A typical morning at Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams’ Willing Way Ranch looks something like this….

Sunrise hikes, feeding their gaggle of free range chickens, meditation, swimming some laps in their ionically charged salt water pool, jumping on an enormous trampoline and blending up some insanely healthy smoothies – all while being surrounded by the tranquility and majesty of the Santa Monica Mountains.   And that’s all probably before 9am!

When I think of Mariel and Bobby, I just smile.  They are incredibly positive, vibrant people.  She is a pure ray of light and inspiration; The Real Thing.  He is some sort of cross between a supermodel / extreme athlete / mountain man with a heart of gold. What a couple!  When you considerMariel’s personal history – she’s the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and has endured the ups and downs of being part of a talented but tortured family clan — it’s pretty incredible that she’s ended up where she is.  She’s had a hard road to travel – from a tragic family history, stardom, raising children and battling her own dark side to a more peaceful existence achieved through dedication to health and mental wellness.  Mariel is a shining example of what can happen when a person is tenaciously dedicated to “self-help”: we can choose happiness, playfulness, and love even if that’s not the blueprint we were handed by our family.

Recently I was able to spend a day with this amazing lady, just hanging out at her lovely secluded WillingWay Ranch.  In the video and interview below I take you inside her little utopia where she’s created a wonderland of health:  from the innovative CVAC machine she and boyfriend Bobby Williams use for detox (more on that in Part Two of this interview), an organic garden, free range chickens, a kitchen filled with vibrant raw foods, walls of books about spirituality and health, and of course her stunning teepee.  Read and enjoy below.

Be sure to check out this beautiful short film directed and produced by the super talented Debra Scherer of The Culture Crush.  I feel really proud to have been a part of this stunning creation.


LF:  So, your book Running with Nature is available now!  Between this and the documentary (by Academy Award winner Barbara Koppel) about your family, Running From Crazy, you’ve been quite busy. How did all of this come about?

MH: My life has always been about running from something. Running from crazy, running from cancer, running from alcoholism. Running from all the stuff I come from genetically.  My heritage, although wonderful and creative and beautiful was rot with horrible tragedy because of people’s choices. So, I was always trying to find stability through health and wellness; trying to find balance through how I eat, how I move, how I think.  Finding that center is a lifestyle play; that’s why the kind of life you’ve seen around this house has come into being.

LF: You are so brave for sharing with others the experience and wisdom gathered from such a unique, colorful, crazy history….

MH: Sometimes [sharing it all] is hard; it’s like “why did I open this can of worms?”  But every time I do it, I get healthier. I think it’s our responsibility to share experiences that can help enlighten other peoples’ experiences, to help lift their burden. If somebody can feel less alone, less wrong, or less of a small person then that’s a great thing because most people don’t live in bliss. I really didn’t “play” as a kid…so finding joy, finding “play” has been a journey. And no matter what age you are, play is the key to getting younger and opening up our brains.  I mean, laughter and play is really how we stay present…’cause you can’t play and be thinking about something else!

LF: Tell me a bit about your philosophy, “The Willing Way”.

MH: What Bobby and I want to do with the WillingWay lifestyle is to help people to find their life, their joy and passion. It’s like, “This is our life: we jump on the trampoline to feel great, we’re ridiculous!” We don’t ask anybody else to do that because somebody else’s adventure and passion might come through salsa dancing or whatever it is. But we want to inspire people to know how individual and special they are. We live in a world says, “This is the way we should eat. This is how we have to think and this is how we have to meditate.” Everybody’s patterns are different. The map into everybody’s life is different. We have a blue print that is specific to each individual. And that’s the beauty of it, because the tapestry of life is incredible. We want to come together as human beings and share the differences, embrace the differences. But through that…………also realize that we are all very similar.



xxx, Leah

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