In her groundbreaking and bestselling book, A Return To Love, Marianne Williamson wrote: “There’s no higher art than living a beautiful life.”
Williamson and the book went on to become cultural phenomenons, fueled by the glowing endorsements of Oprah Winfrey and a fiery personal transformation movement, which has now spanned decades and given the world the likes of Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, and Kyle Cease. Williamson went on to pen other bestsellers (Tears to Triumph, Healing the Soul of America, The Age of Miracles among them) and become a celebrated and astute lecturer, somebody whose deep mastery of the seminal book, A Course in Miracles, struck a chord with people seeking answers.
The big question: “How do we become our best selves?”
It’s perfect fodder for Wellspring, a rare event which unravels at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel and adjoining Palm Springs Convention Center (Oct. 26-28). Expect more than 200 classes, workshops, panels, activities, plenty of wellness experts and enthusiasts — and good vibes.
Williamson enters the festive mix during a live recording/interview by outspoken actor-comedian-activist-radio host Russell Brand for his popular Under the Skin podcast. Never one to shy away from suggesting people become more involved — culturally and politically — Williamson dives deep with Palm Springs Life.
What are your initial thoughts about the Russell Brand interview?
I heard him speak a few years ago at a fundraiser in Los Angeles for a womens rehab center and I was so impressed by what he had to say. I’m looking forward to the conversation.
Wellspring is about well-being. How do you remain grounded during uncertainty?
Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. You know, my life works really well when I practice what I preach. The truth is simple. It’s life that’s complicated.
Go on …
The principles of “truth,” whether they are articulated in A Course of Miracles or any other spiritual path, are not difficult. What’s difficult is getting over our resistance to applying those principles. What’s difficult is our resistance to blessing rather than blaming, to forgiving rather than judging, to rising up rather than staying stuck in our dysfunction.
Marianne Williamson’s bestselling book, A Return To Love, led to others (Tears to Triumph, Healing the Soul of America, The Age of Miracles) among them.
Where are we at as a culture? What are you observing?
People are feeling as though their backs are pressed up against a wall and that, for the most part, it is a wall of our own making. Curious (it read “serious”) people realize that, anyway. The crisis we are experiencing, in all its different manifestations and dimensions, didn’t come out of nowhere.
Politics plays into it then?
Donald Trump is the human embodiment of a political-economic system that puts money before humanitarian values and power before empathy. This gives us an opportunity to realize what it’s come to. To whatever extent those values were embedded into democratic institutions, the levees that protected them have fallen away.
So … now what?
Now, it’s up to us. With a national crisis, much like an individual crisis, the ultimate question is: Are you going to take responsibility for your part in bringing this about and are you going to be the person that is necessary to transform this situation? I think a lot of people are looking at this in the correct way — that there’s a lot to take responsibility for personally, rather than just projecting all the blame onto Donald Trump. This isn’t the first time Americans have had to face an assault on our democracy.
You indicated that you’re considering a Presidential bid, which would be a first, in many ways.
I’m thinking about it.
How does that feel — to contemplate it?
I think I’m like everyone else I know. We’re all taking a deep look inside of ourselves and asking how we can best serve. And if I feel as if that’s the best way I can serve, then I will do it.
You have been lecturing and writing for more than 30 years. What’s different now?
When I first began, audiences were hearing something that they never heard before. We’ve all read the books and listened to the same tapes now. People don’t come to my lectures or events like the one in Palm Springs to hear something they don’t already know. The era of data collection is over. The zeitgeist now is less about receiving new information and more about applying more deeply the information already available.
Marianne Williamson is considering a presidential run in 2020.
You say if people have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, that they have an ‘influence.’
No American citizen, those who live in an advanced society, has the right to say they can’t do anything. That’s just a way of avoiding what you can do. There is so much more that any of us can contribute. Very few of us can say, “there’s not any more I can do.”
Was there a particular person growing up who truly influenced you?
My father, although I didn’t necessarily know it at the time.
My father would always say, “Fight the system, kid. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Fight the revolution.” I see the revolution as love. And I see the system as a mindset. I understand more deeply now what he really meant. Even though my father has been dead for over 20 years, I am hoping to still try to get his approval. [Laughs] I’m trying to do what he told me to do.
Do you ever get into a funk?
I do. I am a pretty emotional person. I do what everyone else does. I process. I think. I pray. I meditate.
Wellspring hopes to provoke thought. So I’ll leave you with this: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve been learning about yourself lately?
That I can continue. And that I can do it. There’s always more that can be done. But we doubt that we can do it. I think at a certain point in life we realize our Chapter 3 is ours to write. And you make a decision, conscious or unconscious, whether it will be a slow cruise toward disillusion or … your most amazing chapter yet.
Russell Brand interviews Marianne Williamson at 11 a.m. Oct. 27 at Wellspring (Oct.26-28), 277 N. Avenida Caballeros in Palm Springs. Visit wanderlust.com/wellspring. Learn more about Marianne Williamson at marianne.com.