Inspired By Marianne Williamson

In the spring of 2013 I decided I had enough. My busy Manhattan lifestyle was getting to me, and it was time for a serious break. I wasn’t depressed, as some of my family members worried, but my insides were screaming for something new and exciting to happen in my life.

Like many women in their late twenties, I felt a sense of unease. I had a good job and plenty of money, but I wondered if I was on the “right” track. Where did I want to take my career? I wasn’t sure. And getting into a serious relationship at the time didn’t feel quite right yet, either.

I immersed myself in yoga classes, self-development workshops, and books like Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” Inspired by these amazing classes and women, it was clear that my old life didn’t quite fit anymore. But what would my new life look like? It was a good question. And since I didn’t have the answers, I decided to create some space in my life to find create them.

After speaking with my boss, I was able to negotiate two months leave. Immediately after I got the approval, I rented out my apartment to Anna, a recent college grad. I bought a round round trip ticket to Italy and that was that. Ready or not, I was off to explore Italy for the first time.

I wasn’t looking to have fun on this trip — I was looking for some peace and inspiration.

You’re probably wondering how the trip went.

Well, I quickly realized I hadn’t spent time alone for a very long time. And I deeply needed to shut the world out and relax. I wasn’t looking to have fun on this trip, I was looking for some peace and inspiration. And maybe a few epiphanies about what I wanted to do with my life along the way.

I spent my first week in Rome getting used to Italian life and traveling solo. I made my way to Cinque Terre, Bologna, Florence, Tuscany, the Dolomites, and Assisi. Having disconnected more than expected, I barely spoke with anyone back home. I didn’t even open a social media page. It was true freedom.

I was inspired. But I didn’t know what to do with that inspiration yet.

I delved deeper into Marianne Williamson’s books, and listened to “A Return to Love” audiobook throughout my trip. I was inspired. But I didn’t know what to do with that inspiration yet.

On the surface, “inspiration” or “being inspired” might not seem significant. However, having studied human behavior, I’ve learned that inspiration if often the difference between and action and inaction. In fact, any great change in history, has come from inspired action.

While in Italy, I participated in a yoga retreat, hiked through the Alps, and joined a writing retreat. I indulged in anything and everything that interested me. It was a special time for deep thinking, and no pressure. What I found was a sense of freedom and inspiration. I came to the conclusion that my worries weren’t as important as I previously thought they were. Later, I would find that I gained great confidence on this trip. But it took time and reflection for me to see that.

When I finally returned to New York, I hoped to keep up my sense of freedom. And I did for a while. I sought out dance classes and workshops, I joined lectures by Marianne Williamson and Gabby Bernstein, and participated in a few volunteer programs, hoping to find something fulfilling and meaningful to hold on to.

While scrolling through the news a few months ago, I came across the headline “Marianne Williamson is Running for President.”

But, it was only a matter of time until I realized the 9-5 Manhattan lifestyle just wasn’t for me anymore. The freedom I experienced during my travels called me. And while my new career path wasn’t clear yet, I knew I had make a move. And I did.

I said goodbye to my Gramercy apartment and started traveling again.

Fast-forward to 2019, it turns out I landed on my feet. After making my way through much of Europe, I settled down and got married. Don’t worry, I haven’t caved to the 9-5 lifestyle again. I’m working on my own, running a small business. I still travel often, just not solo anymore.

While scrolling through the news a few months ago, I came across the headline “Marianne Williamson is Running for President.” Like many Americans, at first I was shocked. After reading more about her decision, I thought she would be exactly what the United States needs right now, but probably doesn’t stand a chance. After watching her on the debate stage, I must admit, I am in awe. She represents the best of America, and I am thrilled she is running.

Marianne Williamson inspired me to live out my dreams back when I was traveling around Italy, contemplating a new life for myself. Imagine what would happen if she’s in a position to inspire the world.

Here are few of my favorite Marianne Williamson quotes:

  1. “Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”
  2. “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?
    Your playing small does not serve the world.
    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
    We are all meant to shine, as children do.
    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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
  3. “Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”

    When we attach value to things that aren’t love—the money, the car, the house, the prestige—we are loving things that can’t love us back. We are searching for meaning in the meaningless.

  4. “When we attach value to things that aren’t love—the money, the car, the house, the prestige—we are loving things that can’t love us back. We are searching for meaning in the meaningless.”
  5. “In 1776 our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal… Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don’t want and yes to what we know can be true.”

About Jesse Whitman

Jesse WhitmanJesse Whitman is a native of West Virginia. Her humor essays have been featured in Blitz Weekly, Funny Times, and Curve Magazine. She is working on her next volume of Prude and Prejudice.

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