We Are Human BEINGS Not Human DOERS

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Getting the BEING back in our DOING for a more fulfilling, happier work, life, balance.

As published on Intent.com 2/23/17

Whoever invented the TO DO list had a great concept, however, knowing the multi-taskers we are, I’m sure it was a woman, but none the less, I bet, she or he didn’t expect our modern day society to take ‘TO DO” to a whole new stratosphere.

Every day we witness women silently drowning in their “To Do Lists”. Beyond this it appears we’ve become a society which is living under a mindset or more bluntly put, the misconception, that constantly “Doing” is the way to justify our existence: to prove to the world and ourselves that our lives are valuable, that we matter and have relevance. Or should we be asking our self, is it an easy way to avoid the things we don’t want to face and deal with.

As a toddler I was fondly called Dodo by my family, not because I was fascinated by poop or had some special agenda to prove my existence, but because I wanted to explore and do many things for myself and fully experience what was before me at that very moment. In other words, to be fully engaged just as every free spirited toddler is, not at a scheduled time, but to be fully engaged right then and there in the moment. However, as people grow into adulthood so many feel the need to show the world what good “DOERS” they are for some sort of affirmation and to be known for what they DO rather than who they are and the depth of what they’re contributing.

Work, life balance is critical: in other words balancing BEING with your DOING is critical to your success as a “Human Being” on this planet. The majority of American defines success as our careers, but in essence, success is how you approach and live your life in totality as a “whole being” rather than a fragmented one.

Creating a sense of life balance is fundamental to a feeling of overall success and happiness. Balance is achieved with the right blend of BEING versus DOING toward career, community, family and your self.

So how do we practice introducing a little more balance and real connection in our lives so we can become present in our DOING instead of lost in our BEING.

Seven Steps back to being present in your doing

Nurture yourself: it’s not self indulgent it’s self-respect! Think of it as the vehicle, which is going to enable you to be more present, happier and the best for everyone around you.

Throw out the guilt or blame if you don’t get your to do list completed in your self imposed timeline. Step by step find you’re way to treating yourself kindly.

Breathe and find time to go to a place that brings you peace and wraps you in the beauty of mother nature if you can. Breathe to clear the clutter in your mind and reconnect on a level that doesn’t have to have all the answers …just allows you to feel and connect to mind, body and spirit.

Take time daily for you and quiet your mind through meditation, yoga or simply over the ritual of a cup of tea so you can get back to your core, and have a relationship with your most trusted source of knowledge – YOU

Be present in the moment so you can benefit by being engaged in the moment, the experience and continue to learn, grow, flourish and not only enjoy what your doing, but feel the passion in BEING in what your doing.

Add the play back into your life: Work hard, play hard, one feeds the other, just make sure you add a good nights rest to the mix!

Do and be what you love: Give yourself the time and space to find what you love and do it!

I whole heartily believe whether you choose take one or all the aforementioned steps, one of the most important foundations for us all is to be connected to family and friends. Not the toxic ones, but the ones that you can laugh and share your ups and downs with, who know and love you for all your flaws, through the good, bad and mundane. The people who will be your support group when you stop just DOING and are willing to just BE.

Ultimately, remember DOING doesn’t always give us time to DO what we really want or need to DO at a deeper soul level. Living from our soul is what makes our life really worth living, so get back to BEING so you can enjoy what you love DOING!

One of the things I love doing is writing, so I hope you’ve enjoyed “being” in this article with me!

Love Diane.

You might also like:
Spirituality in Stilettos: Spirituality Bliss with a 21st Century Twist, by Diane…

The Impact of Women’s Foundations Coast to Coast.

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Women’s Foundations are catalyst’s for change and social change is certainly not for the faint of Heart. However, give a woman a voice and a choice and she’ll always rise up to the job at hand with the strongest of hearts.

This is the renewed conviction and sense of purpose I felt when I walked out of the “Women’s Fund Convening 2016″ in San Luis Obispo, Thursday July 14th.

Like minded women from Women’s Fund organizations up and down the Central Coast of California came together to connect missions, share ideas, and develop actionable solutions, to advance gender equity and economic, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing for all women.

Thank you to activist Tracy Gary for sharing her wisdom, educating us and facilitating our discussions for positive change.

It might start with a village, but in truth, it will take tribes of fearless women of every creed, race and age to  step up with compassion and commitment to develop, fund and implement sustainable solutions.

The good news is that women are already making a difference everyday in the USA through organizations such as The Women’s Foundation.  Only through collaboration and support can we continue to build a better world where not only women, but whole communities can thrive.

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Women’s Fundraising lunch Monterey County ”Building awareness in our communities”

As Bertie Elliot said in a recent interview we filmed with her…

“I ask each of you to look into your own hearts and ask …how can I help?

Thanks to members of the Women’s Fund of: Santa Barbara, Monterey, Northern Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern county and Ojai.

Own your choice to make a difference and feel the difference it makes not only in another life, but in yours too. Diane xo

The power and importance of supporting all women.

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This past weekend I was privileged to be able to mentor young women at CSUMB, as part of WELI, the Women’s Education & Leadership institute, career development program. .

I’m continually inspired by the beauty and powerful resilience of a women’s spirit, but saddened by the cruelty, hardship and unfair discrimination many endure. Even when others would of given up, these capable young women are positive and motivated to learn and step beyond the boundaries life has dealt them.

Success to them is much bigger than simply themselves, it’s the chance to make a difference in someone else’s life, in their community, a chance to reach out and touch someone else’s soul to break the cycle of poverty and abuse. These young women don’t live stuck in the past, instead they are hungry to learn , driven to make a difference and willing to go to school, work one or two jobs, all while caring for family members.

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GHGH GIRLS

When you think of heroes, think of these young women.They are the individuals who want to be the change we all want to be and see in the world, authentic souls who speak from a place of knowing.

The women I spent time with are Owning it in the most powerful way possible. I say to them …you are special, you can and you will succeed because you have everything right here inside of you…all they need is someone to take their hand and guide them so they have the tools to move forward.

Where there are programs that support women such as, WELI, The Women’s Fund, Rising International, Made by Survivors, there is HOPE, and where there is HOPE , there is a place for Women to Rise up..

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WOMAN’S FUND, WOMAN’S ECONOMIC INITIATIVE

I will finish with this thought…if we can make a difference, even if it’s just one person, one action at a time and give a girl, a woman a chance…we give our communities and the World a chance for a brighter future and in turn we too will feel the joy and expansion that comes from helping another.

Now, Own it, Feel it, Live it!

 

Spiritual Shuffle in the Sand, Owning it!

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Boxing Our Way Out of Life’s Boxes.

As the poetic champion, Muhammad Ali would say “float like a butterfly sting like a bee”…I’m not sure if he would  describe us in such eloquent fashion, but we certainly gave it a try.

“We can’t be brave without fear” Muhammad Ali.

I’ve never understood the benefits of boxing until my recent trip to Todos Santos. Admittedly, I was on a gorgeous beach surrounded by my fellow Angels wearing our latest accessory, an enormous pair of bright blue padded boxing gloves. Our first lesson in boxing was with non other than Ramiro Reducindo Radilla, the 2003 Pan American gold medalist. Only the best for the Angels- thank you Erica!

Eva’s right hook!

I  don’t think any of us knew what to expect, after all, isn’t boxing about throwing punches to weaken and knockout  your opponent ? The furthest thing from loving kindness and spiritual bliss.However, I have to admit, we did leave on a powerful, spiritual high!

Ramiro, the boxer,wasn’t just my opponent, instead, he became my teacher disguised as well padded punch bag with a cheeky grin! I learned that boxing is much more than a cardio work out of skill, strength, speed, reflexes and endurance …which sounds pretty amazing in of itself. Boxing in a strange way is literally, “Own it, Feel it, Live it “on steroids. It’s a true challenge , combining the ultimate of mind, body and spirit awareness and participation.

With arms flexed at a 45 degree angle, I practiced the four basic punches in boxing; the jab, cross hook and upper cut. Leading with my left hand, instead of my pre wired right hand, I shuffled ( just like Ali in my own mind) the one-two-combo  … This isn’t just exercise for the body, people, it’s exercise for the mind.

One, two combo shuffle!

As you can see from the picture Ramiro is a giant compared to me, but that made the challenge even more enticing, as we danced and  sparred  to the beat of one, two, three. The more I leaned into the punch, the more he back away, and then more I advanced again. I felt agile, powerful, and strong.I was in the moment, at one with myself and my opponent as the onlookers dissipated into the sand.

The Angels and I were literally bouncing Pogo sticks, fueled by an adrenalin high that made each of us feel invincible, evident by the smiles on our faces. Our  boxing experience was unbelievably empowering and symbolic in many ways.We Owned it, by stepping out of our boxes and I do believe we strenghened our wings that day, toward becoming Guardian Angels….

Boxing is mind, body, spirit unity in action, so get ready for some spiritual shuffling in my workshops!

Spirituality on the Sea of Cortez – Swimming with the Seals!

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If you’ve never been on a small bus with 10 women, just  think back to a school bus trip or ask Franchesco.I can honestly say, it doesn’t matter if a member of the female race is  5 or 45 …we always manage to cover every topic of conversation at a decibel level , that could put 200 bagpipers to shame .

 

Having a Whale of a time!

Having a Whale of a time!

Two boats, 5 guides, four crew, a chef , ugly life jackets, bikinis, sunscreen and we were ready to, Own it ,Feel it and definitely Live it, on yet another Eco adventure. This time to the rugged islands of the  Sea of Cortez.

First stop – Swimming with the Seals … not my first choice of mammal to swim with, in-fact the thought had never popped into my consciousness before, non the less, it was part of our exploration, of self and nature.

Harmless looking!

Harmless looking!

 

Sergio instructed us on the virtues of swimming with the seals.In one breathe he enticed us by describing the playful charms of a seal pup and  in the next, he put the fear of God in us, as he coached us on what to do, and not to do, if confronted by a 16 foot male.

That’s when I asked, “why can’t we be content with just snorkeling?!”

The next feat was to once again struggle into the confines of the tightest wet suit we could endure…beautiful new ones, but still tight enough to embarrass any good woman and I won’t tell you what Sergio suggested we do to warm them up!

 

Dressed and ready to Swim with the Seals!

Really happy I’m alive and singing!

Wearing Snorkel masks, flippers and wet suits to keep us intact, we all felt like seasoned experts, comical, but it’s amazing how a good outfit can make you feel. One by one, the brave Seal Angels began to dive and flop into the Sea of Cortez.

I was still questioning if I really needed to add this to my list of accomplishments, was I doing this because everyone else was {ego},or because I wanted to? I didn’t relish the idea of  being nipped by a pup, having bubbles blown in my face by a mother seal, or being annihilated  by a whacking great sea lion, however, I was curious.We were playing in their territory, so we needed to respect their law of engagement.

My anxiety dissipated when I witnessed the seals welcome us, just as any good golden retriever would.I was in awe and inspired to dive right into the acrobatics in that moment, lead by our fearless guides who dived deep into the turquoise waters, gracefully spinning like mermaids in rhythm and sync with the seals.

I didn’t dive deep, but I did become part of the show, the spectator behind a mask. I was awe struck, allowing the real performers to come to me. The seals were watching me, watching them, as they playfully swam under and around me …it really was like playing with puppy dogs! Luckily no sea lions took an interest in me, but even so I was out of the waters in record time.

Diving deep!

Diving deep!

I’m truly happy  I swam with the seals, even for a short while. I allowed myself to feel uncomfortable, but I didn’t allow it to immobilize me. I asked myself “What am I afraid of, when will I get another opportunity like this?” After all,I wasn’t alone, I had people close by who knew these waters and it’s wild life. This wasn’t about failure or success, let’s face the seals weren’t judging me and nor were my fellow Seal Angels.This was an incredible chance to connect with another species, in a way that I wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. I didn’t have to be brave and take the lead, instead it was a chance to tread water, be the observer and trust in the unknown, those around me and my own instincts.I simply allowed myself to be totally present and look at this adventure through different lenses.

And this my friends happen before Lunch … more to come!

I bet Charlie’s Angels never swam with Seals!

Own it and Feel what it’s like to really Live it NOW!

 

 Disclaimers-

No guides, Seals or wild life were intimidated or harmed on our adventure.

No sporting apparel or equipment company has offered to endorse, supply or photograph us.

Photographs courtesy of Anja and my I phone.

Alas, still no make-up , hair stylist , or stylist of any description assisted us.

 

 

Spirituality on a Surf board…never say never !!

FEELS A LOT LIKE  YOGA ON A BOARD TO ME!

Looking at the pre surf shot we really could of been Charlie’s Angels… but, alas, we weren’t, instead with adrenaline pumping through our  veins we were four eager women and an italian man named KiKi, praying to our Angels to keep us alive for yet another chance to escape with nature !

I have to say, I’m pretty proud to be one of the four surf virgins, forget “the 40 year old virgin”, we were all “the 45 plus year old virgins”, willing and able to happily admit temporary insanity and conquer some big fears on the shores of Todos Santos!

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling that bold or a 100% willing, even though I’m pretty able.I was actually terrified looking out at the crashing waves,as I remembered the time I was tumbled and smashed on the bed of the ocean on my honeymoon…but that’s another story. I had just 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. As you can see by the pictures below, Pedro did his best to demonstrate  the art of surfing!

Really…cobra pose , followed by upward dog!

Really…cobra pose , followed by upward dog!

 

Then jump, lunge and warrior two?

Then jump, lunge and warrior two?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if Pedro realized, but we’d already completed our daily  practice of yoga and meditation,which on one hand meant we were already in the zone, but on the other hand ( forgoing all of the good karma and Oms) 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 the laughter that continuously flowed and the bond with my fellow angels as we practiced our maneuvers on the sand, totally oblivious to the stares of nearby spectators!

Ok …I'm done with all this listening ..let's go girls!

Ok …I’m done with all this listening ..let’s go girls!

 

Owning it, went to Fearing it, in an instant! After a few fearless strides, I did a 180 degree turn and began to peel my hard earned suit off my body…much to my own surprise, let alone my  personal instructors horror. His reaction was instantaneous, persistent and encouraging. He didn’t make me feel stupid and he didn’t let me give into my fear of being pummeled by the ocean or whacked unconscious by the surf board. Instead he promised to swim out with me and stay close by. Knowing he wasn’t  going to abandon me got me back on board … literally!

The excitement was building inside, warming my belly, as I lay on the board and began to paddle out into the unknown. I felt like a child being pushed high into the air on an endless swing, as the nose of the board rose up and crashed over the breaking waves.In that moment I let go of the fear and got lost in the thrill of the spill ,as I screamed with laughter while the ocean spray cooled my face.I wasn’t walking on water yet, but I was part of it. Time stood still,I was completely present, connected to my natural instincts and the strength of my own body in the ever-changing moment.

Here’s your wave…turn your board and start paddling !!”

Stay near by Julio !!” OMG, upward dog…lunge… warrior pose with arms spread eagle …’‘OMG, I’m up and alive, I’m being carried by the energy of the waves… I’m alive… You can go now Julio!”

the lunge….and I can fly to if I want!

the lunge….and I can fly to if I want!

As my feet touched the safety of the sand I was DONE!! I felt healthy and refreshed, plus my hair was styling with all the salt needed for a great beach look !

I have to say with humility… Thank god for my persistent guardian angel instructor, along with my sister surfer angels and the angel support team lead by Erica juicing on the sand ! We were in this together and  I needed to be able to stand tall, to fly free on the waves and to be able to say I CAN, instead of I could.

I went back out again and again, and each time was different. I felt exhilarated and energized as the waves washed away the stress’s of everyday life. I rose, I flew, I lunged ,I tumbled, yet ultimately I was flooded with euphoria, as I stood in disbelief and rode the magic wave all the way to shore!

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Anja gliding over the wave !

I now understand why surfers become addicted to the spirit of the surf.It is 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 yourself. What I realized in those moments is that riding a wave is not just about FEELING IT, it’s about being PRESENT and LIVING IT ! -it’s ultimate FREEDOM, CONNECTION, JOY, A EUPHORIC HIGH.

With all that said, No … I won’t be surfing back in the cold waters of Carmel, but I will surf again in warmer climates with a Guardian Angel instructor close at hand !

Feeling invisible…where to next surfer angels?

Feeling invisible…where to next surfer angels?

I’ll finish by saying, only one person can stop you and that’s you … so  never say never, Own it, by trusting yourself, step out your box and allow yourself to Feel it and most of all Live it, NOW. Trust yourself and shout out I CAN!

Thanks to fellow surfer Angels, Annie, Eva, Anja and of couse Ki Ki, you are all fearless and awesome! Special kudos and thanks go to Chris and Erica for  enthusiactically capturing our every emotion.

No makeup artists, hairdressers or wardrobe professionals were in sight. No photographic retouching… much to our chagrin. No surf instructors or wildlife were harmed on our surf adventure :) !

Look out for the next adventure, “Spirituality at the Sea of Cortez ” this coming Wednesday !

Own it, Feel it, Live It … and you’ll love it ! Diane x

Women in Film, Owning it,Feeling it,Living it!

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Last weekend I had the honor of moderating “The Women in Film” Panel discussion at the Carmel International Film Festival. In the process I felt reignited by the candid, lively, insightful conversations we had, as well as the laughter and wine shared with four exceptionally talented, accomplished, beautiful women who are “Owning it” in the Film industry. The Power of “F” in Film- Fearless, Focused, Far reaching & authentically Female …These women are totally Fabulous!

Five women with very different backgrounds,but, like minded in our approach to life, career and love of sharing stories represented this Panel: Cathryn Michon, Independent production co,”Surprise Hits,” director, writer and comedic actress. Bonnie Arnold, Big Studio film producer in nearly every genre.Currently Dream Works Animation “How To Train Your Dragon 1 & 2, previously Disney, Sony. Lauren Selig, Financier, Film Fund mgr,producer,exec producer, former President of IndieFlix, Philanthropist. Vivienne De Courcy, Screen writer and director of her first feature film “Dare to be Wild,”after a 20 year career as a Bond Lawyer.Myself, Diane Danvers Simmons, advertising, marketing, PR, Independent film and founder/spokesperson for my company, Own it,Feel it,Live it  and my Spirituality in Stilettos empowerment forums.

The Women In Film luncheon took place on the main stage of the Sunset Center hosted by Co Founder Erin Clark. Almost 200 people attended including festival filmmakers, producers, industry professionals, patrons, board members, and film lovers…please read on.

Media overview: The moderated Panel Discussion was the highlight of the program. High achieving women in film discussed their perspective on gender issues, women’s roles in film, financing, and support through relationship building. While the opinions varied, it was clearly obvious that each of the five women have worked very hard to get where they are and they enjoy their work. Their perseverance has allowed them to focus their energy, creativity and philanthropy on their projects of choice. Coverage by JoAnna Daum / Social Media Center Team — with moderator Diane Danvers Simmons.

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Some of the key discussion points:

1]Our consensus is simple, the issue is not male vs. female, it’s common sense, business sense and equality! Lets face it, if 50% of the world is female and 52% of the movie going audience is also female, should ‘t we be producing more films with women in front of and behind the camera?

2] Perception vs. Reality : Sometimes we need to re frame expressions. Multi -tasking: is it a negative or a positive? Yes, women multi- task, they always have, but that’s because they’re Multi-dimensional, multi-faceted individuals. We’re capable of sharing the human experience, and in turn telling the human story on many levels.I do believe that’s a skill and talent needed to make a great movie.

3] Mindset: One’s mindset and attitude to work and life is the clincher. None of the women accepted the premise that they’re less capable or valuable than the next person, male or female, they go after their dreams with conviction and passion.They don’t live inside the box,and they certainly don’t allow gender differences or issues cloud their vision. Each focused on moving forward with courage, trust, perseverance and possibility where others may see road blocks. I finish with the message that we are proud to be women, we are different than men, and we don’t need to replicate being male to be successful. We need to value who we are, recognize our unique talents, find our voice and follow our dreams with grace. We should build relationships that support each other rather than tear us apart.We need to acknowledge and discuss the statistics, but not dwell in them.With so many sound bites today it can only behoove us to take the time to share our own experiences, to acknowledge that it takes more than an idea, that ones mindset and actions are the tipping point. We need to lead by example, mentor, seek out solutions and encourage women to take the “Fear” out of following their dreams.

As Vivienne’s movie title puts it so eloquently ….Dare To Be Wild!…

I will sign off by thanking Erin Clark who is the Co Founder and heart of the CIFF  and by saying to all women, Own it, Feel it, Live it with Wit and Wisdom….Diane Danvers Simmons

Viv, taking be wild to a whole new level!

Viv, “Owning it” and  taking “Dare To Be Wild” to a whole new level!

Conversations That Do Make a Difference!

Last night, in the company of  two hundred men and women,I, attended the “Women’s Economic & Leadership Forum’s” dinner in Monterey County.

An evening of good wine, food, conversation and most importantly continued ENLIGHTENMENT and HOPE !

An evening where courageous women shared their stories.Women, who’ve broken down the walls that could have prohibited them from reaching their dreams.Why, because they were given a chance, they had a mentor, someone who cared when others gave up. Women, who recognize that to grow, conversations, intimate discussions,  such as these must continue. Women must speak up and be willing to ask the hard questions, while recognizing that it’s not simply about empowering women, but also supporting each other. We need to have an honest perspective on life and our cultural and biological differences.

The goal of organizations such as ‘WELI ‘, is to educate, so we can have a balanced mix of men and women involved in economic prosperity and Global leadership .

An investment  today, in educating women right here, in America, is an investment in future generations. Studies show, time and time again,that when a woman succeeds, her family does too, and when a family thrives a community thrives.

Thank you, WELI, IMPOWER and the eloquent, speakers, Teresa Matsui Sanders and Kathy Matsui…passionate advocates for Women’s continuing education programs.

Women who OWN IT, FEEL IT and are now LIVING IT!