Friday, July 5, 2019

Books: The Woman I Wanted To Be

I stumbled across Diane von Furstenberg's memoir The Woman I Wanted To Be when I was wondering who said the best relationship one can have is with the self, and this has really been a wonderful read. Throughout this whole book, Diane von Furstenberg reinforces the concept of health as beauty. Her book is filled with positive messages for women -- about health, true beauty, aging gracefully, letting go, being present. 

For example, she writes, "Youth is wonderful: it's exciting because it is the beginning of life. Everything is ahead and there is nothing more thrilling than beginnings when everything is possible and you can dream big dreams. But every day is a beginning. Living and enjoying the present moment to the fullest is the best way, the only way to approach life. It is essential to learn from the past and look into the future without resentment, resentments are toxic and can only pollute the future."

She covers a lot of territory in this memoir, writing about her parents,  her childhood, her marriages and children, the building of her empire (the successes and the failures), her friendships, and so much more. She even includes details about her yoga and meditation practice and how she was introduced to ayurveda after being diagnosed with cancer. 

One of the stories I love most is the one where she describes being on a plane on a runway in Gander, Newfoundland, with complete rainbows on each side of the plane. Newfoundland is my homeland. ❤ Her plane had stopped in Gander to refuel on a trip back to the States from Belgium. At the sight of the rainbows, her daughter told her she needed to make a wish. It was on that runway in Newfoundland where she made a wish to be cured of her cancer. And she was. 

"Confronting my cancer was challenging, but enriching. I became more compassionate toward the sufferings of others, appreciated the value of health, became more spiritual and understood both my fragility and my strength. I have been thankful ever since to God, the doctors, my family, my friends, and my own power," Furstenberg writes. 

She describes how she became much more health conscious after the cancer diagnosis by eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, grains and beans, little meat, and cutting back on sugar as much as she could. She also focused on getting more physical exercise and describes hiking and swimming as forms of meditation for her. She also practiced yoga consistently. 

"The stretching and the twists make me aware of every part of my body and I practice the long inhale and the slow exhale to ease stressful moments," she explains. 

And that quote that I had been searching for? It is here in The Woman I Wanted To Be:

"Love is about relationships, yet the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Who else is with you at all times? Who else feels the pain when you are hurt? The shame when you are humiliated? Who can smile at your small satisfactions and laugh at your victories but you? Who understands your moments of fear and loneliness better? Who can console you better than you? You are the one who possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your happiness."

And that motto Love is Life is Love is Life? Yeah, that's DVF as well. 

There's lots of good stuff to digest here, my friends.