What Marianne Williamson Taught Me About Love

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This I know for sure:  When you start to live your life from a place of deep love, you will transform your life.  And I don’t mean some little transformation, I mean miracles will begin to unfold.

Let’s backtrack a bit to where and how I came up with that conclusion. The year was 1992 and author Marianne Williamson was about to change the way many of us looked at miracles, love, and life when she released her beloved book, A Return to Love:  Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles.

If I were to boil down the core message of the book to one sentence (i.e., if I were to tell you the ONE thing you need to know to transform your life in miraculous ways), it would be this:

Making love the driving force in ALL aspects of your life is the key to miraculous life transformation. 

transform your life with love marianne williamsonAcknowledging that love needs to be the driving force in your life isn’t a difficult conclusion to reach. Many of us already understand this on some level, but we have a flawed vision of what loves looks, sounds like, and feels like.  Because we put limits on love, we have no idea how to take it from an idea and put it into practice day in and day out in all aspects of our lives, both while we’re with others and when we’re alone.

Loving others and ourselves is sometimes really, really hard to do. True love sometimes doesn’t look anything like the love of our romanticized thinking.

One of the great tragedies of life is that we often express love or reach for love in the most unhealthy of ways, and no surprise, it leads to feeling bitter and disappointed in others and ourselves. The true tragedy isn’t that we make this mistake, but rather, that we never understand that we’re making this mistake in the first place. Awareness of how we think about, feel, and express love is key to making authentic love the driving force in our lives.

You’re Being Called to Transform Your Life.  Will You Answer the Call?

You were born with a heart that was wired to both express and receive love. Life has taught you a lot of things about love, some true, and much more that is simply untrue. Failure to recognize your limited understanding of love will keep you from making love THE driving force in your life. This, in turn, will prevent you from elevating your life so you experience the deep meaning and wondrous joy you deserve.

Failure to make love the driving force in your life will only lead to disappointment, dissatisfaction, and despair in your life. And, it’s all avoidable.

You may be thinking, “But, I love my family and friends, and I more or less love myself, so what am I not getting here?”  Most people are more than capable and eager to express love at least to some degree. You’re already loving. I’m not questioning that.

What I’m talking about here is recognizing the barriers that you knowingly or more often, unknowingly, build that prevent you from fully giving love and fully receiving love. These barriers are often built in areas that you had no idea had anything to do with love.

After reading A Return to Love, I realized that I had no idea the many ways I was not showing up for love fully in my life. I was shocked. I considered myself to be a loving person, but I still had so much to learn (and unlearn!).

Why It’s Time to Learn How to Make Love the Driving Force in Your Life  

I don’t recall what was preoccupying my mind in 1992, but I did not find Return to Love when it was first published. That’s probably a good thing.  Instead, a friend of mine recommended it to me in 1996, during a particularly rotten time in my life after the death of my mother. I was drowning in grief, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I was also going through major financial woes and some terribly difficult and distressing issues at work. My career seemed doomed.  I was lonely (no intimate relationships and not that many friends, either).  I was sadder than I’d ever been.  I was seeking a miracle in my life.

In Return to Love, Marianne states, “I didn’t know… that a miracle is a reasonable thing to ask for.”  She goes on to say that a miracle is a shift in perception … a shift back to the love that already resides within us. We don’t need anything to be more loving and to receive more love;  we just need to open ourselves to a fuller understanding of love.

A Return to Love helped me look at myself and all that was going on in my life through more loving eyes.  As I made changes in my thoughts, I changed in how I related to the world and the deep pain in my life began to lift.  For me, that was a miracle.

Manifesting Miracles:  10 Key Lessons from A Return to Love

Manifesting Miracles:  10 Key Lessons from A Return to Love

Love is multidimensional and can be expressed in a myriad of ways, though I believe love in action is the highest form of love.  Learning how to do this requires a lot more digging into Marianne’s work.

It’s difficult to narrow my favorite lessons from the book to a mere ten, but I believe the following lessons best illustrate the many ways to open up to love more fully in your life.

Don’t be surprised if the content I’m showing you here surprises you;  it wasn’t what I expected from the book when I first read it either, but I’m sure glad these are the lessons that showed up for me.  They have made a tremendous difference in my life.

  1. Your Playing Small Does Not Serve You or the World.

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? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 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’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. Asking for Change Outside of You Is Unhelpful. You Must Change First.

To ask for another relationship, or another job is not particularly helpful if we’re going to show up in the new situation exactly as we showed up in the last one. – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. Self-Discovery May Be Painful for a While, But It Leads to Expansion. To Remain Unaware Is to Volunteer for Pain Your Whole Life Long.

It takes courage … to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. You Are Responsible Not Only for Your Actions but Also for What You Think.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think.  The truth is that you are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice.  What you do comes from what you think.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

  1. Our Self-Perception Drives Our Behaviors and It Is Revealed in the Energy that Encircles Our Lives.

If we think we’re small, limited, inadequate creatures, then we tend to behave that way, and the energy we radiate reflects those thoughts no matter what we do.  If we think we’re magnificent creatures with an infinite abundance and love and power to give, then we tend to behave that way … the energy around us reflects our state of awareness.    – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

  1. Don’t Search for Meaning in the Meaningless.

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. – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. Calling on God to Help Us Is a Call to Grow. The Impact Is Powerful and Beautiful But the Manner In Which We Are Served Might Not Be to Our Liking at First.

Sometimes we think that calling on God means inviting a force into our lives that will make everything rosy.  The truth is, it means inviting everything into our lives that will force us to grow – and growth can be messy.  The purpose of life is to grow into our perfection.  Once we call on God, everything that could anger us is on the way.  Why?  Because the place where we go into anger instead of love is our wall.  Any situation that pushes our buttons is a situation where we don’t yet have the capacity to be unconditionally loving.  It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to draw our attention to that and help us move beyond that point.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. What We Send Out into the World Comes Back to Us.

If I choose to bless another person, I will always end up feeling more blessed. If I project guilt onto another person, I will always end up feeling more guilty.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. People Who Make Us Angry Can Be Our Most Important Teachers.

It’s easy to forgive people who have never done anything to make us angry.  People who do make us angry, however, are our most important teachers.  They indicate the limits to our capacity for forgiveness.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


  1. Love Is Everything.

We came here to co-create with God by extending love. Life spent with any other purpose in mind is meaningless, contrary to our nature, and ultimately painful. – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


When You Begin Living Your Life from a Place of Love, You Will Transform Your Life!

I don’t know about you, but when I was told that I should   “make love the driving force in my life,” I had no idea it would cover so much ground.

I didn’t realize I’d be called to stop playing small and to begin living a big, authentic life.  [More playing big:  Playing Big by Tara Mohr.]

I didn’t realize that I had to take responsibility for what I think.  I never made the connection that loving thoughts are the seeds from which loving words and actions flow.

I didn’t realize that I needed to sincerely appreciate all those who irritate, agitate, and frustrate me for the teachers of love that they really are.

I didn’t understand how my behaviors are driven from my self-perception, and thus, when I withhold love from myself, I withhold love from my actions and the world, too.  In doing this, I cause myself pain when what I really want to experience is love.    [More self-love:  Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It.]

Many times, it’s easy to think you have no power to improve your life, but you do.  You have the ability to transform your life in miraculous ways, and it begins with the simple decision of deciding that love will be the driving force in your life.

In truth, while you can’t control all the things that happen to you or all the circumstances you find yourself in, you always get to control how you think about what’s going on, what you decide to focus on, and how you resolve to respond to the world around you.

 You Create the Type of Life You'll Live.  Make It Awesome!

You Create the Type of Life You’ll Live.  Make It Awesome!

Love is the essential existential fact.  It is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth.  To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others is the meaning of life.  – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

You are the great co-creator in your life … you are one with the Creator of all.   And that Creator, whether you call it God, or Source, or your Higher Power, or The Divine, or something completely different is in fact, LOVE.  Love is what connects us.  It’s what unifies it.  It’s what saves us in our time of need.  Love is what makes life worth living … love is, in fact, the purpose of life.

Keep immersing yourself in the lessons of love and your life will indeed transform in miraculous ways!


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