May 19, 2013

Running with Mariel Hemingway. ~ Megan McWilliams

Ed. note: Renaissance woman Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award nominated actor from a celebrated family (she is the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway), she is a prolific author, adventurist, eco-activist, filmmaker, healthy lifestyle advocate, entrepreneur, much sought after speaker, slack line walker and a devoted mother.

The title of this article is metaphoric only, because I assure you there is no way I could physically keep up with Mariel Hemingway, if I ever had the opportunity or notion to run with her.

And yes, it is my clever way of trying to weave in her two current projects—a documentary film about her family, Running from Crazy, and her new book with Bobby Williams, Running with Nature.

To continue the running silliness, she did say during a recent interview in the Green Diva studio that now that she is with Bobby, she is running with crazy, and we all laughed heartily. The atmosphere in the studio was light, refreshing, definitely fun, funny and sparkled with great energy.

Wish you could hear it? Well, me too. Everything was brilliant, but the technology fairy was asleep at the wheel, and the Green Diva at the control board missed one tiny setting, and as it happens, it was a critical one.

I own it. I was blinded by the natural light of Mariel and mixed my input with my output and well, you’ll get to read the highlights instead, and I’ll do my best to be descriptive and thorough.

During our last call-in interview with Mariel, Mizar brazenly invited Mariel to visit us in the studio when she came to New York. As it turned out, her next visit to New York ended with a weekend of business in northern New Jersey, five miles from the Green Divas HQ.

We were the fortunate beneficiaries of Mariel’s ongoing whirlwind book and film tour.

I retrieved Mariel and her assistant, Heather from New York and from the moment I saw her, she put my nerves at ease. She hugged me and we talked like great friends who had been separated for years and who were trying to catch up. Without our even knowing it had occurred, we lapsed into a comfortable cadence of fun and familiarity.

When we finally settled in front of our mics in the studio, the conversation went quickly to the film featuring her and the Hemingway legacy called Running From Crazy, which was done by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple and executive producer Oprah WinfreyHere’s the trailer:

Early in the interview Mariel said, “A lot of people say the word crazy has such a bad connotation, but my feeling is that Running from Crazy is about me and my family, literally my feeling like I was running from this genetic or inherited thing. I was scared. But I think by speaking the word, it loses its power.”

For her, nature had always been a sanctuary, and her latest book, Running with Nature is a healing progression from the revelation and healing that is evident in the documentary to her experiences with her life partner, Bobby Williams. Mariel said, “Running with nature has always been my saving grace.”

One thing we all agreed on about the book was that it doesn’t scream, “This is the way!” As Mariel put it, “It is about finding you. We are not gurus. We’re not trying to get you to follow us. We want you to find you.

I noted that early in the book it says, “All it takes is a little willingness.” We laughed about how hard that willingness can be to come by and Mizar asked a great question about taking that first step, which can seem so overwhelming.

Mariel’s response was, “I say to people, keep it simple. If you want to change your food, change your breakfast.”

We went on to talk about how vital it is to start the day more slowly and intentionally, with a few solid minutes of quiet, creating a routine that includes gratitude.

The book offers a low-stress way to reconnect with nature and reconnect with yourself. There is a point system after each chapter, which at first made me bristle, but instead of being about gathering points to “win,” it offers encouraging ideas on a spectrum that allowed me to feel better than I thought I would about the chapter on adventure.

I mentioned that reading the book was like a stream of reminders of so many of the healthier habits I already know, but from which I allow myself to get distracted.

Other than the rock climbing, real running and seriously advanced yoga, I related to the book more than I thought I would. It is a refreshing reminder of the many ways we need to re-engage in what we know is our own healthy nature. And of course, nature is the key.

Green Dude, Eco Ed Schwartz was patient and waited his turn to do a separate Green Dude segment with Mariel, which of course was also lost in the technical vortex that was my great misfortune that day. I think he still enjoyed being in the studio anyway, basking in the wonderful Green Diva energy.

After an unusually uplifting session in the studio, Mariel graciously signed a couple of books for us, and we unanimously decided that after all this talk of nature, we needed to get outside in the sunshine and take a group shot near a tree.

Part 2 coming soon: Somewhere in the first part of our ride to New Jersey, we got on the subject of food, my recent healthy detox and my desire to lose weight and feel better. She immediately volunteered to help me and encouraged me to keep a detailed daily food journal and confidently offered to look at it and give me insight. She did, stay tuned to find out what I learned …


 Green Diva Meg (aka Megan McWilliams, host of The Green Divas Radio Show) is a TV/radio/interactive content producer, blogger, product/book/restaurant/film/anything reviewer, humorist, and recovering ex-publisher. Having fun. Keeping it green.


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Assistant Ed: Stephanie V./Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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