“We all have stories to tell.”

It is a cold, crisp day and Mariel Hemingway is about to head out for an afternoon of cross-country skiing in Idaho. An actress, health and fitness writer and the granddaughter of iconic American author Ernest Hemingway, the mother of two has been in the public spotlight for most of her life, and sometimes for personal and painful reasons. Recently, Hemingway decided it was time to tell her own story.

In previous books like Running with Nature and Mariel’s Kitchen, Hemingway explored living a fit and healthy lifestyle to avoid or help manage painful conditions. Now she’s shining light on topics most people find too painful to discuss in Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction and Suicide in My Family.

“We all try to negotiate our childhood to win, and we make choices within our environments that become part of us,” Hemingway says, reflecting on some of her earliest memories. “But no matter what your pain is—physical, emotional, spiritual—when you decide to tell your story, it is a really powerful way to start the healing process.”

Hemingway realizes that her memoirs will be of interest to many people familiar with her family’s history of talent and fame juxtaposed with tragedy and mental illness. She is the youngest of three daughters born to Byra Louise Hemingway and Jack Hemingway, also a writer. Both her parents were alcoholics. Just months before her birth in 1961, Hemingway’s Nobel-laureate grandfather committed suicide. Her sister, Margaux, was an actress who suffered from depression and died from an overdose at age 42. Four other family members also committed suicide, leaving Hemingway determined to find a healthier way of living with pain, mentally and physically.

mariel1Depression, and the Truth and Responsibility of Pain

“When we become willing to open up and be truthful about our lives and what we have done, it allows us to take responsibility for molding our own lives,” Hemingway says. “As I worked on this book, I realized that no one else is responsible for my story except me. That is empowering.”

In addition to the family’s painful history, Hemingway’s personal journey to wellness and health was challenged by her own depression and physical pain. Ongoing physical pain caused by a severe pinched nerve continued for years, an injury that “no one could find,” according to Hemingway, and one that exacerbated her depression.

“I could barely move my neck and shoulders for a long time,” she explains. “And during that time, I started to see parts of my personal story that still scared me. I knew I had to get out of the emotional pain as well as the physical pain.

“There is always something in our psychological make-up that has an attachment to pain,” Hemingway continues. “And once you’ve had a pain issue for a long time that can’t be diagnosed, you’ll probably be told that it is psychosomatic. I really think that our brains have so much to do with the healing process; our bodies want to be healthy and so do our brains. When you create new neural networks, you take out some of the pain patterns and your brain is doing the work.”

Brain Training

One of the treatments that Hemingway found effective is brain state technologies, a process that “balances the brain,” she says. Additionally, she began paying close attention to her lifestyle choices, eventually sharing what she learned through Running with Nature, a multimedia wellness initiative she founded with her partner, Bobby Williams.

“Pain is an extraordinary lesson, very humbling, and I don’t want to invite it back,” Hemingway says. “I have that mom thing—you know, where you say ‘I’m going to get all of this done!’ I had to learn that multitasking is not actually my greatest strength, and Bobby really helped me with that. He encouraged me to slow down, pull back and do one thing at a time, and I started to schedule my life differently.”

2015—A Moveable Feast:

Connecting with Others through Films and Social Media

With Out Came the Sun scheduled for release this spring and the production of two films in the works with Williams—including a movie version of A Moveable Feast, a favorite work of her grandfather’s—2015 is shaping up to be a demanding year for Hemingway. Additionally, she plans to add to her acting repertoire and to make “very conscious choices.

“Acting is one of my passions, and I love movies,” Hemingway says. “I want to get back into it, but from a position of empowerment. At this stage, I don’t have to compromise, and I can choose meaningful roles.”

mariel2Social media offers another distribution channel for Hemingway’s lifestyle messages. Through her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, she will continue to connect with her diverse audiences.

“A lot of people are going through tough times, and they want to see good things,” Hemingway says. “I want to provide inspirational messages that will encourage people to look for positive changes they can make.”

Despite the ambitious schedule, Hemingway said she remains committed to maintaining the lifestyle that has allowed her to maximize her own physical and emotional wellness. Adding that each individual has to find his or her own strategy, Hemingway says there are concepts she thinks are helpful to everyone, including eating well, resting well and exercising—but not overdoing.

“You have to make the time to make yourself important,” she says. “I spend my mornings alone, and I meditate twice a day. I really do consider how I am feeling, and I take time to be still. And moderation is so important.”

Hemingway also hopes that people will see her book as something more than a memoir.

Out Came the Sun was such a personal journey for me,” she says. “It really is a gift to a lot of people—not because I think my story is so great, but because it shows people how you can empower yourself to take charge of physical and emotional pain by the choices you make every day. Nothing is a cure-all, but sitting down and looking at the details of your story starts the flow and you discover things about yourself.”

mariel4Hemingway adds that every person’s story is relevant, regardless of how famous your family might be, or how privileged your background. She said that she hopes her latest book will help people suffering from pain realize that it doesn’t have to be a “life sentence.”

“Living with pain is so debilitating,” Hemingway says. “I really want to help people find a way to find their joy.

“You don’t have to write a book; you can find a friend and tell your story to start,” she concludes. “You have the ability, and the right, to understand and to find a way to get out of pain.” {PP}