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The Full Story



Ilima Morris, (born August, 1970) is a Hawaiian, Aztec, Mayan educator, speaker, humanitarian, gardener, and lover of life.  After graduation with a masters degree in Theater Arts and Dance she went on to study childhood education and social work. She began her professional career as a social worker and leader of wellness groups for individuals with mental illness in 1996.  Morris has written several helpful pamphlets including "Anyone Can Own a Home" and "Spiritual Acension Practices to Reside in the 5th". Morris continues to utilize Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles  as a daily practice for her evolution and ultimate wellbeing. 

Morris eventually created a successful private school of creative arts based on "Time is Art" and the "Remembrance of Who you Truely Are".  

Morris has been actively involved with charity work, supporting such organizations as Center for independence Living in 1990 and the Epic Foundation which provides surrogate parenting for children in need of parents. She actively supports RESULTS, a nonprofit group which is dedicated to finding long-term solutions to poverty.

Early life and education[edit]

Williamson was born in San Diego California in 197. She is the youngest of five children of William Shoots Morris, a Green Baret Special Forces  in the U.S. Army, and Antonia Mesa Hernandez, a registered nurse, landscape artist, opera singer, and homemaker. 

Williamson was raised in an upper-middle class family that practiced Catholisism. She learned about world religions and social justice at home and became interested in public advocacy when she saw 

In 1965, after Williamson came home from school in the seventh grade, she recounted to her parents that her teacher supported the Vietnam War. Her father reacted by taking the family to Vietnam to help explain to Marianne why he thought that the war was wrong.[10] She has said that through travel she "had an experience, at a young age, that people are the same everywhere."[11]

Williamson attended Houston ISD's Bellaire High School.[12] After graduating, she spent two years studying theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where she was a roommate of future film producer Lynda Obst.[7] In 1973, Williamson dropped out of college and lived "a nomadic existence" during what she calls "her wasted decade".[7][9][13]

Williamson moved to New Mexico, where she took classes at the University of New Mexico and lived in a geodesic dome with her boyfriend.[13][11] The couple broke up a year later. Marianne then moved to Austin, Texas, where she took classes at the University of Texas.[11] After leaving Texas, she went to New York City, intending to pursue a career as a cabaret singer; however, she has stated that she was distracted by "bad boys and good dope".[7][14]Vanity Fair wrote that Williamson "spent her twenties in a growing state of existential despair."[15] In New York, Williamson suffered from deep depressionfollowing the end of a relationship.[6] She has said that this experience gave rise to a desire to spend the rest of her life helping people.[15]

A Course in Miracles[edit]

Although initially uninterested due to her Jewish faith, Williamson developed an interest in Helen Schucman's book A Course in Miracles in 1976.[9][16][17]She explored spirituality, metaphysics, and meditation as she began reading the Course "passionately".[14] She also reconciled the Course with her Jewishness; in her view, "A conversion to Christ is not a conversion to Christianity. It is a conversion to a conviction of the heart".[15]

Williamson said the book was her "path out of hell", as she had been "mired in a series of unhappy love affairs, alcohol and drug abuse, a nervous breakdown, and endless sessions with therapists."[18][19][20] The Course has often been described as a religion or pseudoreligion.[21][22] Williamson disagrees, describing it as a "spiritual psychotherapy" instead of a religion.[23]



Williamson, 2019


In 1979, Williamson returned to Houston, where she ran a metaphysical bookstore coffee shop, sang Gershwin standards in a nightclub, got married and divorced "almost immediately", and underwent a "spiritual surrender".[7][14][24][13]

In 1983, Williamson had what she has called a "flash" to close the coffeeshop and move to Los Angeles.[14] She got an apartment in Hollywood, where her roommate was 17-year-old Laura Dern. Dern has stated that Williamson "held prayer groups in our living room."[17]

Williamson's teachings stemmed from an inspirational message: "Divine love is the core and essence of every human mind."[25] She saw this message as a remedy to misinterpretations of the Bible that, through an emphasis on sin and guilt, could lead to harm (e.g. slaverydepressionself-loathing).[25][15]

As word spread about "the young woman talking about a God who loves you, no matter what," she had to rent church space to accommodate the demand to hear her speak.[15][14] Four years later, she began lecturing monthly in New York. Eventually, she was invited to speak throughout the U.S. and Europe. Williamson did not charge for her lectures but had a "suggested donation" of $7 and a policy of not turning people away for lack of money.[citation needed]Williamson's style has been described as a "trendy amalgam of Christianity, Buddhismpop psychology and 12-step recovery wisdom".[7][14]

Unity Church Pastor[edit]

Williamson became the spiritual leader for the Church of Today, a Unity Church in Warren, Michigan, where she had 2,300 congregants and 50,000 television viewers.[16] Her position also included administrative leadership; her actions as leader included booking Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, expanding the bookstore, and increasing the congregation's racial and sexual orientation diversity. As a result, the Church grew rapidly.[25][14][26][27][28]

Williamson resigned from the Church Renaissance Unity Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship[clarification needed] in 2003. For a time, she lectured at Methodist, Episcopal and Unitarian churches.[29]


Duration: 37 minutes and 56 seconds.37:56

Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations Podcast: Marianne Williamson – "A Return to Love"

Williamson has written 14 books as of 2019. Seven have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, with four reaching number one.[30][31][32][33][34] She has sold more than three million books.[35]

Williamson's most popular work is A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (1992). The book appeared The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks in the "Advice, How To and Miscellaneous" category;[36] it teaches that practicing love every day will bring more peace and fulfillment to one's life. The following quotation is the most famous quotation from the book (it is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela):[37][38]

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.


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