statement. Just saying.

I can make excuses for the past, but the truth is you get stuck in your story even when you think your not. You find yourself going oops I am telling it for the hundredth time. Yay! Nobody wants to hear the same sh*t a thousand times. I know I don't, but I will do it regardless for the people I love. Oh, but by the way, I will let them know it once they are done just as I want them to do with me. My friend did just that with me when I needed it. It is even more of hoot when you both project, but the truth is we all project to some degree when having been through an ordeal or done wrong. I have done it without even realizing it, and than there were times I did notice it.

So, while I was talking away it wasn't that she didn't have compassion or understanding, but she wanted to get through to me at the same time in a loving way, which she always does. She wanted to stop me from going backwards, which is what friends do for each other. I do the same for her. You still have to be honest with the people in your life. We often look to be coddled or told what we want to hear. It is not about being right or what a person did, it is about being happy. I AM the one who controls what I let get to me or throw me off my journey. In my ranting I was giving power to the source. I was trying to make my point. I wasn't looking for anything, but I wanted to feel justified as we all do when things don't go our way or we get hurt by another.

I also started to wonder into some other things that happened and some things weighing on my mind. Did you  hear what I just said? How can I not be upset? Why are you not upset for me? These are the questions a person asks themselves when they don't get the response they think they need at the time. The truth is a good friend doesn't try to fuel the fire that's why! You don't want friends that are going to keep you miserable in your story. You want people that will make a positive difference in your life. They do have sympathy, but you are not going to always here "awe poor baby"! What is that gonna do but feed the victim mode that we all must stay away from. You can't put blame either because all that does is feed the need to become angry. The details don't always matter. The ending is what matters. What you learned from the experience matters. The beginning of another chapter matters.

We write our stories. Throw the old one away and start fresh. Your new story will begin to write itself once you find your way. Let each page be a surprise and create as you go. The best stories often have no ending...just a new beginning!

Many blessings
D :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

There Are Signs All Around Us!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

So many times in life we ask ourselves why me? What have I done wrong to deserve what is happening right now? I know I have asked myself those very same questions time and time again. In fact, I have been questioning just about everything since I was14 years old. I never felt satisfied enough to stay content for a long period of time. I constantly questioned everything. I felt there was more to life than what I was living or doing at that very moment. I made the decision at some point to just do what I wanted without thinking twice about who, what, or where. Nobody was going to stop me. I had a blueprint in my mind all worked out. The problem with that belief is that it is a false hope. I became more stubborn and attached to my own inner feelings rather than to the signs in front of me. My trust and faith became distorted somewhere between the fight of my free will and the determination to make my mark.

We make plans, have ambitions, and set goals for ourselves, but when they don't happen we look around for who we can blame. I am not saying that we do not have free will, but I have come to learn that there is a plan for everybody. There is always a reason behind even the smallest of events. Is it pre-destined? Yes! If you think about it, our lives have a set path when we are born. Many of us choose to take another, but I believe we end up where we are supposed to be in the end regardless. We only make our routes longer by not seeing the signs. Basically, we are meant to be a fixture, and it is up to us to figure out what that fixture is by listening and following our heart. Nothing is a coincidence. When an idea or desire pops into our heads, there is a reason why that is. Its like when you get that bad feeling that something is wrong or some would say a gut feeling. I believe in going with those feelings when they are both good and bad. Again, it is not by chance that are intuition works this way. It means taking action to find out why rather than sitting around worrying or analyzing something to death. Let's face it, most of us probably do the second thing. I know I have and still do on occasion.

The longing and yearning that we have burning inside of us comes from somewhere. We are given the set of tools, but what we choose to do with them is up to us.  It is up to us to live the life we were we want. Nobody is coming to do it for you. The steps that we must take have to be with our own two feet. This is done slowly by putting one foot in front of the other until we get to that door and open it to see what is behind it. Some people will take a path where they get so lost, it is hard to find a way back. It is possible but some will stay and curiously wander in that darkness for too long.

There are not always words to describe how we are feeling. Let's be real, sometimes nothing helps. The fix will not always be as simple as inspirational posters, signs, or sayings. We need to actually DO SOMETHING. Feeling good is a part of that, but the work that is involved breaks much more of a sweat. That being said, it doesn't hurt to have a little boost of motivation from whatever the source might be. We will fall, will get angry, we will make mistakes, we will get sad, we will get depressed, and we will have vices. We will never truly be perfect because that is not real life. It does not exist! I am not the type of person to walk around with a smile on my face 24 hours a day 7 days a week acting as if my world is always filled with rainbows and ponies. I believe it is healthy to show your emotions as they are happening. I already tried the push everything down approach for years, and that does nothing but create storms of anger later on in life. I think it is a completely normal and human thing to do. I don't want to bring the world down with me, but I prefer to be real. If I want to say something or I feel like doing something at the moment I do it. It might not be the best choice, but over time you learn to express with grace.

Do you know how many people fake it until they make it? People put smiles on their faces, they laugh, they mingle, they do whatever it takes to hide what is behind the facade. Most would think their lives are great at that moment and they are amazing. The truth is, most of those people have secrets or pain just like the rest of us do. They have just as much craziness in their lives. We often paint a picture of what we want people to see, even those closest to us. We will tell lies or say everything is fine, but the truth is far from those words. I'm fine or I'm ok are the two most used phrases that signal something is not right. I would bet on it almost every time. The next time you are envious, jealous, or eager to step into a lifestyle that seems like it is a party, think twice about that. You might just be stepping into something unexpected.

Make something of your life and cherish it rather than wishing you had someone else's. You were given the one you have because you can handle it. Sometimes we are taught to be humble and things change to show us something we did not see before. When you look in the mirror you should see that change. It might look cracked in the beginning, but those cracks will slowly disappear one by one. From one day to the next our lives can change drastically...but why? Ask yourself that question. I bet if you dig deep enough you will find the answer.  Nobody is standing behind you giggling. Things do not happen in our lives as a way to make us suffer or a punishment for something we did. Just look around you because the signs are everywhere. The people in your life are there for a reason as well. They are there to break your fall and dust you off when you get back up. There are there to help you survive. There are part of the plan, and they represent the signs.
Every breathe we take has meaning to it. You never know who might be standing next to you or who you might have an encounter with, because whatever your beliefs are, there are angels all around. All of us have had those moments where we go, "that was just weird" and something happens directly after that moment. Do you know what that instant feeling is? That is something falling into the plan. It was a sign! This could be as simple as a new friendship or relationship. Something is going on in the lives of two people that happen to run into each other along the way and it begins. Have you ever had a friend that you feel very connected with or a strong bond? You almost don't ever have to explain or defend yourself because they already know or understand. There is no judgement only love because they just get you. There is never the argument of I was there for you so you need to be there for me. There is only we are there for each other. You can vent until dooms day and they let you. There will always be normal bumps and bruises in ANY relationship, but in the end your even stronger than before.

Signs are meant to open our hearts and lift us up. They are there to lead us in the right direction or back onto the path we are meant to be on. At times it is going to seem like there is a dark cloud over you, but it will clear. There is something that you are supposed to be seeing or doing and until it is completed, it will continue to hover. It is not always easy to see these signs, and it causes us to become consumed with the wrong emotions. It happens to everybody, but if you just sit back and breathe without putting up a fight, you will see it, feel it, and embrace it. Don't we learn from our mistakes? Well when we need to be taught or shown something we are meant to see, things will take place to get that done. No test is too big or too small and it might break us down, but...

"Sometimes the darkness is necessary to remind us how beautiful the light can be" - unknown

Remember to always look for the signs. They come in many forms! Have faith in your beliefs, in yourself, and in the people in your life. Don't try to figure out life on your own. I believe the actual plan is for us to recognize these signs.


Be Blessed,
 D :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NYC Sugary Drink Ban is A Joke!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

I can stress enough how much I feel this ban on tall sugary drinks is ridiculous. Yet Bloomberg feels that we should celebrate National Donut Day? I think he should look at the calories, fat content, and sugar in a donut compared to a sugary drink. I am guessing that he must have been bored because it does not make a bit of sense to me how this ban is going to suddenly change anything. I agree that obesity is major problem, but it goes much further than a soda. You have to start somewhere, but this ban is not the place.

I am curious, does this mean there is going to be a ban on refills and how many drinks you can purchase? If it doesn't, than it is pointless. People have free will to make their own choices. You can't make a law telling a person what they can drink and eat. Let us not forget the other foods and drinks that cause obesity as well such as alcohol, chips, cookies, cakes, and a plethora of other crap that you would have to ban as well. Now I ask, saaaaaaaaay whaaaaaaaaa? This is beyond words...asinine.

How about the lunches in schools and all the crap they serve to kids? What about lowering the prices of healthy choices in restaurants and stores? If you go into a health food store or a regular grocery anything organic, natural, vegetarian, or vegan is usually more expensive. You spend twice as much and end up with less food. Maybe not make junk food so easily accessible by making it cheap. It is a fact that the less healthy choices are more affordable in today's economy. People can't afford to spend $300 shopping these days. These are the things that we should be looking at. There are so many more pressing issues than banning a friggin drink. The entire state of New York is laughing. Not one person I have spoken to agrees with this ban or see it even making a dent in the obesity epidemic.

Listen, if the mayor needs something to do, I can surely make a list for him. People are on the streets, losing their jobs, can't pay their bills, can't find a job, and he is worried about soda...REALLY? For sure, that is totally balanced. Let's tackle world peace, minimum wage, or cost of living. Anything but this, because it is a giant waste of time and money. It is essentially a joke! Am I gonna get a ticket for driving around or walking with a soda over 16 oz? I am relieved in knowing that I can walk around with a dozen donuts though. Whew! What a weight that is off my shoulders!

We also have to consider that the role of the parents here. It is their job to teach their kids and control what they are eating and drinking not the mayors. This is also where computers, television, and video games come into play. When I was a kid, I was out playing and running around constantly. I rarely sat around doing the things that kids do today. Kids seem to be much more sedentary with all the new technology these days. Pretty soon they are going to make it where you never have to leave the house to do anything. I am a huge fan of technology, but I don't make it my life. Kids need to get out of the house and get fresh air. This is also up to the parents.

I commend the attempt to do something about the issue, because it is serious; however, let's be productive shall we? Just saying!

Hey can someone grab me a 32 oz. soda? :)

Thanks for listening...come back again soon!

D :)

Live Like A Dog!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.
My Bella wants to be a model :)

I bet the title of this blog sounds a bit odd, but I guarantee you will agree when you get to the end. I am an lover of all animals. I have had several over the years, and they all have the same purpose in life. They all want to have a good home, food, clothes on their back (for some haha), and love. I am going to be honest if I could open a ginormous facility to save all animals, I would. I would have a place of sanctuary for them with the best care where they all lived in harmony happily ever after. Hey dogs can do yoga too! :)

That being said, think about the life of a dog for a moment. They make us laugh, they comfort us, they fill up our hearts, they play with us, they are fun, they cuddle, they smile (in a weird dog way), they listen (It's true...I am not crazy. How many of you talk to your dogs? Yeah thought so!), they keep us company, they are our best friends, they are part of the family, they get excited to see you each time like it's been years, and they give us unconditional love. When you think about it they are not much different than we are, and their needs are much the same as well. They need health care, they need dental care, and they need proper hygiene, they have pet insurance just as we have medical insurance, they get into things, they do things they are not supposed to do, they make a mess, and they get reprimanded or yelled at for getting into trouble.

Unfortunately dogs do not always have the lifespan we want them too much like the people in our lives. Dogs don't talk, but they bark at us when they want something or they cry when they are sick, hurt, or in pain, and they get sad or depressed just as we do. They let us know something is wrong, when we might be in danger, they protect us, they guard us, they aid people who have disabilities, they aid each other, and they save lives.

The sad part is that they are also killed, mistreated, and abused. How anybody can do any of these things is beyond me. I can't even bring myself to watch those commercials of abused animals or ones that are caged and in need of homes. They survive some incredible feats, and they still find the capacity to give their love to someone else. Forgiveness for them is an automatic act. It might sound silly, but essentially that is what they are doing.

So, why live like a dog? Well, let's see what they teach and inspire based on all of the above:
  • Unconditional love
  • No fear
  • Compassion
  • Strength
  • Loyalty
  • Understanding
  • Affection
  • Courage
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Forgiveness
  • Survival
  • Kindness
  • Healing
  • Family
These are some of the most important lessons we learn in life. Dog's don't think twice about any of it. The next time you need a life lesson turn to your furry friend.

So again I say, LIVE LIKE A DOG! :)

D :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Let's Talk About It With Actor Mpho Koaho!

I connected with Mpho Koaho on Twitter and Facebook, and we quickly formed a social media friendship. He is one funny guy and a joy to talk to regularly. His personality is very unique, which I love. I have to say I adore him and his work. He has an immense talent, and truly appreciates his fans. He regularly interacts with them on both Twitter and Facebook. They say you find and make connections in the oddest of places, and I certainly am starting to believe that. I have met and connected with some amazing people through social media, and he happens to be one of my favorites. So I chose to get to get a bit more personal with him and get the inside scoop of his show and some other great things! So...

Let's Talk About It With Mpho Koaho!

Q. I know you are an amazing actor, along with anybody who has seen your work, and you have certainly done quite a bit. What I want to know is about you and your character on Falling Skies. What is Falling Skies about?

A. On Falling Skies I play "Anthony" an ex Boston Police officer, who joins the resistance (2nd Mass) as a fighter/protector of the civilians. Anthony is the voice of reason, eager to kill aliens, yet intelligent enough to know when to strategize a better attack.

Falling Skies takes place 6 months into an alien invasion of earth, where over 90% of the population has been killed. The last group of civilians in (ideally present day) Boston form a group of resistances, with the idea of survival, and giving whatever humans left the best chance to continue...

Q. What are some of your other passions or did you always want to act?

A. I posses musical abilities equal to my acting abilities. Music is always something I've had a passion for, but I have not put the same time into it that I have with my acting. Look for that to change. I plan to release some music very soon...

Q. What is your ultimate goal and dream that you are striving towards right now?

A. My ultimate goal right now is to be both an A list actor, and a mainstream recording artist. Two difficult careers to juggle, but I have great belief in my ability to do so.

Q. What inspires you to do what you do? Where do you get your inspiration from?

A. I'm a pretty self motivated individual. That said, the inequality in my industry motivates me a great deal. The struggle motivates me. Knowing Hollywood is a predominately white industry motivates me. Greatness motivates me.

Q. Do you have any current projects or recent projects you can tell us about?

A. I just completed a short film for "Bravo-Fact" here in Canada entitled "Canoe-Jacked". It is a comedy starring the legendary Al Sapienza (The Sopranos, Brotherhood), yours truly, and is directed by Jonathan Williams.
Mpho Koaho on Falling Skies
Synopsis: Al and I escaped convicts being chased through the wilderness. We find a canoe, steal it from its owner, and attempt to paddle to freedom while being shot at lol.

Q. I know Charlie Zone is a recent film you just did...tell me more about the movie and your part.

A. Charlie Zone is a gritty drama/thrilled filmed in the streets of "Dartmouth, Nova Scotia". The film follows an ex boxer who is paid $20,000 to "kidnap" a girl from the "Zoo House" and return her to her "parents". I play "Donny" the "Keeper"  of the Zoo House. He is an ex junkie in search of a better life for himself, and his kids.

Q. Do you guys have fun on the set of Falling Skies? Is everybody pretty close?

A. There is a lot of fun had on the Falling Skies set. We're all pretty close. A very upbeat crew as well, lots of jokes, convos between cast and crew. An all around fun place to be.

Q. Are you involved with any charities or organizations close to your heart?

A. I am not involved with any charities at the moment. I do want to do some youth work with the community center I attended very soon.

Q. What are some fun facts about Mpho? :)

A. haha a fun fact about me is that I'm a fun guy! Never a dull moment! Oh...I like broccoli lol. (Dana steps in: As I said above, he is a funny guy. Was I right or was I right?)

Q. Do you have any funny stories or pranks from the set of Falling Skies?

A. I can't think of any right now, and if/when I do...I am sure they will be Rated R!!! lol

Q. You are very active in the social media world. Do you find it helps you in your business or do you do it as a leisure activity?

A. If it helps me in business, I have not noticed yet. Social media is something I would still do if I wasn't acting. I don't just post stuff on Facebook about my career or tweet solely to promote myself. I actually think its the complete opposite. I make myself accessible to fans more than anything.

Q. Is there anything that your fans and people would be surprised to know about you?

A. I did gymnastics as a child, and won quite a few medals doing so. That might surprise some people.

Q. Who are some fellow actor or actresses you would like to work with in the future?

A. I need to work with Jeffrey Wright in the future, really want to do some stuff with Shia Labeouf, Denzel of course. I'm completely infatuated with Jennifer Ehle after watching "Contagion", and would love to work with her someday.

Q. Do you have any plans to do any of your own work in the future?

A. Most definitely, currently collaborating with my writers/friends Vendetta Williams, and Darren Anthony with hopes of penning some scripts for myself and "Lost Girl" star "K.C. Collins". Lookout for those projects in the future.

Q. What websites can we find Mr. Koaho on?

A. No website at the moment, working on that. For now, I'm on Twitter (@MphoAK) as well as on Facebook (

Q. Is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans out there?

A. Much love to everyone who supports me, can't thank you enough.

Well, there you have it folks. I want to thank Mpho Koaho for doing this interview with me. It was my pleasure. It was great to get a little more personal with the him personally and as an actor. As you can see, he is a very talented and amazing individual. Look out for this one. He is going to make even bigger waves. I highly recommend you follow him on Twitter and check out his page on Facebook for updates.

Tune into Falling Skies Premiere on Sunday June 17th on TNT at 9 pm eastern!

The shows website is

Stay tuned for more great interviews...


D :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Let's Talk About It With Musician/Artist Laura Cheadle!

I had the pleasure of interviewing the awesome and talented artist Laura Cheadle who is a well-known up and coming musician and singer. Laura and I connected awhile back through none other than social media. Facebook to be exact and than Twitter. I quickly became a huge fan of her work. It is incredible who you meet and connect with through social media. Not everybody stays with you, but the ones that do, make their mark. The old fashioned way of making friends has gone to entirely new level. She is just one of the awesome people I have come to know. Laura is not only an amazing artist, but she is also an all around incredible person. Though she is very busy, as am I, we still keep in touch online, and hopefully I will be attending to her upcoming show in NYC on June 2nd at the UC Lounge on 87 Ludlow St. in NYC at 8pm.

It is not often that through success that all people remain humble, kind, family oriented, and grateful. Laura regularly interacts with her friends and lets them know they are always appreciated.

In my session of Let's Talk About It with Lauara Cheadle she discussed her music, her family, hobbies, and some fun facts. So...Let's Talk About It With Laura Cheadle!

Q. Tell me about yourself and your music?

A. I like to call myself a "Funky Singer-Songwriter" I am a songwriter, yet my music always has a funk, soul, blues or jazzy groove to it :)

Q. What got you into music or what first attracted you to it?

A. I like to joke and say I sang right out of the womb. My father, James Cheadle, is a very well known musician and I grew up with music all around me. Music was in my life every single day in my house. If I weren't involved in music, it'd be very odd!

Q. Is your family involved at all or is it just you in the business?

A. Haha We are an all family band! I record all of my CDs at my father's recording studio: 9 South Productions. My father plays keyboard in the band, my brother Jimmy Lee plays lead guitar, my other brother Nick (and also the identical twin of Jimmy Lee) plays keyboard. The two "Honorary Cheadle's" of the band are "Cousin" Ben Smith on drums and my dad's old friend "Phuncle" Tom Vail on the bass. My dad and Tom were in a band in their 20's. Every one fits perfectly in our band and we have a great time! My mom of course is smiling at every show in the audience :)

Q. Is music your main passion?

A. I live and breathe it :)

Q. If you could do anything else in the world, what would it be?

A. I can't imagine a world without pursuing music.

Q. where do you usually perform?

A. We perform all over! We do many East Coast shows in Philly, NYC, PA, NJ since we are located in NJ. We recently opened for some great acts...John Oates/Hall and Oates, Average White Band and played Bruce Springsteen's after party along with the late Clarence Clemons son Nick. We will be traveling internationally soon so stay tuned for more tour dates!

Q. Do you write your own songs or just perform/sing them?

A. Yes, I write all of my own music and lyrics :) I also love to co-write with my father and my best friend Nora O'Brien.

Q. Where does your inspiration come from?

A. My inspiration just comes to. I have a new CD coming out and the songs range from being about things that happened in the world, love, and introspection. I have woken myself up many times with lyrics in my head.

Q. How long have you been an musician/artist?

A. I have been touring since I was 4 years old :)

Q. What is your ultimate dream as an artist?

A. My ultimate dream is to always perform for smiling faces :)

Q. What are some of your other hobbies?

A. Other hobbies are vegan cooking and running.
Laura's Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Looks Yummy to me!
Q. Can people purchase your merchandise? If so where and What?

A. They sure can! I have 'Stay Funky' T-shirts and many studio albums, Live Albums and even a Christmas Album available at
I also sell them at every show :)

Q. Any charities or organizations close to your heart or that you are involved in?

A. Yes, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (I have a music Video about this charity that features the Children in Africa. See that video HERE ), Save The children and I am very much into Human Rights.

Q. What are your future plans as a musician?

A. To continue touring and making people happy with my music!

Q. Do you have plans for any new music other than what you currently have out there?

A. Yes, a new CD entitled "What's It's All About" will be released this year! The theme of this CD is "Funky with a Conscience" We are hard at work in the studio! You can check out a sneak peak of this new CD at my website:

Q. Is there anything you would like people to know about you that some of your fans might find surprising?

A. I am a runner and a strict vegan and I LOVE Tofu and broccoli :)

Q. Where can people find you and your music?


Please check out Laura's website for her upcoming shows at:

As you can see Laura is filled with happiness, positivity, and inspiration. It shines through in her responses. If you noticed she put a smiley face almost next to every answer. I included them because they represent something about her.

I want to thank my friend Laura Cheadle for her time. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this interview. I look forward to working with Laura again. Keep your eyes out for this one folks, and I highly recommend you checking her out when she is in your city!!

Stay funky my friends!

D ;)



Friday, May 25, 2012

This is What I Have Learned!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

What I have learned in my almost 33 years on earth is not complicated. In fact, it is very simple. I have thought about the countless hours and days I have spent wondering, worrying, analyzing, and dwelling on subjects that were pointless. I basically wasted many minutes of my life that I can't get back. A friend of mine has made this point to me several times over the past year. Many of us don't realize the short time we have and that we get one chance. Sure, when it comes up we think about it; otherwise, it is often far from our minds.

BAM! One day you realize that you are getting older and there are many things you wish you would have said or accomplished. The fact is, it is never too late to achieve goals. There is no age limit on our desires, because we come into them and out them as we age. We grow and contemplate on what our next move will be. Some of us want notoriety, fame, recognition, family, good friends, and success. Some just go with the natural flow and search for the signs. Who would not want all these things. The difference between each individual, as unique as we are, is that most just want to be happy. Happiness is the real goal here in life. TRUE HAPPINESS!

This is attainable if we try remember that life also comes with hurt, despair, disappointment, sadness, anger, trials and tribulations, sickness, pain, mistakes, regrets, heartache, struggle, failure, negativity, weakness, and death. There is no escaping these. This is how and why we survive. If life did not consist of both good and bad, than where would we be? Really ask yourself this question. What is it all about? Another thing I learned is that forgiveness and love is the key! We must learn to do both with our entire heart. Love your family, friends, and tell them as much as you can. Show gratitude in each day that passes. We must be thankful!

If it was not for a good friend of mine who I have confided a great deal in over the past year, I would still be bouncing back and forth between my two worlds. The truth? Everyday is a challenge that we must face. There is no escaping the inevitable, but we can learn how to manage. I am not saying any of this will be easy, but it can be done with grace. If we continue to repeat the same things over and over, you will only be standing still. Nobody wants to face the same obstacles over and over and over again.

I have learned a fresh start does not mean your past will not follow you. You must deal with it and move on. There is no such thing as running away from your problems despite what we might think. In all of this we will also find strength, power, and a reason to fight. People will care for you, love you, be there for you through anything, catch you when you fall, listen to you, have compassion, be understanding and loyal, and will always be in your life, than you have those will be the complete opposite of all those things. Those are not the people you want to attract or interact with. You have to remember to cherish what you do have. It is something truly special. There is always someone worse off than the next.

We must appreciate no matter how big or small. Too often we are looking for what is not there, and we forget what is right in front of us. Don't push people away. We might find it easier thinking we are doing them a favor by keeping them at arms length, lashing out, unintentionally hurting them, or pretending we do not care; however, who says you get to make the decision? If they have been there with you through tough times, you can pretty much bet they are not leaving you now. Learn to trust and not question.

I realized I can't read minds and neither can the people in my life, so reach out when you are in need. Don't assume they are too busy or you don't want to be a bother. That is what they are there for. Just keep in mind they have there life to deal with as well. Understand they have to take care of themselves as well. There will be times they can't be there the way they want to be. Give them their time and space or help each other. Be gentle with yourselves and others. Don't assume that life is easier for someone else. You never know what people are going through or have been through.
Be kind and smile even when you are faking it. Laugh as much as you can because it will make all the difference for your soul. Have faith in everything you do and in people. Believe and trust it! If there is something you want, than go after it fiercely. There is NO SHAME in falling or even failing. We all do, and we just have to learn when it is time to dust ourselves off and move on.

The past? Leave it there. Trust me on this one. The last thing you want to do is drag that with you everywhere. It can be a heavy burden. Life can be beautiful if we choose to see the good through all the bad. Everything that happened, it happened for a reason and now it is time to focus on the future. No sense living in the darkness! When you face a barrier, you must conquer it before you can REALLY move forward. We all think, including myself, we got through something when in reality we just survived it. Believe it or not there is a difference.

Take care of you, and than be of service. First and foremost, you are priority. We all need to break through our own walls so we can be of clear mind to help another. Just remember, if you want to make a change you can. You have to WANT it bad enough, because nobody can do it for you. Be honest with those around you, but most importantly yourself. Sometimes a friend might sound harsh or even like they are yelling at you, but know that it is because they care. If they didn't, do you really think they would waste their energy. Telling someone what they want to hear will never be real. It is all bullsh*t and will not get you closer to the ultimate truth. We all need that kick in the ass sometimes to get us moving in the right direction. We will have to do it, and it will be done to us.

If you want to go back to school, than do it!
If you want to change careers, than do it!
If you want to move, than do it!
If you want to climb mountains, than do it!

Whatever it is, JUST DO IT! Life is too short to not count your blessings. Don't waste it being angry, resentful, or having a mind full of negative thoughts. Everybody else is walking around just fine while you are sitting there feeling sorry for yourself. Life is what you make it. If you CHOOSE to do nothing, than guess who is to blame for that? Don't be afraid to take those steps. Every step forward is a step closer.

Success is not measured by how much money you make, who you know, who you are, how many friends you have, or what you do for a living. Success is all the little things that add up to a life that is filled with love, happiness, and joy! All those material things won't matter in the long run. Do they put food on your table, do they tell you how much they love you, do they hug you, do they show you affection, do they provide you with a sense of family, do they put a roof over your head and clothes on your back? I know they don't pay the bills! :)

My point is to stop making excuses and go around blaming the world and the people in it for your problems or why you are stuck! Realize as an adult we now have CHOICES no matter how traumatic our past or the world has been! There is always a reason for everything! I can say this, because I will admit I have done it myself.

Not all this I came to find out alone. It was through the help of good friends, support, and some great advice. I have learned that these are the type of people I want to surround myself with and keep around for a lifetime. No matter how far or how close, you are always connected.

You can't change what already happened. You can only change what is to come.

  • Give and help of service anyway you can
  • Get involved with charities and organizations
  • Be Optimistic about life
  • Look for the beauty in everything
  • Give yourself a break
  • Make is okay once in awhile
  • LOVE
  • Be extraordinary
  • Pick up the phone once in awhile...don't just text (I know it is hard, but you will live :)
  • Make connections
  • Don't live backwards
  • Take responsibility
  • Man up so to speak :)
  • Be active and stay healthy
  • Don't judge
  • Stay humble
  • Pray
  • Enjoy nature
  • Don't argue...communicate
  • Laugh ALL the time
  • Shake your booty whenever you can
  • Live like there is no tomorrow
  • Face any problem head on
  • Make time for yourself
  • Don't stress over little things you have no control over
  • Not everything will turn out the way you want it to
  • Accept somebody the way they are or move on
  • Take deep breathes and release everything
  • Do for others...don't be selfish at the wrong times
These are just some of the things I have learned, and it has not stopped there. I am learning day by day. Learning is a lifelong commitment. You are never truly finished.

We are never given what we can't handle. Life is waiting...go after it!

Many blessings
D :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mirror Mirror!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

How often do we look at ourselves in the mirror and truly appreciate or like what we see. There is always something we are looking to change. Change is good when it is positive. I am not talking about changing the color of your hair, whitening your teeth, popping a zit, or plucking your eyebrows. Although you can do that too. I am talking about REAL change!

Personally, I can tell you over the years I have not recognized my own reflection at times. I was either being someone for somebody else or trying to be something I was not. We all fall into this fa├žade that we will play out for the benefit of those around us; however, when we are behind closed doors, we take that mask off. The problem is you soon get so accustomed to that mask that it never comes off. Soon you forget you even have it on and the part becomes reality. The reflection is the mirror than becomes a somewhat distorted image of what you are used too.

Think of Snow White for a moment... "Who is the fairest of them all?" It is a fairytale, but do not mistake that people look at themselves and see way beyond. This is a great example of ego. If you are spending time in the mirror looking at the wrong things, than your vision will eventually become blurry and everything around will follow that lead.

Rather let's look and see what it is we want to be or become and if we have achieved that yet. When I look in the mirror, I want to see someone I can be proud of, who loves with her whole heart, who knows compassion, who exudes confidence, and gives off inspiration in abundance. I want to reach the highest peak. Don't just see what everybody else tells you. We must see something different, because we dig deeper into our souls than anybody else does. Who knows YOU better than YOU!

Your reflection can change in an instant. The challenge is to keep true to what you want to see. Envision it, believe it, feel it, and become it! There is no limits to what you can do if you truly want it bad enough. Every morning wake up, look in that mirror, and fill yourself with positive affirmations. Here is a clip that I find to be absolutely adorable. We should all take lead from her at such a young age. When you feel good about your life, you have to keep reminding yourself. This is the way to do it. Look into your own eyes!

It might sound silly, but it works. Build your self-esteem up so high that nobody can take you down. You will built strength that you never thought you had before. That mirror will stay with you all day in your mind. If needed, carry a small one around with you or go into a private bathroom. Just don't shout at the top of your lungs because people might think your a loon ;)

How we see and view ourselves is what we put out in the universe. With negative comes negative and with positive comes positive. What do you want yourself to know each and everyday? What new journeys do you want to embark on? Have an entire conversation if you need. When looking in that mirror, we want to smile back at ourselves not shatter it. Stay just in that moment for as long as it takes. Nobody can see your or hear you and just meditate on whatever comes to mind to get that clear picture you want to see each time you look in that mirror. Each one of us is a beautiful person inside and out and unique in our own way. Don't just see what is on the outside, but inside the soul.

The eyes are the window to the soul - Old Proverb

You can also put index cards on the mirror of inspirational sayings, quotes, or what you want to remind yourself of everyday. This is a common tool many use. I have used it myself. I had them all over the walls and mirrors. My place looked like a giant cork board :)~ The point of this exercise is to build from what we can't see or lost and to build courage to go out there and LIVE! Don't be afraid to be who you are and do what YOU want to do. Nothing is impossible or out of reach if you believe in yourself enough to take chances. Don't let a setback distort your image. It can happen so easily if we allow it.

Really look deep into yourself. We have to accept ourselves before we expect others to. If you are unhappy with your appearance, than close your eyes and what is it that you see? Whether it is losing weight or changing your hairstyle, don't be afraid to look in that mirror. When we can't look into your own eyes, we often can't look anybody else in theirs. That is just low self-esteem. How many of us find ourselves walking looking at the ground? I have done that on and off for years. Our heads should held high. Keep your chin up and shoulders back, and walk like nothing can stand in your way. NO FEAR!

It is ok if our vision is a bit off from time to time. It happens to EVERYBODY! Just don't beat yourself up over it (As a friend has told me many times over). Everything takes time and when that time is right, it will hit you in that moment like nothing you ever felt before!

Mirror, Mirror on the YOU fill in the rest!

Many blessings!

D xo

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sixteen Things That Should Be On Your EVERYDAY To Do List!

Lets Talk About It - From NYC w/Dana J.

I was recently talking to a friend awhile back before I went to some dark places, and she said to me to write down things that I am grateful for every morning rather than focusing on the negative things around me at the moment. So I made a list, but went beyond that by making an everyday to do list. I wrote down what I used to do and tell others to do. At some point, I just stopped following my own advice. I will admit that it was a release for me since the last few months have been a rollarcoaster for me. I can't say I have been the most positive person as of lately. I think we all fall into this category at one time or another; however, I used to take my focus in another direction when this happened. I pulled myself from whatever bad feelings I had. I would wake up not feeling well, worn out, having had nightmares, not sleeping well, or bad feelings from the day before or the day before that and just let it all go. How many of us wake up angry, sad, nervous, exhausted, or just plain depressed based on a dream we had?

These strong emotions are very real as if what occurred in our dreams actually happened. Who knew that unconscious emotions while sleeping linger the next day and become so real. I know some of you have to know what I am talking about. Some are probably thinking whaaaaaaaa is this girl talking about. Hey, it doesn't happen to everybody. That being said, I realized the other day that my days were better and brighter when I held true to my sixteen things to do everyday list. It is such an incredibly easy strategy too. When we forget to have compassion and be grateful for all the little things in between the craziness, we lose all sight. We forget to have faith in the beauty of our lives, and in turn we begin to represent the opposite of what we intend to. We have to practice what we preach. Although, we sometimes forget to do that don't we? My list is probably one of hundreds you see on the Internet or close enough to it, and this is because it is universal and simplistic.

We are going to have good days and bad days. There will be some days the sun shines bright even though outside it is cloudy and other days where no matter how much the sun shines we are in darkness. It is completely normal to fall, but what matters is how many times we are willing to get up. When we fail, keep your feet firm and your head up until you succeed. YOU WILL SUCCEED. I am the first to admit, I am guilty of spinning in my own craziness. We are all human, so I doubt even the most inspirational and positive of people have had their moments. This is how we learn, connect, and why we have our own mentors, friends, family, and support system available to us when needed. NOBODY is perfect! Though some tend to think they are. Sorry to burst those perfect bubbles peeps. :)

So here it is!
Sixteen Thing That Should Be on Your EVERYDAY To Do List!

1. Pray

We get so busy that we forget to do this. I know I have. I went from regularly praying to only doing it when I remembered. That is a big no no. Now, praying might not be up your alley, but faith is a BIG part of our everyday. If it is not for you than replace it with a similar activity. I suggest doing it right when you get up, but also throughout the day. I never stop praying. You don't have to kneel in a church or by your bed. I pray with my heart in my head throughout my days. There is no special time set aside. I talk to God when and where I want. Maybe just not out loud in public ha!

2. Smile

I can't stress enough how important this is. Keep one on your face even if you are faking it. Trust me it does help even when there is nothing to smile about. There will come a time you are doing it on purpose. I promise you that!

3. Be Grateful/thankful and let others know it

Always be appreciative and grateful for something. You can't tell me that there is nothing in your life that you can think of to be grateful for. Concentrate on that for awhile. You will see more and more each day. Letting people know you are grateful is HUGE! Not for them, but for you as well. It is good for the heart and soul. Plus it is nice to let people be happy for YOU!

4. Live, Laugh, Love

You still need to live your life. You can't give up. My Nonna always told me that. Never give up! Life will always throw you something. Fight back at life when that happens. Kick it in the ass! Laugh, laugh, laugh. It is seriously the best medicine for you and your soul. It will keep you loving life, which will now bring me to love. Love is the healer of all things. Never stop loving. Love with every ounce of your heart and soul. Lurve, Lurve, and more Lurve. It is so essential to life. When you have love in your heart, there is no stopping you. Number four is one of the most important ones.

5. Dance

I say dance all over, but some might look at you a bit funny. hehe. Dancing is not only good exercise, but it excitement for your body. If you are good or bad just do it.

6. Think of what you can do for another

I guarantee each day there is someone that needs that lift or a helping hand. I do this everyday no matter what. This is one thing that was just always part of my nature no matter what was going on. Even if you put a smile on one person's face, it is all worth it. It is not about the joy that it brings you, though that is fine, it is about the joy you bring to someone else.

7. Make someone else smile or laugh

This is the same thing as I said above. You have no idea what you can do for someone that needs a smile or laugh that day. We never know what is going on in the life of another. It just takes one to spread it around. You never know what you are capable of until you do it. Tell a joke. Let someone cut in line or pick up something they dropped. You would be surprised the simple things that give people a lift. It is not about the big things. It is about the small things. The simplest of things can change a mood or an entire day. Once I gave someone my metrocard to use on a train because the one he had didn't work. He insisted on giving me money. I told him no. I just simply said pay it forward. He said he would too :) Btw, laughter is the best medicine and gift you can gift to someone who might have not laughed in awhile. I mean truly laughed.

8. Workout (i.e. Yoga, gym, running, or whatever fits your fancy)

This is pretty self explanatory. It is just healthy. It keeps us going, our minds flowing, and our adrenaline pumping. It takes our minds someplace for awhile as well. We need to do this for all the obvious reasons. It centers you and keeps you focused. Believe it or not if you pay attention when you work out, you will see much more clearly than you ever realized.

9. Think Positive

Well this one is also an obvious one. There is nothing more to it. When we are down, we have to think positive. We always have to try. It is hard, and I know that. Sometimes we don't want to bother, but it does make all the difference. It just takes a bit more energy from us to do so in hard times.

10. Enjoy Nature

Stop and smell the roses is a cliche I know, but it does work. You have to notice these things. The beautiful picture to take or acknowledge. You would be surprised on what nature can do for you. Maybe some of you do not like nature and that is fine, but find something else that replaces it. Nature speak volumes if you actually find a way to enjoy it. Go on a hike, boating, fishing, or whatever nature is to you. Trust me on this one. It can be very calming.

11. Tell the people in your life you love them

This doesn't mean call or text every single person in your phone book. HA! It could be one or two people. Just talk to someone you care about and love. Choose different people everyday until you run out and start over. It is important to let the people in your life know this. You have heard the saying life is short. Nobody wants to have regrets. We all have a plan and path. Along your way remember to speak the truth to those people on your way. Call them just to say hi and I love you. Texting works too since that seems to be the way of communication these days. :)

12. Recognize the beauty around you.

Pay attention to your surroundings. It might surprise you. Open your senses up. So many times we just concentrate on the black and white. What is in front of us is not always IT! There is beauty in the gray areas as well. Just LOOK is all I am saying. Beauty is a way of expressing and taking our stresses away. Now, I know all of us want a relief from stress these days. This is definitely the trick. Go sit and stare at the waves in the ocean or relax on a park bench. You would be surprised what you see and how calm you walk away from that experience. It is because you focused you mind elsewhere.

13. Give and Receive/Charity

Think about what you can do for another. It does not have to be huge. It is the simple things that sometimes have a greater impact. Donate to a charity that day or spread the word. Help someone with their groceries. It is limitless on how you can give each day; however, we have to do both. You never just want to focus on giving or receiving. You do not have to make a choice. You CAN do both. In fact it is recommended.

14. Sing

I sing everyday. I could care less who is watching, what I look like, or where I am. I belt it out. Ok, well not in public in the street to scare the crap out of people, but you know what I mean. hehe.

15. Don't make assumptions or judgments. Have compassion!

This is one way to ruin your entire day, and guess whose fault it is? It would be YOURS. I say this because rather than jumping to conclusions, you have no idea what that person might be going through. Usually our gut reaction is to get annoyed, angry, or possibly even nasty and argumentative with the person, but ask yourself what the point is in that. That saying don't judge a book by its cover, it is good advice. Be kind (that is how you would really get them anyway ha), show compassion, and smile. Don't talk under or breath, or curse, or get all riled up. Guess what? You just took your day and added undue stress because someone took too long, cut you in line, was nasty to you, or whatever ridiculous thing that happened that is not worth outcome. Walk away with no assumptions or judgments about the person! After all, you don't want people to do that to you right?

16. Read this list every morning and in no specific order do it! Make cards you carry around with you or tape them to your wall. Read them each day so you do not forget.  

I am not saying that it will solve our issues, make us forget them, or not deal with them; however, what I am saying is that it is better to not dwell and dwell and dwell until we feel we can't escape. It will provide a way to clear our minds up a bit so that we can make the right choices to face life's little curve balls. Just a suggestion! J

Be well
Be blessed
Be grateful