• DeAara Lewis

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Now That George Zimmerman Has Been Acquitted, What Will Black Mothers Tell Their Sons?

Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, what will black”mothers tell their sons? Much has been written about how the verdict and how racial profiling affects young African-American men, but little has been written about how it affects fearful African-American mothers struggling to cope with the verdict.

Watch the video, post your thoughts and share.

Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part IV

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Continued from “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part III”

After I released the energy around that situation, my heart started beating even faster. Colors became more vibrant. Sounds more crisp. I didn’t know what was happening, something just told me to stick with it, stay the course. So on December 10, 2012, I decided to do something about my weight for real. I had the exercising down. I had been doing it for two years in fight class and lost 20 pounds while gaining a considerable amount of muscle. But my eating was off. Working out for two hours and then eating a cheeseburger was counter-productive to say the least. I got serious, cleaned out my pantry and stocked up on healthier foods.

Then another set back. One day within my new way of eating, one of my rental properties got completely destroyed by a fire. A day before my birthday! And I so wanted to go to that place again. That dark place. That place that reminds me that God really doesn’t love me and will make sure that I suffer no matter how hard I work to dig myself out of it. But I wouldn’t allow myself to go there. I was in tears as I drove to my rental property, completely furious with the tenant who already was a slow-to-no-payer. I was paying the mortgage on my own often because she didn’t have the rent and now the damn house was on fire?! Why the hell is all of this happening, I thought.

Yet, my parts were working themselves out in the background and something suddenly hit me on the way to the house – I had property insurance. I owed much less on the house than the house was worth, so no matter what, I was covered. Although I was nervous and my heart went out to my tenant who lost everything, I was relieved to know that I wasn’t going to have another huge financial setback. The house was deemed a complete lost and it was totaled, literally. Although I felt sad at the loss of the income, I was relieved I didn’t have to deal with that tenant anymore. Hell, I was relieved I only had one rental property left with a good, timely tenant.

Things slowly picked up after that. I stayed the course with my diet, the weight started to melt off and one day my Facilitator introduced a new technique to me that completely revolutionized the intrapersonal work we were doing. The process went so deep and was so compassionate that I was flooded with tears when we finished. He walked me through a process where I let all of my parts know that I was the love, the light, the joy, the innocence, the courage, the confidence, the creativity, the clarity that they thought they lost. I let them know that I loved and accepted them, no matter how deep their secrets, how dark their shame. And the only mistake they made was forgetting that I (SELF) had always been there. That I will always be there. I was there before conception and I will be there during their transition out of this life and beyond. And that’s when it hit. That’s when I realized that I was God. That’s when it all came together. Everything I had been learning, all the work that I had been doing. I finally got it intuitively, not just intellectually. The hatred, the punishment, the things-never-work-out, nobody-likes-me mentality came from wounded parts in me, not the God in me. God, the Light, the Sun, the Universe or however Ones sees it is incapable of that type of existence.

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Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part III

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Continued From “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part II”

In 2011, my heart was slowly started to beat again. Fighting and taking medication for insulin-resistance knocked about 20 pounds off of me by that time. I was feeling a little better. And I met somebody. It was such a relief to connect with someone who had a like-mind and spirit, to know that I was still desirable, that I tried not to pay attention to the red flags. But I had been doing my work and I was healing, so I couldn’t put a veil over my eyes like I did in the past. My parts were stronger now, had more clarity, loved me too much and after 7 months, that relationship ended. Initially, I went into panic mode. “Oh no, am I going to mourn him as long as I mourned my Ex before him?” “Is this breakup going to cripple and stall me the way the one before him did?” I was just getting my creativity back. I was writing again. I was slowly acting again. I was going to have to go through this shit all over again? I was devastated at the thought. I did go into a funk after the break up. But something odd happened – I only mourned it very deeply for about two weeks. This was unusual for me, because I’ve taken break ups hard in the past. After two weeks, however, I just couldn’t really get my hip into being sad over it. I examined the data and knew that, that was not a connection that was meant to be on that level. I got what I needed from it and I let it go. And that was the first real testament to the work that I was doing. I had no way of intellectually knowing how that was going to play out. But I had been working tirelessly on healing my inner parts so much so that SELF was able to step in and took care of it for me.

During this time, although I started getting better, I had a huge set back – my producing partner and one my best friends, Rod Pitts, had died at the age of 37. I went into a complete panic mode and the panic attacks hit an all-time high. I became compulsive about illness and disease. Every time a family member got sick, I panicked. And looking shit up on the internet didn’t make it any better. Someone connected to one of my family members was very insensitive and cruel about it. She didn’t understand what was going on, probably didn’t care and attempted to attack and shame me when one of my panic attacks happened in her presence. It was actually my grandmother who recognized that the attacks were very largely due to my friend mysteriously getting sick. And once again, I rolled up my sleeves and begin to work tirelessly through that pain with my facilitator. And my heart beat sped up even more as I released the pain and gave myself permission to really mourn his loss.

With Rod’s death and my latest breakup, I really had no desire to date. But I did have a strong desire to create. I fiend to be back on stage again, to be producing another movie, to be writing. I wanted to give “Tricks” its final push into the world so that I could release it. I was anxious to get “The People Inside My Head” off of the ground. My heart begin to beat faster. Soon enough I found myself waking up daily excited about life. It was slow, it was cautious, but it was there. I knew I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t a zombie.

Then another set back. A group I was a part of had issues with how I handled the promotion of an event we were producing. One of the members approached me in what I believed to be a very disrespectful and condescending way. I was hurt, shocked, embarrassed and disappointed in myself. If he approached me this way, it could only be because the others had discussed their issues about me amongst themselves, I thought. The thought of that was very humiliating. How could I have dropped the ball on this and have an entire group hating me? In the past, I would have probably sucked up the email and tried to appease the person who was upset with me. But that was no longer who I was, my parts were working themselves out in the background and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I couldn’t. I was a different person. A person who ran to the roar instead of away from it. So I emailed this person back and called them out on what I believed their intentions were and set some very firm boundaries with how to approach me if there is conflict in the future. And I held myself accountable for the part that I played and my part only.

I was very hurt about what happened, very disappointed in myself. I was doing all of this work, how could I drop the ball on something so important where so many people were counting on me? My facilitator reminded me that shit happens and that’s how I learn from it. He commended me for holding myself accountable for my part while not taking on the burdens of others. And that’s when I made a decision I would leave the group at the end of the year. I learned a lot about choosing my time wisely and not over staying my welcome in any situation. And not to be so hard on myself when I mess up, because I will mess up. And shit does happens.

Click Here to Read Part 4 of “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me.”

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Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part II

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Continued from “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part I”
Then, after watching “KickAss” I decided to pursue something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child – martial arts and boxing. I went to a school that teaches Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts and street fighting, watched a few classes and decided this was what I wanted to do.

My creativity was still low. I was still mourning my last relationship but ended up becoming close with a good friend who really helped me learn to embrace intimacy and connection again. For a long time, because I was so unhappy in the relationship with my Ex and so many emotional and physical boundaries had been violated, I forgot what it felt like to be touched in a caring, intimate way and be open to it. Although things didn’t work out romantically between my friend and I, we still remain close friends and I credit him with helping me bring myself back to life in that area.

My producing partner, Rod, was still sick and paralyzed in the hospital. “Tricks” was stalled. I had no drive to promote it. I had no drive to create any new projects. The only things I could do during this time was go to fight class and go to therapy. Those were the only two things that made sense to me. Everything else was on autopilot. And there were some consequences that I paid for that. I lost some opportunities. Some opportunities I had did not go well because my heart wasn’t in it. My heart wasn’t in anything really, a big part of me was still dead inside. I hid it a lot around friends and colleagues. I mean I was writing a blog called, “Do It Scared”, so to many of them I think they thought I had it all figured out based on my writings. In actuality, I was still figuring it out, coming up short a lot of the time. I was always open with my feelings but they never knew how bad I was suffering. How sometimes I had to will myself to get out of bed. How on some days, I didn’t want to live. Weekends were the worst. It was like the hollowness of a drum echoing loudly, reminding me of how alone I was.

But I stuck with my Facilitator, once a week and worked on my own on other days. I forced myself to work through my feelings when they came on the strongest, when it hurt the worst, when the emotions were the most grim. I was terrified, but I figured me going inside and facing the pain couldn’t be any worse than what I was already feeling.

And one thing I began to realize is that many of my problems were working themselves out in the background. What I mean by this is that although I wouldn’t always feel an immediate change, parts would still be healing in my subconscious. This thing is measured in millimeters. Very tiny parts heal at a time and then it starts to add up.

Click Here to Read Part 3 of “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me.”

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Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part I

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For a long time I thought God hated me. I thought the Universe hated me. I thought Life hated me. I thought that whatever the joy that other people had, clearly was not intended for me. I could not understand why so many bad things had happened in my life and I worked so hard to be a good person.

About three years ago, my relationship ended bitterly, the guy ended up marrying the woman he cheated on me with and who harassed me all while boasting about how she had “taken” my man. I had to file bankruptcy. I had gained close to 50 pounds. I had a case of acne on the side of my face that would not clear up. My film “Tricks” hadn’t taken off the way I wanted it to and my producing partner of my film and other projects developed a strange illness that left him completely paralyzed from the neck down. I began to see for the first time how my presence truly was not welcomed nor desired at one of my relative’s home at a time when I needed them the most. And this was just my 2010.

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30 things that life experience has taught me that I want young women to know…

1. No means no. If you say it, mean it and stand by it.
2. If he is really into you, you won’t have to chase him.
3. People respect you less when you don’t stick to your boundaries.
4. Set boundaries!!!
5. You will lose friends and guys you like when you set boundaries.
6. You will also connect with more people with integrity and substance when set boundaries.
7. It really is okay to cry.
8. You are bigger than your family of origin.
9. And don’t sell out the people who you love.
10. Love yourself first.
11. Be slow to attack and quick to make amends.
12. Grudges hurt you more than the other person.
13. Don’t beg to be accepted by others.
14. If you have to work very hard and remain docile to be accepted by certain people, those aren’t the people for you.
15. Don’t move in with a man before you have lived on your own.
16. Don’t be in a rush to settle down. Take your 20’s to learn and explore who you are.
17. If he hits you, leave him or shoot him. Whichever one is the most convenient and/or will keep you out of jail.
18. Life will never be fair. It will just be.
19. Use condoms, regardless of how much you trust him.
20. Don’t ever let him take you to a cheap motel. If you really mean something to him, he’ll pay the price.
21. You will get your heart broken.
22. You will recover from it.
23. Think for yourself and stand in your own convictions, even if no one else agrees with you.
24. Learn how to think.
25. If he doesn’t open the door for you on the first date and he wasn’t born in a different country with different customs, consider it a red flag.
26. Be willing to walk away if you are unhappy.
27. Be willing to stay if it is worth it.
28. Know when it is worth it.
29. Know your own worth.
30. Know the sun never sets, even in the darkest times.

Who Would You Have to Be in Order for Them to Accept You? Coping with Rejection…

Rejection is something almost each and every one of us will deal with at some point in our lives. Facing it can be tough because many our insecurities and negative beliefs about ourselves come at us full force. So a question I ask myself that I encourage anyone who may be coping with rejection ask themselves is – who would you have to be in order for this person to accept you?

See, we can only be who we are. Even when we pretend to be someone else, our true personality will eventually surface, even if it’s just in glimmers and people will notice. So if who you are is counter to who that person wants you to be then the rejection is inevitable. No matter what, it was going to happen unless you completely sell yourself out.

If you are outspoken and they prefer more docile people, they were going to reject you. If you are quiet and they prefer more outgoing people, they were eventually going to reject you. If you exist and they don’t like that you exist, eventually, they would reject you for existing.

That was very freeing for me when I realized it. And it let me off the hook of trying so hard or in most cases at all. It also makes it a hell of a lot easier to set boundaries because I’m not hanging on the idea that I need their acceptance to function and live. So my suggestion – look at it as they did you favor. You are now free to be whoever you choose to be on your own terms.

Questions Every Artist Struggling with Discouragement and Bitterness Should Ask Themselves…

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Oftentimes when artists are bitter about their dreams not being realized, it’s not because they didn’t have opportunities, it’s because they didn’t take them. So here are some questions every artist (or anyone pursuing a goal) who is struggling and feeling bitter may want to ask themselves…

Are you doing all you can to reach your goal? When you get off work, do you “hit the pavement” or do you just end up sleeping, watching television, losing time browsing the Internet? Do you have a plan? What sacrifices are you willing to make while maintaining integrity?

Are you making calls, getting out in the street, saving money to go to that event that’ll get you just a little closer? Are you investing in yourself? Taking classes, courses? Do you practice daily? If not, why not?

Do you jump from one project to the next? Abandoning the previous one when it doesn’t do what you want it to do when you want it to do it? Do you start writing that book when you have a burst of energy, only to stop when the initial excitement fades?

Do you have a strategy in place to deal with discouragement, disappointment, things all artists (and almost everyone) will inevitably face on a regular basis? Are you trying to make it happen from a place of comfort? Would you have a better chance if you left the city? What are you doing to leave the city? Are you saving up? Getting your health in order? Arranging a place to stay?

Are you putting yourself in situations that will make it harder for you to succeed? Are you in your early 20’s wanting to sing, act, dance, see the world but are also trying to get married and settle down with someone whose goals are in total opposition of your own? Thankfully, we live in a time now where having children doesn’t mean a person (especially a woman) has to park their artistic dreams, but without support, it can make it more difficult. Certainly not impossible, but tougher. So to young women just starting out, please take this in. Falling in love can distort perceptions, once that feeling takes over, for a while, nothing else seems to matter. That’s nature doing what it is supposed to do to ensure we continue to exist. Know that, understand that and think before you put yourselves in situations that yield a permanent result.

More questions to ask – Did you just get a job that gives you a sense of comfort and but is actually inflexible and extremely demanding, robbing you of your time that you can be accomplishing your goals? Did you take on another side project to “get you there” but it has now become a full monster of its own draining you of your time?

How’s your credit? If you needed to borrow a little bit of cash to finance something, could you? If your credit is not on par, what are you doing to fix it?

Are there people in your life who do not support you? Are you hanging on to the hope that they will a little too tightly? What are you really doing? Are you really going for it or do you only go for it on the days you feel inspired? Questions to ask, questions to answer.

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There is Just Some Shit I Will Not Eat…

Boundaries

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As I continue on this journey of love, growth and the freedom to be free, I find myself constantly facing various challenges.  One theme that has consistently been showing up in my life is setting boundaries.  After a very deep betrayal a few years ago, I committed to that being first and foremost what I worked on the most.

This journey has not been easy.  I like to be liked.  Which is somewhat ironic considering the temper I have when I believe I have been crossed or violated.  But I do.  And it was that wanting to be liked that has gotten me into some sticky situations in the past.

Fear of humiliation is one of the top barriers to human growth and evolution.  And in my line of work (entertainment), One has to be willing to get embarrassed in order to grow, it comes with the territory.  So combine my fear of humiliation with my desire to be liked and it’s easy to see I severely clipped my wings for a long time.

Since I made a committment to resolve this, I started taking baby steps in doing so.  I said, “No,” more frequently without offering a reason.  I stood up to someone who had mistreated myself and some of my relatives for years.  I finally ended a friendship with someone I sincerely loved and will probably always love in some capacity because they consistently violated my trust and broke their word.

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“The Forgotten Ones” a Film that Questions Freedom of Religion and Freedom From It, Debuts Online!

The Forgotten Ones poster

The Forgotten Ones was the very first film I produced independently. It was originally entitled, Suicide Queens but that sounded a bit cliché. One day while on my break at work, I was sitting in the kitchen trying to figure out what I wanted my first project to be. I had just wrapped up a play and had made many friends in it, friends I would call on when it became time to produce the film. An idea then came to me – what if a woman is visited by two women from her past, still connected to her in some mysterious way and they threaten to destroy her entire life and career with a dark secret? That idea got me very excited for many reasons.

 

As I developed the story, I decided to work in much of what I had learned about interpersonal emotional work. I learned about the concept of psychological shadows and the works of Carl Jung from my father and an organization he co-founded called Inward Journey. It was there that I also got the opportunity to train in psychodrama, a process that uses elements of dramatization to help people gain insight and resolution into the parts of their lives that cause them distress.

I wondered what that could look like brought to life in film and that’s when I started to develop the idea.

I wanted power-house performances coupled with a strong story, not knowing that I was developing what would become my trademark style in my filmmaking. I wrote the story and immediately called on a college buddy named Eric Yang. Eric was an exceptionally talented filmmaker and cinematographer (he has two master degrees in film and won a Student Academy Award). Our friendship was cemented in one of our evening film classes when it was very late and he still was working on his production for finals. Eric, being the perfectionist that he is, ran over time and many of the students left. The assignment was due the next day and he didn’t have the option of postponing it. So I amongst a hand full of other students, chose to stay for the remainder of the night to help him finish. From then on, our friendship grew. We both knew it was this underlying loyalty that we both shared to the craft of filmmaking.

My cast and crew ended up being a combination of college, high school and acting mates I met throughout the years. Once I had everything in place, we hit the ground running, but not without adversity. My grandfather died when I first began writing the story and two months shy of my graduating college – something he had really tried to “hold out” for. The film was originally supposed to be shot at my home, but my home caught fire and was completely destroyed taking most of my personal belongings with it.

From that point, I stayed between my grandmother and a friend while my mother agreed to let me shoot at her house. The last thing I needed was a camera and spent my entire paycheck coupled with my tax refund on my very first professional camera. To say I was broke was an understatement. However, I was fortunate enough to be working in my field right out of college and was able to borrow the remainder of the equipment from my job.

Production had its ups and downs. I mostly edited at my job during my time off, but I had to share the computer with students and didn’t have the luxury of installing other types of software. I bought an external hard drive to store my footage, but quickly learned that external did not mean portable and lost three months worth of editing when my drive crashed one day due to it being moved around so often. That was one of the saddest days of my lives.

I then picked up a second job as a waitress and then as a camera operator at a news station to save money to build my own editing station. It would take me close to two years to edit the film due to the numerous setbacks. However, it was all worth it when it debuted to a sold out audience. The response was overwhelming. The Forgotten Ones went on to play at quite a few festivals, including one in New York City where it won an honorable mention.

The organization, Inward Journey, uses it as a training tool and the University of Denver added the film to their psychology department materials. Personally, I have had numerous people come up to me and tell me how deeply the film touched them and helped them to have courage to face their deepest fears.

The Forgotten Ones is a story which reminds us that just because we choose to forget about our past, does not mean our past forgets about us. Visit www.theforgottenonesmovie.com to watch the film.

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