After working in the mental health field for ten years as a licensed clinical social worker, Dianna is concentrating more on her work as a consultant, advisor and coach, teaching mindfulness to corporations and individuals. “I think technology has completely outpaced our ability to function in this world and puts demands on us that we can’t respond to. My job is to teach people how to respond to stress and not react to stress.” Dianna’s six week class for employees teaches them how to manage the stress, which results in increased productivity, less absenteeism and less burnout. The corporations also benefit by a more effective and efficient job performance. “I teach businesses about the boundaries and limits they should have with employees. They need to change some of the requirements and not have their employees married to communication devices.”
Dianna is an extreme optimist. “Everyday I wake up excited about what’s going to happen to day. I know that something good is going to happen. My parents were very optimistic and that’s one of the best gifts I’ve been given; my parents optimism.” She recalls this childhood memory. “I remember all of the things my mother would do for people all over town. She worked in the church book store and people would come in and tell her they needed money. She would open her purse and give it to them. It was all about giving and how we all need each other.” Dianna lives her life in the same manner and loves the idea that each day she touches someone and helps to make a change in their life.
Do you have a favorite childhood story? What is it?When I think of a favorite childhood memory, I immediately recall the bond between my mother and me. One story is when I was a 4 year old playing outside I noticed a nest of baby birds with their mother in a rose bush outside the kitchen window. I remember setting up a chair to watch the birds in the middle of the garden and would frequently glance back across my shoulder and feel her presence and see that loving warm and most comforting smile that conveyed the interconnectedness of all beings.
Tell me a little about your career. I am compelled by the ease and natural ability of mindfulness to transform one’s life so I’ve made it into a career. I began conducting workshops in the EAP and HMO environment in 1997 and now use Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques with individuals and couples, as well as facilitate workshops in the corporate environment. It’s my main ally in facilitating a deep level of lasting transformation. In 1993, while in graduate school at Tulane University, I met Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., Molecular Biologist who taught an all day seminar on his Stress Reduction program at U. Mass. Med Center, Center for Mindfulness, founded 25 years ago. Mindfulness techniques acknowledge what is authentic and promote profound awareness without judgment, thereby creating a break with our cravings of thought and behavior that drive so much of our unnecessary suffering. It allows a human being to instantly see the truth, rather than their story through the lens of suffering. Having been blessed to work deeply with people suffering with such diseases as Fibromyalgia, severe depression, panic disorder, anxiety, and chronic pain, I have seen relief in a matter of 2 weeks when my clients practice the tools consistently. It’s the most miraculous and exciting transformation to witness! The other HUGE bonus in my life about teaching mindfulness and essential to conveying the principles, is by own practice of being in the present, moment to moment in the session. With teaching in corporations and individually, I have a sincere love for this work and everyday have the gift of experiencing this process with someone. I am deeply grateful for this gift.
What’s important in your life? Continued study and personal growth, so I can find innovative techniques to help my clients feel deeply who they really are!
What’s in your future?Teaching in companies throughout the country and overseas and creating a retreat center for people to experience their essential self in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I am committed to helping young women and their mothers who do not have the financial means to learn about their power and potential, so I will write a grant to offer these services and support this life long dream.
What are your volunteer activities?For the Mental Health Association of Colorado I am on the Speaker’s Bureau and offer educational seminars on management of depression, anxiety, stress and conflict resolution.
Which social event is your favorite? I love the outdoor concerts at the Botanical Gardens and the annual fundraiser for the Mental Health Association.
Favorite restaurant? Little India’s-I love the rich food –it reminds me of the many exciting flavors of southern cuisine.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? President Jimmy Carter
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Julia Roberts
Do you have any pets? No, but I love dogs and cats and plan to make them part of my family when I move into a home with a backyard.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? The light and splashes of deep color are important to adding dimension and beauty. They will know how I value tranquil warm corners to meditate and find time for respite.
What word describes you best? Enthusiastic
How would you like others to describe you? A woman who is committed to her friends and values life.
What was your first job? At 16 years old, I was switchboard operator and so it seems communicating with the public is an elemental theme to my life.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I periodically become impatient with myself and the process of life, so I have to remind myself that the world is on our side.
What trait do you most deplore in others? Impatience, of course, the very brand of impatience that I can sometimes impose on my own life.
What is your greatest indulgence? A rich flavorful meal at Little India’s on 6th Avenue, yum!
What type of clothes do you like? I appreciate a tailored classic 1950’s style of clothes with an accessory like Victorian jewelry from a relative that expresses that valued relationship and the admired aspect of the person who wore it before me.
What is the best gift you have ever given?Nonjudgmental presence
What is the best gift you’ve received? Unconditional love
What or who is the greatest love in your life? This question also relates to my absolutely favorite books and writers. My greatest love is teachings that are clear and beautifully written about discovering one’s own divine nature.
What is your current state of mind? What do I need to do today to have the most fun possible?
What do you consider your greatest achievement? discovering my career when I moved from marketing to serving people. They find everything they were looking for is staring right back at them in the mirror.
What is your most treasured possession? The family trait of optimism
What is the quality you most like in a man? Humility
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Compassion
Favorite books and writers? Thomas Moore: Care of the Soul, Jon Kabat-Zinn: Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go There You Are,, Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now, and Mark Epstein: Thoughts Without a Thinker.
What is the best advice you have ever received? My mother conveyed by her daily actions and speech that we are all connected, we are not separate and an action, no matter how small, affects us all.
Do you have a motto? No, I don’t have a motto that wouldn’t sound corny
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you?When I was a high school Freshman I was at cheerleader tryouts and intended to do a just a simple round off, a high energy cartwheel, but with the momentum and the sheer fear of the entire student body watching, I did a round-off back flip, for the first time, and landed on my bum. 10 years later at my high school reunion, it was slipped in the middle of the slide show as a fond memory for my class.
If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? I’d like to be a deer spending my days in the Rocky Mountains. I would like to see life from a deer’s perspective and be close to the earth day and night.
What are your hobbies? Other interests? I love reading nonfiction while having an increasing aspiration to read more fiction. I feel invigorated by writing about my work, hiking, back packing, snow shoeing, and creating lively southern brunches and dinners. I like fun times where everyone leaves enriched by food and an inspiring exchange of conversation. I also am passionate about being the cause of deep belly laughs.
Who is your mentor? My mother and father, the sacred experiences of my courageous clients and their self-revelations, Betty Cannon, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle.
What would you most like to be remembered for? I would feel quite thrilled if I could be remembered for loving life, facing my feelings fully and sharing it all.
If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? What a great question! I would explore and understand Africa culturally with its peacemakers as well as those that created the genocide while finding partners to understand and eradicate genocide at its roots. All involved in this fantasy partnership would come to a deeper understanding of how individual illusions and pain caused this nightmare and each would take responsibility to heal their illusions.
What do you like about the town you live in? Denver’s blue skies, as well as the many opportunities professionally and culturally, to express ones individuality