From Comedian To Guru, Goldie Hawn Works Hard To Make Children Happy

goldie hawn

BY SUSAN REYNOLDS 

From her first giggle, irrepressible smile, and general adorableness on TV’s “Laugh In,” Goldie Hawn swiftly captured America’s heart. But who would have ever imagined that she’d go on to become an Academy-Award-winning actress, producer, director, best-selling author, a renowned children’s advocate—and founder, board chair, and chief visionary of The Hawn Foundation? Those who didn’t see those possibilities clearly underestimated how intelligent, passionate, and committed this petite mother of four, and grandmother of five, could be.

Admitting her life hasn’t all been a bed of roses—in her 2011, best-selling memoir, A Lotus Grows in the Mud, Goldie reported periods of depression—she undertook eight years of analysis that she fondly calls “the college of Goldie.” One thing she learned is that she brings an energy or feeling to others—and boy does she ever. To date, more than 400,000 children, here and around the world, have become just a little happier thanks to Goldie Hawn. 

How 9-1-1 led to her mission

Although she began meditating in the early 1970s, Goldie’s fascination with happiness took root around 2001, when she aspired to make a documentary about happiness and found everyone she approached for support was unable to envision how happiness would manifest, unable, one might say, to even know what being happy entailed. And then came 9-1-1, which gave Goldie a new sense of urgency and purpose. “I worried about how our children’s brains would process 9-1-1, watching the buildings fall, over and over, and I realized that they needed new tools for this 21st Century.” She had what she calls “a very brave, very broad dream that all children would experience happiness,” and contemplated what she could do. “I asked myself: Now what are you going to do, Goldie?” 

Goldie HawnThe creation of MindUP™ 

She had been fascinated with and was researching the brain and was very familiar with mindfulness meditation—which involves living in the present and using meditation to focus on your inner process—so Goldie brought together cutting-age neuroscientists, doctors, researchers, educators, and positive psychologists to create a formal curriculum that her self-created Hawn Foundation calls MindUP™ (the series is available on Amazon and on the foundation’s website).

Basically, it’s a curriculum for teachers and their students to learn about their brains and methods they can use to get in touch with their emotions, regulate their emotions, manage stress, deal with all the things that lead to an inability to focus and an inability to absorb new learning, and increase their joy in going to school. Rooted in neuroscience, the program teaches self-regulatory behavioral control while offering engagement strategies for learning and living.

It’s all about hope and optimism

It’s all designed to increase optimism and hope in the classrooms of America (and now in other countries), and it’s been wildly successful. It’s led to Ted Talks and donations from some of the most prestigious charitable organizations in the world, including The Clinton Foundation.

Goldie has, well, gone gold in the education world. In addition to being grandmother to five lovely souls, she’s become a grandmother to hundreds of thousands of children—and we can all be grateful that her energy, enthusiasm, and dedication, via MindUP™, may well be part of our grandchildren’s education.

Goldie Hawn10 mindful minutes, a journal

By Goldie Hawn with Jennifer Repo

This 10 minute mindfulness journal is a follow-up to Goldie Hawn’s best-selling 2011 book 10 Mindful Moments. The journal provides a “hands-on” and fun way to explore mindfulness, with plenty of prompts and spaces for you to write your responses. It would be a lovely way to spend a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day to connect with your inner self, and set the course for a more mindful life.

Here’s a sampling that includes basic directions for a mindful moment:

Becoming compassionate 

“Compassion” is a word often used to express the same feeling as empathy, yet the full expression of empathy is found in your desire to take action. In other words, you feel empathy and you want to do something to help others alleviate their pain—through acts of altruism.

This mindfulness moment will help to fulfill the intention of compassion within you—and set you on the path to action.

  1. Sit comfortably either in a chair or on a cushion. Make sure you’re sitting nice and tall.
  2. Place your palms faceup on top of your thighs as a symbol of receiving.
  3. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale; and as you exhale, imagine your thoughts as clouds drifting across your mind. Try not to judge yourself, or self-criticize or get caught up in your unresolved problems of the day.
  4. Focus on your breath, at first being conscious of only your inhales and exhales. Then, after a few breaths, when you feel calm yet energized, direct your thoughts toward a person or situation that is in need of your compassion.
  5. Here are a few suggested phrases to start saying to yourself. Fill in the blanks with yourself or other people. You can create your own, or use these: 

“I hope ………… receives everything he or she wants.”

I hope ………….. finds perfect peace and happiness.”

I wish all the best for …………………..”

“May everyone find serenity and comfort.”

Goldie’s treasures

Goldie HawnHawn and longtime-love Kurt Russell, who have been together since 1983, are parents to Oliver and Kate Hudson (Goldie’s children with Bill Hudson), Boston Russell (Kurt’s son with his first wife), and, their child together, Wyatt. They now have five grandchildren: Ryder [2004], Wilder [2007], Bodhi [2010], Bingham [2011], and Rio, the only granddaughter [2013].

Goldie on mindfulness

“We miss so much in our lives worrying about the future or thinking that we shouldn’t have done this or we could have done that,” she said. “Once you become less stressed and more mindful, you are more capable of doing for others.” 

Goldie on The Hawn Foundation goals

“We want to create more awareness in the classroom, more self-awareness and more awareness of others. We build empathy. We tell kids that they actually can help someone else. It gives them strength and purpose and connection with other humans.”

Goldie on aging gracefully

“Getting older is a fact of life. By living mindfully you understand that there are many transitions in life. You just go through them,” Goldie tells Porter magazine. “But it’s wonderful to know you’re aging, because that means you’re still on the planet, right? It’s all about how you make it. It’s all in your mind.” 

susan reynoldsSusan Reynolds is Grand’s Editor and has authored or edited more then 45 nonfiction books, including Train Your Brain to Get Happy, Meditation for Moms, Adams Media¹s My Hero anthology series (Mother, Father, Teacher, Dog), and Woodstock Revisited. She owns a literary consulting business in Boston.

 

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