You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Marianne Williamson’ tag.

As I am working A Course in Miracles through Chris Cade, I’ve found this intriguing idea: “Forgiveness is our only function.”  This is a powerful notion and something that could change a person’s life forever.  The Course is saying that we all hold the power of salvation in us through our forgiveness.  Is this really all we have to do?  To find out, I thought it would pay to take a deeper look at forgiveness.  What is it anyway?

There are a lot of ways to look at it.  One way is to see it as letting go of the past. Marianne Williamson called it, “a discernment between what is real and what is not real.” In legal terms it means releasing, giving up rights.  Yes, I can see that: releasing the right to hold onto this thing that happened in the past.  Forgiveness is about: healing, renouncing, and setting free – both you and the person or circumstance that harmed you.

It is most assuredly tied to surrender and faith. Forgiveness is a surrendering and acceptance of what happened.  It asks you to surrender, or give up of all the stories you’ve been telling about it over and over.  Releasing your need to be right or justified in your actions.

Forgiveness asks you to have faith that the other is far more than all the things she thinks she is.  Because you know she is more than she thinks she was capable of being when she hurt you.  It’s a leap of faith to say I believe there is innocence in all people.  No matter what they’ve done. To be willing to see through what is apparent to what all of us are at our core: innocent. In many cases it takes faith to see beyond all a person’s stuff to who he really is. To see beyond the offence.

I like thinking of forgiveness as seeing through misunderstanding to innocence or at least understanding. I’ve been tossing around this notion of doubt around forgiveness.  That if you understood that you never need doubt the other’s completeness, worthiness, and innocence, you wouldn’t need to forgive. So it becomes a matter of seeing more clearly, the innocent person beyond, who is just scared, hurt or unknowing.  Just another soul – made of the same stuff as me and the entire Universe.

Neale Donald Walsch warned us that God will never forgive us for anything.  No matter what we’ve done, how we plead and cry and moan.  Because in God’s eyes we have never done anything to forgive.  We, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do in forgiving ourselves and others.  A Course in Miracles talks of  “grievances.”  Our unforgivens are loaded with them.

Maybe this is how God wants to use us: As instruments of forgiveness. What amazing things that can do us and the rest of the world!

Forgiveness lightens our burdens.  Whenever we forgive, ourselves or others, we lose some weight off our shoulders. Life becomes easier.  We can feel safer, more at ease.  Protected.

Forgiveness is extremely healing to the body.  There are those in the healing profession  who say that all illness, of all kinds, is linked to an unforgiven. It’s damaging to our physical bodies to hold onto stuff that should long ago have been released.  There are science-backed reports of those who have been cured by forgiving. Forgiveness is powerful stuff. Anyone who has let go of a big one will testify how healing it can be to forgive.  Perhaps forgiveness is our best medicine.

What a concept that forgiveness is our only function! Something the Dalai Llama expresses so beautifully in everything His Holiness does, no matter what has happened.

I have always fancied the notion that our function is to expand our capacity to love.  I liked that idea.  But isn’t that what forgiving is all about?  Expanding our capacity to love and accept?  And in the process, gaining more clarity.  I feel the best thing you can do for someone else, the way to give them the most love is to accept them for exactly who they are, at this moment. That feeling of being accepted for who you are, not judged for anything, is a pretty groovy way to feel.  Forgiveness does that.  It’s a perfect vehicle for spreading love.

Many people bristle at the notion of forgiveness.  As if it means to condone actions that are hurtful and are otherwise inappropriate behavior.  Maybe they could see it simply as a release of something from your own heart. It is something that happened in the past.  It comes nowhere near saying that it was okay.  (There is a wide gap between forgiveness and trust.)  Just that you are choosing to put it down. To stop telling stories about it.  To stop letting it affect your present moment. Refusing to forgive is all about the other person or thing and what it did or didn’t do to you.  (Or the horrible thing you did or didn’t do.)

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. (Save for the incident that triggered it.)  The person need not be in front of you, on this planet, or by all means even “worthy” of it. You are simply releasing the guilt, ceasing to tell about how you were wronged.  Giving it up. You can’t change what’s happened.  And no amount of clinging to your hurt feelings will erase it.  In the case of a loved one, it’s likely that whatever they’ve done, you’ve probably done yourself.

Forgiveness is seeing through to the person who did the best they could with what they had to work with – what they knew, how they felt about themselves, what fears or wounds they carried.  (That doesn’t mean you have to let the person back in your life or your house.) It merely clears the way between you. It allows you to release the burden you’ve been carrying in that unforgiven. It’s a heavy load. You realize that if that person had been connected to his or her true self, neither of them would’ve done that hurtful thing.

I, personally, find it easier to forgive others than myself. Being my constant companion, I have borne witness to all my misdeeds, missteps and betrayals.  Often times judging myself harsher in the situation than the wronged party. There’s a lot more on my ledger sheet!  It boggles the mind what I could do if I let go of all those grievances!

Maybe something this Big could be our only function.

Please let me know your thoughts on forgiveness.

Marianne Williamson is one of my favorite teachers.  Being a writer is not a prerequisite for being a helpful teacher or a successful author in this field of personal and spiritual growth.  Many of the teachers are extremely bright, well read and certainly evolved.  When your mind is clear, it’s easier to put down coherent sentences. (It also helps to have a good editor.)  But Marianne goes further. She is not an evolved person who writes books.  She is a writer who has evolved.  A true writer.  With the ability to turn a phrase or create a prayer better than anyone I know. She speaks and writers in pictures that are not only easy to understand, but are memorable and colorful.

“Our concentration on the form of fear is an ego ploy to keep us stuck in the problem, like finding a thief in your house and saying, “I have to know his name before I call the police.”  Who cares what his name is?  Call for help immediately!”  From “The Gift of Change.” 

She’s also very practical.

I love her prayers which seem to come directly and spontaneously from her.  In the midst of an illuminating passage, she pauses and lifts her heart to God.

“Dear God, May my spirit be reborn, that I might be a better person. I give You my shame over whom I have sometimes been, and my hopes for whom I wish to be. Please receive them both. Amen.”  From “The Age of Miracles.”

That’s another thing about her – she unabashedly speaks of her love and faith in God.  Many people (including me) shy away from strong references to God so as not to offend anyone. Phooey!  Who cares?  If you love God, shout it from the rooftops!  It’s unlikely that most people would be anything but touched by that outpouring of love. (Especially those listening to her.)

Speaking of Love, it is her main topic and underlines everything she says and writes.  You can’t get more true, more warm or more expansive than that. One of her best books (can I really pick one) is “A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.” I quote from the Introduction, “ When we were born, we were programmed perfectly. We had a natural tendency to focus on love.”

There is something else about Marianne, which I’m having a hard time putting my finger on.  Something personable about her, some place of kin I feel with her.  I’m not sure if it’s because she’s been honest about her life (most teachers are upfront about their hurts).  Maybe it’s because it seems we’re close in age and have had similar experience.  Perhaps she speaks so succinctly about being a woman.

 “The Princess does become a queen if she stays the road.  It is as if there were a beautiful enchantress in a luminous bubble.  She stands before us and beckons for us to become her.  Faith in her invokes our best.  We change. We become unlike who we used to be.”  From “A Woman’s Worth.”

In Barbara Sher’s wonderful, life-changing book “Wishcraft,” Barbara asks us to choose our ideal family.  I have picked Marianne as my sister.  She is all I hope to “grow” up to be. There is something in the things she says, who she is, which makes me feel comfortable, as if I grew up with her.

“I hear teenagers in my backyard, delighting in the mud puddles produced by the afternoon’s storm.  I have to consciously check myself – to remind myself that the ability to have fun in the mud is what makes being young so wonderful, and not make a stink about the fact that my towels are beige and this could ruin them.” 

How can you not love that?

Another thing I love is her civic duty.  Marianne has written beautiful documents and given inspiring speeches on the state of the world. She’s never afraid to speak her mind.  She’s used her success to get involved with causes; working hard to fight hunger and poverty around the world, among others. Truly, Marianne has done her duty to mankind in many ways. And probably not going to stop anytime soon. Marianne genuinely cares about others and her work is a testament to that.

“The Obama phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. It emerged as much from our story as from his — as much from our yearning for meaning as from his ambition to be President; as much from our determination to achieve collective redemption as from his determination to achieve an individual accomplishment. And those who fail to recognize the invisible powers at work here — who see the external drama of politics yet fail to discern the profound forces that moved mountains by moving the American heart — well, they’re just like Bob Dylan’s Thin Man to whom he sang, ‘You don’t know what’s going on here, do you, Mr. Jones?’” From an essay entitled, “Yes We Did” ~ November 05, 2008.

If you like this Blog and you haven’t read any of her books, I suggest you try one.  She’s a delightful writer and an inspired thinker.  I know you won’t be disappointed.  Please check her out here.

I was listening to Marianne Williamson talk about the Shadow Effect – about facing your dark side. The interviewer asked her about people who say it’s too negative, they don’t want to do it.  She was so cool talking about getting to a state of maturity about it.  It is not really about being negative or positive, but about growing and learning things about yourself.

I think the trick is to not get stuck in it.  Too often people get caught up in their miseries.  In the “stupid” things they do. Now, it does no good to say what I did was smart when it wasn’t.  But to dwell in, to continue to talk about how stupid it was, does nothing.  If there’s something that needs fixing, fix it.  I think it becomes negative when you can’t get past it.  When it becomes a badge of honor, or a competitive story.

There are parts of me I don’t especially like.  There are times when I talk too much – about what I want to talk about.  I’m not always as generous with my time and attention as I’d like to be.  And I tend toward quixotic brain activity which keeps me out of the present moment.  I acknowledge my tendencies, but they are just slivers of who I really am.  I try to keep an eye out for these behaviors. But dwelling on them, beating myself up for them, calling myself selfish, unthinking or wiffty doesn’t make me more quiet, helpful or aware.

You do need to look directly at how you do things, how you see things, so you can adjust where necessary.  There’s nothing negative about that!

It is, I think, the judgments which get conjured up around what you did (or how you do) that are the problem.  It’s one thing to say I did this, even though I would’ve preferred to do that. It’s something altogether different when you start to judge what you did as “wrong” or should on yourself (tell yourself you should have done this or that).  You begin to form a nasty crust of negativity around it.

So, if you can cut back on the judgments, stay out of that mucky pile, you can look more directly at your shadow side and see it is not as scary as it sounds.  That it can be incredibly positive!  And certainly empowering.

From the book Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher.

Stylesearch is a long one. 6 exercises in all. So I’m going to break it in two.

Barbara starts us out slowly with the “Pick a Color” game. The exercise is to write about being the color. I am Lavender. I’m a little girl’s bedroom. I’m lacy and pretty. Soft and gentle. I like to surround others in a cool embrace. Draped in Lavender, I am sensitive and caring. I’m a writer, so I make stuff up and am never satisfied. So, I did another, deciding that I had initially been drawn to Orange. I am Orange. I am sunny and bright, warm and charming. I sparkle and glow. I am healthy and strong. Not quite as fun, I grant you. Her take on all this is that we choose from our style. And that it’s difficult to talk about ourselves in a positive way. This is supposed to be a description of ourselves. Otherwise, we’re labeled subjective. Or worse yet, self centered. Why is that? You’re only being objective about yourself if you criticize. Weird.

The next exercise, as we find out more about ourselves, is the “Private Eye” Game. In this, we are to take a look around our environment – our home, our office, our car – with a fresher eye. A writer in my critique group wrote a piece recently about how when you first move in somewhere, you are constantly moving things around, changing, rearranging. But eventually, you settle into a comfortable rut. In that rut it’s hard to see what is all around you. So, it’s a fun exercise to sharpen your eye and look at your surroundings in a new light.

I learned a few things about myself. There is a lot more color in my life than I realized. I tend to be loyal to a musical artist, rather than an eclectic mix of various bands. Also, I use a whole lot of paper! It’s clear I’m into spirituality with spiritual books, sacred texts and objects abounding. I see a lot of creativity in how things are arranged. There’s a deep love of family I hadn’t realized, with all the pictures. I’m also more organized than I give myself credit for. There is a fair amount of clutter, but it is well ordered. It’s a fun game that is good to do every once in a while. It also helps you to keep a cleaner house. Like how all of a sudden you notice the smudges and dust bunnies when company is coming.

Exercise 6 is “Seeing Yourself as Others See You.” I’ve had the opportunity, recently, to collect some testimonials for my new web site. So I’ve read some really nice things about me and my writing. I also have a great support team who frequently tell me what’s good about me. I can’t say, though, that I sit and listen to it, taking dictation and not discounting as Barbara suggests. I think I can arrange that, though I haven’t yet. I see this as an important piece of life that we, as a culture, discount. We should all endeavor to tell everyone what we think is so wonderful about them, all the time. Maybe we could start with one day a year – Praise Day!

Barbara offers a second version for those that are not as blessed with a team as I am, or perhaps shy about asking for such things. Instead she says, create your own cheering section. The family that you didn’t have. You may choose from anyone, living or dead, fictional or real, in your life or distant. I had a whole lot of fun with this.

I used her grid for the perfect family to create my own ~ My mother is Brenda Ueland, a marvelous writer and writing teacher who believed that there is genius in everyone. She would see the unique genius, surely, in me, her daughter and would love and respect me for it. She would encourage the writer in me and help nurture that in any way she could. She would be endlessly delighted by me and whatever I came up with next. Following me, day by day through my dreams, interests and excitements.

My father, Ian McShane, with his beautiful British accent would explain things to me. Help me explore and find out about everything from antiques, to British Parliament, to the American Goldrush, architecture or archery. He would protect me, too. And always stand up for me. A formidable man to have on your team. A King.

My brother would be Johnny Depp. He would tell me I could do anything I wanted and that I would still be loved and admired no matter what it was. A man of many talents and interests himself. Johnny always does what he’s passionate about and never lets anyone tell him he’s no good. He would teach me endless belief in myself and remind me never to listen to critics, but keep following my passion.

My sister would be Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher extraordinaire! A beautiful woman, with a past. She knows all the heavy-hitters in this spiritual growth business and would let her little sister (I’m pretty sure I’m older than she is in real life) sit in on her meetings with these people. As long as I stay quiet and listen. As her sister, I would certainly be invited to join their circle when I was old enough. She would be there to listen to me complain, sympathize, because she’s been there, too, but never let me give up.

I needed someone to bail me out and never reproach me. That was a tricky one. I felt there needed to be an element of magic in this person, too. For he must know, intuitively, when I need him. I guess I can do whatever I want, so I chose Captain Jack Sparrow. (I am a big fan of Johnny Depp in all his forms!) Captain Jack, being rather a rogue himself, couldn’t reproach me for the innocent scrapes I get myself into. His cleverness and speed, swooping in and saving the day is just what I need.

Enjoying this so much, I got into thinking about a Nanny or babysitters. Mother Brenda is a strong, confident woman with a life of her own, so she sometimes must leave me in the care of others. Wanting to nurture my talents, I think she’d like to leave me with someone like SARK who has the biggest sense of fun I’ve ever known. What a great person to hang with as a child! There might be others, carefully chosen to provide me with fun and the proper kind of education and creative soil.

Certainly I feel surrounded by winners! These will be my cheering section to tell me what I need to hear, to go to when I’m feeling defeated or scared. I got frustrated today because I couldn’t find the e-mail address of someone I want to contact. Marianne sympathized with me that it was a drag. Who does this person think she is? A rock star? But, Marianne reminded me, even rock stars have Business Managers. Surely, I can find out how to get in touch with this person. Don’t give up! Use who you know. How cool is that?

The investigation of Stylesearch continues. Until next week.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 145 other subscribers

Positive Slant Categories