Saturday, September 28, 2019

My Personal And Political Journey With Marianne Williamson


For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with American history. I participated in making a film about United States presidents in elementary school. I got a perfect score on the final test in my American civil war class in junior high and I read books on the revolutionary war just for fun.

When I was old enough to vote I was ecstatic to finally be an active part of our democracy.

However as time went on I began to feel disillusioned and disappointed that our government didn't seem to live up to its founding principles. In my view it often failed to do the right thing for its people and when I complained about this to others I was invariably told that I was naive and didn't understand how the world worked these days.

Eventually I accepted this and turned to my other interests: Art, music and literature. Psychology, philosophy and spirituality. I decided that it was foolish to look to external forces to improve the world. The real revolution, I concluded, happened within.

I don't think I was entirely wrong. In many ways I can see how the personal transformation movement had positive effects on the world at large and how our culture did evolve to reflect our higher values in some areas. However, I can look back and see now that even while this was happening there were forces working against it. The fact that not everyone in the world shared my values became disturbingly clear on September 11, 2001 and the fact that not everyone in my own country agreed with my principles became shockingly apparent on November 9, 2016.

How the hell did this happen? I found myself asking that day but there seemed to be no satisfactory answer or any plausible solution. “Resist” and “Persist” were excellent maxims for those who had some power in the system of our government but as an average citizen I felt there was little I could do other than use the skills I had to encourage others and wait for the next election.

And pray for a miracle.

Enter Marianne Williamson. Like millions of other people, I first became aware of her when she appeared on the Oprah Show in 1992. I read her book “A Return To Love” and it earned a place on my bookshelf alongside other publications that I considered my “manuals for life” such as The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck and my collection of Merle Shain books. My best friend and I would purchase and swap cassette tapes of her lectures, listening to them so many times that we could quote parts of them verbatim to each other as advice when personal challenges arose.

I continued to read her books and follow her career. Unlike some other “Spiritual Authors”, Williamson was not a fad for me. Her message remained consistent but evolved to address the times we lived in and reflect her own process of maturity. Her extensive charitable work gave her credibility. She was someone who walked her talk and I admired her as a person as much as I appreciated her wisdom as an author and a lecturer.

When her book, “Healing The Soul Of America” came out, some people saw it as a departure from her spiritual teachings but I didn't. It was obvious to me by then that she had an interest in American history and social justice. However, when I read that book I realized she was even more knowledgeable than I had guessed. Not only that but she spoke of things I hadn't thought about in years, things that awakened the love I had for American history and democracy back in junior high school. I actually remember clearly thinking one night as I was reading that book, “she should run for president.”

I didn't seriously think she ever would at the time but she was clearly moving in a more political direction, co founding what would eventually be known as The Peace Alliance, launching the Sister Giant conferences and joining the board of RESULTS, a non-profit citizens' advocacy group.

In 2018, however, I was experiencing a personal crisis and though I still practiced many of the things I learned from Marianne Williamson to cope with it, I wasn't aware of her Love America Tour or even when she declared her candidacy in early 2019.

I only became aware of her candidacy a few months ago when, after a long hiatus from Facebook, I logged in and saw a video she posted talking about it.

My first thought: She finally did it.

My second thought: This is the miracle I've been praying for.

Marianne Williamson is a bridge from the personal to the political. Just as she knows the core principles that allow a person to thrive individually, she understands the founding principles of our democracy and how they can be restored, renewed and re-imagined so that we can all reach our full potential collectively.

Unlike our current leadership, she sees beyond what divides us to what connects us; our common humanity and our ability to do great things.

For people like myself, who have found themselves stalled on their personal spiritual journey and frustrated by the horrors happening around us, Marianne Williamson is offering an answer to the question, “What can I do?”

That answer is ultimately different for everyone but at it's core I believe it is this:

Do what you have been doing - what you love to do, what you have been trained to do, what you know you're good at – but do it in service of something bigger than yourself. Do it not just for personal reward or enlightenment. Do it even if it doesn't earn you money or accolades. Do it in spite of being judged or mocked for it. Do it for others, for your country and your planet. Do it because you know in your heart it is the right thing to do.

That is the path that Marianne Williamson has walked her whole life and I believe it is the path to the next level spirituality all of us seekers have yearned for and the next level politics this country was created for.

Learn more about Marianne Williamson and her political platform at Marianne2020.com

Thank you for reading.

Peace, love and justice for all,

Victoria


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Greta, My Husband and Doing The Right Thing


One of my self imposed guidelines for social media is, “take nothing personally.” However, I am not always successful in following it and when it comes to others attacking people I care about, directly or indirectly, it tends to fly out the window.

Recently the personal attacks on social media directed at 16 year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg by climate deniers has gotten under my skin.  Still, I managed not to engage with any of these hateful people until I happened to come across a glaring example of complete ignorance that someone tweeted in the form of this sentence:

Greta, has autism. Aspbergers which means she believes all that is said to her and repeats it.

And then I just had to set this person straight. I did manage to do it without violating Twitter's guidelines, though not my own, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

For the record that sentence is not true. People with Aspergers Syndrome (aka, Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD) simply have difficulty with social communication and are likely to have sensory challenges as well but they are just as intelligent and often more so than anyone who is neurotypical.

Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-autism-260611

I know all of this because I happen to be married to someone with this mild form of autism and trust me, he doesn't believe all that is said to him. In fact, I believe that his sense of right and wrong is more objective than mine because he doesn't follow or even take notice of social cues that might influence him otherwise. He believes in following the rules as long as they are based on logic and fairness and if they are not, he won't follow them or he will complain about them and pays no heed to what the consequences may be.

Greta reminds me of him in that way and she has helped me to further see and respect the value of that. I realized that, just as she is speaking to the collective conscience of our society with her unequivocal stance on the dire reality of our planet's climate emergency, my husband's insistence on doing what's right keeps me honest and in tune with my own higher principles. Because of him, I never throw away a recyclable item even when I'm tempted to for the sake of convenience and I always make sure my car comes to a complete and full stop at any stop sign when I'm driving. But more than that, I have learned from him, and now from Greta, that I do not need social validation to believe in or to act on what I know is right and just.

It has been said that Aspergers makes Greta Thunberg a better activist and I think that is true because both she and my husband have inspired me to be a better person.

So be warned, if I catch you saying ignorant things about either one of them, all bets are off.

Peace, love and justice for all,
Victoria