Life coach Martha Beck on living fully, falling in love with Africa and the memoir that got her into big trouble. 1. What words do you live by?
Goethe's advice: "When you trust yourself, then you will know how to live."
2. What's the hardest truth to tell?
Anything you are hiding from yourself. That's why I often ask other people, "What do you see me hiding from myself?" It's a very useful practice.
3. What makes you still?
The desire to hear my operating instructions. Listening for them creates stillness even in tumultuous environments.
4. What's left on your "To Do" list?
I'd like to help repair the earth's ecosystems, and to fully live until I'm fully dead.
5. What do you ask yourself most often?
"What do I almost know?" This is much more interesting than what I already know.
6. What's one thing that's always overrated?
Movies in which all the main plot points are explosions.
7. When/how did you last surprise yourself?
I fell in love with Africa and began helping people fix things there. Never saw that coming.
8. What's the most daring thing you've done?
Wrote a memoir that got me in big trouble with a lot of people.
9. How do you stay calm in a tense situation?
I practice staying calm all the time, beginning with situations that aren't tense. Also, I would love to try horse tranquilizers.
10. What's the quickest legal route to joy?
Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else.
11. What are you an expert at?
Feeling other people's destinies.
Martha Beck grew up wanting to be an ecologist or a professor. However, after bearing three children while acquiring three Harvard degrees, she decided she'd rather just lie down for a few decades. During that time she became an author and life coach, and now works with clients and trains life coaches worldwide. With her children grown, she plans to pursue a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, accompanying friends who are "rebuilding Eden" by repairing wilderness ecosystems and indigenous communities in different parts of the world. Writing for O, The Oprah Magazine and interacting with its readers are among her greatest pleasures.