2014 gubernatorial candidate says organization uses spiritual tools to find common ground
November 5, 2017. By: Heather Wolford
CUMBERLAND — Former Maryland legislator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur hopes to create common ground in what she feels is a highly partisan political climate by merging spirituality with government discourse in her new nonprofit.
“This is an offering,” Mizeur said about her nonpartisan organization, MizMaryland – Soul Force Politics. After serving in the Maryland House of Delegates as a representative for Montgomery County’s 20th district from 2007 to 2015, as well as her 2014 state run for governor, Mizeur thought she would retire from the political spotlight.
“I was enjoying a semi-retired life on my farm when the 2016 (presidential) election came around” she said. “We saw how ugly and nasty that was. Usually, campaign rhetoric gets put aside once an election is over and a governing strategy comes in to reunify everything — that didn’t happen this time. The divisions continued to be exacerbated.”
It wasn’t until what she refers to as “a disastrous situation” generated by the presidential election that called her back into discussing politics. She created a forum dedicated to addressing some of the nation’s critical issues in a respectful manner through spiritual concepts.
“I was called back off the sidelines by what’s going on in our country right now,” she said. “We have a disastrous situation among all of our communities. There is bitter, hateful division that exists almost everywhere.”
MizMaryland – Soul Force Politics is a combination of Mizeur’s blog, podcast, trainings and retreats where she uses spiritual tools and “inner wisdom” to guide external actions regarding issues that would otherwise divide a nation.
Mizeur stopped by the Times-News to discuss her new organization while in town conducting one of her eight Wonder Woman Workshops, a lesson in taking characteristics of female superhero archetypes and applying them to everyday life. The workshop was held at Frostburg State University on Saturday. She believes that by blending spirituality with such hot-button issues like national health care reform or race relations, a general respect and compassion is created for all involved, ultimately leading to less national division.
“I felt the need to step in with some tools for inspiration on how we can reconnect with each other” she said. “Even when we disagree, we can do it without being disagreeable.” Politics and spirituality may seem miles away from one another, Mizeur said, but she thinks this approach is necessary to foster needed understanding.
“The art of having a respectful conversation with each other is about showing up with your heart and your ears and being willing to open up and listen to what somebody is saying and trying to understand them better. Not necessarily trying to defend your position or change their mind, but are there ways to find some common ground.”
Launched on Oct. 11, Mizeur’s podcast has featured numerous influential and diverse individuals such as Grammy award-winning rock singer Melissa Etheridge, former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), television series The Wire’s Sonja Sohn, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Mizeur points to her podcast conversation with Hogan as an example of how to bridge partisan gaps.
“Before I launched this organization, I had people all across the state encouraging me to run for governor against Larry Hogan,” she said, “And so it’s somewhat counterintuitive then to sit down and show everyone that we are actually friends, and that we can have a conversation for an hour about a range of issues, some of which we agree with, some of which we don’t, but in a respectful manner that honors each other’s integrity and a connection to each other as humans.”
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