Tears in Oklahoma City

February 26, 2018

I had a powerful, devastating experience earlier today. Walking into an airport café in Oklahoma City, I noticed everyone in the restaurant standing in silence, facing the same direction and looking out the window. There, right beneath us, was a drama unfolding that we all know happens but which strikes you in the gut nonetheless when you see it happening in real time.

The soldiers were lined up outside the hearse. The family was waiting in the shuttle. The doors of the plane opened, finally the flag-draped casket emerged, and a well-choreographed ballet of pain took place for all to see. His (or her) mother, held up by a caring male at her side (husband, father, brother?), brothers and sisters, walking over to the hearse; the crying beginning – among them, among us – the mother kneeling at the hearse, the military pallbearers walking in respectful formation, as a profound silence and reverence prevailed among all. All of us, in that moment, both loved and grieved that soldier.

How respectful we are, once people die. How reverent we are towards life, once it has slipped from our grasp.

Slowly, as the hearse drove away — the family continuing their process of welcoming home the dead from some strange land wherever it was, to the embrace of Oklahoma — and the strangers in the restaurant all returned to our seats, to our lives. Whispers, then louder voices returned. But I don’t think anyone left the restaurant untouched. Red and Blue – and remember, this is Oklahoma – we participated together in a painful American ritual today. And I doubt any of us will be quite the same.

I can only speak for myself, but I speak through tears. I will not forget that casket. I will not forget that soldier. I will not forget to pray. And I will not forget to care.

The Heart Just Wants to Go Home

December 28, 2017

The problem with the world is that we’ve lost our sense of reverence — for life, for love, for the earth, for each other, for our families, for God’s universe. We’ve lost a sense of responsibility to anything other than to ourselves, acting too often as though there’s no higher good to strive for than the satisfaction of our own desires. A consumer-driven culture exalts the idea that we can have whatever it is we want, yet that very idea seems to push farther and farther away those things that are what we really want. For what we really want, whether we know it or not, is to love and be loved. Not just to get, but to connect. Not just to participate in our own individual dramas, but to be part of a larger cause, a larger mission, a larger life than just our own.

It’s hard to push against the prevailing winds of self-centeredness today because they usually pose as something other than what they are. But somehow we’ve got to realign ourselves, and realign our culture, with the simple things that make life worth living. Too much speed, too much technology are robbing us of our life force. We have got to head back home, or we will be lost in the forrest of this suddenly all too complicated world. There is more wisdom in the silence than in the chatter, and more hope in the heart than in externalities. The mind wants this or that, but the heart just wants to go home…

America’s Historic Mission

December 15, 2017

America has a historic mission, important not only to ourselves but to all the world, relevant not only to this day and age but relevant to the ages. That mission is to stand for hope and possibility for all humanity despite whatever challenges exist.

Over the last 40 years we have forgotten our mission and we have strayed from our purpose. We have been lured into a seductive web of lesser, self-centered goals, as individuals and as a nation. But a most radical blessing bestowed upon humanity is our capacity to change; an activation of heart and mind accompany the willingness to remember. None of us are perfect, as individuals or as nations. But when we have forgotten we can remember, and when we have fallen we can rise back up.

It is time for America to rise now. It is time for America to remember. It is time for America to return to the path of our historic charge, to be a place where dreams can come true not just for some but for all, not simply for the purpose of getting anyone anything but for the purpose of glorifying what is possible on this earth during the time that we are here.

Some of us see this as a charge from God. Some of us see this as an ethical responsibility to our children and our children’s children. Some of us see this as simply a better way to live our lives. From whatever angle we approach the idea, let us return to America’s soulful purpose as a servant to and beacon of human possibility. That alone is the light of democracy, the inextinguishable torch within all our hearts. Let us again become the home of the brave, dedicating our lives to that which we have learned most painfully can never ever be taken for granted: that this be a land of the free.

Whether it be external chains of slavery or economic servitude, or internal chains of narcissism and greed, may all the chains be broken now that would delay our return to a path of greater destiny. It is time now for America to course-correct. We have done it before and now, in our time, we are preparing to do it again. We have fallen but we are going to rise.

Hopelessness Versus Joy This Holiday Season

December 13, 2017

It would be easy to slip into hopelessness now, to resign ourselves to the idea that the concentrated assaults on everything from the planet to our democracy have succeeded to such a degree that it’s no longer possible to stop them.

Yet it is exactly that hopelessness we must resist now, even more than we must resist the forces that seem so intent on bringing us down. Our hopelessness is only called for if in fact miracles are not possible, and because they are, there is no cause for hopelessness.

THAT is the meaning of Christmas. (And Hannukah too!)

Hope springs eternal because life springs eternal, and life abounds with possibility. We have within us the capacity to change things, but only if we are willing to change ourselves. We have written the human story that now unfolds in front of us, and the only way we can change the story is if we are willing to rewrite it.

Are we willing to go from ego to Spirit, from faithlessness to faith, from body delusion to the Christ within?
As this year falls away, let’s begin the process of dissolving a worn-out story. Humanity is so weary now. All of us, to some degree, have been co-creators of the story we are living in now now, and all of us are needed to rewrite it. We need to atone for our heartlessness and arrogance, treat with mercy those who have trespassed against us, and get to work on cleaning up the mess and re-creating the world.

This new world cannot be forced, any more than it can be rationally calculated; it can only be invoked into expression by the deepest kind of reverance. Invocation is the priest and priestess’ task, and that is what all of us are being called to be right now.

When I was a little girl, I used to ask God what I was supposed to be when I grew up. I would always see the word “priest” in my mind but I thought it was weird…obviously impossible, because Jews don’t have priests. When I grew I realized that in the Old Testament indeed they did, and even more importantly, metaphysically a priest is anyone who invokes into expression the unlimited possibilities that emerge from the field of ultimate Reality. All of us are recruits for the new priesthood, no matter what we do, needed to invoke into expression the unlimited possibilities inherent in the Mind of God. These possibilities remain un-manifest until we have the courage to invoke them.

Like ancient priestesses at Delphi, let us summon all our powers of multi-dimensional knowing, emerge from the narrow and shallow casing of a mechanistic worldview, throw off the chains of a rationalistic approach to life, and remember we are co-creators of our future. We are not victims here; we’re merely reaping what we’ve sowed. And we can sow anew. We are here to create the good, the true, and the beautiful, and anything less than that is short of our purpose and our mission in this life.

Each of us endowed with an internal guidance system, and if we ask within what we’re to do, we’ll be guided. We will be told what to do and we will be told how to do it. We will be led to each other and we will collaborate in miraculous ways. We will dwell within the golden Light of a higher kind of knowing. We will know, and we will do. Let this be the realization that lights our way this holiday season.

Like the Maccabee’s who miraculously found that they had enough oil to keep the lights burning for eight nights and nine days, and Mary giving birth to a newborn child who has the power within Him to bring forth a new world, may all of us this holiday season find in ourselves, and in our God, unlimited possibilities to redeem ourselves and recreate the world.

Sexual Violation and the Times in Which We Live

November 22, 2017

Who among us has not been reviewing our sexual past these last few weeks.

You have been, right? #metoo

It’s made me realize that more than anything else this Thanksgiving , I’m thankful to the men who have been kind to me. Who respected me. Who said, when shadows from the past came upon us, “Marianne, I am not that guy.” With so many sexual shadows in our society being uncovered these days – an uncovering being done because it must be done – it feels important to remember as well the men who are not that guy.

It is not just the traumatic events of our lives but also the events that surround them and come after them, that determine how they influence our lives going forward. I have been through some rotten events in my life and assault was one of them. But the tears I cry now when I think of those things are not for the pain that was inflicted upon me, but rather gratitude to those who helped me live through it…survive, and so much more. Some were women, and some were men.

It was in the middle of the night in 1967, when I was seventeen years old, that a young man took two doors in our house off their hinges, made his way to my bedroom, and sprang like a cat from a crawled position at my bedroom door to land right on top of me as I lay in my bed on the other side of the room. I had heard the door slowly open; I remember lifting my head up and saying, “Mommy?”

No, it was not Mommy.

What occurred afterward is not something I want to write about. But I understand the trauma many women are describing today. I understand the tears and I understand the fear. I also understand that through the grace of God each one of them can and will have a wonderful life ahead of her. “God Himself will wipe away all tears” is one of the most powerful sentences in the Bible, or anywhere.

I did not grow up at a time where you were taught to just stuff your painful feelings, no. I was encouraged to feel them and work through them. But I was also taught that such a painful situation was just one thing that would happen in my life — that it would affect me but not define me. I look at that situation as having increased my capacity to understand and feel compassion for others. And for that I am grateful.

In 1993, I published a book called ILLUMINATA. I remembered over the last few days that I wrote in that book about Sexual Violation. I include it here:

Sexual Violation

There is a category of sex that is very dark. I mean rape, incest, molestation, abuse of any number of varieties, centered around sex, then lodged like a knife in people’s souls. It is now more pervasive, more of an issue in American society, than anyone would have imagined or predicted twenty years ago. Millions of people are thought to carry the burden, the vicious psychic wounding of someone somewhere having violated them sexually. Sexual abuse survivors are haunted by horrible memories, in bed and out. Their efforts to forgive can feel like the need to lift a boulder with one little finger, their access to one of the most beautiful human energies having been sullied and damaged and grossly misused.

They are here among us and their tears run deep. Sexual abuse is an obscene betrayal. It is such a sign of the insanity of our times that anyone would touch a child, yet many people do; that anyone would rape, yet some people do; that anyone would have to suffer such a terrible transgression, yet many people have and do.

Dear God,
Please help me to heal in the area of sex.
I feel so wounded, so damaged, betrayed by those
I thought were here to love me and protect me.
No words can say the pain I feel, when I remember the abuse I suffered.
I surrender to You my memories and my anger toward this person.
Please lift from me the burden of my resentment.
Please release me from this terrible pain.
Amen

Dear God,
I release to You this terrible wound.
I surrender to You my pain, my anger, my fear of disease, my feeling that I will never again
Have a healthy experience of sex.
Only a miracle can lift this burden from my heart.
Please send Your angels to help me and heal me.
Help me feel my body is pure and not tainted.
Help me to forgive my offender,
That peace might flood my heart.
Give me new life.
Thank you.
Amen

(Exorcism of the sexually abused to be said by a healer)

In the name of God and all His angels,
I cast out the demon left in you by this evil.
I say unto you, the force of darkness, be gone from this beloved child.
Through the power of God within us, I order you gone,
Nevermore to return or to cast your wicked energies in the direction
Of this precious child of God.
In the name of God, I command you gone.
Dear God, please bind this prayer to earth.
Thank you very much.
Amen.

— from ILLUMINATA
https://www.amazon.com/Illuminata-Return-Prayer-Marianne-Williamson/dp/1573225207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511377353&sr=8-1&keywords=illuminata+by+marianne+williamson

That was my offering then and it is my offering now. To those who have suffered, I send my good will. To those of you who have helped us heal, I send my thanks.

Preparing for 2018

October 18, 2017

I’ve been thinking about the year head. We have 2 1/2 months before it’s upon us, but there are a lot of things we can be sure of already.

There is no way 2018 won’t be a dramatic one. After all the stress of 2017, it would be nice to think we could have a rest. But there is no way next year is going to be restful. Politically, socially and environmentally, too much is already set up, too many questions will finally be answered, too many stress points will beg to be handled one way or the other.

But life is never just about what happens to us; it’s about who we choose to be in going through the experience. It serves us to start thinking now about who we are going to be in 2018.

Today’s Zeitgeist does not center around the drama of any of us so much as all of us. It’s not just our personal but our collective story that is playing out now, and our greatest power lies in imagining ourselves stepping up to the plate and playing our part in a great and glorious planetary renewal that is begging to occur.

It will either be that, or God help us…

If you think 2017 was hard, 2018 is going to be a doozy. A nation of wounded birds will not be able to handle this; a gargantuan swath of people for whom words like courage, contribution and responsibility mean nothing will not be able to handle the stress. Everything that’s happened till now has simply been rehearsal for the time that is just ahead.

This will not be a time for sissies. It will not be a time for whiners. It will not be a time in which any of us will be able to indulge the weaker, softer underbellies of our personality. Our communities, our country, and our world will need us to be strong and amazing and devoted and creative in ways we have never been before. And we are more ready to do that than we know, not because of anything we ourselves can take personal credit for but because of Who is alive in all of us.

We might not feel ready, but God is always ready. Inwardly, it is time to move aside now and let Him drive. There is no way that you or I, with our puny little personalities, will be able to handle the drama in 2018. But God can and will, as long as we prepare ourselves and surrender ourselves that He might use us on His behalf. The mortal mind got us into this mess, but the mortal mind can’t get us out of it.

This line from A Course in Miracles comes to mind: “Do not be concerned about your own readiness. Just be consistently aware of mine.” You might want to hold onto that. We are coming upon a time that will once again be a time that tries men’s souls. But make no mistake about it, at the deepest level we can handle this. At the deepest level, we are ready for this. And with God’s help, we got this.

Horror in Las Vegas

October 2, 2017

Let us not distract ourselves from the horror of what has happened here. For the 59 who are dead, remember all the parents who have to tell their children that Mommy or Daddy won’t be coming home again, or the grieving lovers and spouses and parent and friends who cannot bear the agony they are going through now. Let us not distract ourselves from thinking about the hundreds, 500 plus, in pain, some now even fighting for their lives. Let us not forget the police and other first responders, the doctors and nurses who have been heroes dealing with this, absolute heroes, confronting a scene of carnage even they were unprepared for. May they all be blessed. May the hand of God be upon them and comfort them in their desperate hour.

And let us not give in to those who say we should not politicize this, that tonight is not the night, and whatever else they’ll say to distract us from the work to be done. As Jesus overthrew the tables of the money-changers, let us now do the same … and say to those who for the sake of money refuse to allow the things that yes we CAN do … to close the loopholes, to check the backgrounds, to mitigate the risks. NRA, you know who you are. You do not exist to protect the 2nd Amendment; you exist to protect the billions of dollars made by gun manufacturers. We see you, and we know who you are. Politicians who do their bidding, you know who you are…and so do we. Tonight, we will not distract ourselves from this horror. And tomorrow, we will not distract ourselves from the work that it is ours, as citizens, to do. We will not forget this. Enough is enough.

As of tonight, with God’s help, things will finally change. Amen.

Our National Identity

September 30, 2017

Whether as a person or a nation, the question “Who am I?” needs to precede the question “What should I do?”; we cannot know what we should do until we know who we really are. Our principles, values, and deep identity are the guiding principles of wise and right action. Without them we are flying blind, lost in the spiritual darkness of mere self-centered pursuit.

The United States used to know who we were, even though we have never yet fully embodied the truth of it. We are the home of the brave, endowed by God with the blessings of liberty and justice. And where this has not been true – as in slavery, and the oppression of women, and injustice towards Native Americans, and legalized white supremacy – we understood as a nation that it was our job to fix that. For that is who we are.

But something has gone terribly wrong over the last 40 years, and it does not serve us to gloss over this. We have sold our identity to the highest bidders, sacrificing our sense of national purpose. We have forgotten our deep identity and the mission, passed along generation after generation, to preserve it. We became distracted by ultimately meaningless things.

How could it be otherwise, given our lack of commitment to teach civics to all our children (how could they know what we have failed to teach them)? How could it be otherwise, given the increasingly undue influence of money on our politics? How could it be otherwise, given that so many of us left politics to other people to handle?

Sometimes we become clear about who we are in part by getting clear about who we are not. We are not only a Christian nation, for instance; we are a religiously pluralistic nation. Our Founders said so and we need to keep it that way.

We are not a nation where might makes right; we are a nation where truth and justice make right. Our Founders said so and we need to keep it that way.

We are not a nation where only some are entitled to the gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; we are a nation where God himself has granted all of us those inalienable rights. Our Founders said so and we need to keep it that way.

Only when we remember who we are as a nation can we have a clear sense of what we are to do. America has a promise to keep, not only to ourselves but to the ages. Here, on this land, we will honor the democratic principles that ensure all men and women the right to be free, to create our own destiny, actualizing according to the dictates of our own conscience and the work of our own hands the life we choose to manifest. Any force, either external or internal, that would seek to limit our capacity to do that is a threat not only to us but to our historic charge. Part of our deep identity is not only our freedom but our commitment to that freedom; not only our democracy but our willingness to sacrifice for our democracy; not only our sacred first principles but our fealty to those principles particularly when they are under threat.

Today they are under threat and it is time for us to show who we are. We must push back those threats, stand up to those threats, and dismantle those threats. It is true that they are fierce, but when we remember who we are and why we are here then so are we. Now, as has been true since our founding almost two and a half centuries ago, there is a sense that something bigger is at stake here than simply our own desires. These are disturbing times for America’s soul, and for America’s politics, but the light at the center of who we really are and our sense of political purpose will yet prevail.

Politics From the Inside Out

September 29, 2017

I think of traditional politicians as political mechanics. And some of them are very good ones too. But the problem is that society is not a machine, with parts that can just be tinkered with to make things right. Tinkering with a bill here, tinkering with another kind of legislation there — these are all external remedies, but our biggest problems are not external. External problems are just symptoms, and just treating the symptom doesn’t treat the disease.

Jobs, for instance….Politicians keep saying that people want jobs. Well of course they do. But that’s just the problem that shows on the outside. What people are living with, in their hearts, late at night when they live with little but their own thoughts, is a level of chronic economic despair that simply getting a job doesn’t totally stave off. Economic despair isn’t due only to the fact that someone doesn’t have a job. Even when you have a job, so little feels secure today. The fear is still with you, whether it’s a fear of not having a job or fear that you’re going to lose the one you have.. It’s due to the fact that someone doesn’t have health care, and doesn’t know what they would do if they got sick. It’s due to the fact that someone doesn’t know how they will pay for their kids to go to college, or how they themselves will pay off their college loans. It’s due to the fact that huge conglomerates and billionaires seem to hold all the power today, power even over our government, so that more and more the average person feels squeezed out of the mainstream and into a pool of ultimate insignificance. And this makes people unhappy; how could it not? Unhappy people grow weary, and weary people are too tired to fight off the accumulated assaults on both body and soul that are with us all the time today.

That’s not something a mechanic can fix. Our political mechanics are part of a system that has brought us to where we are today. Given the state of the world, I don’t see how anyone totally adept at our political system has too much to brag about. We need more than political car mechanics in Washington. What we need is a new car, and what we need more than anything else is a deeper understanding of the people who are in it.

We need a politics from the inside out. You can’t change anything only by changing things on the outside… Not a business, not a relationship, not an organization, not a life. Only temporary change can happen that way. What we need now is a renewed conversation about what it means to be human, in our politics as much as everywhere else. That’s what our Founders were talking about. How we are created equal. How we have inalienable rights, not just because we are entitled brats who want what we want but because we are given those rights by God. How it is the natural state of humanity to be free of tyranny, political or economic or any other kind. How to establish a society that honors those things. We have strayed from the important existential questions of life, and that is why our politics are sick. They do not speak either to our depths or from our depths. They are shallow and selfish and greedy and corrupted. They do not display the purity of heart that is the truth of who we are as people. Until that changes, our country will continue on a perilous course. But when that changes, we will begin to heal in the twinkling of an eye.

The Conscience of Society

September 26, 2017

At a Saturday morning service many years ago, when I was about 14 years old, I heard our Rabbi speak out against the Viet Nam War. I remember how exhilarating it was to me — how for the first time I experienced the moral authority of the religious pulpit, how for the first time religion was really relevant to me. Then several days later I heard my mother remark to my father at dinner, “I hear people are really upset with Rabbi Malev for talking about the war last Saturday.” It was the first time I understood the pressure religious leaders are under to support the status quo, to not upset the apple cart, to go along with what their congregation wants at any particular time. But Jesus himself upset the apple cart when he overthrew the tables of the money-changers. I think spiritual and religious leadership is supposed to be the conscience of a society, answerable not to other people’s projections (particularly as in today, when the projection is often that spiritual means just going along with anything in the name of being “nonjudgmental” and submissive in the name of being “loving”). I’m going to go along with Rabbi Malev at Beth Yeshurun in Houston and Rabbi Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. I’m going to remember my ancestors who were thrown in ovens because too few spoke up while there was still a chance. I’m going to cry out with millions of others crying out that humanity has lost its mind and must reclaim its heart. I will do so with tremendous thanks in my heart, that as an American I have the RIGHT to do so. Thank you, Rabbi Malev and thank you, Jesus. Both of you showed the way.

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