Ray: You write about the importance in midlife of doing “the rigorous work of taking a fearless moral inventory”—about facing your pain and even facing places of self-loathing. Where do you begin that work?
Marianne: Sometimes it’s late at night—it’s 3 o’clock in the morning—and for whatever reason, you can’t stop thinking about something you did wrong in 1978. It’s just come up for you, and you can’t stop it.
Why do we have such an epidemic use of antidepressants? I don’t mean among people who are clinically depressed. I mean among people who are not clinically depressed, but they just don’t know what to do with all their psychic pain.
Maybe they turn to sleeping pills, but listen: Sometimes you’re awake for a reason.
That monster is out, and you’re just going to have to deal with it and slay it. That’s a midlife process. That’s why building a kind of psychic container—marking what’s happened, recognizing it, honoring it—is so important.
The fearless moral inventory, which Alcoholics Anonymous talks about, is recognizing your character defects. But, remember, your character defects are not where you were bad; they’re where you were wounded.
To the initiate, you recognize these as the places you were wounded. But to the uninitiated, these are just the places where you were a jerk—where you were obnoxious and behaved like an idiot.
You have to recognize at a certain point that no matter where you got it from, it’s yours now. You might be this way because of a parent who abandoned you or molested you or did whatever childhood wound you still feel, but at a certain point, maturity demands that regardless of where you got it from, it’s yours now.
You are the one who must take responsibility.
You’re the one who must pray that this be transformed.
You’re the one who must do the work of being different and changing.
I’ve posted a variety of number of interview excerpts with Marianne Williamson (along with many other teachers) on this blog, and I invite you to explore some of my favorites:
- Marianne on midlife, body blows, spiritual understanding, maturity, and revitalization
- Marianne on the miracle of midlife
- Marianne on deepening recognition
- Marianne on the fabulousness of the human winter
- Marianne on death and happiness
Please leave comments with your thoughts, and if you like the posts please share them with your community by posting links on your own social media channels. You can visit Marianne Williamson’s website at www.marianne.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/williamsonmarianne.
Thank you very much for visiting and for your interest. I truly appreciate it.