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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 have watched a lot of television in my time. My father was in television and believed in it for education and entertainment. My husband is particular about his television shows, but has turned me on to many. Of all the thousands of hours I have spent watching TV, I could count, on one hand, the shows that made me laugh, consistently, out loud, several times over the course of a 20 or 40 minute show. Off the top of my head, I come up with two: the original Dick Van Dyke Show with its amazing crew of writers and talented cast, and Mork and Mindy, with its odd characters and funny dialog. I have no wish to cast these as the only funny series in the last 50 years or so. I’m sure there are others which could live up to my laugh meter. I only wish to make a point that they are few and far between.
There was a sign at one of Obama’s town halls this summer which read, “Please, Obama, Bring Back Arrested Development.” I would have to agree with that. Well, after he’s taken care of a few other things or with the quick signing of a declaration.

Arrested Development (2003-2006, Fox TV) could well be the funniest show ever shown on the show show-er. An excellent, very funny cast, and great jokes that linger on and provide a few extra chuckles long after the show has drifted into memory. And well into its third season, the scripts continue to deliver a high ratio of laugh-out-loud moments to time spent.

Now, I can find little in the way of spiritual messages from it, even redeeming characteristics. (I realize I have found meaning in the words of a wavy-haired serial killer). Arrested Development is about an extremely dysfunctional family. No one shows any sign of growing or changing from their experiences. They seem to become more of who they are, more crazy and dysfunctional.

There was a brilliant movie in the early 40s, Preston Sturgis’ “Sullivan’s Travels.”  One of those they-don’t-make-‘em-like-they-used-to pictures. Starring Joe McCrea. Joel is a successful Hollywood director of big budget comedies. He longs to give back, to do a film that’s about something Important. Figuring he has been too pampered all his life, he decides to strike out on the road with a bandana on a stick, the shoes on his feet, and the clothes on his back.

This is a wonderful film, not to be missed. So I don’t think I’m giving anything away to say the message of the film is there is much good in giving people a chance to laugh.

Today, we have Arrested Development to add some much-needed light and laughter to the world. Well worth the time.



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