Friday, December 28, 2007

In Which I Finish Another Book
I have accumulated a few books by Marianne Williamson and read a few of them with some pleasure. None of shook me to my core, caused me to really change anything in my heart or soul or thinking. I have given one book as a gift and given another away. And right now, as I type this, I cannot remember any deep lessons from anything she has written. Which is why it is no surprise for me to say that reading The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife was nice but hardly profound. I think a big part of it is my own fault; perhaps I should lower my expectations because lately a lot of these spiritual/inspirational books have left me feeling disappointed. I had hoped to read a lot about the changes that I, as a woman, would experience as I approach my own midlife. The insights Williamson shares are not life changing. At least not to me. I have a feeling that there are women who will read these pages and find themselves closing the book to pause. And this, in the end, is probably what I hope to find myself doing when I am reading books that are meant to explore spirituality in an inspirational manner—a moment of profound truth that makes me stop and need to pause before reading further. Saying that I did not do this does not suggest that the book is not good or even stimulating. But spirituality is like many things and perhaps I am somewhere else along the path. Either I am unready for the truths that are communicated between these pages or I am already further along the path and have built beyond these truths. I don’t know. I will say that there are some lovely sound bites throughout the book, quotes that are powerful and/or empowering. There are many popular authors who have cards on which there are inspirational quotes, including Williamson, and this book offers several quotes that would make good cards. In fact, often these quotes, when taken out of context, can be applied in more broadly drawn strokes. Rather than just being addressed to baby boomers about a period of our lives, there are quotes that can be applied to other times and situations in our lives. I plan on giving this book away. I also plan on reading the rest of Williamson’s books that I already own as part of my sifting out the clutter of books in my life and on my bookshelves. From The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife By Marianne Williamson
That we age, if we are lucky enough to do it, is a given. How we age is up to us (xx).
Finding out who we actually aren’t, we begin to understand at last who we actually are (29).
Every moment is an opportunity to exhale old energies and breathe in new life, to exhale fear and inhale love, to exhale littleness and inhale magnitude, to exhale grandiosity and inhale grandeur (45).
The only way I can know what I should be doing is if I focus on who I should be (47).
[N]othing that happened before this moment has any bearing on what’s possible now, except that what you learned from it can be fuel for a magnificent future (59). Our future isn’t determined by anything that happened 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or even 10 minutes ago. It’s determined by who we are and what we think, right here, right now, in this moment (60). You don’t have to be young to be fabulous (62). Unless you’re will to accept that you’re 100 percent responsible for your own experience, then you can’t call forth your best life (64). Forgiveness involves faith in a love that’s greater than hatred, and a willingness to see the light in someone’s soul when their personality has harbored darkness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that someone didn’t act horribly; it simply means that we choose not to focus on their guilt. In focusing on it, we make it real to us and in making it real to us, we make it real for us. The only way to deliver ourselves from vulnerability to other people’s behavior is by identifying with the part of them that lies beyond their bodies. We can look beyond others’ behavior to the innocence of their souls. In doing so, we not only free them from the weight of our condemnation, but we free ourselves as well (63). The path to happiness is not determined by whether or not we made mistakes in the past. What paves the way to happiness is whether or not we turn our mistakes into catalysts for personal growth and illumination (68-69). God will always have the final say. And His say will always be how very much that you are loved (69). What happened to you yesterday might not have been wonderful or even under your control. But who you become because of it, or in spite of it, is completely up to you (73). Quoting Emerson: Whenever you meet anyone, remember they are going through a great war (101). When you’re young, you hold tightly to love in the hopes that it will last forever. When you’re older you know you don’t need to hold on because it does last forever. People come and they sometimes go. But love remains, if it remains in you (101). Perhaps you were let down by a love of this world so you would learn at last to lean only on God (103). Too often we inquire about a situation, “How can I change this?” when we should be asking, “How can I dwell within this circumstance in the highest possible way?” (114) Love doesn’t lose its edge and become boring as you get older unless you do (129). As a student of A Course in Miracles, I certainly understand that in Reality, all that exists is love. But the planet we live on is not ultimate reality; it is a mass illusion, as powerful in its effects as is the truth. And here, in this collective illusion, what-is-not love still holds sway. The ego, according to A Course in Miracles, is suspicious at best and vicious at worst (147). Our problem isn’t that we don’t think love is an important thing, our problem is that we don’t think it’s the most important thing (154). In truth, war only creates victims. The people who are killed are victims and the people who are sent to do the killing are victims as well (170). Quoting “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe: As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free (177).

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