Stoked I Didn’t Pass Out During My 2nd Toastmasters Talk!




Hi there, my friends!

I hope you’re doing well…

So yes, I survived presenting my Toastmasters “Thought of the Day” to my Redwood Ramblers group yesterday.  

Once again, I was nervous as hell.


At least my head-to-toe shakiness wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been during my Icebreaker speech. I was less freaked-out this time, but don’t get me wrong, it was scary!!! It probably didn’t help that I forgot to, um, breathe much.

Each meeting has a different theme chosen by the member assigned the “Toastmaster” role. The Toastmaster serves as the host of the meeting. All roles, both speaking and non-speaking, rotate weekly so everyone experiences each role. Roles include the Ah-Counter (the person who counts the filler words in every person’s speech), the Grammarian (guess!) and the Timer. Yes, every speech gets timed. It’s very precise. I like it!

Yesterday’s theme was Clutter.

(Ha! It could’ve easily been re-named Dyane’s House.)

My speaking role, the Thought of the Day, needed to relate to the theme and last one-to-two minutes.

I decided upon the topic of “Clearing Mind Clutter.” I thought it would be cool to share something that actually helps clear my befuddled brain. 

The following paragraph is what I wrote on my practice notecards. When I spoke to my group, I surprised myself and didn’t use the cards, although it would’ve been fine to refer to them. Instead, I paraphrased my notes and I did silly things like the scrubbing move! (Watch the video for that one…) Oh well. I have no problem making a fool of myself – I have a PhD in tomfoolery!


Without further adieu….

What can we do to clear out the clutter, the confusion, and the disorder in our minds?

I found something that’s easy, enjoyable, and free that everyone in this room can do. Plus we’re in the perfect area to do it! It’s called Shinrin Yoku*** in Japanese, and in English, it’s known as forest bathing. 

I didn’t even know forest bathing even existed until I read about it last year in  Good Times. Forest bathing is a leisurely stroll in the woods for fifteen to twenty minutes. Every now and then, you stop and take extra notice of your surroundings, and during your walk, you take deep breaths…making sure you don’t hyperventilate, of course!

Deep breathing allows you to inhale organic compounds given off by the trees. The amazing benefits include lower stress, lower blood pressure, increased energy, better sleep, better focus, and an increase in the NK cells (your natural killer cells) which fight cancer — all this from a leisurely stroll!

Doing this has helped me feel better and manage the clutter in my head. I encourage all of you to take a stroll in the redwoods over the next few weeks, notice how you feel, and let me know about it.

***I encourage you to check out this forest bathing site for more info. – it’s a cool resource!

At the close of the meeting, all talks are evaluated either briefly or in depth. There’s much more scrutiny given to the “Project Talks” (Thought of the Day isn’t one) so I only got a couple comments: the speech was “well-developed and demonstrated planning,” and “giving a call to action was effective.”

At one point I walked down the aisle and back to the podium, exposing the group to my rear. (Good times!) The president advised me to consider walking slowly backward so the group saw my front and I could utilize those moments, LOL!  

Slick move, eh?

See you next week when I’ll reveal some juicy details about my upcoming interview. 

Lots of love,




Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. It’s available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales; Kindle pre-sales will be available this summer.


33 thoughts on “Stoked I Didn’t Pass Out During My 2nd Toastmasters Talk!

  1. Great job. I’ve been wanting to walk in the forest rather than our local suburban concrete sidewalks. Right now I’m in bed sick (bummer). When I’m well enough, I’ll hav to do so. Our dogs aren’t allowed in wilderness park. Oh, well…

    • I’m so sorry you’re sick!!!!! I’m glad you’re resting….

      I get it about the dog issue – I can only take Lucy on literally one path in the forest and if we see another dog/dogs I have to run away with her and avoid them. Yuck.

      Re: my talk – I noticed I need a new bra (my bra is 10 years old and stretched out!!!!) and I need to stand up straighter. Easy things, right? As far as my less-than-bodybuilder triceps, I’m letting that one go. They work. That’s what counts, right? It feels good to give myself a pass on that one! 😉

      Feel better asap my friend!!!!!
      Thanks for commenting when you under the weather.

  2. Congratulations, Dyane! I’m so proud of you for managing that talk! And thanks for being so open and honest with us about how difficult it was, and the mistakes you made along the way. You’re very human!

    • Thank you, Cass!

      I only wish YOU and my other blogging friends were there to cheer me on! Now *that* would be cool! I must admit that it’s way more fun to write about the mistakes than to wax poetically about smooth sailing, and I’ll also disclose that I enjoy reading about others’ goofy mishaps instead of their pristine behavior. 😉

      Have a good night and once again, thanks for making me feel appreciated!!!!! I’m so glad we’re connected. 💗

  3. Lady, here I am still trying to get accepted into a Phd program and offering to even teach undergrads for free in exchange but nada. I think I’ll inrol in that university you got yours from; hope they offer online classes meh… That being said, hope no leaks here that’s how I know we are…
    1) Am glad to notice we wear the same foot size and so the slippers you had on which seemed slightly big for you, please save those for me… once you have a new president am on the next plane to Santa Cruz yuppie;
    2) I didn’t feel any heat from a supposed hell now – don’t be too hard on yourself – apart from the timing your princess like steps and dashing to and fro the aisle, you did so well like you’d done half a couple more pitches before;
    3)your blue dress was a wow and so was your hairstyle – bank on how you look always so the audience might be carried away more with how you look than how you feel – am not sure many noticed your hands (I just did because em am looking out for everything in my capacity as fairy Godmother);
    Three points enough for now, you deserve half a pint of is it mayo you crave?
    Enjoy your weekend

    • You, my dear, are hilarious!
      I loved all these lively observations!
      I’ll take note!

      Thanks for the compliments & for the helpful feedback – all of it. I’m happy you noticed & liked the blue dress which was chosen by Craig & the girls – not bad, eh?(Iknow you like bright colors and I do too.) I tried my best to make my hair decent, which is never easy.

      I hope we have a new president sooner rather than later. :0
      And I’m looking forward to the day when I get to call you Dr. Abanga – wow, I’m so proud of you!

      Mayo doesn’t sound so good, but chocolate works!!!!!

      Have a great weekend too, lovely Lady M/Fairy G!


      p.s. you’ll light up that stage and your eldest son will be so proud of you!

  4. And oh, tbt I didn’t know what stoked mean and just googled that! I am truly stoked I’ll be talking about single motherhood today to a large audience. I am also stoked my darling Dyane is making such progress with toastmasters 🙂

    • I hope you record your talk and that you’ll share it with us, if at all possible! You’ll do a wonderful job!!!!

      • Oops lady, I thought my PA Mr Alain was re recording but he says he lost it several times. He took a few cool pictures and I think one audio recording is cool too. It did go well though a and am glad we attended together. He even spoke twice and hmm I can see a mentee coming up lol

      • I read it right away but I didn’t comment yet – it is so damn good – it’s incredibly powerful – I will share more thoughts this weekend. I need to retweet it too. You’re one gifted writer/poet.

  5. Dear Dyane, I don’t think we have forests here, do the Everglades count? I need NK cells because I’m on Clozaril, Tegretol and Enbrel, which directly impacts NK’s

    • That’s an excellent question about the Everglades! I Googled it and I have good news for you – the article below specifically mentions the Everglades as a place where forest bathing can be done! I hope you go for it since you’re taking those meds that affect the NK’s. (I keep thinking of Natural Born Killers whenever I see “NK” – am I weird or what? And yes, I owe an answer to your last email….please bear with me as usual. 🙂 Big thanks for commenting – it means a lot to me! Xo,

  6. OMG! It was so neat to see & hear you talk and you were AWESOME!!! I was so impressed. You didn’t seem nervous at all.
    I love what you spoke about. I wish I lived near the forest, we live in the city. I still enjoy the nature around me apply those techniques. It really does work.
    Remember: walk
    You go girl!
    Anyway you should be very proud of yourself, great job!!!💕

    • Thank you so much, lovely Christina Lynn! I will remember to walk backwards, ha ha ha!!!!!👀
      Your compliments made me feel great, my dear!!!!! I hope you’re doing okay, and bear with me – I’ll catch up over at your blog before 2018, I promise! 😉 (((hugs))) Dy

  7. Hi Dyane,

    I’m so glad you’re facing your fear about speaking in public. Hey, I think there’s a trail for dogs at Henry Cowell! I see dogs there all the time (Pipeline Trail). It might be a good place for forest bathing.

    Good for you for taking the plunge!!

    So happy for you, my friend!


    • Hi there sweet Carol!
      I hope you’re doing well! It has been a strangely busy week! 😱 I’m playing catch-up today.

      Yes, there are dogs @ Henry Cowell (and at least a few dog-friendly trails) but that’s part of my challenge because Lucy doesn’t bestow a warm SLV welcome to other hounds.I could go myself, but I’d miss my furry girl!

      I hope whatever you’re up today, you include some fun time. And nature time. And maybe both times at once!

      Thanks for stopping by and for reading – it’s always an honor!

      p.s. this day is soooooo gloomy!!! 😫! I want the sun back! ☀️

  8. Hi Dyane,

    I’m so happy you faced your fears and got up and spoke. I’ve heard great things about Toastmasters.

    I’ve seen lots of dogs being walked on the Pipeline Trail in Henry Cowell–have you been on that trail? It’s pretty nice!

    So glad you took the plunge. Pretty soon you’ll feel very comfortable in front of an audience.

    See you in the forest!


  9. Congratulations, Dyane! Giving a talk like that takes quite a lot of courage. I hope it’s boosted your confidence – it certainly should have done. It was great to see the film of you – even in that short clip it was obvious that you’re a very engaging speaker. And what an interesting subject. It’s made me realise I haven’t walked in a forest since last summer – and we have a huge one five minutes’ drive away. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow!

    Looking forward to hearing the juicy details of your interview! xx

    • Thank you so much, Sara!

      Your comment brought a big smile to my face. I hope you got that chance to go walking in the forest, and that you enjoyed it!!!!!!

      The interview was actually fine. In a way, that’s a shame since it won’t make for an interesting blog post, LOL! I could make something up, heh heh heh. But oh yes – there’s that little thing called “ethics” I should probably keep in mind. 👀

      Hope you’re having a wonderful day/evening (?) and that you’re getting more and more excited about your upcoming pub date. I bet you’re a busy bee!!! 🐝
      I hope you post soon to your blog with an update – even a brief one!

      (((hugs))) from across the pond – waaaay across as we know! 💜

    • Thanks so much! I keep hearing about forest bathing so I really hope you try it out – it seems like it can only help, unless you go to some freaky, dangerous forest, LOL!

  10. Yay, another survival story! I remember my recital days when I barely breathed, too. I’m horrible at holding my breath under water, yet when it came to having to play piano in front of others, I’d hardly breathe over the course of several minutes. Amazing how the body survives on no oxygen when there’s people watching us! 😉 But hey, you did it, and that’s awesome. I do see the reason of that you were to told to back up, though–as lovely a rump as one may have 😉 the constant eye contact is a must. 🙂 xxxxxx Oh, and I LOVE the subject matter: what a perfect bit to share with others! I actually got a “forest bath” a week or so ago, and am hoping to write about it soon…

    More hugs and happiness and love and friendship and coffee to you, Dearest SpyDy! xxxxxxxxxx

    • Hello, dear one!

      Yes, I survived the last speech so I could tell the tale to y’all.

      Re: holding one’s breath when performing in front of an audience?
      Ayy, it’s a nasty, nasty habit, isn’t it? Ick to the infinite power! 😝

      At least I felt confident about the subject in that speech, and I knew “forest bathing” wasn’t something most people had heard about so it would be a novel topic. My main concern was to stand upright.

      Next time my goal will be to refrain from showing my 47-year-old (clothed) derriere to the audience – a noble and lofty goal, to be sure, but I have faith I can achieve it!

      Stay tuned for my June 2nd post because my speech is scheduled early next week.

      By the way, I hope you’ll write about your forest bath, and for all I know you did.
      I need, no…make that I MUST catch up on everyone’s blogs this weekend!!
      💕to you, my friend.
      SpyDy the 1st😆☕️😱☕️

      • Hey, standing upright is a valid concern! Ever try to listen to someone who won’t stop swaying or fidgeting? All their speech turns to white noise because you can’t help but WATCH them instead. So kudos to you for making sure people are listening instead of watching you!

        And so long as your fly’s up, you’ll be fine. I experienced the public presentation with the fly down, so…yeah, don’t do that. 😉

        I do want to write about the forest bath, hopefully for a post either next week or the week after. I’m hoping to blend it with something I had to read for a faculty book group, though that blending may not be pretty…hmm…

        Now, off to the coffee pot! Lots of love and a happy Memorial Day to you and your fam, SpyDy the 1st!

        Love and hugs, Java Jean the 27.45673repeatinginth 😛

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