What's wrong with this (big) picture?
New-Wage guru-ette Marianne Williamson, who first rose to fame in the early 1990s by popularizing A Course in Miracles with her book, A Return to Love, has been an Oprah fave for years. Marianne's stock-in-trade is flowery, poetic writing that is often lovely to read but has a tendency to be kind of rambling, while offering very little in the way of practical advice. (Kind of like this blog, come to think of it, except for the flowery and poetic writing and the being-lovely-to-read bit.) I met Marianne years ago at a book signing in Houston, and because in my brief conversation with her she exuded what seemed to me to be genuine kindness, I still tend to give her, perhaps against all reason, a little more of a pass than I do other New-Wage superstars. But her latest opus... jeez.
The story goes that Marianne was standing near Oprah one day when the latter was chatting about dieting. As most of us know, Oprah has experienced dramatic weight losses and re-gains – repeatedly – over the past couple of decades. According to the story Marianne tells, she said to Oprah, "If you could have done it by yourself, you would have done it by now."
Oprah asked Marianne to 'splain, and Marianne said she would reply by email. Subsequently she sent Oprah several letters detailing how Oprah or anyone else should ask God for help to move forward from food addiction or compulsive overeating, and the accompanying emotional baggage. At some point – we're not told exactly when – Oprah suggested that Marianne turn those emails into...hold on to your hats, Dear Ones, because this is really unprecedented...a book. And the result is A Course in Weight Loss, published in November 2010 by, appropriately enough, the New-Wage fiddle-faddle factory Hay House.
The title of the book is, of course, a blatant marketing ploy, and if you're at all familiar with the history of A Course in Miracles (aka ACIM), you'll also immediately notice that the cover of A Course in Weight Loss is vaguely reminiscent of the design of the classic ACIM book covers, consisting of simple text with a border and solid-color background. If you're not familiar with ACIM, suffice to say that it is a New-Wage study course with an impeccable spiritual pedigree, having originally been channeled by an atheistic Jewish woman, Helen Schucman, Ph.D., straight from Jesus H. Christ Himself. The success story of ACIM and Marianne herself are neatly encapsulated in this informative graphic. (Click for enlargement. And yes, I know I've shared this pic before. Sorry about the redundancy.)
Marianne's newest book is all about retraining your consciousness and healing your separation from Gawd, which, she explains, is the true cause of your portliness, anorexia, binging and purging, or what have you. "People report that just from reading this book they're losing weight," says Marianne, according to the Houston Chronicle article I linked to in the second paragraph of this snippet. Oprah herself listed A Course in Weight Loss as one of her "favorite things" of 2010.
The elephant in the room, if you'll pardon the metaphor, is actually a thundering herd of elephants. One hardly knows where to begin. There are several problems, apart from the glaringly obvious fact that Marianne herself has apparently never had a weight problem remotely on the scale (no pun intended) of Oprah's. "Well, gee, Cosmic Connie, that could just be because Marianne takes her own advice," you might say. If you believe that... um, you know those sayings about oceanfront property in Arizona, or bridges for sale?
So let's examine some of the elephants.
First of all, that story of the origins of the book seems...well... a tad contrived. Oprah has long been in tune with all of the trends and ideas of the conspicuously enlightened set, embracing everything and everyone from Eckhart Tolle to, most infamously, The Secret. She has supposedly been in touch, almost ostentatiously at times, with her spiritual side for years. She has known Marianne Williamson for years as well. How could anything that Marianne says or writes possibly be so novel to her that she would even ask what Marianne meant by that remark during their conversation about dieting? Or was Oprah just making polite conversation? Or did the conversation actually occur as related? Something about that story doesn't quite ring true to me.
Secondly, the use of spirituality (whether of the New-Wage, Eastern, or Bible-thumping Christian variety) to aid in weight loss is hardly a revolutionary concept. If the blending of spiritual or religious concepts with weight issues is supposed to be a unique selling point for the book, the author and the promoters are kind of behind the times.
Third, Oprah is lavishly wealthy, and besides having her finger on the pulse of cutting-edge spiritual and pop-psychology concepts, she has easy access to all of the world's very best fitness trainers, dietary experts, and methods of medical intervention that she could possibly ever desire in order to achieve permanent weight loss, if such a goal were even possible for her. And indeed, she has had personal trainers and chefs and Lord knows who and what else to aid her in her struggle for years; contrary to the implication in Marianne's remark to her, it doesn't appear that Oprah has been attempting to to do it on her own for a very long time.
Fourth, just look at Oprah. While I think she's lovely at any weight, I have a strong feeling that being even remotely trim is going to be a lifelong struggle for her no matter what she reads or how she tinkers with her relationship to Spirit. I'm not making fun of or trivializing her weight struggle or anyone else's. I'm just making observations.
Could it be that Oprah was just trying to help out a gal pal whose star is kind of fading, by suggesting a quick and easy money op? Ya think?
In any case, Marianne is now making the rounds to promote and sign her new book. She'll be in my neck of the woods this coming Thursday, giving a lecture on what seems to me the painfully self-explanatory "The Lure of the Miraculous." Don't look for me there. I'll be staying home experiencing the miracle of The Big Bang Theory and $#! My Dad Says.
A Course in Methane Miracles: who's gonna step up to take credit?
One of the biggest disaster stories of 2010 was the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last April. It was bad news to be sure, but as it turns out, it wasn't all awful. Texas A&M oceanographer John Kessler and fellow researchers recently published a study concluding that hordes of hungry bacteria have gobbled up nearly all of the estimated 200,000 tons of methane the spill released into the Gulf of Mexico. And the microbes performed this feat faster than anyone had previously predicted, without creating the expected oxygen-deprived "dead zone" in the ocean. Not everyone is convinced that the bacteria alone were responsible for the fact that the methane is all but gone, but some journos are calling it "the methane miracle."
Now I'm wondering who is going to be the first in the New-Wage community to step up and claim to have provided the power behind that miracle.
Will it be Phoenix, aka the Spirit Diva, aka Judy Marks, the gal who not only communicates with hurricanes but who also led not one, not two, not three, but twenty-three meditations on the Gulf oil spill?
Will it be Mr. Fire and his sidekick, Pat, who last year announced a "clearing" audio to clean up the mess, featuring Pat's music and Joe's weird vocalizations, which they claimed had awesome powers to tune listeners into the collective unconscious, thus enabling them to impact the oil spill and anything else perceived as being bad?
Or will it be members of that cultish sex-and-money (dis)organization, Access Consciousness (née Access Energy Transformation), who are experts in "Molecular Demanifestation" and "Demolecular Manifestation," and who are going to attempt to demonstrate their expertise by going out on a boat and demanifesting a giant glob of plastic in the ocean? Perhaps a group of Accessories will step forward with the claim that they've been practicing their skills on the methane from the BP oil spill, in preparation for their big ocean voyage (on which they will embark once they have taken care of basic details, such as manifesting a boat).
Or will it be some other New-Wage entrepreneur claiming that it was his or her frauduct or metaphysical superpowers that cleared it all away? Guys and gals, there's a huge money op here. What are y'all waiting for?
Accessories on the loose: monkeys and typewriters
Speaking of Access, in an Access post I wrote last year, I mentioned that a former Access insider shared some of the hooks that Access founder Gary Douglas and his right-hand boy, Dain Heer, have used to sucker participants into continued participation. Among these hooks, my correspondent wrote, were the "clearing statements."
Gary originally and then Gary & Dain together would come up with what they said were new more powerful clearing statements - all the time. So if you missed classes or workshops, you didn't get the 'clearings' from these new and great clearing statements, and you didn't have them to process yourself with or process your clients (if you had any). While I was participating I observed many accessories try to make a 'go' of doing Access facilitation to create income. Most could not and no facilitator was raking in the money like Dain.The other day someone forwarded an email to me that had been sent out by an Access facilitator who claims to be a relationship expert. This is a person who, among other things, teaches people how to stay married and happy, and also coaches women on how to find happiness and fulfillment as The Other Woman. (In Access, any type of sexual arrangement is apparently okay as long as it is satisfying to the Accessory.) During a recent "relationships bootcamp" call, the facilitator shared a new Access clearing statement:
What secret agenda for the creation of confinement, definement, and avoidance of choice and question pressurizing you utterly into stillpoint through sex copulation and relationship do you have that maintains and entrains what you cannot change choose and institute as life and living that is bigger than the reality of others?When I shared that clearing statement with my guy Ron, he said, "That kinda nails down the thing about monkeys and typewriters, doesn't it?"
Right and wrong, good and bad, all 9, POD, POC, shorts, boys and beyonds.
Au contraire, Ronald! Far from being the result of random pecking, the clearing statement is in fact deeply meaningful. I'm willing to bet that the first paragraph can be easily understood after taking a few Access classes, downing a few Very Special Brownies, or consuming a large amount of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. Anything that severely compromises cognitive function should do the trick. (If you're wondering what "stillpoint" means, however, you'll have to listen to the bootcamp call to find out.)
The second paragraph is actually the classic original Access clearing statement, according to the former Accessory I mentioned at the beginning of this snippet. In use for many years now, it's a sort of shorthand, with each word having many meanings, according to the Ex-cessory. An early Access web page stated, "This phrase unlocks and erases all the programs, agreements and judgments which keep you stuck throughout all time and space." It's a phrase that is generally used after a "process question" to clear all of the energies – good and bad, right and wrong. Some of the things that are cleared include...
...implanted and explanted stuff, perpetually and/or eternally regenerating and all of the relays, spheres, uns, atomic, subatomic, pre-atomic structures, confluences throughout all time, space, dimensions and realities, ad infinitum.All of these things were taught in Access One, at least at the time my correspondent was involved. I think they're taught in Scientology too, come to think of it.
But what do those weird things like "POD," "POC," "all nine," "shorts," "boys," etc. mean?
According to information on an Access web site...
POC is short for "point of creation." This means you are asking the energy to go to the point of creation (the moment where you first began functioning as though whatever thought, feeling or emotion was actually yours) and uncreate and destroy it, so that you can now function as the infinite being you truly are.POD is short for "point of destruction," where you started destroying yourself by functioning from those thoughts, feelings or emotions that were not yours.My Ex-cessory correspondent 'splained the rest to me:
- All nine refers to the "nine layers of garbage" that Accessories are taught to eliminate. Each of these layers has a power of its own.
- Shorts stands for "the meaning, the meaningless, the punishments, the rewards, the layers, the non layers, the meaningless glop and the glop." Hey, makes sense to me!
- Boys refers to "the 22 nucleated spheres," which Accessories refer to as "the boys in the hood." These are issues that tend to repeat themselves no matter how often we work on them. Clear as a bell, eh? Although I would think that "boys" should be spelled "boyz" for cultural consistency.
- Beyonds are "the usual feelings and sensations that stop you dead."
The former Accessory tells me that Gary always used to say it didn't matter what order the words were said when repeating the clearing phrase. In that respect, the Access clearing statement is like the Four Magic Phrases of Ho'oponoponoponoponoponoponoponopono. Cool, huh?
When I shared Ron's comment with the correspondent who had forwarded the info about the "relationships bootcamp" and the latest Access "clearing statement," that person replied, "Honestly, he's so judgmental." "Judgmental" is kind of a dirty word in Access and, indeed, in much of New-Wage culture.
"But I'm not being judgmental," Ron protested. "I was merely pointing out some scientifical data."
Indeed. Besides, Ron and I both happen to like monkeys. We just think they should be kept away from typewriters, keyboards and phones.
That's it for now; more to come soon.
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