A successful career and a beautiful family. Whoever said, "You can't have it all," never met Goldie Hawn. The talented actress turned movie director and producer dished on her daily rituals with InStyle's Executive Editor Amy Synnott-D'Annibale. Find out more about what keeps her focused and how her new book, 10 Minute Mindfulness: A Journal can guide you on your path to total awareness in the interview below.
You released 10 Mindful Minutes in 2011 and this new book is sort of a more interactive approach to that. Can you tell me how you decided to write this book and what the purpose was in relation to the other books?
This one puts you in action and it gives you the time to actually ponder and go deeper into yourself, instead of just talking at people, which is what makes books. They’re informational, but it’s wonderful to engage someone in their own personal journey. It’s a tool to get closer to not just who you are, but what you feel and think and how to redirect some of those negative emotions that overpower us and our decision-making. It reminds me of when I was a ballet dancer. I would go every week to what we would call the slow ballet barre...and I personally knew I was going to work really hard because everything was broken down and slow. It built great alignment and great muscles as it improved your strength. So, that’s what this, it’s like a slow ballet class.
Is the idea that you sort of pick one a day or how do suggest that people ingest the book?
You don’t have to work in it every single day, but you should read it in a linear way, and avoid skipping around. All of these things are meant to get you back in touch with yourself. And it’s a slow process, just like meditation. You don’t meditate once and suddenly your life turns around. What it does is it lets you train your brain to be able to become more stable in an action-oriented way.
You said in one of your books that Kate was 1-year-old when you divorced from her father and you were worried about the effect that it would have. Or just struggling, as we all are, to be the best mother you could be.
`Exactly. How are we going to handle the turbulent relationship that takes place after a breakup? And the manipulation and the using the children in order to get back at each other. It goes on and on. So how do you become calm? How do you live as a person and arrive at the calm of the deepest sea? The top of the sea is full of waves and full of flutters and choppy. But really if we get down to a place where we can feel grounded, that calm, then we’re going to be able to navigate better. The way to do it is to calm yourself. To physically be able to get in that place. So you can see clearly. And once you can surrender to just being in that place of now, you begin to gain a sense of...it becomes a part of you. And people feel it when you walk into a room. That’s the only way we’re going to change anyone is to change ourselves. So I think that’s the theme of everything I’ve done with all of this and what I’ve learned, life is hard, but how we choose to deal with this is what’s going to make it a little easier.
What kind of advice would you give to people who maybe think of finding a calm place as difficult...or those who are resistant to the idea...how do you suggest they find their way in?
I don’t think you can. You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. If people are really in a place of personal frenzy, they’ll be more apt to know that meditation is not about “om,” meditation is training you brain. It is a scientifically proven fact and there's quantitative evidence. Meditation helps people balance and calibrate their left-right brain. It also strengthens the pre-frontal cortex or the cortex itself and the corpus callosum, which connects the two brains and, therefore, the connectivity between the two brains thickens. That means that meditation is no different than lifting a weight. If you’re going to train your body, it would be a really good thing to also train your brain.
Do you have a favorite time of day when you meditate, or a certain length of time? A certain amount of time?
It varies. I like to do it for 20 minutes at least in the morning. I also do it in the evening. Sometimes my day goes so long and I don’t want to meditate before bed because it actually wakes me up.
It enlivens the brain.
I feel like it helps me sleep.
That’s a different kind of meditation, and it's called calm-abiding. You’re very, very aware of your body and you realize that you have to relax this part of your body, then that part of your body. And your brain begins to tell you that you need to let go. And once you get into this calm-abiding meditation, then that’s a beautiful way to go to sleep.
Do you think it matters where you do it?
You need to be in a quiet place. You need to have some place where you’re alone and you’re not disturbed. It can be a stall in a bathroom. I’ve done it before. After meetings when you’re drained or you’re tired, I just go to a stall. Now I don’t sit there for 20 minutes. I’ll sit there for three minutes. And I will start breathing, focusing, and calming my body and calming my mind. It’s amazing. In 10 Mindful Minutes I wrote about the time when I was producing, and acting, another movie, and I was a single parent and it was so draining. But when I would come home from work, I would start my day all over again because I didn’t want my kids to see me tired. I would stop my car in front of my house and I would sit there and I would bring all that energy back to me and I would release all of that negativity by sitting there for five minutes and I was ready to go.
That’s a great idea. You work all day, you come home, and then, like you said, it’s a whole other job. It takes a lot of energy.
A lot. Women, we’re all over the place. We wake up in the morning, we get the kids ready, we fix breakfast, we check on the dog...and you’ve got all of this stuff on your plate before work. But to this day, I will get in my car and I will sit there for a minute before I put it into gear. And that's what it's all about, taking these moments. It reminds me of a tweet I wrote: Take one minute 10 times a day. One mindful minute. It’s actually the same when you talk about sexuality. When it’s nighttime and now your husband comes home. You’ve fixed the dinner and now he wants to make love, but you’re so freaking tired. And every woman complains about it because after awhile it’s like I need to be in the mood. So, I used to just go in and sit down and get quiet and put myself in a whole different mindset.
You mean meditate before?
Exactly. I'll use the ballet analogy again. You can’t jump or elevate yourself unless you plié and plié is, of course, to bend. Then you can elevate. So I also look at meditation as a bend, as a plié. It’s the preparation for a jump. We need to prepare every now and then for a jump.
How has meditation affected your way of dealing with the normal sort of struggles of everyday relationships?
It’s allowed me to become more mindful, less reactive. In some ways, much more compassionate in terms of my leadership skills and also being more patient and tolerant in relationships, whether they’re familial, work oriented, or our boyfriends.
-With reporting by Amy Synnott-D'Annibale