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To Thine Own Self Be True! – The empowerment of ME

9. Dana - Teen copy

Finding ‘myself’ has been my biggest wonder of self-discovery. Perhaps it is because I am the youngest child and was abandoned at the age of three. Some astrologers’ say that it is because of the month and year I was born.

I tend to think it has more to do with being raised in an orphanage where control and conformity was the name of the game. I believe it’s, in part, a fact of growing up in the God-fearing ‘South’…in Louisiana…where it was ingrained in my head always to be polite, never to express anger or a conflicting opinion. There, it was driven home to me, that as a ‘lady,’ I was to let the man make all the decisions and that it was my job just to support him. Whatever, the reason, I find that it has taken over 40 years to discover just who ‘I’ am!

Truly it has been and still is, my hardest lesson in life to learn to be true to myself. I have spent years upon years in the survival mode of bending to the will of others and blending into the lives of the men in my life.

Yet what I have discovered is that I am happiest when I am just ‘me.’ I am happy when I know that the life I am living is filled with animals, nature, peace and harmony. I am happy when I can pursue my career and leisure goals without reprisal or conflict with my partner. And I am happiest when I know I am being strong and true to ‘who’ I am.

This is not to say that I do not have room for compromise with my partner. I am very good at this because I enjoy ‘giving.’ I love making my loved ones happy.

And yet my discovery that it is best to be true to myself has been empowering. I find that I am finally able to make much better choices about a prospective partner and friendships. I enjoy knowing that I now have boundaries and limits to what I will, and will not do.

Of course, there are times when I truly enjoy playing the role of the little lady of the house. Yet I also revel in the excitement of being willing to risk failure to achieve my career goal. Ultimately, I find it exhilarating to live life to the fullest by just being ‘me.’

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Be Remembered, Not Forgotten

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I so admire people who can walk up to a complete stranger and get that person talking about their life or thoughts. I myself am fairly good at this from time to time, yet nothing like the lady I ran into at a recent 4th of July BBQ. There were about 40 of us out there on this 4,500 acre ranch next to Tom Ford’s massive property outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of us didn’t know each other, yet most were happy to have you introduce yourself and engage in a few minutes of small talk. And then, there was this pretty lady, probably in her late 40’s. She marched up to me and told me she wanted to know more about my Olympic win. She had such a light in her face and keen interest in her tone of voice. She made me feel interesting and important. And though I tried to turn the conversation back to her, she successfully navigated me in another direction. Throughout the remainder of that day, I observed her chatting earnestly with quite a few others, and I was amazed at how easily she could engage just about anyone. Driving home from the ranch that evening, I thought of the people I had met and realized that although there had been a lot of nice, ‘well to do’ people there; the conversations they initiated were always about ‘them’ and how important they were. The one exception was that wonderful lady and how she made me feel special. As I turned off the dirt road to enter the highway, I thought of a quote from the late, great Angelou Maya, “People do not remember what we do or say. They remember how we make them feel.”

 

cc:  danahee 2014

 

 

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My Family Tree – Finding Comfort and Companionship In Nature

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Yesterday, I was feeling a bit isolated and lonely. My neighbor had gone out to enjoy an event, my friends were all busy with loved ones and activities like birthday parties, wedding showers, BBQ’s. Everyone I knew had someone. Everyone had siblings, children, grandchildren, partners, uncles, aunts…family. I had nothing. I had no one.

After several hours of trying to shake this feeling off and get on with my day, I gave up, got in my car and headed for the nearby mountain top. Arriving there, I locked the car in the parking lot and walked, downcast, along the jaw dropping sheer rock cliff where an ancient trail danced among the stones and wildflowers. Trying to block out the occasional laughing couples and joking families hiking there, I pressed on…intent on finding a place of solitude to nurse my spiritual wound of loneliness.

 After about thirty minutes or so of hiking off trail, I found it. It was a rock, sitting far out on a ledge on the edge of the sheer cliff with no support underneath it. If there was an earthquake, that rock would be the first to go! The drop off was probably three quarters of a mile from rocky bottom. Perfect! I scrambled out onto the ledge and lowered myself into a sitting position on the rock with my feet dangling carelessly in the air.

 Leaning back against the sun heated stone behind me, I relaxed and began to truly enjoy the view before me. It was breathtaking…the huge towers of stone with the tall green pines to the right and left…the deep, vast semi-circle bowl before me with all that was below, and all that was to be seen on the distant horizon. My eyes were level with some drifting clouds of shining silver; and the deep blue sky beckoned me with calming allure. For some moments, I imagined myself standing and launching from my rocky perch, and with arms stretched to either side, flying outward and downward into the peaceful abyss.

 Knowing this was something I would not do, I finally re-directed my thoughts, concentrated on my breathing and focused inwardly while connecting my spirit with all around me. After meditating for about 20 minutes, I slowly brought myself back into the present. Looking around me, I realized that ‘this’ was my family. The ancient stone cliffs surrounding me was my grandfather Rock, the clouds my aunts, the tall green pine trees whispering nearby were my distant cousins, as were the ants crawling by my leg and the wildflowers blooming in the rocky crevice.

 I gave a deep sigh of contentment, arose, and began meandering back in a different direction, through the dense thick forest of pine and fir trees. The distant call of a crow was the only sound as I made my way silently along a narrow path. And yet, as I walked, I heard the other voices around me…the voice from the tree nearest to me, and the tree next to that one, and the tree at the bend in the path. With one voice they spoke. I heard them, and so I listened to what they told me.

 Smiling to myself, I realized that I did have wonderful family members to talk to, to listen to, to cry upon their shoulders or weep in their arms. I realized that I could confide my deepest, darkest secrets to them, share my happiness and sorrows without judgement. Lifting my face to the warmth of the sun, I could feel the healing presence and the warmth of my family’s’ love all around me, within me. As I passed through the beautiful forest of trees, I realized that my family was always there for me with unconditional love.

 Dropping down into a little gully, the heavy aromatic scent of the dark moist soil greeted me in the warm stillness of the spring air. Stopping, I closed my eyes and listened to the slight wind through the branches surrounding me. The soft rustle whispered in my ear and I was reminded of the past, told of the future and grounded in the present. ‘This’ was my family. I had been gone far too long, but had finally come back home.

 Opening my eyes I continued on, cresting a hill and stepped once again, back into the sunshine. There, in a beautiful panoramic meadow teaming with grass, wildflowers, insects and birds, I paused for several long minutes…savoring that beautiful feeling of togetherness that only our family and friends can bring to our lives. With one last sigh of contentment I headed back to my car…shielded and cloaked in the peaceful protective embrace of family love.

 As I drove slowly down the mountain enjoying the strength and splendor of the tall pines standing guard along the dark pavement, I realized that my family is always there for me. They are just a short walk, a drive, a glance, a conversation away. Squaring my shoulders, I pulled onto the city highway back towards town, knowing that I would continue to walk tall into my future…knowing that I was never truly alone.

cc:  danahee2014

 

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Beware The Sunglass Effect – A Holiday Lesson

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. –Confucius

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I realize that I need to keep reminding myself not to judge something or someone by my tainted beliefs.

This is my thought today after confronting what I believed to be a thief sneaking around in my yard early this morning.  And since I live in a very small, rural farm area where everyone knows everyone, these things do not generally happen here.

About a week ago, I was out of town when a suspected burglar broke into several places, including a truck and the small house of my sleeping tenants.  It was about ten or eleven in the evening on a dark stormy night with the rain pouring down like crazy and flooding the street outside.  Considering that we have recently had some good snowfall, and it is late November, I’m assuming it was crazy cold outside also.

According to a couple of neighbors accounts, ‘Manny,’ as he is known in this tiny, one horse Hispanic town had entered the gated and enclosed large community yard of several casitas that I manage and rent out.  This yard is used mainly for gardening and animals and provides a back access to five separate units or ‘casitas’ here.  Supposedly, Manny had approached one private yard, only to be turned aside by the barking dogs inside.

He then walked around or jumped a couple of fences and entered one tenants’ truck which was parked in the front driveway, and unlocked.  Word from one neighbor was that he was ‘hot-wiring’ the truck, and that he had intended to steal that tenant’s outboard motor that was attached to his small boat outside.  (This assumption was made and verified because Manny had left his jacket on top of the boat’s motor.  And since Manny has a background as a talented mechanic, it would’ve been easy for him to highjack the truck.  Thank God MY car was not there at the time)!

Well, supposedly, Manny’s attempt with the truck was interrupted (barking dogs?  people’s voices?), and he left the truck and took off.  Since his previous attempts at thievery had been foiled, Manny then turned to another neighbors house.  Jumping the six foot secure fence, he then rummaged around the back of the house looking for a way to enter in the dark.  Hearing the noises, the wife of the couple living there commented to her husband that she thought someone was outside and trying to break in.  They were watching TV, and her husband at first did not believe her.  Yet as the back kitchen door rattled again, he realized she was right, went to get his gun and a flashlight.

Opening the door, he barged outside and found Manny quickly walking away, towards the front of the property where a six foot gate secured the area.  Recognizing the thief as Manny – someone he had known of for many years – my neighbor then demanded an explanation for why he was attempting to rob him and his wife.  “What have we ever done to you?”  “We used to give you our business, and this is how you repay us?”  My neighbor was very indignant when he related this story to me.  I could just imagine the scene as he related it to me.  Manny cowered by the front gate while searching for a way to open it to escape.  “How do you get out of here?” Manny stuttered to my neighbor.

“What are you doing here Manny!”  “How did you get in here?”  my neighbor queried.

“I fell asleep at the church, and I woke up in here.”  “I don’t know.” Manny kept telling him.

“Don’t you play dumb with me you M>F!”  “You obviously jumped my fence and were attempting to rob me!”  “Maybe THIS will help you remember how you got in here!”  And my neighbor lifted the gun he had been hiding and pointed it at Manny.

“You should have seen how quickly Manny jumped that gate,” my neighbor exclaimed.  “He was just lucky that my wife was yelling for me not to shoot him!”

So what happened after this I asked him.

“Well, it turns out that my wife had called the police and that the dispatch office had recently received numerous calls about him breaking into various places.”  “So they already had a policeman in the area, and they came around the corner and found him walking on the street.”  “They arrested him and took him to jail.”  “Good riddance!”

“Though, I know they won’t hold him!”  My neighbors wife said with contempt.  “The police never do their job!”  “If someone goes to rob you or break into your house, they do nothing.”  “Yet if you try to protect yourself or your property, YOU are the one prosecuted!”

It was a day or so later, when I was at our local community store and mentioned this fiasco to the owner.  “I hope your tenant prosecutes him!”  “He’s a bad man.”  “He’s always stealing things, and he even stole things from the church!”

Reflecting on this, I thought how fortunate I was that nothing truly bad had happened, and that this man had ended up in jail!

So when I awoke at seven am this morning to the persistent barking of my dog, I was surprised to see a man sneaking through the community yard over by the tool shed.

“No.”  “Surely that is not the same man!” I exclaimed to myself as I hurriedly shoved my feet into my boots, threw on my jacket and stuffed my hat down over my wild hair, and flew out the door into the freezing cold and snow.

Blinded by the glare of sun on snow, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my sunglasses and slid them on as I strode angrily towards the now quickly departing man.  I caught up to him just as he opened the previously locked gate to make his exit.

“What do you think you are doing?”  I exclaimed with anger.  “And what is your name?”

“I’m Manny,” he said as he started to walk off.

“You are the one that broke in here a week ago!”  “This is a private property.”  “You can’t do this!”  “It’s against the law!”  “Don’t you ever come here again!”

Manny continued onwards down the road as I called the police dispatch and followed him to see what direction he headed.  After only a few houses down, he sat on the front porch of an abandoned house and I quickly informed the dispatch as to his location.

An hour later, a policeman showed up and took my statement.  Then he mentioned to me that he was the arresting officer from a week back, and that he had taken Manny in that night for mental evaluation.  He also said that this man was homeless, had nowhere to live and no one to help him.  The officer sadly proclaimed that the government system for dealing with such a man was proving hopeless.  At which point, I angrily asserted that, “So we are to let a man do whatever he wants and break into places, since he is not in his ‘right mind?”  “This is ridiculous!”  At which point, the officer quickly agreed this was a problem.

It was several hours later, after the sun had thawed some of the snow and left the slick gooey mud to attach itself to my boots like glue, that I ventured out to double check my turkeys, ducks and chickens.  It was then that I noticed…several places on the ground… that Manny had spread the cracked corn for my critters.  He had gone to the toolshed, not to steal.  In the midst of his own aloneness, possible hunger and cold…he had simply had the desire to bring some food and comfort to another.

As I thought about the warm roof over my head and the abundance of food in my house, and the promise of Thanksgiving dinner with friends tomorrow, I realized how easy it is to see the world through the eyes of our beliefs.

Cc Dana Hee, 2013

ABOUT DANA

Dana is an Olympic Gold Medalist, Top Motivational Speaker, 3x Hall Of Fame Martial Artist, Award-Winning Stuntwoman (over 17 years stunt doubling the leading ladies in Block-Buster Films such as the Batman Movies, The Terminator films, Charlies Angels, Peacemaker, Alias and MUCH more).  More importantly, she is a Life Survivalist whom endeavors to Inspire, Enlighten, and Elevate the hearts and minds of people around the world.

http://www.GreatThingsArePossible.com

TO READ MORE OF DANA’S INSPIRATIONAL STORIES…CLICK HERE

Thank you for viewing my stories!  Love and light to all!  Dana Hee

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Olympic Day. A Gift To Give!

An Olympian With an ‘Olympic Day’ Perspective

Just yesterday, a very shy six-year-old girl approached me with downcast eyes and caved in shoulders. 

“Can I have your autograph please?” She spoke in such a whisper of a voice that I could barely make out her words. 

I was suddenly blind-sided by the familiar pain of childhood, and the memory of my mother’s voice in my ears of, “You are not good enough and never will be!” 

You see, this little girl reminded me of what I was like when I was six years old…abandoned, abused, and raised in an orphanage in remote Louisiana.

Now as a mature woman who has conquered extreme odds and risen from the ashes to hover in the clouds with accomplishments in Olympics, Hollywood Film and Life…this little girl reminded me that I have been given a great gift in life; that of self-confidence, self-esteem and courage. 

Greeting her with a smile I said, “My what pretty blond hair you have!” “What’s your name?”

“Sylvia” She replied quietly…still not meeting my gaze.

“Why do you want my autograph Sylvia?”

Looking at me for the first time with blazing blue eyes and a very slight smile, she replied, “One day, I want to be strong like you!” And she quickly lowered her eyes once again.

“Well, Sylvia, do you know what I think?” I asked her as I took the crumpled up paper from her hands and straightened it out. She shook her head to answer ‘No.’ 

“I think you already are strong Sylvia.” “You just don’t know it here (and I touched her head), and here” (and I gently pressed my fingers above her heart).

“You see?” I continued. And she looked up at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. “It took a LOT of courage to come up here and ask me for this autograph.”  “So this tells me that you ARE brave and very strong!”

“Really” she spoke in a much firmer tone?

“Really!” I replied and I signed the autograph, gave her a big hug and then handed the paper to her. 

She giggled as she took the autograph and clutched it tightly to her heart. Then with her head held high and a beautiful smile on her face, she turned and skipped her way back through the heavy mass of kids, teens and adults crowding around.

With a radiant smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, I turned and greeted the next person in line.

Later, as I walked back to my car to leave, I realized that the most wonderful gift that I had been given in life…was to have the privilege to share a little bit of courage, self-confidence and self-esteem with those who needed it most.

To me, THIS was what ‘Olympic Day’ was truly about!

Dana Lynn Hee

(Posted on Facebook June 23rd 2010)

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Stress! And How To Combat This. II

Listen with your heart!

When you are stuck in a quandary and cannot see the forest for the trees, it is wise to let an outside source help you with your needs.

Yet as much as you may want to…you cannot listen to someone when your mind is on overload and your heart is on empty.

So when you truly want to make a change that is beyond your ability, or even beyond your comprehension….

What do YOU think you need to do?

All you need to do is focus on what you CAN control, and let another help you with what you cannot.

The truth is simple you see. And it will set you free.

For an outside thought, a helpful hand or the clear insight into your soul can once again make your heart whole.

So take the advice of a friend, take that hand or the advice from your soul. Then listen and act. And once again, you will feel the freedom and joy your negative thoughts stole.

Now…how to act you ask? When you seem frozen in time? That is soon to come as I transcribe to paper my experiences on same and the certain knowledge of this in my mind.

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‘The Power of the Mind’ A True Story Of Dana On The Streets

THE POWER OF THE MIND…FREEZING – BEACH STORY

A real-life excerpt by Dana Hee

Heading back to my little shelter three miles from the grocery store, I tore the wrapping from the Hostess Twinkies and wolfed them down, licking the last of the sticky frosting from my fingertips.  Wiping my fingers on my jeans, I pulled the light windbreaker tighter around my lean torso, trying to get more warmth against the cold frost that covered the shadowy trees and grass of the perfectly manicured suburban lawns in the darkness of the night.  The sky was crystal clear, my breath filled the air with thin white smoke and each icy inhalation sent a chill deep into my lungs.

As I quickened my pace, I shivered uncontrollably against the cold wind as it picked up gusto.  The fall leaves rustled across the sidewalk and dropped from the almost barren tree limbs.  Fascinated with their frenetic journey as they brushed past my feet and slammed themselves against the sides of the houses and fence posts, I tried to lose myself in the mysteriousness of their dark journey.  Like me…they were like lost souls hurrying here…then there…hopeless, afraid, with no place to really go.

My jaw chattered like a Halloween skeleton and every muscle in my body tensed unbearably against the constant heavy trembling until it felt like I might snap in two.  I would’ve broken into a jog-trot to try and help my body warm up…but I was exhausted from lack of sleep, lack of nutrients, and the ravages of extreme emotional distress.  So as I forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other to close the distance to my little shelter, I tried to focus on something that might help me fight the coldness creeping into my limbs like a demon trying to take possession of my body.  Only, my mind was almost as numb as my body.

Shaking my hair free of my eyes, I looked upwards into the sky…hoping to see any kind of cloud cover.  None!  Looking upwards again, I saw the distant glowing of stars and I thought of how wonderful it would be if only it was one of those hot, August days on the beach in Santa Cruz with my girlfriend, Marylyn.  Losing myself in that thought…I recalled the last time we went there.  That day when we skipped out of school at lunch time…

Heck…it must’ve been over a 100 degrees out, and her ravaged, little VW bug almost overheated on the steep hill up the mountain as we headed out of the stifling heat of the valley and upwards into the balmy heat of the pines…and down towards the often cooling breeze of the ocean winds.  Only that day….there were no cooling breezes.  Windows down…no air condition, and the heat from the engine block filling the tiny space inside…the sweat dampened our hair began to drip down my torso as we fought the stop and go traffic to the parking lot, and then creeped round and round looking for one of the rare openings.  At last!

We found tiny opening and tumbled gratefully out of the unbearable heat of the car and began unloading our ice chest and chairs.  “Thank God for sandals!”  I thought to myself, as we picked up our supplies and trudged through the parking lot while the heat waves shimmered upwards from the burning tarmac.  Reaching the crowded boardwalk, we maneuvered through the suffocating throngs of people until we found an opening onto the long hot stretch of sand.  “Wow!”  “Not even a whisper of a wind!” Marylyn whined as the sweat now poured down both of our faces.

Navigating the sea of roasting bodies and damp beach towels…we finally found a space and set out the chairs and towels.  I plopped down onto the already hot towel, as Marylyn dropped into a chair, reached into the ice chest and handed me a dripping wet, frosted, ice cold beer.  Popping off the lid, I rolled the smooth coolness of the bottle against my forehead before taking a long refreshing swig.  “Ahhh….”  “Much better!”  We both said at the same time, and laughed at that cool, odd connection we always had with our line of thought.

Snapping back into the present…I realized I had almost reached the old orchard where the abandoned newspaper recycling bin awaited me with it’s protection from the wind and the subtle warmth of its half filled mattress of stacks of old un-used newspapers.  As I passed the last of the perfect little suburban houses with their perfect, laughing families watching TV and eating their perfect dinners…I looked with envy into the warmth of their houses…their soft lights glowing from un-curtained windows.

That’s when it hit me…that, I wasn’t cold any longer!  My body no longer shook.  My muscles had almost completely relaxed and my jaw was no longer clenched and chattering.  The astounding realization that my thoughts about the hot beach trip had triggered this unnatural warmth…hit me like a ton of bricks.  And I smiled to myself as I climbed through the small opening in my precious little shelter.

That was just my first experience of many, about the amazing power that we can create with just our thoughts!

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