At a time when hatred and fear have divided the United States, is it possible to harness the powers of love and integrity to promote political harmony as well as spiritual progress?
Marianne Williamson, an internationally- acclaimed best-selling author and dynamic lecturer, is touring the United States to share a message of cooperation and unity.
She spoke in Winston-Salem last week and is coming to Raleigh in March.
Ms. Williamson is best known for the quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This paragraph is from Ms. Williamson’s book “A Return to Love, Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles,” published in 1992. The book reveals how each person can become a miracle worker through the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career or health, Ms. Williamson says love is a potent force that really can transform our lives.
“A Return to Love” touched Oprah Winfrey, and after an interview on her popular show, copies flew off the shelves and Ms. Williamson became known as a thought leader. The book sold millions of copies and since then Marianne has lectured all over the world.
Finding Her Voice As A Writer How did a young girl totally confused about her work and life achieve such success?
Ms. Williamson was born to a Jewish family in Houston, Texas, in 1952, daughter of Samuel Williamson, an immigration lawyer, and Sophie Ann Kaplan Williamson, a homemaker. After graduating from high school she studied theater and philosophy, pursued a career as a cabaret singer in New York City, and opened a metaphysical bookstore. In 1987 she helped found the Los Angeles Center for Living, a support facility for those with lifethreatening illnesses. Two years later she began Project Angel Food to deliver meals to AIDS patients.
Ms. Williamson experienced confusion about God, wondering why he or she allowed so much pain in the world. By the early 1980s, she discovered “A Course in Miracles,” a study program that transformed her life. Ms. Williamson’s interpretation led to the publication of “A Return to Love” and 11 books with seven of them becoming New York Times Best Sellers and covering diverse topics like spirituality, politics, work and money. The latest, “Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment,” was released in 2016. See www.Marianne.com.
Learning About Ministry And Politics As Ms. Williamson rose to power as a spiritual leader, Unity churches throughout the country were increasing and congregations were growing as people sought the knowledge of God without a focus on sin. For five years, from 1998 to 2002, she served as minister for the Church of Today in Warren, Mich., which became the Renaissance Unity Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship. On Sundays, she addressed about 2,500 people in the sanctuary and 50,000 television viewers.
She said she learned a tough lesson: It’s a lot easier writing best-sellers about finding inner peace than it is making peace among factions in a big church.
Ms. Williamson returned to Los Angeles and decided to run for political office. In 2014, she filed to serve as the U.S. representative for California’s 33rd congressional district. As a candidate, Ms. Williamson’s focus was “heart-filled politics” as she made references to Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., advocated humanitarianism. She called for the establishment of a federal Department of Peace.
While Ms. Williamson was unable to parlay her massive following into an electoral victory she stirred up lots of excitement about changing the political landscape of this country. She channeled her enthusiasm into a national campaign called Love America Tour with the slogan “Ignite the Change.”
‘Ignite The Change’ In Winston-Salem One of the first stops on the tour was in Winston-Salem at the Benton Convention Center. While speaking at a fundraiser for Jenny Marshal for Congress, Ms. Williamson summarized the various stages of our nation’s history that has forced change. She started with the American Revolution, continuing with the Civil War that abdicated slavery, the Suffrage crusade that gave women the right to vote, and the civil rights movement that forced the integration of blacks and whites.
“As with other extraordinary times in our history — from our nation’s founding to abolition to women’s suffrage to the civil rights era — it is time once again to break free of an old way of being and embrace a new story going forward.”
Ms. Williamson is concerned about the wide divide that has emerged between Republicans and Democrats and especially the lack of honesty and ethics in many of today’s politicians and leaders in other industries.
Ms. Williamson noted: “Our task is to create a new, wholeperson politics, breaking free of a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world and embracing a more enlightened understanding of our relation to the universe. We need a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of our national story: where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go now.”
Congressional candidate Jenny Marshal said, “I was thrilled to have Marianne come to speak on my behalf. We need a new vision for America ... one that builds community and protects the most vulnerable.”
Speaking In Raleigh On March 31 As Ms. Williamson tours the nation, she will spread the sentiment of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
Ms. Williamson’s next program in North Carolina is sponsored by the Unity Church of Raleigh (UCR) and will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at the Stewart Theatre at N.C. State University. Tickets are $50 until Feb. 15, then $65. There are 750 seats available on a first-come basis. For more information, call (919) 870-7364. See wwwunitychurchofraleigh. org.
The Rev. Bev. Bockover, senior minister of UCR, said, “We invited her because we believe that the more we can come together around a common message of love and transformation, the more we can contribute collectively to global change.”
“Marianne reminds us that it is time to break free of an old paradigm based on an outdated world view that no longer serves us and to embrace a more enlightened relationship with each other and our world. We are delighted to bring this spiritual powerhouse to Raleigh,” Rev. Bockover noted.
AlexSandra Lett lives near Broadway and is the author of six books, including “The Harvest, Timeless Lessons for an Abundant Life.” See www.atimelessplace. com. She can be reached at (919) 499-8880 or LettsSetaSpell@aol.com.
This artistic creation was drawn by Breah Livolsi Parker of Blip Studio in Asheville to illustrate the ‘Ignite the Change’ message of Marianne Williamson during her Love America Tour when she spoke in Winston-Salem recently.
In this picture Marianne Williamson, an internationally acclaimed best-selling author and dynamic lecturer, speaks in Winston-Salem as part of her national campaign called Love America Tour with the slogan ‘Ignite the Change.’ Marianne is coming to Raleigh in March. (Picture taken by Joani Merritt.)
LETT’S SET A SPELL