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.
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..
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.
The fun, healthy, juicy ways to reconnect,explore, exercise and eat!
This “treat” is designed to enhance the very special love and sometimes delicate bond that we share with our daughters.
Over Four days and three nights, mothers and daughters will have the time to slow down, honor and deepen their relationships as they share parts of themselves often hidden in the fabric of everyday life. Most importantly; through exploration, nourishment, new experiences, and lots of laughter, they’ll reinforce their bond, create traditions and priceless memories that will stand the test of time.
Dishing the Deliciousness of Life
Our Retreat will be held in the beautiful indoor& outdoor environments of the Hudson valley.
We create a safe haven, where mothers & daughters can take the time to re invest in themselves. They will be reminded that our health and happiness cannot be separated from what we eat, what we feel, what we think and what we do.
Own it, time for:
• Exploration of mind body spirit unity for health and happiness. • The fun, healthy, juicy ways to connect, explore, exercise and eat!
• Investment in yourself, to reignite and regain your life balance.
• Own your choices.
Feel it, through:
• Delicious farm to table cuisine.
• Yoga, meditation & hiking in nature & bodhi studios.
• Nutrition counseling – practical, delicious, sustainable choices.
• Hands on fun cooking and juicing classes, visit to farmers market.
• Pampering – specialized massage/bodywork at the areas number one spa.
• Private reception at “2 Note botanical perfumery & skin care”.
Live it, by:
• Creating your own life flow and nutrition plan that will enhance and improve your every day life.
• Strengthening your relationship with each other through a shared and better understanding of mindful health, nutrition and total well-being.
• Embracing what it is to be present and compassionate, as you step into each new life chapter together and face all of life’s thrill and spills.
• Live your life with Wit & Wisdom!
Hosts -Diane Danvers Simmons, founder & spokesperson for, Own it Feel it live it & Spirituality inStilettos and her daughter, Natalie Simmons, with Erika Laurion, Nutritionist and Health Chef.
Special summer introductory rate; $1000 per person, all inclusive – accommodation, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, juicing, exclusive of alcoholic beverages and transportation.
Maximum attendees 14 [7 mother & daughter pairs], sign up now for a unique mother & daughter experience, to create the memories that will stay in your hearts forever. Exclusive Retreat Dates; August14th, thru 17th.
Accommodation– 26 Warren B&B and Westcott House, both located in the heart of historic Hudson, NY. An artistic, vibrant, foodie, community, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley.
Detailed Information, availability, and to reserve your,
“Mother & Daughter Connection on the Hudson” treat, please contact Diane@ownitfeelitliveit.com
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!
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’sanother 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!
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!
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!
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!
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?
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
She’s in the last stage of puberty; I’m menopausal.
She’s experiencing the throes of first love; I’ve been thrown by love.
She’s finding herself; I’m rediscovering myself.
Two perspectives, one special relationship,
and, to top it all, she’s stealing my clothes, shoes, and jewelry.
The differences and similarities are uncanny, and more than enough to test any good woman on either end of the spectrum. While she’s bent over in pain, hugging a hot water bottle and sobbing over her cracked baby eggcup, I’m pulling off my clothes, stepping into a cold shower and weeping over the heel she just broke on my new red stilettos.
Celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday together in Scotland!
Tissues, self-help books, exercise, journals, chick flicks, wine and chocolate are all imperative at this time for both of us, and that’s just the starter kit. Round two: meditation and yoga, both of us lying on our backs with our legs in the air, to get the blood back into our brains, calm the nerves, and give us a whole new perspective on any situation. A cup of tea helps to seal the euphoric moment.
writing in our Own it,Feel it,Live It Journal, soothes the soul!
Both of us are coping with a set of new dynamics as women. I’ve had to own up to my choices, respect that she’s becoming a young woman, and she’s now more than just my daughter. She’s learning to respect me as a woman with feelings, desires and dreams, too. Both of us are stepping into uncharted territory, even if my stilettos are more worn out than hers! She looks to the stars and thinks, “The world is my oyster.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘Enough of the oyster, now where’s the damn pearl?’ The truth is, I have a treasure chest of pearls, glistening with wisdom, many of which I will pass on to her. But the true beauty of living life now lies in the fact that there are so many more pearls waiting for both of us to discover!
OWN YOUR POWER!
We both need to conjure up the power of “S” as in my “Spirituality in Stilettos” workshops : Spiritual, strong, sensitive, soulful, sassy, smart, and ultimately support. And by support, I don’t mean a good bra, even though that is critical in my case.
Food and Exercise are a hot topic ,as she’s working to stay in shape, and I’m working to keep my shape. Daily desserts are banned; however, the chocolate stash remains sacred.
THE POWER OF SISTERHOOD
Teaching her about my four friend categories.
As she works out the good from the bad, I’ve thrown out the bad and I’m focusing on the good.Friendships are as important as the water we drink, and time with your real “sisterhood” of friends is immensely important. I’m trying to teach her my approach to the four friend categories:
The friend who’ll have your back and carry you home after the party, whether you’re happy, sad, mad, or simply unable to string two words together.
The friend who is so much fun at the party, but just can’t help herself and doesn’t understand that it’s simply not cool to try and steal your boyfriend.
The friend who’s only being nice to you because she wants to be seen at the party and gossip about you later.
The friend you met on vacation, with whom you solved world peace over wine or lemonade, and wish lived nearby so she could come to the party.
Celebrating Natalie’s 19th in London with my #1 High school friends,Mary’s daughter & Cousin Caroline.
Take care of number 1, enjoy, but beware of number 2, don’t waste your time on number 3, and see if you can cultivate number 4, even from a distance!
FEEL IT– ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS AT 48 AND AT 18
She’s learning to love beyond herself and I’m learning the power of loving myself. We all want and need love, and it comes with the same breathless, heart-thumping excitement whether we’re 18 or 48. However, with a bit of wit and wisdom, hopefully by 48, we’re better at telling the scoundrel from the prince and feeling confident in our intuition. “Love,” however is another article unto itself!
She’s preparing to leave the coop. I’m not sure where to start without her in my coop. She tests the boundaries with a razor-sharp tongue that has the answer to everything, while I choose my battles, knowing that neither of us has all the answers.
I wouldn’t have believed at 16 or 18 that I’d be looking at my life three decades later and asking the same questions: What do I do next? Who are the friends with whom I want to spend time? Does this person fulfill my idea of loving bliss? I’d thought it would all be smooth sailing at this point, with no major life decisions to be made. Truth is, I’m once again at the helm, choosing to change and expand my reality. I’ve shed the pressure of ‘I should’ and am once again embracing the optimism of, ‘I can’!
LIVE IT – WITH WIT & WISDOM:
We are both boundless, inquisitive women,learning to embrace and be present in each new chapter in our lives, as she heads into round one of womanhood and I’ve lost count of which one I’m entering!
What I’ve realized in witnessing my daughter’s parallel life is that I’m among the lucky ones, as I head into a new chapter in my life. We see the world with all of its glorious shades of color. We know we deserve to be recognized for who we are, not for who and what people think we should be. We’re pushing the boundaries and testing the waters, just like we did in our teens.
As mothers we are the guides, nurturers and role models for our girls. We need to trust our instincts, show humility with grace and strength, remembering that we are the teachers. Love, mistakes, and especially forgiveness, don’t make us weak; they make us human and strong.
21 and wearing my necklace,earrings,shoes and jacket!
For the mothers of teenage girls, here’s the good news:Her 20’s will restore your faith in the precious mother-daughter bond.
For mothers of teenage girls, here’s the good news: Her 20’s will restore your faith in the precious mother-daughter bond. On the road my daughter and I have traveled together, we’ve formed a loving connection and trust that no one can break it. As we both learn to Own, Feel and Live our own journeys, it’s great to know that along the way, we’ll also be sharing a glass of wine, a box of chocolates, conversations and memories that will endure in our hearts forever.
I’ll conclude by saying that, I believe that God does have plan for each of us and God certainly does have a sense of humor … and so should we!
P.S.- Warning for mothers of teenage boys…Here’s my number on tip, buy a well trained sheep dog!
Thank you for reading my story and please share with friends,mothers and brothers!
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.
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, “Owning it” and taking “Dare To Be Wild” to a whole new level!
It was such an inspiration and gift to produce this video for The Women’s Fund/CFFMC, under the guiding principals of Own it Feel it Live it.
The principals of Own it Feel it Live it, are simple for anyone to follow and working with the young women of ‘Girl’s Health in Girls Hands’ proved that these three simple steps ground us while freeing us at each phase of our journey.
Own your Power, is at the core of GHGH, as the girls make the choice to take a leadership role in creating the life they want to live .
Feel it, is the bridge to living it for the young women as they open up, share, and in turn let go of the experiences, good or bad, that have shaped their lives to date. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and in doing so learn that they’re not alone , that people do care .
Live it.Through commitment, access to education,information, support of leaders and mentors, GHGH is creating a generation of young women who will become compassionate future leaders.Young women who have grown to become an inspiration and leaders within their peer groups.
In summary, by giving girls a voice, we see the power and spirit of unity. We see that by building self-worth and imparting leadership skills we can empower not only a young woman’s life, but also her community and the World at large.
Please enjoy, share the video and join the movement …in being the change that we all want to be and see .
My dream is to help women Own it Feel it Live it, to build a better life for themselves and their families and in doing so a better world for us ALL to share !
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.
Today, on his birthday we celebrate “Nelson Mandela International Day”. A day created to honor him and keep his legacy alive. A day to remind people to be the change they want to be, the change they want to see, and a day to encourage people to be an active participant in making the World a better place for all.
On this commemorative day in South Africa, his legacy is brought to life by each and every citizen through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and it’s “67 minutes for Mandela” campaign, a campaign that encourages people to devote 67minutes of their time to a charity .
Few campaigns and Countries can boast a day where all of it’s citizens unite and step up to take on the responsibility of making a difference in their country. Millions of people do something big or small that will make a positive difference to others. This year for example , “Stop Hunger ZA” will rally thousands of volunteers to pack 67,000 meals for pre- school kids by each working 67 minuteshifts. Another group will knit 67 blankets to donate to those less fortunate. In Port Elizabeth a 67 minute walk will draw attention to muscular diseases. These are just a few examples, but ultimately there are so many ways people can take 67 minutes out of their day to impact someone else’s life. This simple yet powerful idea parallels the 67 years Mandela served his country.
Today, July 18th, the whole World recognizes a fearless warrior of change. But one has to also recognize and respect how the people of South Africa maintain his legacy by working together and endeavoring to bring to life his values, vision and dedication to helping others.
I have just returned from South Africa, a country of immense beauty, soul and hope. A country which has suffered, but a country that strives to move forward, where the spirit of Mandela touches each and every soul. I have a deep respect and feel immense gratitude towards the gracious people I met and the stories they shared with me on my recent journey.
We can all learn something from Nelson Mandela and his country, we can all donate 67 minutes of our time to a cause that is meaningful to us … Just imagine …As the great man said;
“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” …