What does “Close to your Bones” means to Lisa?
What's the first thought you have when I say the phrase, "Close to your bones"? As for me, I think it's knowing and exploring yourself to the core of every bone. It's about strengthening your inner self. Learning and unlearning to find new things, and change destiny to lead up to the point you have come. And this is an appropriate title for the courageous journey, Lisa Ray had winning over her cancer.
Lisa Rani Ray is an Indian Canadian actress, model, television host, philanthropist, and social activist and now she has added another feather as a writer with her book, “Close to your bones”.
Lisa since the beginning has been very candid about her life with the users and it was evident when she answered the questions on 18th June AMA. She not only opened up about her book "Close To The Bone" but shared about her life journey, growing up in Canada and Kolkata, struggling with identity issues, becoming an ‘accidental’ model and actor in Mumbai, finding her voice, surviving cancer and tons more.
What does “Close to your Bones” means to Lisa?
“It’s only when things fall apart we can remake ourselves with a deeper and more enduring beauty”
When asked by one of the users, “What does “Close To Your Bones” means to her?” Lisa tells that her book is a deeply personal memoir of all my ups and downs, she writes about her life right from the beginning and tries to be truthful as possible- to remove the masks and label she wore revealing her insecurities and the double life she was living. Close to the Bone implies not just her blood cancer- which is a bone cancer- but also the process of stripping away all the layers and revealing what is at the core of a human being because she believes underneath we are all similar.
Acting or Modelling
Many users were curious to know whether Lisa loves doing acting more than modelling or is it another way around. Lisa shocked everyone as she disclosed that she loves writing more than anything she does. She was very shy and introverted and loved nothing better than reading books in her bedroom. She picked up reading in her childhood and wishes the same for daughters. She loves reading so much so that she even asked the users If they do the same.
She’s currently reading Celestial Bodies by Jokha al-Harthi which won the Booker prize this year- first year awarded to an Arab woman. She thinks it’s a great book. She further shares that her favourite genre is fiction and one day hopes to write a fictional book.
She also loves the work of Jhumpa Lahiri and has read a lot of spiritual books. But she finds the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield’s way of describing Buddhism and everyday life beautiful. And Pema Chodron- another Buddhist nun is on her list. She got into Buddhism after she did a retreat at a Tibetan Buddhist centre where they meditated on death and dying, which helped her to confront a lot of her fears.
Despite her love for writing, Lisa agrees that she still enjoys being in front of a camera. She’s currently filming the second season of “Four More Shots Please” for Amazon and she has an A. R Rahman film releasing soon called “99 songs”. She no longer has the patience to sit for hair and makeup for so long so modelling is her least favourite professional activity.
The Story behind being an Accidental actress
Lisa began her career completely accidentally because she never aspired to be in front of the camera- The story of how this quiet girl got into this crazy line is just one of the reasons she wrote “Close to the Bone”.She has shared many of her inner struggles dealing with low self-esteem, trauma, eating disorders, that many women go through. She was spotted by someone in Juhu when she was on vacation with her parents at 16, took a few photos but then flew back to Toronto to begin her university. However, due to a car accident, her life turned upside down and she ended up back in Bombay.
She shares how it's been a challenge to be labelled at a young age. She was just thought of as a mere model because of her images in magazines when all she wanted was to be a writer where she had so much more to contribute to the world. She further asks the users If they feel the same about other people judging them. She explains how It's hard to be judged by the world- who want to define you and put you in a box. She feels as women we have so many layers and facets. And a lot more to offer and explore in the world.
How To Keep Your Emotional balance?
Lisa asks users about their mental health, how they keep themselves emotionally stable.
One of the users came forward and connected with Lisa, sharing her worries. Lisa told her to ask for help, reach out professionally, not only to seek help from the doctor but emotionally from a good counsellor. She empathizes with the user saying, “Pain is real but we still have choices as to how to manage it and the thoughts around it. Sometimes we are given difficulty in order to grow through it.”
She suggested the user to also find a reading support group, meditation and some good books which will give perspective on this gift of life, like Anita Moorjani's book.
“It's tough to keep an emotional balance in the world- especially as a working mother. But I put my health first- cancer helped me clarify what is important. I take breaks- three times a year. I make time to read. I practice yoga. I talk to my friends. I watch silly programs on Amazon India when I need to. We are human. I try not to judge myself” says Lisa revealing her secret behind her emotional balance.
Though this self-love wasn't always there for Lisa. She tells her the greatest struggle has been in treating herself with love and compassion. She was very self-critical and never felt worthy for a long period of her life. She believes that simply living in the moment, learning to be still and loving herself is the greatest task. She tries not to attach too much importance to labels and so-called achievements- “They come out of a fulfilled life but don't fulfil you on their own.” She tells.
The Lotus Mantra: For all your Struggles, Challenges and Negativity.
Lisa says “Life is Leela. I have a tattoo of a lotus flower to remind myself 'Padma Patram Evam Bhasa', Live your life like the lotus flower, floating above the murky water”
Lisa tells the user that you cannot be happy in every moment, you cannot expect people to dance in the rain. But she also thinks that we always have a choice,“Our thoughts are like clouds passing through the sky. You are not your thoughts- you are the sky- pure and vast and timeless. You can train yourself to allow the dark clouds to pass and not attach importance to them.” She says. She also suggests them a good way of letting your worries go is by writing them down and burning it.
In the end, Lisa shares that there are two ways you can see the world as either believes life is for you or life is against you. She further elaborates, “If you believe life is against you it cultivates a negative mindset as in: life is a struggle, why is this happening to me, etc. Creating the conditions to understand life is for you- everything is a lesson and I may not understand why this is happening now but there is a grand plan for me and I trust- takes meditation, reflection and asking yourself questions.”
The users learned a lot from Lisa, they felt a real connection with her and wanted to know more about her. And if you are still curious about her journey, I’d suggest her book “Close to your Bones” right now, like me.
Sindhuja MishraHello mam