Mindset is the Magical Key to Life
Hello. My name is Debbie.
Why did I pick that title? Because I have discovered that I can change things in any way I want to simply by changing my mindset — my viewpoint and attitude towards something. It all starts with a decision to be, do or have something – which take just seconds and is the starting point to reaching your dreams.
Read my story, and if you will allow yourself to change your mindset, you’ll be on your way to wherever you decide to go.
Here I sit, starting the second half of my life. I guess I’m different from most women who are concerned about their age. I'm not — I look and feel young and I’m excited about the rest of my life. I have so many things I want to accomplish, I can’t wait to get going each day.
My personal trainer really works me hard. He challenges me to do things I never thought I could make this body do. (Me: “I can’t do 20 lbs.” Trainer: “Yes, you can!” Me: “Oh, look at that. I did it!”)
But isn’t that what makes life fun? Setting star-high goals and then pushing and pushing till you get there – blasting through the barriers life puts in your way. And just before you get there, deciding the goal wasn’t big enough…. so it’s time to set your eyes on even taller stars in the sky.
I guess that’s what my life has been – always looking to the future and knowing there’s something better I can create for myself, my friends and family– particularly those who believe in themselves and want to make a better world. Those are the kind of people I actively seek out and gravitate to, and who, hopefully, will continue to seek out and find me.
I’m not convinced that our childhood experiences play a huge role in molding who we are (I think it’s more how we choose to respond to those experiences). However, I do have a vivid childhood memory that seems to have pointed me in the right direction. As a little girl, I used to lie in bed looking at the never-ending maze of convoluted thoughts and voices in my mind. I always knew there was a route out – a way to rise above the traps we have built for ourselves that sometimes seem impenetrable. I was always certain I could get where I wanted to go. That certainty made it possible to do so many things – including now being able to communicate to you through the Internet. How fun to know that by telling you about me, I’ll make friends all over the world.
Obviously, there's a lot I could tell you about, but I’m just going to give you a few highlights – both funny incidents and the ones that really had an impact on me.
A Neat Excuse to Get Out of Gym Class
When I was a teenager, I came down with “the kissing disease” (mononucleosis or Epstein-Barr virus). The initial symptoms of sore throat and fever went away pretty fast, but the weakness and overwhelming tiredness did not. I was in bed for weeks. About the only good thing to come out of this was a note from my doctor excusing me from gym class for several months. But the worst part is what happened years later. (You’ll have to read on to see what that was.)
My Dad Was Exhausted After A Drive on the Freeway
Another memorable teen-age incident was my dad teaching me to drive. What a trooper! I’ll never forget the first day he took me on the freeway. My attention was riveted on doing everything right. It wasn’t till I pulled back safely into our driveway that I looked at my dad. He was soaking wet! Wow, I guess my driving had really made him nervous – but never once did he get upset with me. He patiently (and quietly) let me get my feet wet on the road. He really made it easy to learn.
Who Else Can I Help?
When I look back, the main thing that stands out in my life is that I always wanted to help people – and people always came to me asking for help — sometimes even people I never expected to look up to me. This gave me the confidence and certainty that I really can help people. I can’t imagine anything more rewarding, or in fact, any better reason to be alive.
The Psycho Professor from Hell – I Can’t Thank Him Enough!
The logical thing for me was to go to college to learn more about helping people – hah, that was a naïve point of view, as it turned out. In my first psychology class, my professor was talking about how it’s impossible for people to change or get better or improve their IQ. I couldn’t believe my ears, so I raised my hand and asked him if he really believed that it was impossible to help people get better. I might as well have announced that he was a serial killer – his response probably would have been the same. He went dead silent (oh boy, I knew something was about to explode) and then said to the whole class: “Can you believe this girl is challenging me?” I guess I can thank him for helping me make the decision to quit college the next day. Apparently, there weren’t going to be any answers for how to help people in the field that is supposed to help people. Thank goodness I didn’t waste years before finding this out.
Maybe it was only this one professor’s twisted view of psychology, as I’m sure there are many well-meaning people in this field. All I know is that if you’re going to try to help someone, you at least have to start with the belief that IT IS POSSIBLE to change for the better.
In retrospect, I know I made the right decision for me.
Dad, I Want to Trade in the New Car You Bought me for a Beat Up VW Camper
My father did not object when I told him I wanted to drop out of college and trade in the new Toyota he had bought me for a beat-up old 1960 VW camper so I could drive across the country. Even he trusted me and let me follow my dreams, no matter how wacky they sounded at the time.
In fact, I did find a way to help people and spent the next 3 decades working with a group where I was able to spend my time doing what I loved best – helping people.
But there were a few bumps along the way.
I Almost Died After the Operation was Over
In the late 70s, I developed cysts on my ovaries and the pain was excruciating, so I opted for surgery. I was petrified as I waited to be wheeled into the operating room – until I got a dose of whatever that stuff is that relaxes you. No more worries – I just giggled and had a big grin on my face. I didn’t remember a thing until the operation was over and they pulled the tube out of my throat. Suddenly I heard the nurses running around and mumbling something about, “Why isn’t she breathing?” “Call her husband and find out if she’s allergic to something!” Oh, my god, they were talking about me. All I could think was, “Listen guys, this is YOUR job to make sure I’m breathing, so YOU figure it out – right now.” Within seconds, they jammed the tube back down my throat, while they figured out why I had stopped breathing. I did finally start breathing on my own, but it took an extra week in the hospital and lots of tests for the doctors to figure out what had happened. (It turned out my body was deficient in a particular substance that is crucial for breaking down the muscle relaxant.) But I did learn something from this traumatic experience – I definitely wanted to live and was going to make sure the doctors and nurses helped me do so.
An Artist? Who Would Have Thunk It? It Saved My Life
In 1991, I had a serious recurrence of Epstein-Barr virus – this time I could hardly move my body. I remember going to a mall with my husband and I couldn’t walk back to the car by myself – my body had simply drained itself of energy and was not making any more. This time the effects of the illness lasted for many years, despite seeing dozens of doctors, taking every supplement imaginable and spending many hours in bed. Throughout the entire time I was sick, I was worried that I might need to find another job that did not require being in an office all day. I simply could not sit up and concentrate for long periods of time.
But I made sure that something good came out of this debilitating illness.
Actually, the illness opened the door to something truly amazing. One day a friend asked me to include a picture of a bowl in an article that I was transcribing for him. I just couldn’t do it. At first I wasn’t sure if I was having a problem with computer technology or with my drawing ability. I finally realized that I didn’t understand the subject of perspective and it had nothing to do with drawing on the computer at all. I was so frustrated by my attempts to draw this bowl that I went out and bought a book on perspective and studied and practiced until I could draw the bowl – both on paper and on the computer. I became so fascinated with drawing that I just kept drawing and drawing and buying lots more books. One day someone suggested I try watercolor. “Yuk,” I said. “Too messy.” But the suggestion hung around like a persistent thought. One day I was in Office Depot and decided to gamble on a $15 student- grade watercolor set. I became hooked.
I discovered that I had an insatiable desire to CREATE. Although I had no prior interest in art, watercolor became a passion and the only thing I could find any energy to do. I bought or borrowed and read every book on drawing and watercolor painting I could get my hands on. I ended up with over 100 books in my bedroom and enough art supplies to last a lifetime. But the really astounding thing (to me) is that I got good at it.
He Actually Offered to Pay Me Money for My Paintings!
One afternoon I showed someone some of my “practice” paintings and he asked me how much I wanted for them. “You mean you want to pay me for my art?” I quickly made up a price and after he handed me the $85, I called my mom. “Mom, I just sold 3 of my paintings!” I was so exhilarated, I couldn’t believe it. I had experienced the true joy of creating – and sharing my aesthetic vision with someone else for him to enjoy. I have continued painting to this day. I truly believe that teaching myself to paint was what pulled me through the illness. I painted landscapes, seascapes, snowscapes, flowers, horses, ducks, penguins, polar bears – anything that caught my fancy. You can see some of my art at www.debbielewiswatercolors.com and at www.greetingcarduniverse.com/debbieswatercolorcardstore.
Happy Birthday — You’re Husband’s Been Shot
Learning to paint did not, however, signal the end of the trauma in my life. On my 48th birthday, I was resting at home when I got a call. “Debbie, David’s been shot.” It took me about 5 seconds to get in the car and drive down the street to find him laying there in the middle of Hollywood Blvd, in broad daylight, with a bullet in his chest. The ambulance arrived and we rushed off to the hospital. All I could think was, “OK, doctors, it’s your job to save his life, so do your thing.” And they did. The emergency room conversation was pretty short. Doctor: “David, what I’m about to do is going to hurt alot.” David: “Do you have to do it?” Doctor: “It’s either that or you’ll die.” David: “OK, do it,” and the doctor poked a long metal ice-pick-looking object between his ribs into his lung cavity. That was true emergency medical practice – they had minutes to get his lung cavity to re-inflate to avoid brain damage. All went well and he recovered fully, with the bullet left embedded in his left lung. (By the way, the bullet had been fired by a would-be robber who shot at his intended robbery victim and missed.) Did anything good come out of this incident? Yes, my husband had a life-changing experience and things started going better for him. It took a shock like this to force us to take a new look at where we were going in life and that is always a good thing to do.
I Felt Like I Grew Up When My Husband Died
We thought we were out of the woods, but three years later, we discovered he had Stage 4 cancer. The doctors said there was nothing they could do for him and wanted to ship him off to a hospice. But my husband was not about to go down without a fight. So, off to Mexico we went, where he checked in to a cancer clinic that had many more treatments available than the U.S. hospital. And the techniques were actually working – but it was too little, too late. Sixteen days after arriving in Mexico, we took our last look at each other and he was gone. Could I possibly find anything good out of this awful experience? I had to. I wasn’t going to let anything get me down. It was the first time I had witnessed death and it was like suddenly growing up and facing what life is really all about. I guess I would have to call it the most profound spiritual experience I’ve had – one which left me with certainty that there really is more to life than just our physical bodies.
Again, I found myself reevaluating my life, realizing that I hadn’t been healthy for nearly ten years. I wondered if there was some kind of job I could do from home that wouldn’t take such a toll on the little bit of energy I had. The entrepreneurial spirit was taking root and I looked into a few things. I learned a little bit about network marketing, but wasn’t ready to take the plunge into anything new.
93-year old Mom Makes Beautiful Jewelry
There’s no doubt that I’m from a set of parents who are real survivors. My 93-year old mom started making jewelry when she was in her 80s and has now sold hundreds of her one-of-a-kind creations. She uses high quality, semi-precious stones and uses magnets for closures and women love her jewelry!
My Dad’s Legacy – He Helped Thousands of People Become Literate
My dad was a world-famous author – but he never knew (or cared) how famous he was. Neither did I, really, until I saw articles in the LA Times, NY Times, AP and UPI wires announcing his death at 93 (after surviving polio, lung cancer and viral encephalitis). My wonderful father is remembered by people all over the world because he taught them how to read, write and spell. Here’s what the media wrote about him: http://bit.ly/oFjIi and http://bit.ly/cyYK1
The end of the first part of my life was when I finally realized that if I didn’t spend more time taking care of my health, my life was going to be a lot shorter than it needed to be. So I made a massive change and decided to learn the ropes of making money from home. Some people might consider it too adventurous to start from scratch at my age, but I love the challenge and am having a ball.
I’m off to a good start on the second half of my life. I live in a beautiful condo in downtown Long Beach, CA, overlooking the Queen Mary, right on the Grand Prix route. There’s a video of one of the races that I saw from my patio (scroll down the left side of my Facebook page and you'll find it). Grand Prix video
I really enjoy associating with good people so that we can help each other live better lives. This is so much easier to do now with the Internet. I am still avidly painting and love creating images that people want to put in their homes and offices and enjoy day after day.
I have launched several home-based MLM business that I am very excited about and am happy to share with anyone who wants to enjoy a better life.
I’ve really been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug – and it’s a lot healthier than the Epstein-Barr virus. I realize now that it's my persistence and my positive mindset that are at the bottom of my success in my new life.
I have enjoyed sharing some of the highlights of my life with you. If anything here has touched you, please send me a message and share your thoughts with me or let me know how I can help you.
I’m always interested in meeting new people I can have an intelligent conversation with. I look forward to hearing from you.
Debbie Lewis – Long Beach, California