No Longer Bedazzled

[It’s time for another post by Mary Carol Moran!]

I’ve spent my life subconsciously believing in three things: money, beauty, and intelligence. Even though I knew it wasn’t accurate, I believed if I only had more money and/or greater beauty, I would somehow, magically have a better life. Intelligence, well, let’s just say I worshipped at the feet of intelligence, secure that I could think my way through anything. It’s fair to say that I’ve spent years of my life being dazzled by money, beauty, and intelligence. Not just appreciative, but blinded.

What changed everything? Three things: having children, a reversal, and a friendship. I actually let go of the dazzlement with intelligence years ago, but I remember it well. I was bewildered by my first baby – astonished when I couldn’t figure out how to help her, how to stop her from crying. I could think my way through any problem, right? Wrong!! Faced with pure emotion, my supposed intelligence withered into a useless appendage, like an extra big toe. Over the years, I learned to enjoy, but not rely blindly on, thinking.

With this potent example in my past, you’d think I’d have let go of the other two beliefs long ago, but no. Not too long ago, a beautiful, wealthy person I had thought was a best friend, didn’t turn out to be. I realize in hindsight that the problems had been there all along, but I’d been dazzled. I didn’t see the disrespectful way she treated people, didn’t notice the absorption in her own importance. The beautiful and wealthy have great lives and are exceptional people, always, aren’t they? Aren’t they? Oops. My gut, my child-heart, my need to be dazzled by wealth and beauty, had shut down my brain and my common sense. Finally, this time, I internalized the lesson I’d been offered over and over and over.

The final, decisive step to awakening was realizing that I truly valued a wonderful, also wealthy friend. I saw that my dazzlement was getting in the way. He didn’t want a dazzled friend, he wanted a real friend. I realized that I had to drop the dazzlement, fast. But I couldn’t seem to do it.

Enter Melody’s blog, stage right. Steps, ladders, shift the energy… It had all worked before, but this time it felt like it wasn’t working. And I felt worse, because I really, really, really wanted to change!

But then it happened. In the middle of a meditation that felt like it wasn’t “going anywhere,” I had one of those quantum leaps. Something inside me had been shifting, shifting, and suddenly boom – clarity. That’s when the word dazzlement came into my mind. That’s when I felt, all the way through, the difference between believing and delighting. That’s when I realized the extent of my “unwisdom”, that I’d actually made gods of intelligence, beauty, and wealth.

I can delight in intelligence without believing in it as the remedy to life’s problems. I had figured this one out thirty-five years ago.

Now – woohoo! – I can delight in money without believing in it as a balm to life’s ills.

Now – OMG! – I can delight in beauty, even seeing my own for the first time, without believing it has any innate value.

Nature offers this lesson all around us. It’s a cliché, but I’ll repeat it. The colorful flower grows right next to the weed, both drawing nourishment from the soil, the rain, and the sun, both equally valuable to the ecosystem. A lump of gold and a lump of granite are indistinguishable to a beaver who just needs something to plug a hole in his dam. The wily hare loses to the plodding tortoise every time we read Aesop’s tale.

It’s with great glee that I can finally say – I get it! Thank you children! Thank you not-so-nice ex-friend! Thank you amazing still-friend! Thank you Melody! Thank you ladder! Thank you universe!

I sincerely hope each of you is thinking, what the heck? I already knew this. If you’ve avoided buying into the tyranny of belief in false values – wow! That’s fantastic! If on the other hand, you have a lingering whiff of belief in the cosmic importance of intelligence, money, and/or beauty, I hope this tale of awakening sheds a little extra light on your own path.

Have you been bedazzled by money, intelligence or beauty? Have you been able to see past the shiny-ness to what you REALLY wanted?

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  • Avatar Vidya Sury says:

    All that glitters…. 🙂 Yes, I’ve believed and let go, strangely after I married, had a baby and became a caregiver. Priorities changed. It was as simple as that. Oddly, I did not regret the complete lifestyle change. In fact I loved it.

    I enjoyed the read, Mary. You tell a compelling story. Thank you, Melody, for sharing!

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      Hi Vidya,

      Letting go feels great, doesn’t it? It’s always interesting to me to discover and open yet an other “screen door” that has influenced my view of reality.

      I can relate to a shift being simple. When I got pregnant with my first child, I stopped biting my fingernails, a problem that had plagued me my whole life. One day, I just didn’t want to anymore. Easy!

      Thank you for your kind words, Vidya. I always enjoy reading your comments. Hug!

      Mary Carol

  • Avatar Mary Carol says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Since writing this post, I’ve realized that I’m hanging on to one last (hopefully?) bedazzlement – celebrity. Ouch.

    I know where this one comes from. It’s a false belief in my own unimportance in the family, and my need to feel noticed. My brother was “the boy,” and my two sisters were “the twins.” I was just… nothing special. I inherited the belief holus-bolus (LOVE that word!) from my mother, the only non-twin of five. So I’m left feeling comfortable in the background, craving anonymity, and yet wanting at the same time to be “famous,” seen, recognized, known.

    So far, I haven’t been able to shift that energy, but I’m working on it. Writing this addendum to the post is a big step. Thank you for listening!

    I look forward to reading your stories. Many hugs and wishes for a bright Sunday,

    Mary Carol

    • Hey MC,

      Do you mean that you wish to be a celebrity or that you are bedazzled by celebrities (or both?)

      I remember the first time I ever “met” a celebrity. It was Harry Hamlin from L.A. Law (anyone remember that?). I was 19 and I don’t think the show was on anymore, but I knew it and just thought he was the hottest thing every. Anyway, he came into the restaurant that I was managing and I made an absolute fool of myself. I’m sure he was used to t, but I was so, well, bedazzled and swoony that I had trouble speaking or standing upright. LOL. Years later, after I worked in Vegas and saw my share of the rich and famous. What struck me was that many of them looked so frail. They were all much smaller and thinner (many of them painfully so) than you’d imagine. Some of them were really nice, some were shy, some were assholes. I realized that they were just normal people (well, duh) who happened to be famous. But just because you’ve seen them on TV, doesn’t mean that you know them at all. And blam, the bedazzlement was gone. What I had to realize, deep down, was that I was a person, they were a person and we were essentially the same. They were not better than me and I was not worth less than them. It was really a question of self-worth. When you put someone on a pedestal, you’re not really saying “you’re better”, as much as “I’m worse”. And once you realize your own worth, you don’t NEED the recognition and approval of others anymore. Nor do you really care how famous someone is. 🙂

      Great subject, MC, as always!!!


      • Avatar Mary Carol says:

        Cool response, Melody. Thanks! You’ve got me re-thinking.

        I’ve been around celebrities, mostly writers, and my perception has been that the bigger they were (the more secure), the nicer. The really famous ones I’ve met have been just folks. I guess that’s who I want to be. Famous and humble! Hee hee.

        You ask about being bedazzled or wanting to be one. To me they are closely akin. I’ve had really fun dreams about being best friends with Richard Gere. Sigh! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten goofy around anybody famous, and I realize they often have problems. It’s not my brain that’s bedazzled. It’s my spleen, or something.

        It’s hard to shake off some of these childhood things, isn’t it?! They burrow in so deep, your brain can’t oust them. I’ll get a zap of energy sometime soon, and this too will fall away. Yeah! For me, analyzing and verbalizing are rungs on the ladder. Thank you for chatting!


        Mary Carol

  • Avatar Bill Dorman says:

    Yeah, people act like that around me all the time; I have to remind them to just be themselves……:).

    I more interested in what someone is all about; celebrity, money or fame does not impress me per se. I have other benchmarks I use as a measuring stick.

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      What are your benchmarks, Bill? Expound! How do we tell the difference between benchmarks, blinders, and bedazzlement??

      Thanks for joining the conversation. You always have something interesting to contribute.

      Mary Carol

      • Avatar Bill Dorman says:

        How they treat other people; are they humble and grateful or do they feel like they are enabled and entitled? Basically, at their core, are they ‘good people’?

        • Avatar Mary Carol says:

          Hey Bill,

          Good list. I certainly agree that we can mostly tell if somebody is “good people.” Do you ever get fooled? I am grateful to be fooled because that shows me a blind spot in my perceptions. I’ve chosen to be deliberately optimistic (ooh, there’s a phrase for Melody…), trying to see the best in each person. Sometimes that leaves me open to being “blind-sided,” but what the heck? Another chance to learn something about myself.

          Hug, happy Sunday!

          Mary Carol

  • Although we didn’t have a lot of money, I grew up around wealthy and sometimes famous people (my mother wanted us to associate with the “right” people). Like you’re all saying, they’re all just people. My brother and I quickly learned the difference between “old money” and “new money.” The old money people were comfortable with their wealth and didn’t flaunt it. The new money people tended to be a bit obnoxious about it. My brother and I were comfortable enough with ourselves to never be dazzled by it.

    And I’ve seen enough really unhappy wealthy people to know that money can’t buy happiness. As they say, money just puts a magnifying glass to whatever is already there.

    Thanks for a great post Mary Carol!

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      Hi Paige,

      I grew up around new money/old money too, and came to the same conclusions you and your brother did. My mother was pretty caught up with the “right people” too.

      I wonder sometimes if “new” money actually brings unhappiness, in a level of discomfort with change and outdoing ancestors. I’ve talked with people who consciously, sub-, or unconsciously can’t get past the barrier of surpassing their parents’ ______ (fill in the blank). I had a very real barrier against living longer than my father. I had to let go of a lot of baggage when I surpassed his age at death.

      So how does all this work with LOA? Surely people attract their new money, so it’s a good thing, right? It somehow doesn’t seem quite fair that people with old money can be relaxed and happy with it, and those who “earn” it, have more issues. Whew! Getting a little over my head. Want to weigh in here, Melody??

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Paige. Hug!

      Mary Carol

  • Avatar patricia says:

    I believe because of my career and my learning disability, I have not been very bedazzled by other people, I could not afford to be – if they had something I needed – I asked.

    I have not met many famous people ever, I just meet ordinary people who have interesting stories and most have interesting lives.

    I was just thinking the other day about organizing a fundraiser to pay off my youngest medical bills and got bedazzled by the idea of finding a comedian, rock band, actress – someone BIG to come and dazzle money out of pockets. I spent two whole days actually working on this idea, but $200,000.00 is a lot of money and it is stressing me out on many occasions. I found most of the movie stars have already been tapped for fundraising organizations especially for cleft palate work and they are not open to other requests – It is just that those organizations only help the very poor and the oversees children – who definitely need our help and funds.

    Then I thought I am just an ordinary person who is middle class…( the other folks in the USA sued for the surgeries they wanted done) …we decided not to go that route.
    Let our integrity shine through….So I am back to figuring out how to distress from money – ground level again, because then I will figure it out. But not bedazzled.

    I try to just model my good works…

    Nice writing and storytelling Mary Carol – many thanks for sharing.

    I am having trouble with the ladder exercise and am glad you shared another example of how it can work…

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      Hi Patricia,

      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you! Thank you for giving us a concrete example of dealing with celebrities. It put a different spin on this whole question for me. Kind of what Melody was talking about in her comment above, but a little different.

      You wanted something from a celebrity to improve your life. Not to take over their life (be a celebrity), and not just to bask in the glow, but an actual change in your life based on your perception of the celebrity’s life. Maybe this is part of the allure, the illusion that this person’s life is better, and that some aspect of that life could rub off on us. The same could be true for beauty, wealth, or intelligence, for that matter.

      It’s not a desire to be them. It’s not bedazzlement with the person themselves. It’s what they represent, something we think we don’t have and do want.

      I questioned earlier how this links to the LOA, and I think this may be an answer. If we can identify what we want, we can bypass the whole bedazzlement phase and go directly to the source, the universe, and get it for ourselves. The bedazzlement can be an awesome tool to help us identify and name our own desires.

      Thank you again for this helpful example. I find the ladder tricky to climb at times myself. Thinking and discussing are two tools I use when I can – not the ultimate solution, but sometimes helpful steps along the way.


      Mary Carol

  • Avatar EleonoraEOF says:

    Hi, Mary C.
    Throughout our life, priorities are changing and they take different paths. Mine have changed after the recent birth of my son-he is on my number one place now. I feel as if I do not need anything else at the moment.
    Remind me in a couple of years to continue commenting on this post and exchange impressions, as I am sure my priorities will have a different role. However, the child is always to stay on number one place-that one I am sure in.

  • Avatar Mary Carol says:

    Hi Eleanora,

    Congratulations! Having a baby is one of those quantum leaps of energy that changes everything. My babies are 32 and 35 years old now, and I remember clearly my first glimpse. The world tipped on its axis, forever altered.


    Mary Carol

  • Hi Mary Carol,

    Life does change after marriage and babies. The dazzlement might be still there, but it takes another form. We can get caught up in the glitz of money. I like the line – “He didn’t want a dazzled friend, he wanted a real friend.” No amount of money can buy that.

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks for chiming in. At different ages and stages, we’re probably all dazzled by different things. I remember at age about 12 being absolutely flustered by a science teacher – he had played minor league baseball and we were all so impressed!

      You’re right. Seeing past the trappings to the real person is what it’s all about. It’s what we all want for ourselves, and it’s a gift we can give to those in our lives.


      Mary Carol

  • Hi Melody,

    I’m still trying to figure out why Snooki is so popular, how does someone like this even make it on TV? Or the rest of the crew from Jersey Shore, for that matter.

    • LOL Todd. I’ve never actually seen the show, but I’ve heard of her and when I was looking for an image she just kind of popped up and I thought “perfect”. It’s amazing. I don’t watch TV. I do watch TV shows, but nothing like Jersey Shore. I don’t even live in the US. And yet, I still recognize a picture of Snooki.
      I do have a theory about why people like this become popular. It has to do with a tendency toward Shamelessness. I just shot a video about that last night, to be posted a week from this coming Tuesday. Basically, I think that we are fascinated by those who rebel against the idea of having to be ashamed of themselves. Rebelling always leads to extreme behavior, but we love the underlying concept, even if we feel the discord between what these people say and how they ACTUALLY feel.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Huge hugs,

    • Avatar Mary Carol says:

      Hi Todd,

      I so agree! When I say I can be fascinated with celebrity, I mean people like Natasha Trethewey (Pulitzer Prize in poetry – I’m in awe of her awesomeness!), though I’ll admit to checking up occasionally on Angelina and Brad!

      I think Melody nailed it below when she says we can be intrigued by people who live way outside the norm. There’s something compelling about a character like Snooki who’s so outside the box there is no box, and doesn’t care. We can all gently shake our heads, as long as she doesn’t run for office… It takes ALL kinds!


      Mary Carol

  • Hi Mary Carol,
    You really got me thinking. I can see how those three things, money, beauty and intelligence are a big part of our beliefs. There is a negative way of looking at these three things and a positive way. They’re a huge part of our culture. You almost have to turn off the tv to get the negative way out of your life. But the good is beautiful and can be found in your family and nature for example. Money… is always necessary if you live in the world. Having a positive attitude helps with how you see everything!
    Great post!

    • Hi Betsy,

      Thanks for thinking and commenting!! It gets tricky when the same thing is both positive and negative, maybe even at the same time. Intention becomes everything. For example, seeing people on TV living in beautiful houses might inspire me (positively) to bring the energy of a beautiful home into my life. But when it gets touched by a bit of negative thinking, envy or I’ll never-get-that or whatever, the same image on TV gives fuel to a negative emotion.

      How right you are that we can make connections with family and nature that nurture and sustain us. When we can learn to make those connections with everything, to allow everything to sustain us, well, I guess we’re in nirvana!

      Thanks again for writing. Hugs!

      Mary Carol

  • Avatar Fran Sorin says:

    Boy, do I ever identify with what you’ve written. I’ve been working on this stuff for years and find that the old I get the less all of that means to me. BUT, there are always moments when I see someone with a lot of money and think ‘wouldn’t that be nice?’ I snap myself out of it and say to myself ‘Why do you think that would make you happier’? My more experienced wiser self takes control and tells the younger, striving, impressionable woman that she should go outside and play (LOL)

    Oh…about babies…my joke is that schools should offer ‘How To Be A Parent’ course.
    What a new world it is to have a newborn child. A great post Melody. xxoo-Fran

    • Thanks Fran. All the credit goes to Mary Carol, though. Especially for having the babies, LOL (my womb has never been rented out…) When I see someone with something that I would like, I always try to send them lots of love and appreciation. I feel good for them. And then I ask myself why I really want this thing. What’s the underlying reason? What does it represent? Usually, it’s not money, or whatever, but something else, like freedom. Then, I focus on that. This approach doesn’t leave much time to be bedazzled or to hate people for having more than me. It kind of takes them right out of the equation. 🙂

      Huge hugs!

      • Thanks for chiming in, Melody!

        I love the idea of sending positive thoughts to people who have something we would like. It’s like giving presents – give something you would love to get, and the person will almost always love it too. I like too the idea of moving on to the question of why? For me often, related to money, the answer is security. So I try to do small things that give me a sense of greater security. Even something as simple as hiding $50 in the inside pocket of my purse (it can last there for months), helps me relax.

        Many giant panda hugs!

        Mary Carol

    • Hi Fran,

      Thank you for the kind words! Here’s an alternative to the “How To Be a Parent” course. Live with a mother dog and her newborn puppies. In eight weeks, you’ll learn everything there is to know about love, protection, detachment, differentiating treatment to suit the “child,” everything! My kids were grown when we had our first pregnant then giving-birth dog, and I remember watching her and thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

      Hope you are enjoying an excellent Tuesday! Hugs,

      Mary Carol

  • Avatar Julie says:

    Such a great text! And I really agree with you, money, beauty and intelligence aren’t the most important things any more if you already have a lovely and nice family and children. It just because your life isn’t about only yourself anymore.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for adding the perspective of focusing of something other than yourself. Yes!

      I had a great example of that this week. After an absence of several months, this week I was able to return to working with stray and abandoned dogs at the local animal rescue organization. What a lift the lovely dogs and wonderful humans who care for them have given me! We think we are doing the animals a favor, but the truth is that we humans are the ones who benefit the most.

      Putting in a plug – support your local shelter, please! And spay and neuter your sweet pets! Thank you!

      Thanks again for writing, Julie. Hugs,

      Mary Carol

  • I was raised to never be bedazzled by these things, but somewhat ironically, they are now at the forefront of my teachings 😀

    I teach my students how to ryze, and get “money, sex, and fame” (and beauty, and health, and success in any area.)

    When I do this, I always view myself as speaking about “value, intimacy, and reach”, but translating for the buzzwords people are sensitive to.

    Food for thought 🙂

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for jumping over to this post. That’s an interesting perspective. I have some trouble reconciling all the benefits of learning about and practicing with the LOA, with what seems to be a (to me) mistaken focus in some LOA practitioners on achieving material wealth.

      I like the way Melody talks about going for the emotion you want, and letting the Universe decide how to deliver it. It sounds to me that that’s what you’re talking about too. Maybe over time, the buzzwords will matter less and less to the public, and the underlying message of how to achieve “value, intimacy, and reach” (a great message!) can come out of the closet and shine! I really like those three words – time to go meditate on them…

      Thanks again for commenting. I’m enjoying the correspondence! Hugs,

      Mary Carol

      PS Check out my poem in commentluv. I think you’ll like it. Edna St. Vincent Millay was a lot more interesting than we all thought in high school.

      • “I have some trouble reconciling all the benefits of learning about and practicing with the LOA, with what seems to be a (to me) mistaken focus in some LOA practitioners on achieving material wealth. ”

        Lots of people do and this treads on ground very close to Who I Am.

        One of the key aspects of my message is this:
        Everything, and I mean everything, physical has a spiritual root — it is connected, like a plant.

        Spiritual seeds grow into physical awesomeness.

        So when you see all the wealth and fame, somebody involved there ‘gets’ something on a spiritual level.

        “What if material luxury and spiritual success played nice?”

        Thank you! I adore conversation, exchange, communication, engagement and interaction…

        of all kinds 😉

        • Avatar Mary Carol says:

          Hmm, Jason. I’m thinking really hard on this, but I don’t think I’m getting it.

          It’s an interesting flip to think from the point of view of finding the spiritual roots beneath the physical manifestations. Once you bring it up, it seems obvious, though I’m not sure how it works in reverse.

          To me, some people aren’t clear about their happiness, so they focus on and get material things, and still aren’t happy. Other people may be truly happy with their stuff, and that’s great. But that happiness (and stuff) probably comes from a different type of satisfaction, for example creating an awesome, useful product and selling it.

          I guess it depends on whether we manifest what we really want (soul-deep), or whether we manifest what we think we want. If LOA is a mechanical process, then it could be the second (what we think we want), in which case I’m not seeing the spiritual root. If LOA is a spiritual practice, and we always get what our soul really wants, then yes, I agree about the spiritual roots of material things.

          Whew, long-winded rambling that doesn’t contain an answer… but it’s all really interesting to think about. Thank you!

          I’m going to send an email to Melody asking her opinion of this. Since I wrote this article, she doesn’t get an automatic email when someone comments.

          Really enjoying the conversation!


          • Well I have an answer that works. People can try and poke holes in it all they want, but hole-poking doesn’t do much.

            Opening minds and *experimenting* with my answer reveals LOTS.

            My answer, the one that works for me, and that I teach with a passion that burns bright is this:

            Law Of Attraction is BOTH physical and spiritual. Period.

            Your example of people pursuing the ‘wrong’ thing, when subjected to my view, plays out like this:

            Person A isn’t “clear” and “gets what he thinks he wants.”

            This situation has deep spiritual roots, because he and the people around him, wanted him to understand that money isn’t everything.

            He who pursues wealth for 10 years and loses his family, friends, and the money leaves him empty learns what?

            He learns something no one could ever teach him. He learns from life and experience, the importance of spiritual peace.

            And then he gives more to charity and developing countries than all the rest of us squabbling over LoA combined 😛

            Imagine if most of the middle-class, instead of debating, gossiping, or settling…

            …pursued wealth for 10 years, found it empty, but then had a lot of riches to spread around for the rest of their life time.

            Sounds pretty awesome to me 😀

            And yes, great chat, but now I’m off to practice what I preach and ‘get to work’ (or play, depending :P)

          • Hey guys,

            Awesome discussion you have going here.

            To answer your question, Mary Carol, I’m happy to give you my point of view: There is no such thing as wanting the “wrong” thing. I agree with Jason, that LOA is both practical and spiritual, though perhaps I have a slightly different interpretation of that. The Universe doesn’t judge what you want. You get to want whatever you like. It’s all about lining up the energy.

            So, there are people who line up their energy with money, because they don’t have much resistance to that. This doesn’t mean that they’re happy or allowing in any other area of their lives. It’s all about different frequencies and having one of them all clear doesn’t mean that others don’t have interference. This is not an all or nothing game and I always strive to take the judgment out of it.

            So, when the guy who was striving for money for 10 years loses his family, it’s not as punishment or because he was meant to learn some lesson. And it’s not because it’s somehow not ok to want money. It’s because he holds beliefs that allowed that to happen. Many people believe, for example, that success comes at a price. The more success they have, the higher the price they have to pay. The Universe doesn’t make that happen. It’s a belief that we hold.

            Our higher selves want what we want – but in its perfect form. So, if you want money, you have to dig down into why you want it. What is it that you really want? Because you may actually want freedom, but you keep running after money, which doesn’t really have much to do with freedom (lots of rich people feel trapped). And so, even though you may achieve some wealth, you get more and more unhappy because you’re moving away from what you REALLY wanted all along.

            It’s not that we can’t want or have material things. It’s just that what we REALLY want often has nothing to do with those things. That’s what it comes down to. It’s ok to want a Mercedes. But if you’ve attached a bunch of baggage to that desire, it’s going to be a rough ride.

            My two cents. 🙂

            Huge hugs!

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