Q & A with Mariel Hemingway: Making Your Wellness Connection Work for You
Mariel Hemingway is an Academy Award nominated actress, author, entrepreneur, and one of the most recognizable faces in America. She's also the granddaughter of illustrious author Ernest Hemingway. But this isn't why I had an amazing conversation with her the other week...
Mariel Hemingway simply "gets" mind/body wellness better than anyone -- whether it's her work through her incredible book, Healthy Living from the Inside Out, her company Mariel's Kitchen and their commitment to real, wholesome food, or her everyday commitment to promoting wellness and helping others become better connected and present, Mariel "gets" the connection between mind, body, and green, and the importance of remaining true to our inner guide.
MindBodyGreen: How do you start your day?
Mariel Hemingway: I try to get up at sunrise but that doesn't always happen. I love silence in the morning and I love watching the sunrise. I meditate anywhere from five to thirty minutes and will maybe get some yoga in. I think the taking "time" in the morning is very powerful. My grandfather (Ernest Hemingway) always wrote in the morning. There’s always so much hope in the beginning of the day -- which is the subject of the next book I’m writing.
MBG: What type of yoga do you practice?
MH: I’ve practiced everything throughout the years -- from Vinyasa flow to even Bikram. Now, I do a little bit of whatever I want -- and if I’m able to get 20 minutes in I’m happy. It’s also important to be more conscious in exercise -- and if I’m very conscious and aware of my body and my mind then in that twenty minutes, less becomes more.
MBG: Favorite place to meditate?
MH: I love to go out on my porch and sit out there and meditate in the morning. I kind of gave up the formal meditation space a while back. I believe you can find a meditation space wherever – just as long as it’s quiet.
MBG: I really liked how in your book, Healthy Living from the Inside Out, you broke life down into 4 segments: Food, Exercise, Silence, Home. You really seem to get what our website is about – the wellness connection between mind/body/green. When did mind/body/green come into focus for you? Did it happen overnight or was it a slow process?
MH: I think for me it was a slow process. I grew up in Idaho and being outdoors and in nature was a part of my life. The fact that I came from a dysfunctional family made my connection to nature my saving grace so to speak. As time went on and I had kids, I started with yoga – and yoga taught me how to be present. At the time, I didn’t know how to be present but yoga helped me understand my connection – my ability to connect and go "within" -- to go inside.
I started yoga about 25 years ago and then about 20 years ago I really got into it. It was then when I made the transition where I went from following what other people thought was best, or what was right for me and became more connected to my inside – and looked for answers within me. I realized the importance of my connection to nature, my connection to the food I ate, who I am – it was—it is a process that keeps unfolding and has taught me to authentically be myself. I’m passionate about sharing this with others – empowering people to be the best person they can be – and that the answers are within ourselves. It is the food we eat, how we connect to the outside world, how we stay present.
MBG: What do you advise someone who wants to get connected or to become more present?
MH: There is no right way to get connected. You can do it anyway and it doesn’t matter. The point is always trying to find the "center" within you – finding and following your intuition. I truly believe that. Some silence has to happen for you to get connected but at the same time each thing you do, no matter how mundane – eating, walking – it’s the simple things that work. I love the simple things!
MBG: When did you first discover feng shui and what does it mean to you?
MH: Years ago in my old house I hired someone to come in and really do it up. Now I’ve come to realize that we all have an innate sense in us that can work as well – the sense that we know inside what is right for us – more of an "instinctual feng shui." For instance, when you walk in a room ask yourself, "Does this make me happy? Should this room have another feeling?" I know there is a science behind feng shui and I totally appreciate it, but I also think we all have the ability to instinctually feel a room out and make the necessary changes.
MBG: What’s your philosophy on food?
MH: Real food for real people is the tagline for my company, Mariel's Kitchen and I really take that to heart. This means food that is not highly processed and making conscious choices about what food we put into our bodies. I do eat meat once in a while but only when it’s good. What I mean by ‘good’ is that I know where it comes from – if it was a small organic farm versus a factory farm. I invested in a local farm in southern California actually so I could help with this cause. I think it’s about making conscious choices – for some people that means eating no meat at all, and for others it’s eating less meat – it’s just so important to do so consciously.
MBG: Favorite healthy food?
MH: I eat salads all the time. I actually really like them. If you put a piece of chocolate cake in front of me and a salad, I’d choose the salad. You could say I’m a salad aficionado.
MBG: What are you reading?
MH: The book I’m into now is Born to Run. I love the relationship that these people in the book have with the outdoors – and the understanding how physically, spiritually, and emotionally powerful we all are. They are obviously talented but there’s this quantum leap that happens within them. I love that book. It gives you the sense that you can do it too!
MBG: Favorite quote?
MH: Life is not measured by the breaths we take. It’s by the moments that take our breath away.
MBG: If there is one message you’d like to get across, what would it be?
MH: That wellness – and the connection between mind, body and green -- is all about making the connections that work for YOU – and not what someone else says to do. The answers we’re looking for are all within ourselves, we just need to become better connected, more present – to what we eat, to nature, to our surroundings, to our inner guide.
For more on Mariel Hemingway:
Mariel's Books on Amazon.com
Preview & top photos via Shutterstock
Also, establishing a regular meditation practice can drastically improve your health, and so can choosing the right foods. Ready to learn more about the power of food? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.