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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing.

I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress on a film called, ‘Soldiers;’ and we are on set.  I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode.

I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I’m ready. I give a nod and thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!”

From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!”

Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up. My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I have been perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’ve been a little happier when there has been no pain or headache involved, but I was definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Of course, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?”

Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure. That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul.

I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film ‘Under Cover Blues’ down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do. Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had almost been paralyzed with fear – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….’Batman Forever,’ ‘Batman & Robin,’ ‘Demolition Man,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Swordfish,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Independence Day,’ plus an ongoing list of television shows like ‘Star Trek Voyager,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘VIP,’ and the ‘X-Files.’

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground – into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (‘Bella Mafia’)!

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure.

I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And then there was the highlight of, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on ‘Gangs of New York,’ I landed one of the best contracts in the business with the TV series, ‘Alias.’

Although the glamour of this business has been fun, it was at times overwhelming. To keep my sanity, I have always worked to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

 After a lifetime of dealing with issues from an extremely difficult childhood, I welcomed the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after over 20 years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the eight hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work when I get one of those calls.  I just try to pass up the car hits, and stick to ‘prat falls’ and fighting!

Sure there were times when I would long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I was sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I knew that, once again, I was conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up.

You see I now know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do. Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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The Power of Positivity – A Stunt Woman’s Perspective

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In the realm of Hollywood, there are two definites.  If you focus on the positive, your chances of success have just multiplied.  If you focus on the negative…your fears…you will fail.  Failure takes on a whole new meaning when you are performing a death-defying stunt!

“Today, I need you to stunt double this entry-way guard to Paramount Studios,” my boss told me on the set of the ‘Martin Short’ TV show. 

“Mike here will crash his car through the guard barrier rail into the parking lot.  You will then rush after him along the side walk here.  As you catch up to the car, you will pop up onto this fire hydrant, then throw yourself onto the roof of his car.  There you will hang on…pounding on the roof for him to stop.”

 “Sure…no problem,” I’m thinking to myself.  (“It’s fascinating you did not tell me of this very dangerous gag when you first hired me!”  “Ahhh well.”  “Welcome to my life.”  “You chose this career!” “Time to ‘man-up,’ Dana!”)

We rehearsed the timing between Mike and I, and we ‘dialed in’ the speed so that the car was in place beside me as I jumped onto the fire hydrant.  We both knew the timing was critical.  If I jumped too soon, I could end up in front of the car and under the wheels.  If I jumped too late, I would miss the only opportunity to grasp the open window sills for leverage…and end up on the ground.  Two undesirable choices, in my opinion.

The first time we filmed, there was an element of doubt in my mind.  Yet on action, I raced to the fire hydrant as Mike drove the car along.  The timing was exactly as planned.  Yet as I popped up onto the hydrant, I allowed my doubt to interfere.  “Maybe I’m I too early!”  I thought to myself. 

So I hesitated just a beat, and then threw myself onto the car.  Only now, my momentum had stalled out, and I landed too late.  I grabbed wildly for the roof before bouncing down onto the trunk, the bumper, and then to the pavement.  “Ugh!”

You can bet the next time the camera rolled, I kept my focus completely on nailing this stunt by committing my mind 110% to it’s success.  Success is much more fun than failing!  And in fact, success can appear to be much easier than the underlying difficulty in achieving it.

I love the power of positivity.  It helps me overcome fear.  It keeps me ‘on track.’  And it helps to eliminate some of the potential disasters on the road to success!

cc:   danahee   02/2014

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As The Snow Falls

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Standing outside just now, I watch my beautiful turkeys as they eat the corn and ‘coo’ among themselves

The silence of the falling snow drowns out the cries of my soul.  It’s sleek white blanket slowly covers the tears in my heart

Crystal cold air quiets my mind…if only for a moment or two

What peace it must be, to never feel the beauty of the snow.  Yet so sad this emptiness within

‘Good-by’ echoes in the frozen stillness of this winter wonderland

As I turn away,  I pray I pray that peace will prevail

Truly?  Is it better to go to sleep on an empty stomach?

Perhaps so.  Perhaps not.

cc:  dhee 02/2014

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Beware the Ghosts of the Past, Present, and Future! A factor in Improving your Life and Relationships

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Some time ago, I had ‘fallen’ for a man that I met at an event.  We seemed to really ‘hit it off,’ and we began pursuing our relationship with the intention of possibly becoming life partners.  The fact that his main language was Spanish, and my Spanish language skills very lacking, did nothing to make this pursuit easy.  The fact that he lived a completely different life in Mexico, and I lived in the States was a bit daunting.  Yet still.  We were both positive, strong people and we were optimistic about the possibilities!

Well, long story short, this relationship did not progress forward.  Yet I was stunned when he told me of something about myself, that I had never truly realized. He told me that he could not understand the way I presented myself to him; and he said that, “…the experiences of your past were like ghosts that came to you all the time…of fears, memories, worries, and even your ex-husband of over twenty years ago.”  In other words, he was basically telling me that I had emotionally weighed him ‘down,’ much like an anchor on a boat.

Considering that I spend the majority of my time thinking and researching ways to elevate the human spirit, I was devastated to hear this!  And the fact that I have done years of self-work, and think of myself as a fairly positive person…I was shocked to learn that he had made these observations about me during a time together when MY memory told me that this had been a wonderful, fun and uplifting time together!  WHAT?

Yes, of course, I DO know that I have had the bad habit of always looking at the negative side of things first.  And yes, I acknowledge that in conversation, I DO often verbalize my very profound viewpoints of why something ‘won’t’ work, before then acknowledging why it could work.  But really!  I KNOW I am a positive person.  Right?

Yet there was the truth…staring me right in the face…with that little ghost hovering overhead snickering at me.

Fascinating.  How could there be such a diverse difference between two perspectives?  And more importantly, is ‘that’ how I truly am?

Well, this statement got me to thinking about how I go about my daily life and my interactions with others…when I am NOT in the spotlight as a keynote Inspirational Speaker.  Dohh!  Major dichotomy, right?

His candid remark helped me to realize that I DO still have ghosts of the past affecting my life, both now and for the future!  Wow!  Now what?  How can I set an example for others to think and be positive and live in the ‘present,’ when I myself allow these ghosts to slip in and out of my life at will?

Ever heard of the statement, “Back to One?”  It’s a film cue for actors and such when the assistant director yells to them to go find their beginning mark for camera, because they need to do the scene one more time.   And often, this scene needs to be filmed again, because the first one was not quite good enough!

Well, Dana?  “Back to One!”

Ahhh well.  Sometimes it’s one step forward and two back.  Only, I do now know that awareness of a problem can be 9/10th the solution.

And fortunately, I also know that I need to get to the ‘root’ of this particular problem, so that perhaps I can truly change my inner dialogue…which will then change my behavior.  No sense in just putting a band-aid on a gaping wound, by ‘censoring’ my behavior.  Better to do a full-blown ‘spring cleaning’…find that pesky ghost hiding in the closet snickering…and kick it out of my head once and for all.

Haiiii-yah!

Well.  Here we go again.  “Lights…Camera…and ACTION!”

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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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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Dana Hee on Leadership and Success

Dana Hee being interviewed about Success and Leadership by NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people

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Here are the questions and Dana’s response

1. How do you define success?
Happiness in each and every moment that is good, as well as tolerance and acceptance of those bad things that you have no control over.

2. What is the key to success?
For me, being “present” or “in the moment” as much as possible. Also, persistent education about the world around me, combined with open mindedness that I may not always be right.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
No. For the first 23 years of my life I felt like a complete failure, and I had very little self confidence or self-esteem. I was so afraid of failure that I was too afraid to accept a challenge, too afraid to take a risk, and too afraid to even try.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The knowledge that the thrill of victory is worth the possible agony of defeat. I know, because the first 23 years I felt like a failure for being too afraid to even try. Fortunately, I learned that there are consequences for our actions, and especially our in-actions. Sure, there is often a price to pay for victory, but the cost of not rising to the challenges in life are far greater. Victory is here, and then gone, yet the pride and satisfaction to have the courage to go for what you want? That lasts a lifetime!

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To be humble in my greatness, to be accepting of my weaknesses, to be happy with this life I have been given, and to be proud of even the smallest step with courage.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love riding horses, living a simple farm life with my animals, and I love any opportunity to interact with others in the interest of helping to elevate the human spirit and show others just how much is truly possible.

7. What makes a great leader?
Passion, compassion, and interaction along with the ability to help others build their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Innovation is key, yet do not forget to always be growing your area of knowledge and expertise to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, global education and interaction is critical, regardless of whether you interact outside your country or not.

Interview from http://www.novallo.net   NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people  http://www.navallo.net/dana-hee

Success and Leadership

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Acting with Courage in the face of Stress! Dealing with Stress, Part III

When you are feeling the pressure and frozen in time…when it feels like you have no move left to make?

There is one rule to live by and but one path to take.

Just make a move, whether right or wrong, and you will see doors open a hundred miles long.

The biggest fallacy you see is that there is nothing to be done to change your circumstance.

Your secret to defeat the undefeatable is the law of inertia and it’s a wonder to behold.  How the smallest of movement can create your next championship gold.

For even if the step you take is true or false, this action creates a reaction and you will not feel that sense of loss.

You see the one thing I have truly learned is that the only thing worse than failure is being too afraid to even try.

So when you are thinking there is no hope and want to give in and die?

Take some small action and you will find, that whether you succeed or fail…you will feel like the biggest winner of all.

For nothing can take away that wonderful feeling deep inside of pride and satisfaction for having the courage to lift yourself back up every single time you fall.

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