Last night we had the pleasure of attending an intimate conference led by spiritual leader and best-selling author Marianne Williamson. The event was organized by My Whole Project in response to the tragic events of November 13th and was held near République, where most of the attacks occurred.
After briefly introducing herself, Marianne Williamson asked each of us to close our eyes and acknowledge the collective trauma that the city of Paris is currently enduring. The emotion and energy throughout the room was palpable. Williamson relayed her personal experience with terrorism as an American living through 9/11, and noted that ‘when our hearts break they also expand’. She recalled the tremendous kindness, generosity and openness that revealed itself just after 9/11 and that sadly, shortly afterward, there was a shift in the opposite direction. The key for us now, according to Williamson, is to continue to lead from the heart even when the immediate trauma of this tragedy has passed. “There needs to be a connection between how we feel now and the decisions that are made afterwards.”
Referring to the tragic events in Paris as a sickness that is happening around the world, Williamson notes that terrorism is ‘like a cancer that has metastasized around healthy organs’. She stresses the importance and urgency for us to enter a new level of consciousness – a global consciousness – as this isn’t a problem of country, race or religion — it’s a human problem. Williamson stresses our need for what Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. termed positive peace, which requires justice and brotherhood, rather than the more familiar negative peace, where there is a lot of underlying tension. (Unfortunately, she points out, present day politicians like Donald Trump are advocating negative peace, through reinforcing racism among other issues. She warns, “Don’t open your borders if you can’t open your hearts too”.)
As citizens of the world, it is our responsibility to take an active role in creating change, Williamson notes. By doing nothing, tuning out and remaining numb to what’s happening – not just in our surrounding neighborhoods but all around the world – we are contributing to the sickness rather than assisting in the healing. We can not rely on government to create this change. Governments are allopathic healers, meaning they deal with symptoms but not the roots of the problem; we need integrative healing. As citizens of different countries, we also need to acknowledge the role that our governments (and therefore we) have played. Once we discover the root of the sickness, we need to embrace it with all the love and light in our hearts. Love can only exist in the absence of fear; meanwhile fear, hate, apathy and narcissism are only possible in the absence of consciousness.
Understanding The Real Issues of Extremism. To have a more thorough understanding of things, Williamson suggests we check out the work of British journalist and award-winning film-maker Deeyah Khan. In her 2015 film, Jihad, she explores the allure of extremism and how and why people become radicalized. In Huffington Post, Khan shares her inspiration for and experience in making the film.
Daily Meditation. Williamson urges each of us to meditate, noting that when we do, it allows us to ‘reset’ and become more powerful versions of ourselves. Morning is best for meditation, before we connect to the internet, where she she half-jokingly warns us not to ‘download the fear’ online.
Special thanks to Marianne Williamson and My Whole Project for this very meaningful and enlightening event.
* A Song For This Moment: “I Shall Believe” by Sheryl Crow.
Classic Sheryl Crow lullaby with an effortless way of evoking feelings of faith, hope and love. We shall believe.
“Embrace the world and love it fiercely. Surrender to the role of cosmic lover, and miracles will accompany your every move.” – Marianne Williamson