Face Forward

Abused Princess

1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

A girlfriend of mine is on the board of directors for a wonderful charity called Face Forward. The charity provides facial reconstructive surgery for women who have been left disfigured as a result of domestic violence. Face Forward helps give these women the confidence they need to begin their new lives.

The following video is of Face Forward patient Audrey, who was separated from her husband when he raped her, beat her with a hammer, and then set her on fire. Despite surviving such a horrific attack, beautiful Audrey has positive outlook on life. She is a survivor and an inspiration.

Audrey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slr4v6jlewY

I’d like to invite all my friends and followers to support this very important cause. Face Forward is having their fifth annual gala, The Venetian Masquerade on September 13, 2014 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This star-studded event will include dinner, cocktails, and live performances. If you can’t make the event, but feel moved to donate to the charity, I’ve created a site where I am collecting contributions for Face Forward https://www.payitsquare.com/collect-page/41723. If I reach my goal of $5,000 by September 1st, I will be raffling off a ticket to The Venetian Masquerade.

Venetian MasqueradeFor tickets http://faceforward.nbblticketing.com

Face Forward

“The mission of Face Forward is to provide physical and emotional reconstruction for men, women, and children who have been victimized by domestic violence. Face Forward vows to provide each victim with the best possible treatment pro bono.”

http://www.faceforwardla.org

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Brigitte Bardot Reading

I’ve been trying to comfort one of my girlfriends who is feeling a little lost and hopeless after a recent breakup. When she started saying things like “all men lie, don’t believe them no matter what, don’t get it in your head that you even like them, RUN!,” I expressed to her that I felt she was being a little dark. I think I might have offended her when I suggested that maybe part of the problem was all this fear-based thinking and negative self-talk. I’m not normally such a know-it-all, but I’ve spent years training my mind to think mainly positive, loving thoughts; so when someone comes to me with negativity, I feel the need to put on my spiritual earmuffs.

My girlfriend went on to tell me how she read in a book that everyone has one area in life he or she struggles with. She pointed out that while I don’t have the problems with men she does, I have health issues and that is what I am meant to overcome here on this Earth. For the record, my love life hasn’t been perfect either, but after a couple of bad relationships in my early twenties, the story I started to tell myself was that from now on, I was going to be a girl whom men cherish and respect. That’s not to say every man I’ve dated since then has met my standards; if I meet a man who is not in alignment with this vision I hold for myself, I simply blow him a kiss and move on.

In regard to my friend’s comment about my health, it’s true that I do have hypothyroidism; that is a scientific fact. However, knowing that our words and thoughts are extremely powerful, I too have to be careful with the stories I tell myself. A Course in Miracles explains that every thought creates form on some level, meaning that whatever we believe in our mind will ultimately become our reality in the world.

The trick here is not to be naïve or unrealistic. In my friend’s instance, we can’t deny that she’s been hurt; but instead of swearing off men and saying that she will never find love again, it would be more beneficial for her to tell herself that someone wonderful is on his way. When I go through a breakup, I always have faith that the universe will send me something better, so you won’t see me sitting around crying for too long.

It becomes much easier to cope with the pain of a breakup when we understand that relationships are assignments from the divine and not everyone is meant to stay in our lives forever. The universe conspires to pair us with partners who help us grow into our best selves. Some people come into our lives simply to teach us the lessons we need to learn; then we part ways. Sometimes the lesson can be as basic as learning what we don’t want in the next guy.

One of the keys to changing our thoughts is trusting that we live in a friendly universe that wants the best for each and every one of us. If something didn’t work out the way you planned, it’s only because the universe has something better in store for you. The universe wants us to have the greatest guy, the best job, and a healthy, happy body. However, when we tell ourselves negative, fear-based stories, we are sending the universe the wrong signals and can often manifest our fears—this is what A Course in Miracles calls a “miscreation.” We want to be careful to think the thoughts that will create our dreams and not our nightmares.

When applying this theory to my health, I can’t deny that my thyroid condition doesn’t exist, but I would do myself a disservice if I sat around dwelling on my symptoms all the time. Of course, I do my research and take my medicine, but it is equally, if not more important for me to visualize myself as happy, healthy, and vibrant in order to speed the healing process along. Medicine is the perfect example of the power of our minds. The reason that a placebo, a pill with no active ingredients, is often effective in healing patients’ symptoms is because people believe it will work.

So next time you have a story to tell yourself, make it a good one! Instead of focusing on what you’re afraid of happening, focus on what you would absolutely love to happen beyond your wildest dreams…I think we can all take a cue from another one of my girlfriends who is so spiritually advanced, she is able to energetically raise her metabolism and train her mind and body to make any excess weight go directly to her chest….trust me, it’s totally working for her!

The Disappearance of Disney’s Prince Charming

Sleeping-Beauty

When I was growing up, Disney movies were so simple. The princess would find herself the victim of an evil witch or wicked stepmother, and then Prince Charming would come along, kiss her, and save the day. Boy, have Disney movies changed!

In the last two Disney movies I’ve seen, Frozen and Maleficent, the would-be “Prince Charmings” turn out to be villains while the women end up being the heroines. As a female empowerment writer, I am all for the concept of not needing a prince to come to your rescue. In that respect, I think Disney princesses have evolved and are much more interesting and empowered than they were once upon a time. However, although I enjoyed both of these films tremendously, especially Maleficent, I do hope that their very similar storylines won’t be the model for every Disney movie from now on.

What I found disheartening is that in both Frozen and Maleficent, one of the central female characters becomes a victim of romantic betrayal. In Frozen, Princess Anna falls for a prince who only pretends to love her just so he could take over the family’s kingdom; and if that’s not malicious enough, he tries to murder her sister, Queen Elsa. I told you these Disney princes have changed! Thankfully, Anna does end up falling for a man with a good heart, but in a very sweet surprising ending, it is actually her act of true love towards her sister that saves the day.

Although, at the time, I did find it surprising a Disney princess actually sang about how she didn’t know if she was “elated or gassy” (How could she not know the difference? And who sings about having gas?), I didn’t give much thought to the fact that “Prince Charming” turned out to be shady until I saw a common theme in Maleficent this weekend. In this film, Maleficent is a fairy who falls in love with a human boy, Stefan. Stefan commits the ultimate act of violation when he drugs Maleficent and cuts off her wings, leaving her unable to fly. The scene that follows where the wingless fairy, played by Angelina Jolie, wakes up face down in the dirt and can barely walk feels so raw and disturbing—I’ve even read several reviews that liken what Stefan did to a metaphorical rape. Later on the phrase “true love does not exist” is dramatically repeated at least twice, which I personally felt was a bit dark for a kids’ movie. Such a cynical perspective on romantic love concerns me because not only are thoughts and words very powerful, but little minds are extremely impressionable. I know, after seeing Frozen, my five-year-old niece was singing “the cold never bothered me anyway” all winter long back home in Chicago. Not to give the ending of Maleficent away, but it turns out that there is such thing as true love; however, just as in Frozen, true love doesn’t come in the form of a romance.

I understand Disney wants to show little girls that life isn’t always like the fairy tales. Maybe the old-fashioned Prince Charming did create unrealistic expectations of love for women of my generation. However, I worry that these new Disney films are planting seeds in little girls’ minds that it’s not okay to love or trust men. One of my girlfriends recently tweeted, “Just saw Maleficent. The moral of the story is never fall in love with boys.” I hope that’s not what little girls are taking away from this film as well. The good news is that my very imaginative niece, who highly recommended Maleficent, left the movie wondering if fairies do yoga, and later, in the same telephone conversation, randomly told me that she’s in love with her boyfriend, Jimmy. Although I don’t normally approve of the fact my five-year-old niece has been in a relationship for the last two-years (at her age, she definitely should be playing the field), I was happy to hear she still believes in true love.

Just to be clear, I thought Maleficent was an incredible film from an adult perspective. Angelina Jolie was as captivating and powerful as ever. In my eyes, she is the closest thing we have to a goddess and saint here on Earth and can do no wrong. My questioning the story’s theme is not a criticism of the movie itself, but rather, a commentary on how fairy tales have changed and the message they are sending to the children watching them. If I were to write a fairy tale for my niece, I would never cast the heroine as a jilted lover or woman scorned—I don’t see the empowerment in that. I would make my fairy princess a girl who has the princes of all of the kingdoms falling at her feet but is too busy saving the universe to care about any of them, and she definitely won’t be so easily duped. One of my favorite Disney princesses is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who was the most beautiful girl in town but always had her nose in a book, which reminds me of how my dad always told my sister and me to “forget the boys and hit the books!”

As a feminist, I applaud Disney for creating strong female characters who are capable of saving themselves. I also think they are on the right track, emphasizing familial relationships over romantic relationships; these are kids’ movies after all! However, if Disney is going to include romantic relationships in their kids’ films, I hope they don’t continue this theme of romantic betrayal. Of course villains can still be men, (or women); evil does not have a gender. However, what’s the world coming to if even fairy tale princesses are getting used and abused by the men they love? Fairy tales are meant to be whimsical, so why don’t we create the highest, most wondrous possibilities for our girls?

One of my girlfriends commented that she likes this new formula better because it’s closer to real life, which is sad she (or any other woman) feels that way about men. Of course, most grown women can empathize with heartbreak and betrayal, but I’m not sure these are lessons little girls with pure untainted hearts need to be learning. And we have to give credit to the men who are getting it right. I understand a girl has to kiss a few toads before she meets her prince, but it would be nice to see Prince Charming resurface, even if it’s only once in awhile. Take it from someone who knows how fun it is to believe in the fairy tale.

Maleficent

 

 

And the Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On

As many of you have already heard, sadly, Marianne Williamson was not one of the top two vote getters in Tuesday’s California primary. Ted Lieu (Democrat) and Elan Carr (Republican) are the candidates that will be on the ticket in the November elections.

In terms of signs around town, social media, and number of volunteers, it appeared as though Marianne was the frontrunner for the District 33 Congressional seat. Marianne, however, came in fourth with just under 11,000 votes. The campaign had been expecting 17,000 votes, which means not enough of her supporters got off of their yoga mats and into the polls.

Although Marianne did not win the primaries, what she did accomplish was pretty incredible. Marianne had never run for office before and with only six months of campaign experience under her belt, she came in fourth place among seventeen other candidates, most of whom were career politicians. As always, Marianne kept it classy, running a clean campaign and never once uttering an unkind word about her opponents. Even more impressive was that fact that she didn’t take money from any corporate sponsors and still managed to raise enough money to be competitive with the other candidates.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this journey with Marianne and all the wonderful volunteers. Not only did I learn a great deal about politics and make several new friends, but it was extremely fulfilling to be a part of something so meaningful. On a personal note, because of this campaign, I had the pleasure of spending time with one of the women I admire most in the world.

Marianne may not be going to Congress, but she did touch the hearts and minds of people, not only in this district, but all over the world. Most importantly, her very important message was heard. Marianne always explained that her message was greater than sending one woman to Congress. She succeeded at creating a pro-democracy movement and igniting a spark in so many of us who, like myself, hadn’t taken an active interest in politics in the past. This spark she lit will not and cannot be extinguished. All of us involved with the campaign will still be working together towards creating a more beautiful America. Marianne would have been amazing in Washington, but selfishly, I’m happy we get to keep her here in L.A., where Monday nights she lectures on A Course in Miracles.

In regard to the November elections, Marianne says that out of the two candidates, Ted Lieu is definitely more in alignment with her beliefs. Lieu has already joined in Marianne’s conversation of getting the money out politics, which I find very exciting. First on my saving democracy list, I intend to write Lieu to make sure he’s planning on carrying out Marianne’s ideals. Marianne didn’t only call for us volunteers to step up our game, but the other candidates had to rise up to compete with her.

As for Marianne, she has always been and will always remain a political activist. I would love to see her run again, but whether or not that happens, one thing is for certain, she will continue to touch the lives of others. Marianne may not be going to Congress, but you better believe, the beat will go on.

Balloons

 

Countdown to the Primaries: Vote Marianne Williamson June 3rd

MWforCongress“I think that several of the candidates have significant strengths.  In my opinion, however, only Marianne has the possibility of making a dramatic difference if she wins the seat.  I can picture Marianne becoming a national progressive leader, in the vein of Elizabeth Warren or Dennis Kucinich. ~Congressman Alan Grayson

As many of you know, I have been a big supporter of Marianne Williamson and her Congressional campaign, and next Tuesday is the day we members of California District 33 have the power to cast our vote to help get Marianne into office. I remember back in October when Marianne first announced her candidacy, her supporters couldn’t be more excited or optimistic. However, people who hadn’t yet had the pleasure of hearing her speak often said things like she was naïve or that she didn’t stand a chance. Well, ladies and gentleman, the last several months have been quite a journey. At this point, not only does Marianne stand a chance, but major publications like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have declared her a serious contender.

I feel so proud of Marianne, whom I’ve always admired as a writer and spiritual teacher, for fearlessly entering this race and taking the world of politics by storm. When I witnessed Marianne speaking on a panel with the other top tier candidates, both career politicians, she stole the show, coming across much more powerful and knowledgeable than the other two. Just for the record, unlike the other top tier candidates, Marianne has not taken any PAC money or contributions from corporations to finance her campaign and intends to take the money out of politics, returning our government to a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Marianne always says that we set trends here in Los Angeles. While I’ve never volunteered for a political campaign before, I don’t imagine other campaigns are run in such a loving, supportive manner. Marianne never spoke an unkind work about her opponents, and thousands of volunteers showed up for her asking how could they be of service. From day one, Marianne said this campaign is not just about her; it is about all of us. I am so honored to be a part of this collective act of love, and if Marianne is elected, I hope politicians all over the country take note.

Marianne has received a tremendous amount of love and support throughout this campaign. I’ve been seeing Marianne for Congress signs all over town, and I’ve received emails from people all over the world excited about her candidacy. Hollywood stars made videos and performed at events. How cool is it that Alanis Morisette wrote Marianne’s campaign song and artists like Steven Tyler, Chaka Khan, and Jason Mraz performed at fundraisers? If Marianne’s message resonates with you, like it does with me, please go out and vote next Tuesday, June 3rd. It is important that all of us who love and support Marianne show up for her on Election Day because you know Marianne will be showing up for us in Congress.

Marianne is endorsed by:

Americans for Democratic Action
Alan Grayson, Congressman
Keith Ellison, Congressman
Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor Michigan
Van Jones, Civil Rights and Environmental Advocate
Dennis Kucinich, Former Congressman
Elizabeth Kucinich, Director of Policy at the Center for Food Safety
Ed Begley Jr., Environmental Leader
Bruce Margolin, Director LANORML
Thom Hartman, Syndicated Radio TV Host
Jesse Ventura, Former Governor Minnesota
John Gray, PhD., #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Brett Roske, Former Independent Congressional Candidate, District 33
LA Progressive News
Vote in Women—Advocates for Peace, Liberty, and Science
EVOLVE—Bay Area Grassroots Social Activist Organization
Eva Longoria—Actress
Jane Lynch—Actress and LGBT Rights Activist and Humanitarian
Michael Bernard Beckwith—Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City
Deepak Chopra, M.D. Author and Physician
Alanis Morisette, Singer
Frances Fisher, Actress

If you’re not familiar with Marianne Williamson or her position on any issues that are important to you, here is a link to her website:

www.marianneforcongress.com

Also, I was lucky enough to interview Marianne for Viva Glam Magazine, “And Though She Be but Little, She is Fierce”:

http://vivaglammagazine.com/culture/people-society/4454-and-though-she-be-but-little-she-is-fierce.html

Lastly, my article for Rebelle Society, “You Say You Want an Evolution: 5 Reasons to Vote for Marianne Williamson”:

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2014/03/10/you-say-you-want-an-evolution-5-reasons-to-vote-for-marianne-williamson/

MWNewConversation

Vote or Die

VOTE JUNE 3RD!!!!

Soulmates

soul-mates

“The soul mate. The one you feel vibrate when they are a thousand miles away. The one you hear whisper when they think about you. The one who lets you move freely but embraces your shadow from afar. That one. The one you feel like you have known for a million years.”~Sarah Voldeng

In conversation, a friend of mine recently asked me what a soulmate is. Without hesitation, I immediately referred him to this Rebelle Society article “Soulmate or Life Partner?,” which explains the concept much more eloquently than I could have via text message.

Soulmates are different than life-partners. People often settle down with a life-partner because of timing; perhaps they are ready to start a family or maybe they have a need for security or are simply looking for a companion. Most people do not want to be alone, and a practical person can’t wait around forever for something that seems like a fairy tale. This isn’t to disparage anyone; life-partnerships can still be extremely beautiful, loving and fulfilling relationships.

Sometimes as women, we go out with men who have similar interests and seem like they would be good potential boyfriends even if we are not feeling the electricity we desire. We secretly hope these guys grow on us and sometimes they do. Plenty of successful life-partner relationships have started out this way.

However, when you meet your soulmate, it will be a more intense connection than anything you’ve ever experienced, almost as though there is lightning running through your veins. You both will know that this is something so different and so special. There won’t be any question marks, for you nor for him. Men tell us such lovely things when they want to get close to us, but a soulmate will tell you things no other man could believably get away with, for instance, how he feels he’s known you in a past life (He does seem hauntingly familiar) or how his time with you is sacred. The two of you will just seem to speak the same language, and when he looks into your eyes, you will feel like you’ve come home.

Here’s the catch: while ideally your soulmate becomes your life-partner, that isn’t always the case. A soulmate is not always the person we should or could spend the rest of our lives with. So maybe you’re not destined to bake muffins and pay bills with your soulmate, but instead you’re simply meant to walk through fire together.

Soulmates come into your life and ignite a spark deep inside you, making you feel more radiant and alive. They almost always serve some sort of higher purpose, and even if they must fly away, they will touch your life and leave you feeling breathless. You will always be grateful for having lived and breathed in the same world as your soulmate.

This doesn’t mean soulmates are easily forgotten. Quite the contrary, in most cases, not a day will go by without thinking of your soulmate. And if you are lucky enough to see him again, it will be like no time has passed. While your soulmate is away, every love song, every poem reminds you of him, and even thousands of miles apart, your body tingles head to toe at the mere thought of him. He may even come to visit you in your dreams, wrapping his arms around you and whispering sweet nothings in your ear while you sleep. No matter how much time or distance between you and your soulmate, he will forever be in your heart.

Once you’ve experienced a soul connection, it’s hard to go to back to the conventional dating pool. The soulmate is a game changer! Knowing not every potential love interest is going to blow your mind the way a soulmate would, it’s important to keep an open mind, especially if it is a life-partner you’re seeking. For those of us who crave a soul connection, the good news is that even though they are few and far between, we can have more than one soulmate in our lifetimes. So if you’ve experienced this cosmic connection before, it is quite possible you will experience it again. And if you’re really lucky, you just may find a soulmate and a life-partner in the same man.

Dating on the Spiritual Path

Effervescence

“Effervescence” by Catherine Andrews

At a recent Gabby Bernstein event, a girl stood up asking if she should only date men who are on the spiritual path. Gabby answered her that she should find a man who simply wants to be happy.

I’ve had this conversation with several of my spiritual girlfriends, and while it would be nice to have a cute boyfriend down-dogging next to me at my yoga class and by my side at my Marianne Williamson events, I’m with Gabby on this one. Find a man who wants to be happy, and I’ll add, wants to make you happy. A good man doesn’t need to have a daily meditation practice, although that would definitely be beneficial to any relationship. He doesn’t need to wear mahala beads or read Deepak Chopra, but he absolutely must have a good heart.

There is a form of spiritual snobbery that often occurs when we begin on the spiritual path and begin to judge others for not being as enlightened as we are. What is spiritual but being more loving? Deep down inside, we are all spiritual beings parading around in bodies. Spirituality is inclusive, knowing that we are all one; separateness is what comes from the ego. Therefore, not giving a man a chance because he isn’t “spiritual enough” for you is a bit egoic.

Spirituality teaches us to lose the fearful thoughts in our heads that stem from the ego and also to quiet the mind. You do want to find a man who doesn’t have angry or overly jealous tendencies, which are ego based, and therefore very unspiritual. However, maybe for your guy, he is able to connect to the Divine when he plays his guitar or shoots hoops. I remember an ex of mine told me he never felt more happy or free as when he plays basketball. You don’t always need to sit in lotus position to achieve a mindless state.

Years ago I dated someone who was extremely spiritual. The downside was that he required a great deal of time alone because he was often feeling “inward” and also would go through phases where he chose to be celibate so he could “save his energy for meditation,” which wasn’t very fun for me. I’m grateful for the experience because aside from taking on some of his extremely high-vibe energy, I learned a great deal about meditation and spirituality from him. However, after that relationship, I decided that it was no longer important for me to date someone on the spiritual path.

One of my girlfriends who subscribes to Pat Allen’s masculine/feminine energy theory, where one partner takes on the masculine role and the other takes on the feminine, explained to me that spirituality is feminine, and therefore, it is usually the woman who brings the spirituality to the table.

It’s true, if you asked me what type of man I was looking for, I would probably describe a much more rugged masculine type, someone more likely to take me on a Harley ride than to a meditation group. However, if I ever meet a man who drives me to a group meditation on the back of his Harley, there’s a good chance he might be my soul mate.

Now I must admit, although I haven’t been actively seeking a man on the spiritual path, the guys I have been dating in the last few years almost all have been lovers of the mystical universe. Even the Hollywood party boy I dated a while back was a big fan of author Paulo Coelho, was well versed in the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an and would meditate with me. So even though it isn’t a prerequisite for a man to be spiritual, it definitely is a plus!