The Importance of Intention

The Barnes & Noble book store (in Palmdale, CA) gave me a wonderful announcement with large posters at the entrance of the store and another smaller one on a large table adorned with table cloth and stacks of my books. The announcer would tell my story with enthusiasm and actor ability, emphasizing “she was buried alive, 30ft deep” and the customers would flock around my table wanting to know if that really happened. A small girl asking how I survived, challenging me to give a simplified answer.

I was getting use to this ebb and flow of people, happy with the interest when one man stood alone off to my right. “Hi”, I said…and he moved forward saying how he wanted to meet me, because he too had been buried alive and wanted to meet someone who shared the same experience. I leap to my feet and hugged him. His name was Josh and I invited him to sit next to me so we could talk in between flows of people.

Josh had been covered by a sand wall on a construction site. We compared our experiences, injuries, PTSD symptoms and even laughed at our own inside humor; he was jealous of me because I had a small air space and he did not, but inhaled sand. I gave him that one. We exchanged phone and e-mail information and will keep in touch. The meeting was healing for us both.

My intention in writing my book has always been to help and inspire others going through tragedy or grief in some way and now I could not stop thinking of Josh and how much we shared and helped each other. My second book signing, such a powerful experience, I felt so satisfied and excited about future events.

Several days later, at home in bed at 4 am I woke up and realized I had not taken any pictures. I wreathed with regret, tossing and turning unable to sleep. I wanted to go back and do it all over so I could get pictures.

How was I going to post the success of the book signing on Facebook? How was I going to show what grand job Barnes and Noble did preparing the event? I could go and re-stage it…too far. Hang the poster and take a picture of it by a bookcase? That will have to do. Let it go, Diane, something I’ve had to learn well since the La Conchita landslide and losing everything, let it go!

Then a peaceful feeling came over me and I remembered “Intention”. My intention for writing the book was to reach out and help others recover from tragedy and I forgot to take pictures because I was so in to moment, helping people; pictures did not even occur to me. My intention was good!

 (note to self: take pictures anyway next time)

Diane Metivier-Hart

My Chat with Royalty

My family used to joke that I could be in a room absolutely full of celebrities and never know it. This was the result of a minor facial-recognition problem that I’ve always had which worked in my favor in November of 2012.
It was a brisk, windy, overcast morning in Pismo Beach, California. I decided to go for a walk to the beach with Pailee, my seven pound morkie, as we do several times a week. Except usually, I wait until later in the afternoon, when the weather warms a bit. It was very unusual for me to venture out so early, in the cold.
I bundled up Pailee and myself and we made our way over the freeway and down a few blocks to the beach. As we reached the beach parking lot from the rear left I noticed two sleek black Lincoln Continentals parked at the front, right near the freshly-built Promenade. This is an unusual sight for Pismo Beach, and I thought How very official-looking for Pismo; I wonder what that’s all about. The beach was virtually deserted except for maybe two to three people scattered throughout the boardwalk and little shops.
These walks are my “time out,” when I focus on the sweeping beauty of the vast ocean, sky, and the curved, almost painted shoreline. For decades I’ve taken walks on the beach, and this has become my “prayer time.” I thank God for my blessings and life as I experience it here on Earth. At some point my thoughts drift into entropy.
This morning we crossed the parking lot and stepped onto the Promenade swiftly, making our way toward the northern far-side, enjoying the view. Speaking of the view, we passed a couple who strangely looked like the Crown Prince and Princess of Britain. However, I curtailed the thought, believing that that could not be. I was sure they were “look-alikes.” The young lady had long brown hair which fell in soft waves over a strapless sundress. I thought, she must be freezing.
We reached the end of the Promenade and turned to walk back. Pailee paused at her favorite spot to sniff, just in front of the young couple. After a few moments, as the sniffing continued I felt that I owed them an explanation. I shrugged and told them of how she favors that spot every time we come. They exchanged a quick, puzzled look as if to say, “Doesn’t she recognize us?” I moved closer to them as I continued, “You must not be from here. You thought you’d come to the California beach and find it sunny and warm. It can get quite cold; you must be freezing.”
The lady leaned forward in her classic style with arms outreached and elbows tucked and in the sweetest voice said, “No, we’re from England.” I replied, “Oh, my!” and looked at the young man. He smiled convivially and I noticed that his grin had a unique look. Suddenly two men in dark suits came running toward us and he waved them away quickly.
My attention was back to the lady as she said, “We were in Santa Barbara yesterday and I had a wrap, but I didn’t bring one today.” “I’m so glad you were able to see Santa Barbara,” I replied. “I had my family and career for 25 years in Santa Barbara, it’s a lovely city. But I retired up here where it’s less busy.” She looked at me and said, “We’re touring up the coast today before returning to England tomorrow.”
I glanced at the man, who was listening intently to us now with that familiar, unusual smile – friendly, but happy to just listen. He sported a baseball cap and stood erect and alert, with an excellent military bearing.
Pailee was pulling at me so she could continue her sniffing so I said, “Well, enjoy your visit.” I wandered approximately ten feet away and heard her say something to him. Unexpectedly, they both rushed toward me and she leaned toward me and asked in her delicate British accent, “Would you take our picture?” “I’d love to,” I said. She handed me her camera but I was a little confused by which button to push. She leaned in, a few inches from my head and pointed, “This one.”
They both hurried over to the railing and adjusted themselves into position. At the last moment she motioned for him to remove his cap which he did, while smoothing his hair into place. Peering through the camera lens, I realized that this was looking like the picture of a magazine: I saw the future King and Queen of England against the rolling ocean waves, shoreline and immense blue sky.
I was becoming nervous, and in the back of mind I was resistant to allowing myself to admit it was they. I didn’t want to ruin the moment. It can’t be, I told myself, not here in tiny Pismo Beach Village.
They were posed. “Ready,” I said. CLICK. The picture was taken. They quickly came to me and she took back her camera, said “thank you,” and dashed off to the sleek black sedans. I said “Have a nice trip,” but they were gone too quickly to even hear me.
Pailee and I made another trip down the Promenade and back while I considered what had just transpired. I still couldn’t really believe it was they until my experience was confirmed by the six o’clock news: “The Prince and Princess William and Kate travelled up the coast today before their return to England tomorrow. [These were the princess’s words to me, almost verbatim.] The Prince had played in a Santa Barbara polo tournament the day before.”
It was confirmed! I had taken part of a private, random conversation with royalty. I couldn’t discuss the incident for two weeks; I was musing over every detail – again, and again. I needed to process the extraordinary occurrence and couldn’t believe how fortunate I had been. There was a realization within me that if I had recognized The Royal Couple, things would have gone very differently. I felt privileged to have had such a natural, easy, “normal” conversation with them. When I see them now on the television, I feel like I know them personally. It’s such a thrill!

Ventura Star Newspaper Article Attached!

On Saturday, January 10th, 2015, was the 10 year anniversary of the La Conchita landslide. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by a reporter from the Ventura Star newspaper. A photographer took lots of pictures and videos of me at home as well as walking the dogs on the beach. My message is:

Bad things can happen. You can start all over again…..and be fine!

*If the link does not redirect to the site, please copy and paste the entire URL into a new web page*

Diane Hart reclaims her life 10 years after being buried alive:

VIDEO: Ten years after the La Conchita landslide:


When I think of all the things that led to my survival against great odds—physical, mental and spiritual, the one that stands above them all is the
faith my father gave me.

“Have faith, Diane,” my father said, “The answer will come.”

During most of my life, I didn’t understand what faith was; however, I practiced and tried the best I could with a hopeful attitude. I grew up with a father who would preach his positive attitude of faith daily to any family member in need. While in nursing school, I studied the importance of the body, mind and spirit connection for optimal health. At the same time, I began studying different philosophies and trying to figure out this thing called “life.”

Click here to read on…

Good Planning, Divine Intervention or Just Dumb Luck

Every year as the anniversary date of the La Conchita landslide approaches, life stands still for me. As I wait for the date, day by day, then hour by hour, I relive the events of that day. I review each random event that led to my survival and I’m still in awe of the miracle.

As one CNN reporter stated, “Whether it was good planning, Divine intervention or just dumb luck, I lived to tell the story.”

Was it good planning? As a nurse, I had learned safety and survival rules well and I was trained to stay calm in an emergency. My earthquake survival bag was in the closet that I ran into when the mountain came down; however, it was of no use to me in this very different type of disaster.

Click here to read on…