“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 doesn’t serve the world.” — Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love (1992)
Has this quote inspired you? I rediscovered it last week, while taking some time off from social media and the relentless barrage of negative news. The story behind this quote deserves telling. It also describes a Wisdom Wheel Journey with the Cause & Effect Law and a few others.
Perhaps you are one of the millions who still believe Nelson Mandela said those words. For a quarter of a century now Williamson’s quote has been consistently misattributed to the formerly jailed freedom fighter, who became the president of a post-apartheid South Africa in 1994. The New York Times has reported on its continuing misattribution, as even Senator Hillary Clinton, astronaut Mae C. Jemison, and former Spelman College president Johnnetta B. Cole have credited those stirring words to Mandela, rather than their author, Marianne Williamson.
She hasn’t taken offense. “As honored as I would be, had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people, ” replied Williamson when asked to comment on this controversy.
But last year while Williamson was leading her own campaign, for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency, her previous words received criticism not applied when people assumed Mandela had uttered them. For instance, in July 2019 Constance Grady wrote (in Vox): “[…] Williamson’s philosophy is seductive. It places the individual at the center of the world, and it appeals to our sense of grandeur. ‘Ah yes,’ you might think, reading, ‘I really am the most important person in the world; I always suspected it.’ […] If we are personally responsible for the bad things that happen to us, then we are personally responsible when we are the victims of crime, of war, of illness, and poverty. Structural inequality isn’t to blame for those problems: we are.”
Grady’s points have some validity, but it is also true that individuals need to stand up to change those structural inequalities, as we see today’s peaceful protestors and activists doing. We cannot sit back and expect a corrupt system to change itself.
Kerry Pieri was one of the writers who came to Williamson’s defense: “[…] Williamson is trying to teach us that our mind-set needs a new baseline, one of true empathy, so that it becomes impossible to deny people basic health care, so that Americans would never for one second think that separating breastfeeding mothers from their infants at the border is in any way acceptable.” (Harper’s Bazaar)
The Wisdom Wheel Laws are all about resetting new baselines too and in my last newsletter, I promised to show how the wisdom of the Wheel applies to the work of cleaning up corruption. So let’s put Williamson and Mandela on the Wisdom Wheel, to look for any relationship between their lifetime Journeys and purposes.
Marianne Williamson was born July 8, 1952 and Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918. They share the same Initiation Birth Law. Both are proven initiators of cultural change. And their messages resonate so well it’s no wonder they get co-mingled.
Another surprise came when I looked deeper into the origins of Williamson’s inspiration, for her best-selling 1992 book A Return to Love, where that controversial quote first appeared. Williamson subtitled her self-help book, “Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles.” (aka ACIM)
And the woman who “scribed” ACIM, between 1965 and 1972, was Helen Schucman, born July 14, 1909, under the same Initiation Birth Law as Williamson and Mandela. They certainly carried the Initiation baton forward. For a final insight, I put Oprah Winfrey on the Wheel too, because of all she has done to publicize Williamson’s work. Oprah’s Birth Law is Renewal, which happens to be Marianne’s balancer. Combining opposing energies strengthens each other’s work. Each has translated transformative energy into words, deeds and results. The key takeaway here is to remember how every person fulfills the promise of their Birth Law. And together this advances the peaceful power of evolutionary principles.
Yes, the coronavirus continues to ravage the world, and the fear mongering and conspiracy crap grows louder as we near another US election. But we do not have to succumb to the downward spiral. Practice self-care as if your life depended upon it because it does. Stay healthy. Step back from the human news hurricane regularly. Contemplate the Bigger Picture. Hit the reset button, often. Our journeys are longer than the current crises.
The second memoir has grown to 25,000 words, about one quarter of the total. Exciting to begin considering cover design and potential dates for publishing next year. In next newsletter we will share more news about the Wisdom Wheel book and its graphics. If you would like to volunteer to have your Birth Law story featured, please contact me.
Since winning an IPPY award, I have been invited to participate in reading and helping to judge entries for another contest, the Sarton Awards. It’s an honor to give back to this organization after benefiting from belonging to it for over a decade. I can vouch for the genuine impact SCN has on writers’ lives, including mine.
Work continues on the redesign of my author website. Can’t wait to unveil the new and improved version! Other initiatives continue on my social media pages.
And I must continue to thank each of you who have bought my books. Especially those how have given additional copies to friends. Word of mouth is the best way to reach new readers. Even if you write one sentence reviews, about the history you learned from reading my books, on Amazon and Goodreads, it will help tremendously. Measuring Distances is selling but we must wait for the coronavirus threat to end before having a proper, in-person launch party.
Any of you doing fundraisers for worthy causes? Lisa Guillette has asked me to donate a Zoom Book Club facilitation session for the 25th Anniversary celebration of her Foster Forward non-profit. Please donate if you can. It’s an honor to be asked. The lucky winner also gets 10 copies of The Importance of Paris for their members. Contact me to set up something fun for your group. When ordering copies in bulk, I can mail them at a discount.
Several ongoing Zoom groups are meeting regularly:
Every Saturday morning 10:30 am, Westerly Writing group
Every other Wednesday evening 6pm, Book Writers group
Every Monday evening 7pm, Zoom Lodge
Next Lodge ceremony is Sunday, September 20th in honor of the Autumn Equinox. See latest updates concerning Covid restrictions on our HOPE-HOUSE Facebook page. We continue to experiment with having a limited number of regular participants doing their own rounds
“When we look at the role that emotion plays in White Nationalism… the role of emotion in those movements is undeniable. Hate is powerful and hate is contagious. And it is not enough to meet [it] simply with an intellectual analysis or rational argument. The only way you can defeat them is by overriding them through an equal force is exerted when people are awakened to those positive feelings and positive emotions.” ― Marianne Williamson