I met Marianne Williamson 13w

 I wish I knew the name of the artist - if anyone recognizes it and knows who it is, please let me know! I'd like to credit her!!

I wish I knew the name of the artist - if anyone recognizes it and knows who it is, please let me know! I'd like to credit her!!

I couldn't afford to attend the conference so I volunteered for it instead. It was 1997, Ram Dass had just suffered his stroke and could not speak anymore which had the staff abuzz. It was a gathering of the biggest authors in the spiritual/metaphysical field. I had read many of them but I was really excited about one.

When I was still in a college, I discovered a book, A Women's Worth by Marianne Williamson on the bargain table at the University bookstore. I loved that book. I still love that book. It's one of the few I've carried from city to city, apartment to apartment and kept by my bedside. She spoke about women finding their voices, speaking up. 

She talked about the power of the feminine, how we can change the world once we recognize our gifts and our worth. Our voice.

In so many ways, that book settled into the core of me. I've read it backwards, forwards, crying, stoned, drunk, in love, heartbroken, depressed, elated for over 20 years.

I didn't understand yet that I wanted to be a writer like her. 

Back then, I was just a 25 year old graduate student trying to figure out my way in the world.

I attended her workshop eagerly, excited to learn from her in person. At the end of her talk, I got in line to ask a question. 

Finally it was my turn. I asked "if you could tell women my generation one thing, what would it be?" 

I don't remember what she said! But I remember running up to her afterwards to get clarification. And I'll never forget how she honored my follow-up by saying "I'm sorry you didn't feel validated. Let me rephrase it." She could have belittled me. Or said she didn't have time. I don't even REMEMBER WHAT SHE SAID!!! All I remember is *HOW* SHE SAID IT. How respectful she was.

This is a big mistake I see many people make on the Internet. As the great Maya Angelou said: people won't remember what you said, they'll remember how you made them *feel*. 

As I walked away, someone pulled on my arm. "Come, come look at this," an older, hippie woman said. A little wary, I followed her.

There was a woman on the floor painting funky art. She rolled paint onto paper with a roller and used her finger tips to draw. My companion said "whenever she felt inspired by someone speaking, she would paint a drawing. She pointed to the painting [see photo on this post] and said "that's what she drew when you were speaking to Marianne Williamson."

I didn't think it was very pretty. I found it pretty odd, in fact. There were others that were much more beautiful. The artist said "you can buy it in a few minutes at a table outside."

I whispered, "I'm in school. I can't afford whatever this is." And this woman, this angel, said "no, you HAVE TO BUY IT. You were speaking to Marianne Williamson when it was drawn. IT WAS DRAWN FOR YOU." 

I can't remember what I ended up paying. Maybe $40. Which was a fortune then, of course. Still is

I've kept it all these years. But I've never understood it. Why is the person hairless? Why are they genderless? What is the spiral coming out of the center?

What does it mean? 

Now, I'm starting to get it.

The Movement is about seeing beyond hair, skin, clothes, gender. It's about seeing each other's essence. Which is what this artist did from the floor while I was speaking.

TWENTY YEARS. I didn't understand it. I framed it though, and sometimes hung it up. It always comforted me.

It represents all of us. Our unique beauty, our unique minds, our unique souls.

We don't have to look alike, or think alike, or pray alike, or even talk alike, to love each other.

All we have to do is see and *appreciate* each other's essence. EVEN IF WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT.

That's my Marianne Williamson story. I was so tired tonight, but this story has been haunting me all day. I looked for a photo of this on my computer for awhile before asking my dad where the actual framed painting was. I found it within minutes. It wanted to be found tonight.

20 years old. And now I finally understand the painting.

I guess sometimes we have to trust the messenger even if we don't quite understand it.

Amazing.