Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 19, 2019

Nina Simons on 'Living Juicy' and remembering her mother at Bioneers

Migrant children in cages and missing and murdered Indigenous women remembered, as Nina Simons remembers her own mother and Mother Earth

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Cofounder of Bioneers Nina Simons remembered her mother as the Bioneers Conference began on Friday, "She showed me how we can reshape ourselves at any age," Nina told the crowd gathered for the 30th anniversary Bioneers Conference. The think tank on climate, nature, the arts, democracy and the future, includes 250 Indigenous participants and 51 Native presenters.
Nina said we must not focus only on hope and beginnings, but on history, while reclaiming our connection to our own Spirit and Mother Earth.

Remembering her own mother singing and dancing and divulging in lasting relationships, Nina remembered her mother as one who lived life her own way and broadcast the radio show 'Living Juicy.'
When her mother was diagnosed in the end with a life-threatening illness, her mother believed she would live another eight years. A kind friend suggested she might consider a Plan B. At that point she proceeded to live her last time here to the fullest.
Nina remembers walking down the aisles of Forever 21 and swing dancing with her mother. Her mother had savored her own autonomy for so long, but at last, she could no longer do this.
But along the way, she taught Nina about kindness, even when she was impatient with the snail pace of change.
"I miss her closeness," Nina told the crowd filling the Veterans Auditorium here. "I miss her voice."
Still, her mother's love remains in her heart and she can still sense her presence.
Nina says while she tends to focus on the nurturing side, a friend from the south shared with her another way of viewing things, it involves boundaries and the end of things. Nina said we tend to focus on beginnings, which isn't so good if we don't think of history, endings, and change.
She faced the realities of what is dying, and the loss of her mother. She remembered the children in cages in prisons, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Nina said in this young experimental democracy in which we live, we need to lead from the heart and remember our connection to the invisible world.
Remembering the words of poet Joy Harjo, Nina said, "Call your spirit back."
The passing of our mothers was a reoccurring theme at the Bioneers gathering on Friday, with Eve Ensler, author of Vagina Monologues, also mentioning the passing of her own mother. Connecting with Nina's words, Eve said, "We midwifed our mothers passing."

Born, raised, and educated in New York City, Rhea is the mother of two exceptional human beings, Nina and Tony Simons.  Moving diagonally across country from New York City to Santa Fe in 1982, Rhea left behind several decades of creative entrepreneurship, having created two prototype businesses, each editorially featured in The New York Times, the New Yorker, and House & Garden. One business was a unique interior design consultation service, and the other was the first art gallery that offered antique American quilts as wall art. She currently offers "House Shaman," a design consultation service offering color, placement, editing. Rhea studied with the wisdom school Arica for 10 years, as well as the School of Tai Chi Chuan, becoming an accredited Tai Chi teacher. Passionate about art, music, films, theater, alternative healing, mind/body relationship,and conscious aging, Rhea is also nuts about swing dancing and the Tao. Yes, the Tao. Tai chi is the Tao in motion. She is an example of living juicy, and hopes her listeners are as well. 

Nina Simons
Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Bioneer since 1990
Nina Simons is an award-winning social entrepreneur and visionary thinker. In 1990, she co-founded Bioneers with her husband and partner, Kenny Ausubel. As President, she has helped to lead the organization through 23 years of identifying, gathering and disseminating breakthrough innovations that reveal a positive and life-honoring future that’s within our grasp, today.
Nina’s work currently focuses on writing and teaching about women, leadership, diversity, systems thinking and restoring the feminine in us all. She is the co-founder and co-facilitator of the Cultivating Women’s Leadership Leadership trainings. Nina edited the anthology, Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart, which contains 30 essays by over 40 contributors, who collectively help to redefine the leadership landscape. The book is being used by educators in college and graduate-school classrooms and has garnered passionate and positive reviews.
In 1990, Nina joined the entrepreneurial start-up company Seeds of Change as its marketing director and was subsequently promoted to president, helping to grow the company into an emerging national brand in a mere five years. In her capacity as president, Nina oversaw the marketing, operations, and finance departments, while also contributing to strategic business planning and fundraising.
Prior to her tenure at Seeds of Change, Nina was director of strategic marketing at Odwalla, the fresh juice company, during a time when it was expanding rapidly across the nation. She designed and implemented community-based approaches to marketing that were highly effective in establishing the brand and building customer loyalty.
Previously, she was director of strategic projects at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, where she launched a publication that increased the organization’s earned income significantly while strengthening relationships with the local business community. In her youth, she worked as a director and production stage manager at theaters in New York and Michigan, and managed several restaurants.
All of these professional experiences helped her to cultivate strong leadership and communication skills, which have been refined and strengthened in her seminal work with Bioneers and in her more recent work Cultivating Women’s Leadership Leadership and restoring the feminine.

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