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The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for Living Your Best Life Paperback – January 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In this relatable, down-to-earth book, Williamson explicates A Course in Miracles, which she describes as "a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy." Both A Course in Miracles and Williamson's work borrow heavily from the Christian lexicon: she refers to God as "he" and speaks often of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. Her take-home message is that we must submit not to our egos, which tell us we are separate from God, but instead surrender to God, of whom we are all a part. While she does refer to all minds being joined and describes the world we know as a dream from which we must awaken, she differs from other New Thought and New Age thinkers by balancing an assumption that the negative things of this world (especially illness and adversity) are illusory with the fact that they feel real to us and that we must take practical steps to overcome them. She recommends embracing love and eschewing fear, arguing that we will encounter a loving world when we stop assuming it is hostile. She says that while we are not responsible for the bad things that happen to us, the universe is always primed to give us a new beginning, if only we can forgive, atone and trust that our loving attitudes and good works make a profound difference.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“[Williamson’s] voice is strong medicine for our woundedness, warmth, insistence, good humor, and a little light to see by.” (Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies)
“Williamson takes her readers seriously enough to ask serious attention of them and to offer them much in return.” (Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
“Never has a society needed this wisdom and guidance more than now.” (Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit)
“[From] one of our most profound teachers of transformational wisdom, this book is truly a gift to the world.” (Wayne W. Dyer, author of The Power of Intention)
“Williamson challenges us to live in the present moment … that it can be a portal to the miraculous.” (Spirituality and Health magazine)
“Marianne Williamson challenges us to dive beneath the slick surface of our everyday life to encounter–and embrace–what frightens us most.” (Body & Soul)
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Top Customer Reviews
For over a decade, Marianne Williamson has been teaching principles from A Course In Miracles (ACIM)--a channeled psycho-spiritual self-study work which shows individuals how to create miracles by surrendering to love. Some scoff at the notion that "love is the answer", but Williamson answers them by saying: "It's amazing how much ridicule the topic of love can attract when it does anything other than support the status quo." Make no mistake: Williamson does not advocate what I call "sloppy agape". Rather, she boldly challenges humanity to start getting with the Divine program and begin to change from the inside out.
In her new book The Gift Of Change - Spiritual Guidance For A Radically New Life , Williamson sounds a clarion call that now is the time to begin to look within for change. Attempting to change the external world, she asserts, is akin to trying to change a movie by altering the screen when dealing with the projector is what's needed. Saying "hidden beliefs are dangerous beliefs", the reader is challenged to examine personal beliefs and the attitudes they engender. Tracing defensiveness--a form of "passive violence"--to the root of war, Williamson demonstrates how our resistance to love and vulnerability keep us enslaved to the ego. She writes:
"Whenever our outer world remains stuck, it is incumbent upon us to look, not outward, but inward. It is a call to find the places in ourselves where we are holding on to old ways--places where we blame others rather than taking personal responsibility for our woes; where we judge others instead of blessing them; where we are hard rather than vulnerable and open and kind. These issues hold the hidden keys to unlocking our unsolved personal mysteries."
Williamson outlines ten bridges of transformation that can be crossed when we fix our eyes and hearts on that which is unchanging--an eternal compass of spiritual principles which can guide us on the personal and global path to wholeness:
*From Forgetting Who We Are to Remembering Who We Are
*From Negative Thinking to Positive Love
*From Anxiety to Atonement
*From Asking God to Change the World to Praying That He Changes Us
*From Living in the Past and Future to Living in the Present
*From Focus on Guilt to Focus on Innocence
*From Separation to Relationship
*From Spiritual Death to Rebirth
*From Your Plan to God's Plan
*From Who We Were to Who We Are Becoming
Using personal anecdotes, Williamson delves into various life transitions such as menopause, adolescence, and parenting--and how seasons of change are amazing opportunities for not only growth and change, but also global transformation. Saying that "our greatest contribution to the world at this time is not just what we do but who we are becoming", she shows the reader that no matter where we find ourselves, we can be a conduit for miracles. In fact, she says that sometimes "being about our Father's business" is as much what we're not doing, than what we are. That is, chasing a future dream of spiritual ambition, we ignore life in the Present--which is the only place that "I Am", and miracles, dwell:
"If I had simply allowed myself to enjoy my life more, I would have ended up better off later on. And when I allow myself to simply enjoy my life right now, I'm giving myself the biggest boost for the future. Every point in life's journey is inherently preparing us for our future in ways the rational mind cannot possibly comprehend."
As an example, Williamson poignantly explains that she resisted some aspects of motherhood when her daughter was a baby--often distracting herself from the overwhelming insistent, needy demands of her daughter. Williamson recalls: "I see now that the fact it was happening meant it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and I wasn't losing out on anything by giving most of my attention to her." As one who has had a similar experience with motherhood versus aspirations for a "real life" (i.e., a spiritually fulfilling vocation), I resonated with the truth that wherever we find ourselves, that is exactly where we need to be. Our limitless and brightness can shine no matter where we are at; in fact, when we shine, we can literally change the world--for all minds are joined in the Mind of Christ.
The Gift Of Change provides us with a powerful blueprint on transforming our lives--and the world--through transforming our thoughts. Through the spiritual compass of the ten principles, we can at last find our way to inner peace and miracles--which results in a world that is healed and whole.
If you're disheartened at the state of global affairs--including war--this book can show you how to replace thoughtforms of fear with those of love. If you're desperately searching for your soulmate or the perfect job, The Gift of Change lights the path to the miraculous Now. If you're experiencing existential angst--free-floating anxiety that doesn't seem to have a cause-- Williamson says you are not alone...but there is a way through it by choosing love over fear and trusting the Holy Spirit for a miracle.
The one star review here, made my heart sink. Casting guilt is not exactly what A Course in Miracles had in mind. There is the letter of the law. And the Spirit of the Law. A Gift of Change stands on its own merits. Marianne is a magnificent teacher of that material. And this book is a culmination of her many years of experience and genius. Like fine wine she just gets better and better with age. I really urge you to read this book. In this day and age, with all that's going on, we could all use a very healthy dose of The Gift of Change. For me, personally, reading it reallly uplifted me and gave me hope again.