Maranda Pleasant: What inspires you the most?
Mariel Hemingway: It’s probably Bobby. I’m most inspired by nature.
Bobby Williams: It all depends on what’s going on in our life. Nature is a really big part of our lives. We’re always outside playing. We do most of our work outdoors. We do everything we can to be outside.
MP: What makes you feel most alive?
MH: It pertains to the quality of being outside, whether it’s jumping into the ocean and it’s cold, the contrast of the outside air to the water—things that wake you up.
BW: Anything that helps you rise above the mundane, everyday life. I love anything that has to do with expanding and becoming more than you can actually become. Going further than you did before. I’m always driven by something. It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be the smallest task or something huge.
MP: What makes you most vulnerable?
BW: Sometimes when Mariel just looks at me or holds my hand. It doesn’t have to be anything profound.
MP: What about you, Mariel?
MH: I’m an extremely vulnerable person. Vulnerability and emotion are very closely linked. I feel raw and open—like Bobby said, sometimes the smallest things can trigger something and make you feel small. Not small insignificant—small in comparison to the universe. It makes you feel the power that is around you, and the power that you probably haven’t tapped into yourself, and that makes you feel vulnerable.
MP: How do you process emotional pain?
MH: Having been through a tremendous amount of emotional pain, to process it properly, to be able to have it make sense and then move it through your body, your mind, your spirit, and be done with it, you really have to address it head-on. Being able to really have the courage enough to truly face it, to truly look at it, to truly feel it. We live in a society running from pain through alcohol, through too much exercise, through sugar, through drugs—as opposed to realizing that these things come up because they are lessons. It’s a way to wake you up.
MP: Bobby, how do you deal with pain?
BW: I’ve endured quite a bit of physical pain. My mom says that I got my first set of stitches when I was one-and-a-half. A cat got my eye. I got stitches again when I was two-and-a-half, breaking beer bottles on Fourth of July with my cousins. I got bit by a dog. I got a hundred stitches when I was seven. Lots of hits in the head. Got my teeth knocked out and jaw dislocated. Bull riding. Absolute craziness.
My dad had me on a motorcycle when I was five. My first day on this thing, the peg went through the side of my leg. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, my chin coming up to the table, sitting on a phone book, and my mom’s asking my dad, “Are you fucking crazy?!”
I’ve gotten to a different place when it comes to that. I think I stopped crying. Then when I started tapping later on in life, and doing all the classes with people like Larry Moss, you started chipping away at emotions. You start to understand them.
MP: What do you guys have coming up right now?
BW: We’re launching our website.
MH: And we’re launching the book.
BW: The Willing Way. Which is—
MH: All about our life philosophy.
BW: It seems to me everything is based on the choices you make. What can you do to make better choices? It’s not about your parents or your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, the argument, or the age that you blame—you’ve got to be responsible for making the decisions and the choices you make, period. The Willing Way is the will and the way of us creating space for people to have a dialogue about we and about us. If we start talking about we and us, just think of how many things can actually take place and change in the world.
MH: What food are you eating from a community, what local farms are you supporting, what are you doing that helps your life to be better and the person next to you to be better? Once you take care of yourself, you become the example, and then everybody around you can change.
BW: If you really believe that you deserve better, work on you, not them.
MH: If you really think that you deserve better—
BW: You would have it. Stop blaming everybody and everything for what’s going on. If you really believe that you deserve better, then you would have it.
MH: You would choose it.
MH: Each second is a second you can make a new choice, a better choice, a healthy choice, a present choice.
BW: And all these moments are called “now,” right? That’s the greatest part. Any of these moments, you can turn it all around.
MH: We want to inspire people to be their own teacher, guru, nutritionist, trainer. Whatever it is that you do in your life, you’re your own guide. I spent a lifetime giving my power away, assuming that everybody knew better what was right for me than me. And then there comes a point in your life you go, Oh, wait a second! There’s an a-ha moment when you realize that the only person that can delegate your future is you. The Willing Way is about inspiring people to find those things in their lives—through food, exercise, nature, getting outside, breathing—to get you to bring out the best you.