Dianneaigaki's Blog

Travel with Dianne to Tibet and on her Motivational Speaking Tours

Dianne Aigaki’s Life List

Dianne Aigaki’s Life List

Dianne’s Philosophy About the Life List

Dianne and John Goddard Eating Enchiladas in Southern California, December 28, 2007--A Fabulous, Inspiring Afternoon. #103 on the List-Check it Off!

I first read about explorer John Goddard’s Life List in the early 1980’s.  Immediately I knew it was a ground-breaking and heart-opening philosophy concept, and that it dovetailed perfectly with how I had lived my life since I was a child. I always believed that you can do what you love in your life and money will follow.  That has been my experience my whole life.  The Life List can be the vehicle that pushes and pulls you and elevates you throughout your entire life, whether you are 5 or 105.

I began to facilitate workshops in the Life List in 1981. Hundreds of people attended, and I have introduced Mr. Goddard’s Life List concept to hundreds more over the years.  Here are some of the comments from people before they wrote their lists, and afterwards.

Before Writing the Life List:

  • How does a Life List translate into a “real life”–what relevance could it possibly have to a “real life” where people have to work and pay the bills?
  • Isn’t a Life List all about dreams—who’s got time for that in this day and age? Get practical!
  • Am I doing myself, my spouse, or my kids a favor by suggesting that they create a Life List, or is this just encouraging them to spin them off into fantasy land when they need to buckle down and get to work on their real life?
  • Yes, you may have made your Life List come true, but you were probably born with a silver spoon in your mouth!  What does this have to do with me?

After Writing the Life List:

  • I was afraid to write my Life List—and was actually trembling with anxiety when I started.  I wrote and wrote and wrote. I thought I would have 5 items—instead I had 87 when I finished. Some of these I had been afraid to tell another soul—for fear they would laugh at me for being in a fantasy world. When I looked back over my list at the ed of the afternoon, I was elated.  There wasn’t a thing on it I couldn’t accomplish in my lifetime—they weren’t fantastical visions at all. I showed it my friends, my brother, my friends, and even my boss-there wasn’t a single person who laughed at me.  In fact, every one of them wrote their own list the very day they saw mine!
  • The day I wrote my Life List, my world changed—before I even started to get to work on it, my life was brighter.
  • I can’t believe how many things I wrote on my Life List that have now come true—as if the energy were magnetized to make it happen just by my writing it down, without me doing anything at all.
  • The Life List exercise shaped my life—from the first day.  I saw right in front of me every dream I had had as a kid and as a young adult—and better yet, I saw they were still possible.
  • I’m a goal person.  I wrote my Life List and suddenly had a chart of my greatest dreams. I started within five minutes to put the details in place to make them happen, and within weeks was checking items off—hopes that had been sitting in the back of my mind for decades.
  • My husband, my teenage son and I came to the Life List workshop together.  We all think it was the day our lives changed for the better.  We walked into that workshop feeling like we were each living in little boxes and out of there laughing and exhilarated by what lay ahead.

Here is my list. I have to admit, it feels a little scary to put it out there for not only friends and family, but perfect strangers to read–but in the spirit of this blog, here I go!  I’m going to throw in a few photos at the end to show you what has come to my life via my Life List. I hope you find it interesting and are inspired to write your own.  It’s never too late to write your List and start to live it.

Dianne Aigaki’s Life List





1) Move back to Brazil (Added: 1968)
2) Buy an island (Added: 1972)
3) Live on an island where I have the only house on the island Have lived on two-Sacramento Delta (1971-1976), Napa River (1990-1996)
4) Move to a place where I am right next to or surrounded by flat water, an inlet, an island, the bayou, a delta; with a  dock that runs out into the water
5) Become a hands-on healer (added: 1989) Completed some of it in 2004-tapping; grant writing

6) Win a prize for baking a cake (Added: 1970) Completed: 2cnd place at Heart Association Cake Baking Contest in Stockton, CA (1970)
7) Train a frog to jump in the Calaveras County Frog Jump Contest at Angels Camp, CA (Added: 1971) Completed: 1971
8) Be a professional fine artist (Added: 1972) Completed
9) Live for at least several months  in Venice, Budapest, Sydney, Bahia, Guanajuato, Barcelona Have lived in Bahia (1966, 1967), Sydney (2005)
10) Have a lifelong relationship with an intelligent, funny, relaxed man–financially solvent, likes to travel, adores me and my family and thinks my approach to life is wonderful. (Added: 1994)
11) Do the Tell Us Your Story project on the Li River in China

(Added: 1987)

12) Have a museum exhibit of the Documenting Our Lives Scrolls- go back to China and do them again in the same areas-Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuli, Kunming (Added 1988)
13) Build a stone house (added: 1989) Completed-Built my stone house in India in 1999
14) Hike the Santiago de Compostela in Spain (Added:1990)
15) Be with Wren when she has a baby (Added: 1992)
16) Have formal gardens with calla lilies (added: 1993) Completed- 2000
17) Raise at least $500,000 for Gyudmed Tantric Monastery (Added 1998) Completed-2000 and 2001
18) Stay at the following five star hotels-  Nilaya Hotel in Goa, Bangkok Oriental (Added: 2000)
19) Die with Gyudmed monks at my bedside (Added: 2000)
20) Be excellent in a competitive sport (Added: 2003)
21) Earn my living at a job that is mostly outdoors (Added: 2003) Completed: 2004
22) Exhibit the Tibet botanicals in major botanic gardens and museums (added: 2004) Completed-2006, 2007
23) Complete 108 Tibetan botanical illustrations in eastern Tibet (added: 2004) 54 completed; 54 to go
24) Show the Dalai Lama the paintings from Tibet (Added: 2004)
25) Become a professional botanical illustrator and exhibit my work at museums and botanical gardens (Added: 2004) Completed 1st round in Fall, 2007
26) Exhibit paintings at the Royal Horticultural Society in London and win a gold medal  (Added: 2004) Got a Bronze Medal in Fall, 2006
27) Be really good at pool (Added: 2004)
28) Have a topiary garden with large topiary of a two rabbits, camel, llama, swan (Added: 2005)
29) Be accepted into an explorers club (Added: 2005) Completed: 2006 – Society of Women Geographers and WINGS WorldQuest)
30) Receive the Right Livelihood Award (Added: 2006)
31) Receive an Ashoka Fellowship (Added: 2006)
32) Grow an entire garden of blue poppies of every kind (Added: 2006)
33) Wear a necklace with flower seeds from the Dalai Lama’s garden (Added: 2004) Completed- 2006
34) Receive MacArthur Genius Grant (Added: 2006)
35) Have an exhibit of the Tibet botanicals at the Tibet  Museum in Dharamsala (Added: 2006)
36) Take a botanical illustration tour to Tibet (Added: 2007) Completed 2009
Do at least one motivational speech with John Goddard (Added: 2007)
39) Be the commencement speaker at a private girls’ college and high school (Added: 2007)
40) Do the Funding Forum training with the UN-be paid by the UN (Added: 2007)
41) Speak Portuguese 1st Phase Completed
42) Speak French
43) Speak Spanish — Study Spanish every day or night for 1 hr for 6 weeks Completed;
44) Play tennis well (Added 1985)
45) Play the guitar well (Added: 1985)
46) Salsa dance (added: 2005)
47) Learn all the constellations (Added: 1970) Completed in 1972, most forgotten by 2007!
48) Hike on a volcano; see a volcano erupting (Added: 1985) Completed in 1990
49) Hike the Blue Ridge Mountain Trail (Added: 1991)
50) Speak Tibetan (Added: 1996) Completed 2004
51) Do a music tour of Africa- traveling for two months and hearing some sort of music every night—bars, clubs, concerts, villages—the whole range of music in Africa (Added: 1998)
52) Speak with the Dalai lama in Tibetan as a first choice language (Added: 1999)
53) Go by steamboat to Cachoeira, Bahia (Added: 2001)
54) Go on five Earthwatch expeditions (Added: 2001)
55) Take Thai cooking classes with Wren (Added: 2002)
56) Do the grant writing training in Tibet without a translator Added: 2004
57) Complete 50 paintings about the Voyage of the Endeavor around the world in 1768-1771 (Added: 2009)

58) Write “Guardians of the Seven Wonders” (Added: 1996)
59) Get $100,000 advance for Traveling with Monks in America (Added: 2001)
60) Interview Gandhi’s niece he slept with and write an article about her and her experiences (Added: 2003)
61) Get $100,000 advance for the grant-writing manual (Added: 2003)
62) Receive largest advance ever given for first time novelist for Dream of the Turquoise Bee (Added: 2005)

63) Know the islands of the Sacramento Delta and visit them all in small boats,using the Delta maps as a guide (Added:1980) Completed: 1981, 1982, 1983
64) Travel with Wren to Egypt on her 12th birthday (Added: 1982)
65) Travel with Wren to China (Added: 1982) Completed in 1987
66) Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize (Added: 1985) Completed in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992
67) Tikal (Added: 1985) Completed in 1989
68) Japan, China (Added: 1985) Japan-1976, China-1987, 1988, 2004, 2006,  2007, 2009
69) Thailand, Laos (Luang Prabang) (Added: 1996) Completed in 1996—
70) Go to England to where the veil is the thinnest between the worlds-Avalon (Added: 1997) Completed : 1997
71) See the soldiers at Xian, China (Added: 1998)
72) Travel in a bamboo boat on the backwaters of Kerala, India (Added: 1998) Completed 2000
73) Tibet (Added: 1999) Completed-2004, 2006, 2007, 2009
74) Tondabayashi Japan for the world’s biggest fireworks (Added: 1999)
75) Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragaua (Added: 1999) \
76) Walk from Spiti-Lahoul to Ladakh (Added: 2000)
77) The Amazon River Cruise with Dulce Nascimento (Added: 2001)
78) Hot baths at the Hotel Danubius Gellert in Budapest (Added: 2004)
79) Ice Festival in Iceland where they have all the giant ice figures (Added: 2004)
80) Monet’s Gardens at Giverney for two weeks and create a book of botanicals done in the garden (Added: 2007) \
81) Run a 10k in Italy
82) Sail in the Grecian Islands (Added: 2007)
83) Go down the river that links Mexico and Guatemala (Added: 1989)
84) Follow in the footsteps of Frank Kingdon-Ward retracing his 1926 botanical expedition through Tibet (Added: 2004)
85) Khowalingri Mountain in Kham, Tibet (Added: 2007)
86) Nam-tso, The sacred lake in Tibet (Added: 2007)
87) Travel the length of the Endeavour River in Australia and paint the same botanicals there that Sydney Parkinson did when he was on Captain Cook’s tall ship, the Endeavour 1768-1771 (Added: 2009)
88) See the Royal Barges go up the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok (Added: 1999) Completed: 2007

90) See a tiger in the wild (Added: 2000) Completed in 2002
91) See a yak (Added: 2000) Completed in 2004
92) Ride a horse or some other big animal  in every country I visit (Added: 1985) Completed: China (horse), Tibet (horse), Guatemala (horse), Costa Rica (horse), India (camel, elephant), Thailand (elephant), Mexico (Horse),
93) Have a giant rabbit Yes!
94) See a giraffe in the wild (Added:: 2002)

95) Bake the rabbit/lamb/wagon birthday cake for Wren on her 100th birthday (Added 1982).  This will be April 21, 2077
96) Meet the Dalai Lama (Added: 1995) Completed in 1995
97) Be with my aunts when they are dying (Added: 1998) Completed with Blanche (2007) and Margaret (2000)
98) Take Rafael and Eliza on an Earthwatch Expedition (Added: 1999)
99) Meet Jimmy Carter (Added: 2004)
100) Have the Dalai Lama to dinner at my house in Dharamsala (Added: 2004)
101) Meet Ratan Tata and have dinner with him at one of the Taj Hotels (Added: 2005)
102) Be with Norbu and Sonam when they return to their families in Tibet (Added: 2006)
103) Meet John Goddard (Added: 2007) Completed: Dec 28, 2008

The Calla Lily Pool at My Home in India- #16 On the List-Check It Off!

Map/Botanical Painting from the Voyage of the Endeavour Series- #57 On the List-Check It Off!

Orchidaceae Cypripedium tibeticum-Painted in Kham, Tibet in 2007-#23 On the List in Progress

Dianne with WINGS World Quest explorer Flag in Kham, Tibet, 2007-#29 On the List-Check It Off!

My Stone House in Dharamasala, India-Built in 1999- #13 On the List-Check It Off!

More photos to come.  Stay Tuned!


December 3, 2009 - Posted by | Motivational Speaking | , , ,


  1. Very Cool. What a great addition to your ideas for public speaking. Hope you received the correspondence I sent on that. Bob

    Comment by Robert Godfrey | December 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. You were my first mentor and role model. Before I met you, I was paralyzed by having “too many aptitudes” and too many dreams. Now I know your secret…was this list.

    Hey, you forgot the dream come true when you did “Documenting Our Lives”! Those were such great questions that got people talking up some fantastic stories…

    Hey! When we get together next, why don’t we do it in a pool hall? (#27) I’ve gotten pretty good at that game…

    Comment by Franis Engel | March 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey. We are clearly somehow linked, as I too am artist & photographer/creative soul, and I too am so tied to the Tibetans…my first visit to McleodGanj/Dharamsala changed my life & I am now in the process of working to return (goal is Sept 2010).
    My goal is to spend at least 5-6 months yearly living and volunteering with the refugee community in McleodGanj.

    I do look forward to meeting you there.

    Comment by Tammy~ CrypticFragments | March 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. Nice work on your life list. Most inspirational.

    May your travel adventures continue to enhance quality of life.

    Blessings, Tim

    Comment by Tourism Tim Warren | May 24, 2010 | Reply

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