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ANNAPURNA WOMAN: ANNABETH GISH (March 2015)


Portrait of the Annapurna Woman is an ongoing series featuring divine women who embody the nurturing spirit of Annapurna Living. Today we are excited to introduce actress, wife, and mother Annabeth Gish.

How do you start your day?

I’m typically not an excellent sleeper, meaning I usually have a few early starts to my day. Around 5:00 am I wake up to light a candle and try to meditate for 20 minutes or so. It is in this liminal time that I can most connect myself to Spirit, or to get grounded with a sense of purpose and intention for my day. Then I get back in bed and read or journal until my sons come in for a drowsy-cozy family cuddle. My husband and I have always cherished this connection time for our entire family—even our big, burly dog Brody snuggles in to join our morning cuddle pile.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

It depends on the kind of overwhelm I am feeling. Sometimes I am distinctly called to get outside in nature and move my body. A rigorous hike wherein I connect to the elements always seems to serve and soothe me. Trees really do build the space of an outdoor church for me. Most of the time I walk only with our dog, as it is a singular kind of companionship in silence. I rarely walk with a device in my hand or in my ear in order to truly unplug. Other times a bath is my most exceptional antidote to stress. Candles, essential oils, and with a good book in hand—all of it are indulgences that I greatly appreciate.

But honestly... sometimes when I am stressed or overwhelmed I do not behave in any way that reads “evolved.” I cry, I freak out, I get angry, I stomp my feet and sometimes I am utterly inelegant in my coping strategies. The tool box I have built sometimes goes unused. However, as I age, and especially now because I am a mother of two young sons who watch & hear everything, I know I must example making the better, healthier choices and shore up the silliness of emotional reactivity.

What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?

Togetherness with my family. The open road. Reading a stunningly crafted literary paragraph. Attempting to write one. A piercingly blue sky. Authenticity. Feeling utterly safe in the arms of my best friend/husband. Creating that same safe space for those I love. The sound of effervescent giggling by my sons. Mountain hikes and the scent of sun-warmed earth. A killer song that digs right into my heart. The swell of pride in a job/work well done.

What are you currently reading?

I read a lot of different things simultaneously. Ask anyone who comes into our home. Books live everywhere among us. They are, for me, more important than fine furniture. On my bedside table currently:

“The Minds of Boys” and “The Purpose of Boys” by Michael Guerian
“Bark” by Lorrie Moore
“A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer
And an anthology of English Romantic Poets for a class I am taking with my Dad.

What are you listening to right now?

Currently I’m obsessed with Amy LaVere’s album Runaway’s Diary and St. Vincent’s newest. Also Roseanne Cash’s The River and The Thread. I dig most the music of soulful songstress-poets. Also, anything by Ray LaMontaigne and Coldplay is a North Star for me

What is your go-to simple recipe?

Well, I’ll be completely honest here: My sons definitely consume a lot of Amy’s Organic Pizza, steamed broccoli & veggies with Bragg’s and apple slices with Almond butter. How’s that for fancy? I do always buy organic.

As family staples, I have my mom’s lasagne recipe and my sister’s green chile stew. I love deviled eggs, and make a great paleo-guacamole-healthy variation. I make green veggie soups with coconut milk every week in my Vitamix that my boys and husband actually enjoy! I am by no means any kind of crafty, savvy chef, though I value and envy those who are!

What are some simple things you do for self-care?

I am a religious practitioner of yoga, meditation, hiking & baths. These are my best modes of self-care.

What does nourishment look like to you?

Loving, authentic relationships, fresh air and healthy, living foods, a spiritual practice, and a lot of laughter. Hard work (meaning real, focused effort and elbow grease) for a job that fulfills a sense of true purpose.

How do you make space for play?

I Dance. A lot. The boys and I constantly push back our living room furniture to have dance parties. I think dancing is an essential element for self-expression, and sometimes just diffusing stagnant energy & emotion. I also think exampling “weird” (not as a pejorative term) is a fundamentally awesome parenting skill. My kids definitely think I’m weird but that’s because I value eccentricity as creativity. I encourage expressive play as fun and carefree. I think we all could cultivate more “eccentricity” in our lives!

What are some favorite mantras you cling to?

“Leap and the Net will appear”
“If you’re going to laugh about it later, why not start now?”
“Worry is down payment on a debt that never comes due.”

Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.

A yoga teacher/friend of mine Hala Khouri recently said something that resonated so deeply with me. “Happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.” This succinctly captures my belief that an examined life is healthier than an unexamined life. To commit to being in touch with our living center, the very core of our Self, and our mind/body/spirit—this is embodied living.
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