Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author, lecturer, peace activist, and co-founder of Peace Alliance, a grassroots organization committed to preventing violent conflict. Here are six things you should know about her. (Don't miss her keynote conversation at Yoga Journal LIVE! San Diego, June 24. Sign up now.)
1. She believes we are bombarded with fear-inducing stimuli these days.
The news, toxic chemicals, air pollution—and it throws us out of alignment, both physically and emotionally. Our spiritual practices recalibrate the nervous system. I took private Iyengar Yoga classes for years, and I come back to that practice daily. I see meditation and prayer doing the same thing that yoga does: They all get us back into the correct position. That’s what allows everything to flow.
2. Her mornings are very precious to her.
I need time to prepare myself. Rather than heading straight to the computer, the television, the newspaper—all of which mean taking in the stress of the world first thing—it’s important to set aside time for your spiritual practice. Just as you take a bath or a shower in the morning because you don’t want to go out into the day with yesterday’s dirt on your body, a spiritual practice helps you avoid taking yesterday’s stress into the day.
3. She started writing in 1988.
With the encouragement of author Jerry Jampolsky. I had been lecturing for five years, but I didn’t know how to shape the material from my lectures into a book. He said, “Let’s agree in consciousness that there is someone out there who would know how to do that.” The following week, I met two literary agents, one of whom worked with me to publish A Return to Love in 1992. At that point, I was just hoping to sell enough books so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. It went on to become a mega-hit that
sold over a million copies.
4. She writes with the same hope every writer has.
That somebody, somewhere is going to read something I write and have one of those “aha moments” that we all love to have when we’re reading. I’m not one of those disciplined writers who writes a paragraph every day. I have to get pregnant with a book. Then, when it’s time, it starts to come out. When it does, it’s like mother’s milk—it needs to be expressed.
5. She makes yoga and meditation a daily necessity.
If I’ve done my yoga and meditation practice, the chances of doing something stupid—like sending a snarky email, or saying or texting something I regret—are reduced because these practices give us impulse control. Otherwise, you are spewing your forces. Too many of us leak our energy.
6. She's 63.
As I get older, I can actually feel my muscles constrict. It’s creepy, but I can also feel how yoga keeps my muscles more open. Yoga helps energy flow through my body in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise. The physical benefits are great.
Marriane's Words to Live By
My morning call to the Divine is a prayer from A Course in Miracles: "Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say and to whom?"