Where you live: Los Angeles, CA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Author and Life Coach
Your two favorite books:
When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. No words comforted me more during the difficult years following my divorce and my father's conviction for a crime than hers. The book taught me to sit with uncertainty, realizing that any ideas we entertain about being in control are merely an illusion. I learned to meditate and breathe through my most challenging moments, to feel deeper compassion for all living beings, and to trust that I would be fine no matter what as long as I had my own truth, strength, and love to fall back on. I also find great solace and beauty in poetry. My favorite poets for the past ten years or so have been Mary Oliver, Rumi and Hafiz. If you have never encountered these mystics, lovers of natures, and revelers in the power of God and beauty of spirit, pick up any of their books. I will slide one off the shelf, thumb through, and read whatever poem I open up to when I feel a need for guidance or just comfort.
Your two favorite songs:
I could listen to Bruddah Iz's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which he mashed up with "What a Wonderful World," thousands of times and never tire of it. I grew up in Hawaii, so I find the sound of ukulele music deeply comforting. It's haunting. I also love U2. I listened to the album "Joshua Tree" every night on my Sony Walkman as I fell asleep in high school, and have been to two concerts. "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" may be my favorite song of theirs--though now that I've found what I'm looking for (true love, family, love love and more love for all humankind!), I might have to choose a new one! That song tells of the spiritual journey with such simplicity and honesty.
Why you are interested in spirituality?
I become interested in spirituality for two reasons. One, I started working, while in my mid-20s, as a freelance editor, ghostwriter and co-author of non-fiction books. Two of my early projects were Buddhism books: Robert Thurman PhD's "Infinite Life," and "The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler MD. The message of Buddhism resonated deeply with me:
Find your own truth by looking inside yourself. Choose the middle path of neither too much indulgence nor too much denial. The path to world peace starts in your own heart, by finding compassion there for yourself and others. Then, around the same time, both my own marriage and my family of origin began to fall apart. I went into crisis mode. The Buddhists lessons quickly went from being theoretical to profoundly practical. Nothing could calm my anxiety or make me feel connected to the beauty of the planet better than meditation, which I practice in the Buddhist Vipassana tradition. I also turned to poetry (see above-my favorite books), yoga, and friendship, love and laughter. Once you go down the path of spirituality, you can never turn back! And thank heavens for that. My life is infinitely richer as a result of my suffering, seeking, and answers I found on my spiritual quest, and now I help guide others on their journeys.
Your favorite quote:
"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." - Emile Zola
Your favorite web sites:
Huffington Post, the Happiness Project, Values.com
My mother. She is extraordinary. Full of vitality and creativity. A totally devoted mother to me and my brother and also a feminist who forged an amazing career path during the 70s and 80s, and continues into her late 60s -all for non-profits, all in service of making the world a better place.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Ajahn Sumedo said, "There are only three things to learn in life: Let go. Let go. Let go."
I am still learning to let go, but I don't suppose I will ever learn how to. Perhaps it's not in my nature. I'm too attached to those I love.A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
In a yoga class and by the ocean.
You can read more about MeiMei at her site:
www.meimeifox.com and at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meimei-fox/