Reaction to the publication and sensationalistic coverage of O.J. Simpson’s new book,If I Did It, has been visceral. The book is a supposed “hypothetical” exploration of how Simpson would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Fox News was set to broadcast a two-part O.J. Simpson interview scheduled for the November ratings sweeps, and Simpson was preparing for a media blitz in promoting the book. But the general public was horrified, and rightfully so. Here is a man who, though judged guilty in a civil court for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, seems to flaunt his guilt. Simpson not only seems to revel in causing pain to the victims’ families, but he also seems to have no concern over the effects his actions will have on his own children.

As the hype surrounding If I Did It grew, so did the public outrage. As a result, over a dozen Fox affiliate stations announced that they would not air the Simpson interview. Borders Group Inc., one of the nation’s largest booksellers, announced that all profits from sales of the book would be donated to charity. Newspaper editorials across the country called for a general boycott of the book. Popular Fox news host Bill O’Reilly said the network’s decision to air the program was “simply indefensible and a low point in American culture.” He was one of many TV talking heads who decried both Simpson and the voyeuristic culture that would encourage such blatantly disgusting opportunism.

The book and television deal have now been canceled. Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., admitted that the fiasco was an “ill-conceived project” and publicly apologized to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Evidently, even in a scandal and celebrity-obsessed society, there is something overtly distasteful about a man profiting from the murder of his ex-wife and the mother of his children. Simpson’s narcissistic behavior—so blatantly arrogant and blind to consequence—strikes a chord deep within us. When someone’s lie is so big, so bold, so all-consuming, we instantly want to distance ourselves. It’s almost instinctual—a gut reaction to avoid contamination.

There is a lesson here. When we allow ourselves to be titillated by juicy details and by outright deception, there is an effect on us personally. It is the trickle-down effect that happens with all lies. We are affected by what we see and where our attention is focused. This serves as a reminder to constantly guard against dishonesty creeping into our lives, in whatever form. As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s give thanks that our gut instincts, our visceral reactions against dishonesty, do ultimately prevail.


“Deliver Us From Evil”

“Deliver Us From Evil”

November 16, 2006

I recently had an opportunity to see the documentary Deliver Us From Evil. This chilling film chronicles the story of Father Oliver O’Grady, the notorious pedophile priest who sexually abused children, including a 9-month-old baby, in a string of towns in Northern California in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Each time complaints were raised to his superiors in Los Angeles, the bishops of the Archdiocese would simply move Fr. Ollie to another parish 50 miles or so away. Finally, in the 1990s, complaints were made to the local authorities and Fr. Ollie was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. Upon his release seven years later, he returned to his native Ireland where he lives unsupervised and in contact with small children.

What might surprise some is the fact that Father Ollie actually went to his superiors a number of times, asking them to help him with his “problem,” but shockingly, they disregarded his pleas for help and simply moved him to another parish. In the documentary, he seems to be enjoying the attention he’s getting by being interviewed on camera. He doesn’t seem to be fully aware of what he had done. The interviews show just how disassociated he really was from his own behavior; a victim of sexual abuse himself, both by his own family and by priests during his childhood, he convinced himself his actions of rape were simply being affectionate.

Filmmaker Amy Berg does a masterful job of documenting this excruciating topic. It’s clear from reading interviews with her that this documentary was difficult for her to make, but she felt the story had to be brought to light. Berg talked to O’Grady as well as to the victims and parents of victims in a series of interviews that are at times painful to watch. She also interviewed one courageous priest who dared to disagree with his superiors and travels far and wide in his efforts to shed light on this prevalent problem and bring healing to victims.

Most shocking of all is the footage of Cardinal Roger Mahony testifying about the O’Grady scandal. Mahony is accused of knowing that O’Grady was a pedophile as early as l984, when he was his bishop, but promised police he would be removed from contact with any children. Instead, O’Grady was reassigned to a parish 50 miles away. Shortly after that, Mahony was promoted to archbishop of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic diocese in the country. In the film, O’Grady states that “Mahony was very supportive and very compassionate and another situation was smoothly handled.” Mahoney denies ever knowing that O¹Grady was a pedophile.

Cardinal Mahony, the most important figure in the Catholic hierarchy in the US today, does not exhibit the kind of truthfulness or compassion one would expect from a high religious authority; instead, visibly shaken, he continued to cover up O’Grady’s crimes, giving inconsistent answers and stonewalling the attorneys representing the victims. (More significant still is the fact that Mahony is now the focus of ongoing investigations in a number of other similar cases.)

As someone who was abused by a Catholic priest, I know that for this problem to be healed, the truth must be told, no matter how soul-wrenching it may be. The Catholic Church has to remember that its primary responsibility is to the congregation—it’s nothing without its members—and the members, as well as the rest of the world, deserve to know the truth. I applaud the courage of all those who were willing to participate in this documentary and lend their faces and voices to this crucial issue.

I urge you to see this powerful and revealing film.



“Healing, Hollywood Style”

Nov. 2, 2006

I live a fairly discreet and quiet life with my husband, dogs and horses in a rural part of Malibu, CA. “Rural Malibu” may seem like an oxymoron but there really is such a place. I go about my business like a normal person, with little fanfare, and I do not seek out fame or celebrity. So when I visited the horse stables recently, I was very much taken aback to be greeted with an outpouring of excited acknowledgement and admiration from the regulars, who generally just nod politely.

They had just read the latest issue of W Magazine, in which Kevin West, the editor, writes about me and my work. The article,“Healing, Hollywood Style,” is an entertaining piece on the popular health and wellness practices today¹s celebrities have embraced. The article is positive, well crafted and Kevin is enthusiastic about his healing experiences. Who would have thought that a trendy pop-culture magazine such as W would delve into the world of healing?

Kevin went on a year-long spiritual and healing journey seeking treatments from a variety of practitioners. He attended one of my free, public access events and was intrigued; the next day he called for an appointment. Later, I met with him in a private session that he calls the “strangest, most exciting hour” that he had in his exploration of alternative medicine.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the November issue of W Magazine.
The article is a straightforward, honest account of one man’s search through the often confusing world of alternative medicine.

When magazines famous for showing the latest Gucci fashions become open to alternative medicine, it is a potent sign that all people are interested in, and in need of healing. No matter who we are or what sort of lives we lead, we all seek answers to the questions that trouble us.

In my work I have encountered a wide variety of people; some are more skeptical than others, but in all cases I have been impressed by people’s willingness to simply try and be open to the spiritual world. It may be easier to stay in our safe and protected bubble, but often it¹s when we push through our comfort zone and try something new that the truly extraordinary occurs.

Consider trying something outside your comfort range today.