Congratulations, to all the smart, gorgeous ladies who made the choice to take a couple of hours out of their busy lives to disconnect from all the madness and reconnect to themselves, in beautiful Carmel Valley!
Every workshop I host is different, but the one thing I’m happy to say remains constant is: whenever a group of women comes together and they are open to looking at their lives through a new lens – even if it’s still a pretty dirty one – there is always a beautiful sense of support and unity.
The afternoon we shared amounted to more than our written reflections or the conversations we engaged in. The true reflection and connection came from the silence, the moments when each woman took the time to look into their hearts both through their own eyes and then in the eyes of another.
In truth, no one really knew what to expect, and that’s the beauty… being open to the unexpected and challenging yourself to look at things in a different way. The outcome I hope for all of you is a simple shift in mindset. A shift from “should I” to “I should, I can and I will.” This mindset has the power to liberate us and free us up for what is yet to come.
I will finish by repeating the saying I shared as we celebrated our afternoon over a delicious glass of wine –
‘When you know and trust yourself on a deeper level and allow yourself to be seen, you will have more clarity, honesty and freedom in your life – and freedom is something we all desire and need!’
By Diane Danvers Simmons. Published in Wellness.com 2016
“Never say Never” is one of life’s truths I’ve come to relish. I’m proud to share that on a recent adventure I plucked up the courage to learn to surf with four fellow surfing virgins. Forget “the 40 year old virgin”, we were all “the 45 plus virgins”, willing and able to happily admit temporary insanity and conquer some major fears on the shores of Todos Santos!
Even though I’m pretty fit and able, I wasn’t feeling that bold or a 100% willing. I was terrified surveying the crashing waves, as I recollected the time I was tumbled and smashed on the ocean floor …but that’sanother story. I had fought my way into the confines of an ill-fitted wetsuit without putting my back out, so, at least I needed to honor that feat and listen to the instructors spanglish.
Fear is like a rip tide pulling us further and further away from all of life’s miracles. The key is to welcome it, own it, and give oneself permission to feel the emotions that surface. I’m not recommending being reckless, but I am sharing how we can dive in and ride the waves of fear back to vibrancy.
FEELS A LOT LIKE YOGA ON A BOARD TO ME!
Loosen up and see the humor in life. We’d already completed our daily practice of yoga, which on one hand meant we were already in the zone, but on the other hand the thought of doing yoga on a surf board was a little daunting…This is the moment I questioned my sanity, but felt comforted by the bond I shared with my fellow angels. Endless humor alleviated much of anxiety that had taken residence in my mind, as we shamelessly practiced our surfing skills on the sand.
Don’t face the fear alone. I thought I was ready but alas, rational fear crept into my mind! After a few fearless strides, I did a 180-degree turn and began to peel off my wetsuit, much to my instructors (Julio) horror. His reaction was instantaneous, kind, but persistent and encouraging. Julio didn’t make me feel stupid and most importantly he didn’t let me give into my fear of being pummeled on the ocean bed. Instead he promised to stay close and guide me, with sister surfer angles cheering me on. Knowing I wasn’t alone or judged got me back on board … literally!
Let go by connecting to your inner child.The excitement and curiosity of youth was building inside, as I paddled out on my board into the unknown. I felt like a child being pushed high into the air on an endless swing, with the nose of the board rising high, crashing over the breaking waves. Soaked in the infinite joy, presence and wonder of childhood play, I let go of the fear as my spirit soared and I lost myself in the thrill of the spill.
Self- trust, being present in the moment. “Stay near Julio!!”OMG here I go again, upward dog…lunge… warrior pose with arms spread eagle …’‘ALLALUJA, I’m up and alive, being carried by the energy of the waves… You can go now Julio!”
I wasn’t walking on water yet, but I was part of it. Time stood still, as I connected to the rhythm of nature in tune with all of my natural instincts. I trusted the strength and wisdom of my own body in the ever-changing moment. I went back out time and again, knowing each time would be different. I felt exhilarated and energized as the waves washed away the stresses of everyday life and the feeling of limitless possibilities replaced them.
The benefits of activities that reignite personal awareness. Whether it’s surfing or any other physical activity engaging in something out of your comfort zone, it reignites our own personal awareness. It expands our consciousness giving us renewed validation of what we can accomplish when we choose to live in the moment, understand our fear and use it as a tool to experience growth.
I’ll finish by saying this, “By changing my perspective, I now understand why surfers become addicted to the spirit of the surf. It’s truly a spiritual experience to feel at one with Mother Nature, connected to the energy and power of the waves and wind, to feel part of something much bigger than you.”
Only one person can stop you and that’s you! Make the choice to welcome your fear home, embrace it, and then let it go so you can LIVE each day as an adventure.
Now go out, have an adventure and embrace your inner child!
There’s that moment in time when you hear someone thank you in an emotional tribute and your initial response is “wow”, is she really talking about me? Naturally, it’s followed by tears, which you silently try to wipe away as black lines of mascara run down your face. It’s a moment of affirmation, when you realize that sharing your own stories, however big or small and just being there to listen and answer questions from your own life perspective really does make a difference in someone else’s life.
I’m referring to Mentorship …I’d just returned from a weekend at the awe-inspiring, mind expanding Nantucket Project, where one of the many subjects discussed was how soon artificial intelligence will become ubiquitous in our everyday lives and is certain to replace many activities which exist today.
However, as I witness Priscilla, a young women I’ve been lucky enough to mentor for the past few years stand in front of an audience of 300 women and share her story with raw honesty, dignity and strength, I’m reminded that nothing is more integral to humanity than human interaction and emotion.
Think about it for a moment …could a robot mentor a young woman, give her a real hug and be there emotionally for her?
Witnessing Priscilla, I felt like a proud parent, as she demonstrated strength of character, not just by displaying her resiliency, perseverance and determination, but most importantly by acknowledging her vulnerability.
She reminded the audience that having a strong mentor who could provide guidance, empathize with her journey, and understood first hand,what it means to be an immigrant was a true source of inspiration. The comparison struck a cord within me and is why I believe the Universe, God, and or the Angels, had lead me to become Priscilla’s mentor.
It’s clear Artificial intelligence will become part of our everyday world. However, sitting in the room with like minded women who care about assisting and educating young women, I can’t help but think that the human spirit and emotion, the invisible cord that binds us, is one that technology/artificial intelligence will never truly understand or replace.
The wisdom of the human spirit is a universal gift for each of us to hold onto, even more now as we navigate the chaos of our world. It’s the thread that unites people from all walks of life.
We each impact each other daily and it doesn’t matter if you mentor one or one hundred young people in your lifetime, the opportunity to connect and build a relationship with someone you probably wouldn’t have otherwise known, someone who you can help rise up, is priceless!
Thanks to organizations such a WELI and Hartnell college who understand the need for investment in young people through mentorship programs. Foundations which match those willing with young women who not only want a better life for themselves but also for generations to come…they are the ones who will pay it forward, they are the ones who will help us have balance and humanity in our world.
Own it, Feel it, Live it with love, compassion and humanity!