On happiness and family.
A really hard lesson I learnt early on as a mother was that in order to really be there for my children, I needed to put on my own oxygen mask first. Sounds obvious, but ‘happy mama’ often equals ‘happy family’. When my children were really small, it was challenging to get even five minutes a day to myself to practise my mindfulness, but the more I do it, the happier I am.
On living a balanced life.
I follow my muse, I follow my children’s lead, I continue to build my career on the principles of creativity, exploration and service: I cannot stress enough how great this has been for my health and for the happiness of my family.
I regularly take sabbaticals from technology (I put on an auto message saying my computer has gone on holiday), and I regularly pencil in time in my calendar to work out what it is I want from this life, and whether my current actions are bringing me close to that.
I dance, I walk, I pray, and I drink green smoothies with my husband every morning. When things get really tough, I do what the doctor ordered: I sleep, take fish oil, pull back on commitments that aren’t essential, make mud pies. I don’t try and do anything perfectly, ever, including meditation. I just do my best.
On stress and fame.
Let’s tell it like it is: fame is a ‘made-up’ concept, it’s externally judged, and it’s largely irrelevant to me and my work. The pressure I do feel around work is related to the fact that like all human beings, I suspect I was not born for no reason, I suspect I am here to give something to the world (we all are), and sometimes in the chaos of life, I wonder if I have given enough yet.
On the link between arts and wellbeing.
If we had an hour together, it still would not be enough time to tell you everything I know about the role that the arts, that our creativity, can play in our health and in our healing, most particularly in times of transition. I believe in this so strongly that I launched an enterprise called Big Hearted Business to teach people from all walks of life how to re-connect with their creativity. Art is, as Pat McGorry calls it, a most important connector: it connects us to meaning and to community and to the memory of what it is to make the most of your life, and do the things that inspire you.
On Smiling Mind.
I became an ambassador for Smiling Mind because I really do believe that when we meditate, even just for five minutes a day, our lives are happier, our world is happier. Smiling Mind makes it so easy for children and even for their parents to begin experimenting with mindfulness. I am really proud to be involved. My children really do love it too. My daughter especially likes the idea of the chocolate meditation practice.