I was very excited when I first heard Marianne Williamson wrote the book “A Course in Weight Loss” from what I have read of it so far, it is very aligned with my own work and philosophy. You may know Marianne from her incredible and often quoted passage:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
I am so very grateful for Marianne to bring her incredible wisdom and insight to the issue that is so dear to me, and that so many millions of people around the world struggle with. So needless to say I was pretty pumped to hear her speak.
Marianne is slender and elegant. She is energetic and vibrant, she talks fast and with a deep authority. She often talks of God and is a spiritual teacher, though she reminds us not to get hung up on the religiously loaded word if you are not a religious person. She makes it clear that whenever she says God she means divinity and spirit, by whatever name you call it. Universe, light, higher self, angels, source, whatever you think of ‘It’ as…
She said that each of us is given a piece of the holographic transformation of the world. Through healing our own hurts and separations we can each heal our own part of the universal consciousness and in turn collectively heal the world. “I am invited by the forces of possibility to shift from probability to possibility.”
She talked about the field of personal development and those who are “aware of consciousness” to live what we know with more intention and love, so that we don’t just know this stuff, we ARE this stuff.
She says “You think you have many problems, but really you only have one: the illusion of your separation from God.”
Many of us are addicted to the thoughts of fear. You wouldn’t go into a new day with the dirt and grime of yesterday on your body or your clothes, but you carry the thoughts, stress and worry from yesterday into today and project it into tomorrow.
“Peacock feathers are made because peacocks eat thorns” It is our human ability to “eat” our darkness and suffering and transform it into beauty and love. It is our own suffering that gives us compassion for others and X-ray vision into their suffering.
New science and quantum physics is revealing what mystics and spiritual teachers have always known: “There is no place where I stop and you start”. We are like waves on the ocean, thinking that we are separate from the other waves, but really there is no place where one wave stops and another starts. The separation is an illusion. Marianne says that all incorrect manifestation of the body, either incorrect weight or disease or malady is because we over-identify with the body. It is when we truly realise that we are NOT a body (we are a spiritual being, far greater than our human body) that we can finally dwell comfortably within it.
There is no such thing as a neutral thought. At all times, my heart is either open to love, or closed in fear. Just like the Brene Brown talk I recommended a while back on vulnerability, Marianne recommends and advocates vulnerability and open-ness. She says: “In my defencelessness my safety lies”. When you put up walls to protect yourself, you end up creating the very problem you are defending against.
Each day, like you take a shower, you must take some time to cleanse your mind. You have infinite power and potential, however you must purify yourself to be able to use your power wisely and with intention. Some rituals you may like to utilise daily are prayer, meditation, hypnosis, journalling, affirmations, gratitude journal, reading an inspiring story or book, listening to meditative or inspiring music.
She says that people are naive to say that evil does not exist, it does. It exists within us. Just like God exists within us. Both the light and darkness inside ourselves. Evil is in the falseness, the impostor, and shadow self. Apparently in Hebrew, Satan means “secret behind” the “evil” voice in our heads sets us up to do the wrong thing, under the guise of instant comfort, and then punishes us savagely after we have done it. This voice guides you to eat the foods that are damaging and harmful to your health.
She says to love the food that loves you back. I like that. Love is a truthful and reciprocal relationship. If you are loving food that does not love you back, food that clogs your arteries and causes disease and disfunction, that is not a loving relationship! We can easily stop worshipping the false god of food when we begin to worship the divinity within.
For those deeply struggling with eating compulsions and addictive behaviour, Marianne utilises the core of the 12 step AA program (surrender to God) – “I can’t do it, but God can.” You don’t have to fight and resist your dysfunctional self or “white-knuckle it” as she calls it. When you embrace a higher power your dysfunctional self will dissolve. Thus we as humans can embrace the union between heaven and earth we can be grounded on the earth and thinking the thoughts of heaven.
I personally prefer to think of it as surrendering to the infinite wisdom and god within each of us.
Forgiving yourself. Forgiving those that harm you. Whenever I think of forgiving those that have harmed you I think of Oprah quoting Augustine: “resentment is like taking poison yourself and hoping the other person will die.” Forgiveness is not about condoning unacceptable, hurtful actions, but rather understanding that holding onto anger when we have been wronged only continues to hurt ourselves.
Marianne said that the very planet itself is the hallucination of the mortal mind. She made it very clear never to minimise the pain of the suffering and trauma that we as individuals can go through on the planet, only pointing out that holding on to the pain and suffering causes us to stay in that suffering longer. She gave the example of a holocaust victim who lost all her family and loved ones to Hitlers “final solution”, however the amazing woman stubbornly refused to continue to be a victim of it by continuing to feel anger and hurt, instead she let it all go. Marianne quoted the incredible and inspiring lady “the day I walked away from the camp I vowed I would not give Hitler one more day of my life!” It brought tears to my eyes.
She noted that sometimes when we experience trauma, it becomes unsafe to process the emotions in the body the usual way, so we escape the body to survive and cope by detaching or overeating to numb our emotions. However this can be a problem when it becomes a conditioned response; and you escape and run away from the emotions at every stressful incident. She advocates, as I do, being present with your emotions, processing them and letting them go.
She used the analogy of an emotional sewage system, like our digestion, significant events happen and we have emotions about them, then we take the time to process and mull over the events and the emotions, “digesting” them, processing them, learning from them. Then, like with our food, we take the nourishment, the learnings, the positive memories the insights, and let go of the ‘crap’; the negative emotions and disempowering ideas.
You can sometimes act yourself into new ways of thinking easier than you can think yourself into new ways of acting.
Utilise positive crowding out instead of deprivation. Instead of fighting with yourself and banning certain foods, use instead the positive crowding out method. That is, if you want to have some cake, have the cake, and also have a few grapes, after a time eventually you will come to the conclusion that you only want the grapes, and easily choose to leave the cake.
Just because it is on your plate does not mean you have to eat it. Let it go.
I was very excited to briefly meet Marianne and Grace Gedeon, a Sydney psychotherapist and ex-compulsive eater who contributed greatly to the book. Marianne’s book, which I am reading now, is “A Course in Weight Loss”
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I have worked with Kylie over many years. She has helped me as a Business Mindset Coach, as a motivational speaker for clients when I had my gyms with Vision and more recently at Flow Athletic. I bring her in to train my Personal Training teams in mindset, communication and how to coach our clients better and excel in our own personal mastery.
I highly recommend her work.