Forbes’ 52nd most powerful woman in the world, Cancerian author and spiritual activist Arianna Huffington is at the forefront of the mindfulness revolution. Initiated into transcendental meditation by the Maharishi himself when she was just 13, here she reveals the details of a successfully Mystical Life…
Do you have any recurring dreams and what do you think they mean?
“I had a dream that has remained very important to me but is not recurring. I am on a train going home to God. (Bear with me!) It’s a long journey, and everything that happens in my life is scenery along the way. Some of it is beautiful; I want to linger over it awhile, perhaps hold on to it or even try to take it with me.
Other parts of the journey are spent grinding through a barren, ugly countryside. Either way the train moves on. And pain comes whenever I cling to the scenery, beautiful or ugly, rather than accept that all the scenery is grist for the mill, containing, as Marcus Aurelius counseled us, some hidden purpose and a hidden blessing.
I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and my younger daughter and I regularly exchange our dreams. One of her recurring dreams is a good metaphor for what a good night’s sleep allows us to do. She imagines herself as a living “Stop” sign, forcing people to come to a complete stop before moving on with their lives.”
What is your morning awakening ritual?
“My perfect morning begins the night before, with a good night’s sleep – which, for me, means seven to eight hours. And a big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: when I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone.
I make sure I have my phones charging far, far away from my bed, to help me avoid the temptation to check the latest news or emails. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”
What is your favorite feel-good breakfast and why?
“I have terrible breakfast habits. I basically love breakfast foods but not at breakfast – the only thing I like at breakfast is a soy or almond cappuccino.”
What mantra do you leave the house with in the morning?
“’Don’t miss the moment.’ This was one of my mother’s favorite sayings and it embodied the philosophy of her life.”
What’s your lucky charm?
In what ways do you most embody the traits of your sign?
“If one of the signs of being a Cancer is being a homebody, then there is nothing I like more than staying home with a good book and my favorite music.”
And the healer you have on speed-dial?
What’s the one universal message you wish we could all could get our heads around?
“It’s a lesson I learned when I had my painful wakeup call in 2007: not only is there no tradeoff between living a well-rounded life and high performance, your performance will actually improve when your life includes time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving.”
And how do you deal with negative thoughts?
“I call my negative thoughts the obnoxious roommate living in our head. It feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts. I have spent many years trying to evict my obnoxious roommate and have now managed to relegate her to only occasional guest appearances in my head.
Educating our obnoxious roommate requires redefining success and what it means to live a life that matters, which will be different for each of us, according to our own values and goals (and not those imposed upon us by society).”
Retail therapy is…?
“Nice, but ultimately not the answer!”
What’s your power outfit?
“A simple beige dress that I wear with a cotton bolero.”
And what makes you feel beautiful, why?
“What makes me feel beautiful is an 8-hour sleep, half an hour of meditation and a great yoga class.”
Your last conversation with the universe went something like…?
“It was me putting the universe in its place: ‘Sorry, I know I have an obscene number of unanswered emails, but I’m putting my phone away and going to bed!’”
For upcoming Third Metric events go to www.thrive.huffingtonpost.com.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington is out now.