“Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family” is the title of Mariel Hemingway’s autobiographical book. This distinguished descendant of Ernest Hemmingway talks about how she found inner peace and the strength to face her fears.
Dr. Oz invited the actress and author in today’s show to share to the public her inspiring story of personal breakthrough from fear.
How Mariel Hemingway Found Inner Peace?
Dr. Oz welcomes the celebrity with a felicitous statement, “You wrote a wonderful book about facing your fear. Most of your life you seemed to be running away from the tragedy of a genetic inheritance. You mentioned 7 suicides in one family. Do you ever worry that the so-called curse of it was gonna catch up with you?”
Mariel aptly explains that she was not consciously aware of it, but she was terrified. She was living her life in fear. She, in fact, did a documentary that she called “Running from Crazy”. When her sister died, she panicked and was anxious that she was the only one left now. And before she really understood what mental illness, addiction and all those things are, she thought it a virus and that she’d caught it. She admitted that quite honestly, all of her behaviors were extreme—extreme exercise, extreme dieting, extreme this and that, ALL in the search to find peace, to find tranquility. Until she started to realize that the answers lied within herself.
Dr. Oz follows up with another question, “Like so many people who have fears and challenges, you turned from chaos to order, and literally you said you fought chaos with order, so how did that affect your health?”
She answers that as she got older, she realizes that she does have control over her life. She realizes that her lifestyle has a lot to do with coming to grips with herself and coming into a sense of peace. It was very important to realize that she does things in moderation such as exercising in moderation. She learned how to meditate and do things that worked for her like eating well but eating moderately. And to this, Dr. Oz added that the extreme often offers the illusion of peace because one wants to simplify life, yet doing the extreme does the opposite.
Mariel further explains that she used to keep thinking that if she can control her family’s so-called “curse”, she can control her life. And the great irony, she says, is that we have control over so little, but we can make good choices. That realization was the moment when she started to understand that all these people do not have answers for her. But, if she gets still enough and if she gets quiet, she actually has those answers. She found answers through meditation, through mindfulness and through just doing one thing at a time instead of multi tasking—which we all think we are so good at. She realized that no one is actually good at multi tasking. She advocates doing one thing at one time. She quotes the Buddhist saying, “Chop wood, carry water.”
Mariel Hemingway: Relieving Your Stress
In addition, she discovered that one of the keys to having a successful life is to be present. And to be present is to do one thing at a time which sounds absolutely nonsense. This is because nobody does it. Everybody is so wired up to do many things at the same time. Everybody is always busy and always in a hurry. We are running in a rat race to accomplish many big and small things alike. So, when you wash dishes, she advises that you actually wash dishes and not do anything else. For her, to be present is a simplistic way to mediate. Keeping and staying present is in itself mediation, and it de-stresses you.
In view of this, she adds that what de-stresses her is first and foremost, meditation. She was just recently doing Transcendental Meditation. But she does not advocate marathon meditation. She says that 20 minutes twice a day is effective in de-stressing her. And when you actually get into the science of it, it is really effective in relieving stress. Harvard has done studies to support the finding that meditation is an effective tool in getting rid of stress.
Mariel Hemingway: Embrace Your Fears
In this portion, Dr. Oz discusses her grandfather’s works. He shares how he loved Ernest Hemmingway’s books when he was only in high school. One that he recalls well is Ernest Hemmingway’s work called “Farewell to Arms”. He used to check this out from the school library often.
Dr. Oz quotes a favorite—which Mariel also quoted in her own book. It goes, “The world breaks everyone and afterward some people are strong at the broken places”. So, he then asks Mariel, “What broken places do you think you are strongest at?” She replies that it is such a powerful quote because we all can relate to it. We are all given challenges in life and NOT ONE of us gets away scat-free.
People think that she comes from such an amazing family and they say she’s so lucky because she has no problems. She wishes that were true. Nothing can be farther from the truth. But then she came to terms with the fact that our challenges, our fears, and the things that make us scared are really the things that make us strong because when you take time to look at them, they are never as bad as when you are thinking about them. When we harbor fear within, we are so afraid to look at the things that scare us. We don’t want to go back there because those memories are so frightening. However, Mariel encourages that everyone must embrace their fears and stop running away. Running away will not make the fear go away, but facing it and embracing it would.
In concluding their interview, Dr. Oz leaves the audience with a fitting advice, “Our head is behind enemy lines. And you cannot beat your fear until you embrace them”. And you can only embrace fear if, first, you find peace within.
Learn how to escape the tragic legacy of mental illness, suicide, addiction, and depression in one of America’s most famous families: the Hemingways.