Maybe more of you now know who Marianne Williamson is. Some of us have known of her since, at least, the early 90’s. I was a follower and lover of her books. In fact, I wanted to be Marianne “when I grew up,” and often dyed my hair chestnut brown to try and capture her essence. Now Marianne, or as I call her— MW, is running for President of the United States. And, after Donald Trump’s (who ironically I call DT) election, the possibility of a MW presidency is all too real. Vox today says she “can plausibly claim to represent a demographic swath of the public” who say they are “spiritual, not religious—” and, this demographic is increasing.
First of all what does it mean to be spiritual, not religious? Well, I’ll save that for another post. Because today, speaking as one who would fall in this demographic, I feel it is my civic duty to say: DO NOT FALL FOR THIS WOMAN. In fact, if in 2020, it is DT and MW on the ballot, for the very first time, I will not be casting a vote.
Here is MW’s message, and from her I quote: “He has inspired masses with fear, and I have inspired masses with love.” Further, “I’m going to harness love for political purposes.” That sounds amazing, right? To me it sounds terrifying.
I have a story to tell about Marianne Williamson and from my story I will never look at her, or anyone who claims themselves to be a spiritual guru, the same. Also, from my story, I will always be extra cautious when I put another on a pedestal, as I did her. Now that this spiritual guru has turned to presidential candidate, I see that MW and DT are two sides of the same coin. Both proclaim to inspire masses of people. Both believe in their own hype, so to speak, to do so— and they sell it to the American people. Both tap into the American psyche for gain. Both don’t speak on experience and policy (because they can’t) so they go in for the gold- our emotions and fantastical desires for country. One speaks to those who fantasize about keeping America white, which to them means safe. The other speaks to those who fantasize about unity and love. MW reaches to the lost souls, to those that are “spiritual, not religious,” and especially those who have self-righteously and superficially walked the spiritual path, being captured by crystals and auras. And both are running from misguided beliefs that, in DT’s case, puts us in great danger. For Marianne, I do not proclaim to know what will become of us if she were president, but I choose to not find out.
It all began with this blog post I wrote on January 27, 2011. To give some context, I have spent 30+ years exploring my internal landscape. This may be better known as self-discovery, self-help, personal discovery. As I do personal growth work, I often come across parts of myself. In this particular post I was confronting a perfectionist part who I called Sergeant Williamson because my perfectionist was masquerading into a spiritual guru, trying to make me spiritually perfect. The post was all about me. Nothing about THE Marianne Williamson.
On January 30, as I was lying on my couch in California (where we had just moved from Minnesota) feeling premenstrual, my phone lights up. It says: Direct Message from Marianne Williamson. I laughed out loud, and said to my husband: you will never guess who just inboxed me on Twitter.
I could not reply because she did not follow me. I cannot recall how I reached out to her, but I told her to follow me so I could respond. And so she did (I will say her following me sure helped to increase my followers. She since has unfollowed). My first question to her was: Did you read it? to which I never got a response. Eventually we also had an email exchange (I can no longer access these emails) but she did not write “more than forty characters or whatever….” No matter what I said, which was to tell her my post had nothing to do with her, she kept asking the same question: “How did I offend you?”
Marianne has been giving lectures based on The Course in Miracles at the Saban theater in Beverly Hills for many years. One night, a friend asked if I wanted to go. I saw it as a perfect opportunity to meet Marianne, and perhaps have a live conversation with her that would be more productive. I posted my account of this exchange here.
It turned out being face to face with the “guru” did not prove useful, at least as far as coming to common ground. I found Marianne to be harsh, dismissive and cold. Maybe this makes sense because she could only see me as someone who spoke ill of her no matter how I tried to tell her I was speaking of my own personal development. It was a disappointing experience for me because in my idealistic view point, someone who writes about love and spirituality, must also be able to understand personal growth and discovery. They must be open to others, right? Be loving? Kind? if nothing else, be a good listener?
At one point, she told me I had be careful with my words because women can be “catty” to one another. I told her that did not resonate and I won’t be taking that advice. She then waved a dismissive hand in my face and said, “Good luck with your blog or whatever” and walked away.
I had one more online interaction with Marianne when I saw her post this: “People can translate for themselves, and I appreciate those who don’t project all kinds of stuff onto my words that I didn’t say:)” I could not help myself- and responded: “I know how you feel.” She said she would try and remember that, and wondered why I am so intent on attacking her all of the time.
Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. We all have bad days and do shitty things. I get that. But this exchange with Marianne showed me her character and because I am a US citizen, still a qualifying vote, she did not show herself to be a leader I would follow. She has an arrogance about her (and she taught me of my own which I wrote about here). She showed me she can’t listen. That her view is the only one that matters. That she had to be the expert about my blog post. That she would continue to ask the same question and give me advice until I bent to her will. I would not. I will not. She reminded me, and continues to, of my most difficult relationships where there is complete unwillingness to even consider my experience- and these are abusive relationships. These are not attributes of a true spiritual leader, and now she wants to lead my country. I will not follow. I will not vote for her.
I do appreciate that she brings a different perspective to our politics. It’s deeper and needed in this time of chaos and superficiality. But for me she is a con. She is indeed harnessing what sounds like love, but is not love. In order to truly harness love, we must be love- and that is not easy. She has harnessed influence and power, and for her, enough of it to take on the oval. She believes she is our savior. And we must all be vigilant of wolves in sheep clothing.
I’ll be sure to let you know if I get inboxed by MW again.