Diane Forster is an Intentional Living Expert and author of “I Have Today”. Diane talks about her attempted suicide, how she changed her life and is now helping others. Hear what helped turn her life around.
Dr. Bob: I’m here with my guest, Diane Forster, and I’m really excited about having this conversation with Diane. She’s an incredibly dynamic woman. I was only recently introduced to Diane through a mutual friend, and this friend somehow knew that Diane and I were kind of kindred spirits and would hit it off and have a lot in common, and I’m excited about where this friendship is going, and I just immediately felt that Diane would be somebody who our listeners would really like to hear from. She has a very interesting story. She’s made quite a dramatic shift in her life that was inspired by things that she’ll be willing and happy to share with you.
Diane, she calls herself an intentional living expert, and she’s a coach, mentor, and facilitates masterminds. She is very well educated and trained in NLP and human interaction technology. She works with clients privately in their professional and personal goals, has really helped transform many lives, and it really comes from having hard her own transformation in her life.
She’s an author, a best-selling author of a book called I Have Today, Find Your Passion, Purpose and Smile Finally, and is the founder of I Have Today, which really focuses on helping women living more empowered, fulfilling lives.
Interestingly, Diane’s also an inventor, and I will let her share more about how that has happened and what being an inventor has brought to her life and means to her.
So Diane, thank you so much for being here. I’m really looking forward to this conversation.
Diane Forster: Thank you so much, Bob. Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be here, and I feel the same way, kindred spirits immediately.
Dr. Bob: So, we’re talking about life and death. As you know, my focus is on … I mean, I think we have a lot of alignment. My focus is on helping people live a more peaceful and meaningful life in the face of challenges. I didn’t necessarily come to this calling, or I didn’t find it, it didn’t find me for a while, but once it did, it’s been driving me, inspiring me, pretty much every moment of my life, and it’s about having a meaningful life, and it’s about having a peaceful and self-determined end of life.
So, you … In our initial meeting, you really kind of blew me away with where you came from and what you were experiencing and where you are now. So, would you be willing to share a little bit about that?
Diane Forster: Of course. I’m happy to.
You know when I was in my late 20’s, I got married, and I married a man that, we weren’t really in love with each other, but we loved each other, and it just seemed like the timing to … It was the time of life to do that, and I grew up with a mom and a dad who really, didn’t really love each other … Weren’t in love with each other, but did love each other. Let me say that better.
And so I never really witnessed any real romantic, intimate connection between the two of them, so I grew up thinking that’s what marriage looked like.
So, of course, I attracted a man into my life who was similar, and while we had a deep love for each other in some ways, we didn’t have that connection, and I struggled in that marriage for many, many years, trying to make it work. And what was happening to me is I just didn’t want to walk away. I didn’t want to be a failure. I didn’t want to give up on it. I thought I could make it work, and it just was not working, and my soul and spirit were chipping away, day after day, month after month, year after year until many years into it, almost 20 years into it, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and one night, in June of 2011, I attempted to take my life. I just thought I can’t feel this pain and loneliness anymore.
And so what happened to me in the bathroom that night, was I had two full bottles of pills in my hand, and I was ready to end it all, and they got knocked out of my hand, and the voice that I heard told me, “You are not ending your life this way, Diane. You need to go get help. You need to tell your story because you need to help others.” And being a very intuitive person, I just threw my hands up and said, “Well, you need to show me the way.”
And so, that was a pivotal moment in my life, and that lowest, lowest point for me was the thing that needed to happen for me to catapult me out of that state and out of that place in my life and really reach out for help.
And so I did the next day and reached out to a therapist, and I said, “I need your help. I need to change my life.” And so it took about six more months to get out of that relationship, but when I did, after a brief grief period, I went into a deep introspection and personal development and spiritual awakening and ownership of my part of that relationship not working and where I was in my life at that moment, the condition of my life, and I decided in that moment, I want an extraordinary life. I don’t want to live this way, and so I really delved deep into everything that I could get my hands on to read and to watch and to attend and listen to, and what was happening to me, Bob, was I really starting to heal in a very profound way and live in a very different way than I had been living before. I was alive. I was awake. My spirit was nurtured and felt loved and what it was that I came to was I had no self love. I had such low self-esteem and low self love for myself, and I developed it in this process.
I started writing a lot. Getting all these downloads, and so I would get this hits of inspiration in the middle of the night, and I would write poetry stories, and one night, in August of 2013, I woke up with a poem I Have Today in my head, and so I got up. I wrote it down right away, and it was I have today to love and be loved. I have today to start fresh anew, and it went on and on and on, and when I finished the poem, I looked at it, and I said, “This is way more than a poem. This is a movement. This is what God was talking to me about that night in the bathroom in June of 2011.”
And that’s the moment that the idea of I Have Today was birthed where I really wanted to help and support mostly women because I knew so many women were feeling the same way I was, and I see this every day, so that was really where I started back in June of 2011 and where I am fast-forward to today. I’m now living a life that I’ve completely manifested, and I’ve completely reinvented myself, and am living the life of my dreams really intentional and purposeful every single day, and now I help others to do the same thing.
Dr. Bob: Wow. I don’t know that there’s really another word that would actually be appropriate right now, but wow.
I mean, you shared this with me the first time we met, and I remember having this feeling, the same feeling, but I’d forgotten part of that story, and it just kind of came back to me powerfully.
So number one. Good for you. Phenomenal how beautiful that you went from this place of despair where you were really on the brink of death to where you are now, and not just having sort of reinvented yourself and found your own bliss, but taking that experience and taking that incredible pain that you were going through and using that to fuel the career that has now, I’m sure, been able to inspire and support many, many other people in finding their path out of that.
Diane Forster: Yes.
Dr. Bob: And not just taking people who are in despair and considering suicide, but taking people who are living an average life or what they feel is a mediocre life and being able to decide that they’re going to have an extraordinary life too.
Diane Forster: You said the magic word. It’s a decision, and it is a choice, and it takes a lot of help. It takes a lot of support, but yes, it is something that you really have to decide for yourself, how do you want to live every day? How do you want to feel every day? And so along my path with it, I’ve developed a lot of different processes, a lot of three-step processes that I’ve made it easy for me to catch myself when I’m not living in the present moment and to help and support me on this journey to keep that positive momentum going every single day, moving it forward, feeling alive, feeling fulfilled, feeling the expansion and the growth and all of that.
For me, I could’ve never imaged that my life would’ve taken the turn that it’s taken, but I feel such fulfillment and joy every day helping and serving others to help them create the life of their dreams.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Well, so we were so aligned there, and what’s interesting as well is that our journeys have been parallel. I don’t remember ever being at that place of despair. I’ve been married for going on 30 years, and I love my wife more today than I did when we first got married, and I feel very incredibly blessed. It hasn’t always been easy. I would be lying if I said that there haven’t been challenges and struggles along the way, so I haven’t had to deal with that, but I’ve had career burnout and stress and of course, my own struggles, and in 2011, is when I decided that I’d had enough of the life that I was living and settling for and decided that I needed more, and that’s when I got inspired and started doing a lot of soul searching and a lot of reading and a lot of self development and became more spiritual and started on this journey, which has led me to the place where I am now.
And then you mentioned August of 2013 as a … What happened on August 13, remind me?
Diane Forster: That was the birth of “I Have Today” when I wrote the poem.
Dr. Bob: Okay. That’s when you woke up with that poem. So, in April of 2013, just a couple months before that, I had my epiphany where I became very clear that I’m here to help people die, and from that moment on, providence has opened up incredible opportunities and allowed me to then take who I’ve become and what I’ve learned to be in this place of supporting people through complex and terminal illnesses.
We are working in a different model in many cases with different people, but I feel like we’ve both received something so meaningful and deep that has allowed us to live with this … To live on purpose.
Diane Forster: Yes, yes.
Dr. Bob: To live on purpose. To have recognized that we’re here for something bigger and that we just put ourselves into it, learn what we can, and become vessels for people to have the kind of life that they desire and ultimately the kind of death that they wish for.
Diane Forster: Yeah. That’s beautiful. Really beautiful.
Dr. Bob: So, thank you so much for sharing that, and I know I still have stills. I don’t know … When I get goosebumps and chills, it really feels to me that this is a universal truth, there’s something really deep, connection that’s happening.
Diane Forster: Well, I feel it too, and it blows me away. It’s cause it’s so big. It’s so big. My mission is so big, but I’m open to it and receptive to it and willing participant in the journey of it, and why not me? And why not you? This is our … This has become our path. We’ve discovered it, and our mission on this physical journey is to do this sort of work and serve in such a powerful, and I feel blessed to be chosen. I know you do too.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Yeah. And I think one of the things that I’d like to put out there for everyone who’s listening is we’re not any different than you. Right?
Diane Forster: Exactly. Exactly.
Dr. Bob: You have a path. You have a calling, a purpose that’s within you wanting to get out, and if you don’t feel it yet, if you don’t know what it is, keep looking for it. Keep searching. Keep reading. Keep meditating. Change things that aren’t working for you because you’re no different than us. You have the ability to have a major impact and to feel like you’re in the flow of the universe.
So that’s what I wish that. Interestingly, I put a post on Facebook; I think it was yesterday about this. I went to buy my son a bicycle the other day. He’s 11, and it was a birthday present, and I feel bad because we had put it off for a couple weeks, and he kept asking, “Where’s my bicycle?” Well, it’s coming.
So I went to the store finally to get the bicycle, and the guy who was behind the counter was really friendly, and at some point, he just said, “What do you do for a living?” And I said, “I’m a physician.” And he said, “Oh what kind of physician?” And I said, “I help take care of people in their homes with complex and terminal illnesses and make sure that they have the most support and the most peace and comfort possible.” And he asked a couple more questions about that, and the kind of dragged out me that I feel like it’s my calling that I’m doing what I’m here to do.
And he was so … He immediately kind of latched on to that, and he said, “What does that feel like? I want to know what that feels like because I want to be following my passion. I want to know what my calling is, and I think I might know, but I’m struggling against it.” And so he emailed me, and he asked me if I’d have lunch and talk about that further.
So it’s just another example of when you’re living in alignment with your purpose, and what you’re here to do, people see it. They feel it, and they’re drawn to it because that’s what they want as well.
Diane Forster: They do. They want to feel alive. They want to feel purpose-driven, and this is a lot of the work that I do too. I do these transformational sessions with people as well because they feel the pull. They pull the call, but they can’t identify what it is quite yet, but they know they’re meant to do something more with their life and their time here on this planet. They know it, and they feel that gap, that missing link, that piece there, and I get it. I see it every day with people, and I work with people all the time on it because, as you know, now that you’re living it, me too, how it drives you. You don’t drive it. It propels us forward.
And you’re right, Bob. Every single person has a purpose, and most of our purposes are defined from our pain. Like mine was defined from your pain, and yours was defined from a frustration and a pain point as well, and that’s really where it comes from is through your pain, you might be able to identify what your purpose is.
Dr. Bob: So that’s where you need to start the search.
Diane Forster: Start. Yes.
Dr. Bob: Not to give up. Not to feel sorry for yourself, not to stay down and lick your wounds, but to use that as the fuel to inspire, to catapult you towards where you’re meant to be. I love that.
I feel inspired because we’re talking about this concept. I read to my team yesterday. We have team meetings, and I have myself, my nurse practitioner, nurse, outreach director, practice director, and we’re all very much on this path of … We’re all just incredibly excited about what we get to do every day, what we get to bring to our patients and to our families, and I read them this excerpt, which I’m sure you have read from Mary Ann Williamson, so I just feel like now would be a good time to do that.
Diane Forster: Okay.
Dr. Bob: To take a moment here and to let people who have not heard this excerpt from … It was actually read by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech, and it’s called … I know you’re familiar with it. It’s called Let Your Light Shine.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world.
I want to read that again. I love that.
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the wall. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Diane Forster: Just love it. Of course, I love it.
Dr. Bob: I know.
Diane Forster: In fact, it’s my favorite book. That book was so instrumental on my journey, a return to love. It was incredible.
Dr. Bob: Me too. It’s right up there on top. So phenomenal, incredible.
Well, let’s … This is a life and death conversation, and we’ve been talking a lot about life, right?
Diane Forster: We have.
Dr. Bob: And I think that’s appropriate. In this conversation, the majority of what we talk about is going to be about life, how to enrich life. How to have a fulfilling life. How to get through the fear and have the most joy and meaning and life, but the death part of it can’t be ignored.
Diane Forster: Right. I agree.
Dr. Bob: And so for me personally, that sort of the punctuation mark. I see that we have this amazing life, that we have all this opportunity, and death is sort of the finale. It’s the grand finale. We need to be celebrating death, life too, but celebrating death instead of fearing it, developing a more comfortable relationship with it, and preparing for it.
Diane Forster: Right.
Dr. Bob: And then, we get to have a more peaceful fulfilling life without having to worry so much about what comes at the end.
Diane Forster: I couldn’t agree more. I could not agree more with that, and I have had my own experience with death. I lost my mom. She was 53 years old, and I’m actually 53 right now, so I can’t even imagine that experience for her. So that was over 20 years ago, and she passed away from colon cancer, and nowadays, it would’ve not taken her life, but back then, that was her path, that was her journey, and I noticed a lot of things transpired within my family and our nucleus during that time because my … We were living in different states, but what happened in that journey and that time together for all of us, it really does bring out the best and worst in people.
When I say that, I don’t mean worst like the bad in them. It’s just their level and capacity of dealing with something like this, something so big like that, and so a lot of what I teach is in my processes is about that every single moment of your life is a gift, even those different moments, and the way my mother got sick in her journey and her passing was such a gift in my life. I felt her love. I knew how much she loved me. She knew how much I loved her, and what came out of that was my father and my sisters and I became incredibly close. Now we were close before, but we came incredibly close and formed family traditions that we’ve been carrying on. My kids have grown up with them. My nieces sand nephews have grown up with them, and it really changed our relationship.
I told you I’m really intuitive, and I believe it was my mother who knocked the pills out of my pills that night without question, and what I’d want to say to your listeners is that even though they cross over, and they die, and they stop their physical experience, their human experience, they are still around and aware, and you can still have a relationship even though you can’t see them. You can still feel their presence and their essence around you, and that it’s their journey. It’s their path, and there’s really nothing you could’ve done about it anyway. It’s that guilt that we take on, but that’s their contract with their experience of how much time they’re supposed to have here, and so just to live intentionally, live in the present moment, and really just embrace them for exactly who they are and what their journey and their path is.
So anyway, I just wanted you to know that I’ve had first-hand experience with losing somebody that I loved deeply, early on in my life, and what I got out of that experience for all of us.
Dr. Bob: Thank you so much for sharing that. I could actually almost feel your mom’s presence as you were describing that and talking about how she impacted that … How she knocked the pills out of your hand. I believe that as well.
Diane Forster: Yes.
Dr. Bob: You know the interesting thing, what you were saying about people being more present with you after they pass. I had that same feeling with my parents. When they were alive, and both my parents died in the past two or three years. When they were alive, we were very close, and I was fortunate that for the last seven years of their life, we lived really close to each other, but I would only connect with them when I called them, or we were together, and we were either talking on the phone or together in person, and that’s when we would be connected. Otherwise, I kind of felt like I was on my own, and they didn’t really know what was happening in my life, and I can kind of get away with stuff.
Diane Forster: Right, right.
Dr. Bob: After they died, each of them … And they died about a year apart, but after they were gone, I felt so completely aware of their presence all the time, that they were no longer … There as no longer any disconnect. There was no longer any separation which means that they were there, aware of everything that I was doing, thinking, saying, and I became a better person because I felt like I couldn’t get away with anything anymore, and it was really … It was so comforting for me, and also a little bit disconcerting.
Diane Forster: Right, right.
Dr. Bob: You know, you can’t get away with anything anymore. So, of course, I would rather have them physically here so that I could touch them, hug them, and have that type of connection, but I know that we are not separated.
Diane Forster: No. No, and there’s only love. That’s all that they have for you is love, so don’t worry about not getting away with anything. They don’t care.
Dr. Bob: I get it. I feel that too. There’s a little bit of that kind of self, just self regulation or whatever, and I guess I use it. Have you heard about the idea of living your life as if you’re always being video … As if the whole world is watching.
Diane Forster: Yes, yes.
Dr. Bob: And I can imagine that they would get a little old after a while.
Diane Forster: Yes, yes.
Dr. Bob: But mostly. Every once in a while we got to turn off the video.
Anyway, I feel like … Well, first of all, everything that you’ve shared has been incredibly valuable, and do you ever … In your work with clients, do you ever approach issues or concerns about death and where that might create blocks or anxiety or fear for them?
Diane Forster: I do. I do actually. In fact, a recent client of mine is caretaker to her mom, and a lot of guilt and challenges come up around that for her, so yes. So I do work with that, and I do my part to really have her just own her journey and her piece of it and to value the relationship that she has with her mother and see her mother for who she is, and that she is the same person she has always been. That spirit is still the same, and that there are challenges that come up, and I’m sure you see this all time. When you’re dealing with something like this … Like I said, it brings out the best and worst in people, and some people just really don’t know how to process that in a way, and so I do a three-step process called breathe, think, praise, and it really allows you to let yourself off the hook and let the other person off the hook no matter what it is, and just breathe in the moment. Take the other person … Don’t take anything personally, what’s coming at you, and then allow them to be in their grace of exactly who they are, doing the best they can, in that given moment because that is really what they’re doing. That is the best that they have in that moment.
So I’m dealing it more with the … You do too, but I haven’t dealt with the crossing over quite yet too much, but what they’re still alive and dealing with those situations and the stress that comes along with that. If that makes sense?
Dr. Bob: Totally. It totally makes sense because your principles are applicable for every phase of life and every type of challenge that people are facing dealing with illness and dealing with people who are dying is obviously one of the most substantial challenges that any of us ever face.
Well Diane, I kind of feel like we can just basically stay on the phone and have this conversation for hours and hours, and I will relish the opportunity to do this again, both in this format and in person and any other way that we can connect because I do think that we’re kindred spirits, so it’s wonderful.
Diane Forster: Absolutely. I’m happy to do it any time.
Dr. Bob: Great. So I know that there are people listening who are resonating with your message, with your style, with who you are. I would love for them to have a way to connect with you. So can you share how people can connect and anything else you would like to share about how people can gain value from what you’ve created?
Diane Forster: I’d love to. One of the best ways to get ahold of me is go to my website at DianeForster.com. And then on Facebook, I’m at I Have Today with Diane Forster. And then all other social media is here.
But what I’d like you to do is, I have a freebie on there, it’s a great gift, three tips on how to get everything you want. So all you do is scroll down and add your name and email address, and it’ll get delivered to you, but I have different products and services. I do transformational strategy sessions. I also do a personalized mantra with a session. So if it’s somebody who mediates or wants to meditate but hasn’t really found their thing that’s fitting them, what we do is I take … Through our strategy session, I put together a personalized, customized mantra just for you. It’s specific to you and your life, your fears, your doubts, your goals, your dreams. All of it.
So just different things like that, that I do that are really focused on that person’s individual needs.
Dr. Bob: Fantastic. Well, sign me up for that one.
Diane Forster: Okay.
Dr. Bob: I want some of that.