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Can We Elect Marianne Williamson to Congress?

Can We Elect Marianne Williamson to Congress?

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson- our next Congresswoman?

“The world won’t step into its greatness until we step into ours.” Marianne Williamson

Quick – Can spiritual people get elected to political office?

 That’s a question I’d like to ask you to answer after you’re done reading this post.

But first, last week was an exciting day for the spirituality and consciousness community.

For me, it wasn’t just because I had a chance to meet Marianne Williamson at the ARC theater in Los Angeles, but like many of us, I heard the refreshing news that she’s running for Congress in California’s 33rd district.

If you’re not familiar with Williamson, she is an international spiritual author, writer and speaker who has written 10 best-selling books, including the New York Times Bestseller, a Return to Love.

It felt like there was  a standing ovation in the heavens when Marianne Williamson announced her candidacy.

The spiritual and consciousness communities around the United States have enthusiastically embraced her candidacy for all that Marianne stands for.

Soul sister, Heather Waxman, applauded Marianne’s ability to set the trend for a change in consciousness in the political sphere and urged us to get involved.

Mastin Kipp declared her victory. “When Marianne wins, it will inspire other seekers to run for office. And one after the other, we will begin to transform the political arena just like we are transforming every other part of life,” he wrote last week on the Daily Love.

Now that Marianne’s in this race, she’s intent on winning this election so she can be an independent voice who represents everyday people – not the moneyed interests or the special interests who run this country.

Having worked in campaign politics myself for the past 10 years, I know that there are many challenges that Marianne faces in winning a race like this, including the fact she’s running against a 36-year incumbent of Congress, a gerrymandered political district that favors the incumbent and heaps of special interest money.

Seven Practical Political Strategies to Win this Race.

If I were advising Marianne Williamson, like this were a traditional political campaign, here are seven campaign strategies on how to win this election:

1) Tell her life story to voters and relate how her personal story and life’s work is in stark contrast to others in the race who have made a career out of politics.

2) Distinguish herself on issues that matter to constituents in her district, specifically her views on the recent government shutdown and her take on the debt ceiling debate. Also, her own platform on jobs, education, the military, the prison system and the environment.

3) Informing voters how she can make her vision a reality. What are practical things she will do if elected today? Letting voters know the specifics of her platform and candidacy.

4) Listening to her constituents. Begin a series of town halls and house parties in her district where she can listen to the concerns of voters in her district.

5) Recruit, organize and inspire her constituents, supporters and readers in the district to reach out and talk to voters in the district. Start a conversation with voters about what issues matter to them and introduce voters to Marianne’s background and vision for a new kind politics, a politics that transcends party and money.

6) Pledge against taking money from lobbyists and large special interest political action committees. And challenge the other candidates to do the same. Also, shed light on exactly how much special interest money her opponent takes from the very industries he’s supposed to be regulating (especially energy and pharmaceutical companies).

Continue to mobilize the spiritual and consciousness community around the country to donate to the campaign and raise funds from smaller individual donors. (I just donated by the way and encourage you to as well by visiting: www.marianneforcongress.com)

7) Have days of action in the district where the community can join Marianne to volunteer, clean up and start taking direct action to improve the lives of regular people in the 33rd Congressional district.

Now, back to the question I had for you.

Many spiritual leaders, including Martin Luther King and Gandhi, had to launch movements outside of elected office. They used their moral authority to change the social and political structures.

What will it take to have someone who is spiritually-minded win an election?

Is it possible for spirit-filled and consciousness-based leaders to win in the rough and tumble world of money and power ingrained in our political system? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

12 Advantages of an Arranged Marriage: Allow Love to Bloom

12 Advantages of an Arranged Marriage: Allow Love to Bloom

There are advantages of an arranged marriage.

I didn’t realize there were advantages of an arranged marriage until after I got married.

My marriage wasn’t quite arranged. By parents. Or family.

Maybe it was arranged by the Gods. Or the Internet. Or the Internet Gods.

Sure, my former wife and I shared the same cultural traditions, spoke the same language and came from the same community in South India.

Although it felt a whole lot like an arranged marriage because we had so much in common, ultimately it was one of our choosing.

We had met each other from across the globe thanks to the power of an online community.

We talked, romanced and wooed each other. We thought we had outsmarted the traditional Indian marriage and found true love.

We married and lived happily ever…

Well, we lived happily. For some time.

Marriage didn’t turn out as we had imagined. Unlike the passionate world-wide initial romance which catapulted us to our wedding day, our relationship fizzled to a melodramatic and sad end.

The separation was fast. The divorce was straightforward.

Although the paperwork was easy, the emotional pain of divorce was probably more painful than having a truck run over me a few times. Greater than through a field of thorny roses.

If I had written this post ten years ago, I would have argued vigorously against an arranged marriage and advised anyone who was considering one to visit a shrink. A really good one.

But eight years of married life plus two years of post-divorce life plus observations about marital success in several cultures are factors that lead me to question if there are benefits to arranged marriages and if they are the way to go.

What is an arranged marriage?

Arranged marriages are essentially fixed or set-up marriages by parents and family of the bride and groom. Practiced throughout the east, arranged marriages can range from formal arrangements by family members of the bride and groom to informal introductions.

Generations ago, brides and grooms would be arranged to be married by their families with little or no say. Sometimes the bride and groom would not even see each other until the wedding day!

But the arranged marriage of today allows for a brief courting period and hell, even input and approval by the boy and girl!

Today’s brides and grooms can either give a thumbs up or down to their future mate, similar to a Facebook “like”.

While this post isn’t for everyone, there are probably many of you out there (in or originally from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and other parts of Asia and Africa) who will face the prospects of an arranged marriage.

If you’re a white dude in the United States, U.K or Australia, please do not email me asking how to have your nuptials arranged. Instead read my earlier post on why you’re likely not a suitable match for an arranged marriage.

For the rest of you, here are the 12 advantages of having an arranged marriage: 

1)    A family affair. You don’t have to worry about how your spouse is going to turn out. You’ll know he’s compatible because your family does a thorough police-worthy background check on his family, their personalities, their mental health issues and how they interact with other families.

Your family also hires a financial detective also check out his family’s stock portfolios and real estate holdings! J

2)    Shared values. Families tend to pick spouses based on shared values. So you can bet your roti, the guy you’re marrying cares about education, financial stability and maintaining religious and cultural traditions.

He, ok fine – his family, also values gold and diamonds which they intend to shower you with for the rest of your life. Score!

3)    Love blooms. You may not fall madly in love, but you can be ready to love a life that’s comfortable, stable and enduring.

There’s something endearing about a love that lasts. I’ve noticed the longer arranged marriage couples are married, the stronger their love and affection for each other tends to be.

Also, it is likely this relationship is the first real relationship both parties have had. When you don’t have anyone else to compare to, the person you’re marrying can seem like an exquisite Rugosa rose.

4)    No need to wait forever for that perfect suitor who may never materialize.

As Tracy Macmillan has mentioned in the case of love marriages, many women don’t get married because they’re looking for all kinds of shallow qualities in men.

She says that the only quality that should matter is character. Because men of character commit to marriages, and often, for the long-term!

In arranged marriages, the character research is done early and extensively. Once a potential bride or groom passes the character test, families are usually pretty flexible on most other issues.

(And it goes without saying of course, people of good character live in palatial homes and sport Versace exclusively)

5)    Parents screen for deal-breakers.

Having your parental units make early decisions, they can see what the potential pitfalls and problems maybe with your future partner, as this New York Times article points out.

“They’re trying to figure out whether something could go wrong that could drive people apart,” Dr. Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavior Research and Technology in Vista, California says.

Your parents essentially become troubleshooters before the match is made knowing innately if your personalities, lifestyles and families would suit each other.

6)    Parent approved and endorsed. Your parents intend to spend a significant amount of time with your soon-to-be spouse which only means additional consideration, reflection and improved selection.

If they can’t stand being around him for hours (months) at a time, you are definitely not going to enjoy spending time with your parents and husband.

Since he’s going to spend family holidays and gatherings with you, might as well find someone who is family approved and endorsed.

7)    A solid foundation. Families look out for those things that will stick in the long run – earning capacity and professional and career potential. Sure this may be on the duller side of things to young people but if you’re being practical, money matters.

The more you have of it and the more your future husband earns, the better off you are.

Oh, and let’s just say your in-laws want to move in with you in their old age, they’d like to know you’re going to be able to financially support them.

8)    Takes the guesswork out of dating. Online browsing. Lunch dates. Whacky set-up by friends and blind dates. Who needs it?

You don’t have to ask too many questions or guess what matters to your future partner.

With similar cultural backgrounds and values, YOU KNOW you’re going to get married, have a couple of kids, raise a family and send your kids to professional medical school where they can earn well and take care of you in your old age.

Simple. No blood needs to be shed if everyone does their part.

9)    Spend more time wedding planning. It goes without saying, but if you don’t have to spend all of your time dating and working on your relationship, you can spend all your time planning your elaborate three to seven-day wedding.

Don’t worry about the small details about your future love and relationship. The research on your future spouse is more solid than research done by Consumer Reports or Harvard research labs.

Focus on what really matters in life: sending out hundreds of wedding invitations to people you don’t know and have never heard of, selecting the bedazzling jewelry and foraging the sari shops for the overly-priced silk wedding wear you’ll be dazzling everyone with on your wedding day.

10) Family gets in your business. You may hate the thought of your family in your business, but if you’re of South Asian or Indian descent, it’s a fact of life.

If you haven’t accepted it, you’re probably spending time in a far away ashram or have lost all communication and contact with your family. You’re probably in the family witness protection program.

Along with family comes accountability and support.

When your parents are involved in your dating life, they’ll be there as a backup support system in case you need counseling, unwanted advice or a kick in the rear.

If one of you is acting silly or foolish, your family can put you in a headlock and emotionally blackmail you to your senses.

They’re most likely your neighbors or live just down the block from you for unwanted and intrusive visits.

11) Your parents pick up the wedding tab. Yes, the wedding is stressful, doesn’t feel like your own and will be as chaotic as a three ring circus but what are family occasions for after all?

You’ll want to choke your parents and lock up your relatives but your big day will only be filled with hugs, kisses and lot of good cheer.

Usually, regardless of how horrible, chaotic or dangerous the wedding is, the wedding tab will be picked up by one or both sets of parents.

You can save up for that big 60th birthday party your parents plan to have down the road where you can gift your Mom with a Debeers diamond necklace or your Dad with a  Porsche Carrera. (or, more likely, a Toyota Camry).

12) Less confusion for your children. With such strong cultural and traditional values in place, you will usually get free baby-sitting which will allow your parents to inculcate your children with eastern values and traditions.

With that free babysitting and brainwashing, your children come to think all this arranged marriage rituals are normal. They’ll be heirs to two parents who speak the same language, practice the same religion and follow all the same traditions.

You won’t have to spend much time explaining different holidays to your kids or spending money for gifts for two different sets of holidays.

Traditions, culture, religion, practices, marriages, rituals, career and professional expectations are all in place for them.

You just sit back to collect the big bucks. And harass them as they’re growing up when and if bizarre thoughts like ‘love’ marriages starts entering their minds.

Hmmm. Love marriages. Who could possibly ever think of such a far-fetched cockamamie idea?

And of course, my views may be a little skewed. There are horrible stories out there of arranged marriages gone wrong.

In fact, if my marriage had been more of an arranged affair, I’d probably be writing to you to run for your life from arranged marriages. Simply, because it didn’t work out.

But I’m going to give it you straight. There are many advantages of an arranged marriage. There’s probably 1001 reasons you shouldn’t have one either and that’s for a future post.

If you’re still unsure about the advantages of an arranged marriage, pick up Arranged Marriage: Run to the Altar or Run for Your Life, click here on Amazon.


Happiness Begins on Your Plate; How Changing Your Diet Can Change Your Life.

Happiness Begins on Your Plate; How Changing Your Diet Can Change Your Life.


Plate to you - Yeah, I'll change your life.

Welcome to my Twitter pal and health coach, Amita Patel. Take it away, Amita!

Contrary to popular belief, food is not what makes you fat, sick, or unhappy.

We’d all like to believe that it’s the sugar, the carbs, and the GMOs.

But the Truth is much simpler.

It’s you.

Yup, you heard me!

To be more specific, it’s about your connection to yourself.  The more you cultivate this primary relationship, the happier and healthier you are.

So what are the secrets to looking young, being healthy and staying in a state of bliss? I’m going to share the lessons it took me close to 30 years to learn.

My journey.

Let me tell you about my life before I woke up. I was a freakin’ mess! I lived my life from a place of “When I have ___________, then I’ll be happy.

Success and happiness seemed to be an external thing I had to “get” rather than an internal state.

As a result, at 14 I began a love-hate relationship with medication. Anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, ADD medication, sleep aids…You name it, I took it.

In a vicious cycle, my eating made my moods worse and my mood made me choose to eat worse.

Weight fluctuation, breakouts, and of course, depression ensued. So what did I eat back then? Whatever I thought would immediately make me feel better!

Without a connection to myself, I fixed external situations with a tray of brownies. I’d start my day with sugar, add in some processed or packaged food for lunch and end the day with anything I could wash down with a glass of wine.

Whether happy, sad, or bored, I was sure that an internal condition could be remedied by an external behavior.

Years, relationships, and many poor coping mechanisms later, I had my “Aha!” moment and decided not to be a victim anymore.

At that moment, my health and happiness became MY responsibility; it wasn’t for a person, a pill, or a thing to fix. I wasn’t broken. It was the most empowering moment of my life and my life immediately changed.

I could go on and on about the weight I lost or how much better my skin looks, but the real transformation was internal. I no longer needed medication, things, or people to make me happy.

Happiness depends on a practice where we connect to ourselves in a meaningful way.

This means rewiring learned behaviors, learning new coping mechanisms, and exploring healthy self-care. One of the best I lessons I learned after I connected with myself is that if you want to improve your body image, health and self-esteem, you need to start with your plate. 

Here are the 5 changes you can make to improve your health and your life:

1. Listen to your body unapologetically.

When you listen to your body, you can eat consciously and without guilt.

This means you let your body and spirit, not your emotions guide you. Don’t focus on what not to eat. Instead “crowd-out.”

This means you add in nutrient-dense foods like dark, leafy greens, plenty of water, and high-quality non-processed foods. When your body get the nutrients it needs, it naturally stop craving the crap.

After all, cravings for carbs, salt, and sugar are about nutrient deficiencies, not a bad breakup.

And when you truly want that piece of cake, have it and enjoy it. The guilt you feel has a far worse effect on your body and mind than a few extra calories. Nothing holds onto fat more than the way you feel about yourself.

2. Align your diet with your environment.

Before I embraced true health, I often nourished myself according to what was a popular belief at the time. I ate salads and constantly felt hungry, I avoided all fats and felt deprived.

Honestly, it sucked.

I was unhappy and my health wasn’t improving.

That was until I accepted that fat and healthy carbs are our friends.

As a New Yorker in a cold climate, I am not meant to eat salads all time. My body can’t process the excess sugar, potassium, etc. And I need the fat and grains to help balance my blood sugar.

Eventually, I changed my diet to align with what nature provided me. Eating foods grown in our environment brings us into alignment with nature and our surroundings. This connection increases our vitality and health.

Eating foods from other regions and climates not only invites sickness in, but alienates us from our own environment, contributing to a disorderly mind and body.

For example, if you were living in Alaska and had your favorite Indian mangos shipped to you, your body would not be equipped to handle that amount of sugar.

Similarly, in the springtime when you eat heavy foods that you loved in the winter, you would feel sluggish.

Eating locally helps you to eat seasonally and maintain harmony with your surroundings.

Your body is smart and can balance itself, but why force it to do all that work when you can support it in creating health and vitality.

On a deeper level, we are part of nature. Nature is aligned with the universe.

So using the magical powers of the transitive property: When we align with nature, we are aligning with the Universe.

3. Balance.

This not only applies to your foods, but activities as well.

Opposing forces help balance each other. We see this in our body, in our lives, and in the greater universe.  We can’t have one without the other.

In Modern Macro Medicine, the healing of disease is treated when we identify what is out of balance. We then rectify this imbalance with its complementary opposite.

For example, heart disease is a considered a yang or “hot” disease in the body. It can be cured, balanced, and healed by adding in cooling foods like fruits & vegetables and taking out “hot” foods like oils, fried things, and heavy foods.

Anemia, on the other hand, requires “warming” foods like protein to help balance the system.

The beauty of Modern day Macrobiotics is that it doesn’t just apply to food, but to life itself.

Look for what is out of line in your eating and balance your diet with what you’re lacking.

4. Avoid the blood sugar battle.

You are not doing yourself any favors when you skip breakfast and then hit the vending machine at lunch. Eat when your body wants.

Balancing your blood sugar is a key component in being healthy. mood regulation.

The blood sugar roller coaster depletes your adrenals too, so not only will you feel sad and sluggish, but you’ll reach for a caffeinated or high-sugar treat to remedy the problem which will continue the cycle over again.

In all honesty, this requires some planning. Plan your meals and carry snacks.

Don’t just assume you’ll “grab something” when you’re out. Most likely, you’ll wait, splurge and then feel like a pig.

5. Hydrate like a mofo.

I saved the most important for last. It sounds obvious, but I can’t stress enough the impact of dehydration on living a healthy life and mood regulation.

Your neurotransmitters require water to work. Don’t know how much you need?

It’s your weight (in pounds) divided by 2. That’s the number of ounces. So if you are 160 pounds, you need 80 oz or 10 glasses of water per day.

I use the free “Water Lite” app on my iphone to track my water throughout the day. It gives me a grade each day, and who doesn’t want to see an “A”?!

The Takeaway: Ultimately, you intuitively know how to heal your body, mind and spirit. Get in touch with your intuition and higher self by aligning with your Truth.

When your diet is in balance, you are your happiest and healthiest self.

What is your biggest diet challenge? What have you done to live a healthier lifestyle? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

* Photo credit Simon & Vicki


Amita Patel is a health coach who helps create your ideal life, increase your well-being, and reach your full potential. She helps her clients stay aligned holistically with the 5 pillars of life: Nutrition, Physical Activity, Relationships, Career, and Personal Philosophy. To receive life-improving health updates, sign up for Amita’s blog updates at www.alignedholistics.com