Cynics need not visit me today. I have no time or space for you. I have been on a journey. I have accepted a quest. I have spent the weekend with Oprah.
Part I. Anticipation.
In my life there have been moments where I have been low. I have been blue. I have been defeated, deflated, depleted and depressed. I have been alone and tired. And I have watched Oprah.
She has introduced me to Martha Beck, Elizabeth Gilbert, books, visionaries, big thoughts, deep thoughts, Deepak, TED talks, spiritual gurus, movies, and aha moments.
So when the call came asking if I wanted to go to Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend in Washington, DC, the exact place I was moving to—I accepted the calling.
Part II. Disappointment.
I experienced altitude sickness while climbing the precipice to my seat at the Verizon Center. Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend had begun for me 9 hours earlier. I had spent that time in O Town which was comprised of Olay, Toyota, Ikea, Tide, Pantene, Bounty, and yes, even O Magazine, luring me with promises of free gifts, seat upgrades, photo shoots, “fun” selfies, and even a scalp massage. All I had to do was be willing to wait in long lines and give out my email and mailing address (oh. the. junk. mail.) Much of the time I was slightly confused what the line was for, how long it would take, or why I was in it.
It was a bit like being in a cattle round-up. I was disappointed because this seemed beneath Oprah (as I would be an expert being that I watch her on TV) but in the end I realize that even Oprah has to pay bills and keep her sponsors happy. On the plus side, I was with good friends, fun women all around, and we had made plans to go out for incredible meals at phenomenal restaurants.
Full of chips, fresh guacamole, a margarita (or two) and my bag full of Tide pods, Oil of Olay and cinnamon (just go with it) I peered down in disappointment from the almost last row of a 20,000 person capacity arena for a seat that cost $$$$. This was not how I had expected it but bad attitude be damned!
Part III. Elation.
My friend Stephanie and I silently problem solved. We can not sit HERE. There are empty seats way down THERE. THEY need US in THOSE seats. Oprah and her trailblazers don’t want to SEE empty seats–they WANT to see US. Stephanie, a non tweeter, tweeted. She tweeted! She tweeted beautiful words. She tweeted to Oprah and her team we are GRATEFUL to be here but we would like to SEE you without needing the Hubble Space Telescope (I paraphrased the last part–alas sarcasm not really that helpful).
Oh what you put into the universe. We asked. WE RECEIVED!
Euphoric giddy joy does could not begin to describe the heart beating excitement we felt as we RACED down to the main floor.
We went from these seats:
It was a magical moment.
And then Oprah came out.
Part IV. Inspiration.
When people ask me what the weekend was like everything I say falls flat. It sounds kind of boring. On one hand, we sat in seats (really good ones) and listened to people talk. On the other hand, we were captivated by story tellers, comedians, and sages. Truth tellers reminding, explaining, and illustrating our human existence into concrete, forehead smacking, moment stopping stories.
Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, Mark Nepo, Iyanla Vanzant, Angela Davis (Soul Cycle) told our old selves:
What happens TO you, happens FOR you.
NO is a complete sentence.
Align yourself with people who share your values.
Do you feel your heart beating? That’s opportunity knocking.
God dreams a bigger dream than you can dream for yourself.
Misery is there to tell you that you are in the wrong spot.
It is better to live your own life imperfectly than to live a perfect imitation of someone else’s.
You are the hero in your own story–you can ignore the call, or answer it.
The intention determines the outcome.
If you say “yes” when you feel “no” you just end up mad.
You become what you believe.
Be responsible for the energy that you bring.
You have no power in someone else’s territory.
We have a finite amount of time here.
As long as you are breathing you get another chance.
Whatever follows “I am…” will always come looking for you.
If you made it through the past, you passed.
The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it.
It’s all miracles and it all matters.
Don’t cherish your fear. Your fear is the most boring thing about you.
And then our new selves left and we went home.
Part V. Reality.
Iyanla Vanzant said it’s so easy to be all spiritual and zen and wise when you are all alone rubbing crystals on your head and everything is going great. Yup.
Today I’m trying to use positive “I am” statements. I am a lot of things that don’t sound all roses and sunshine. I will remind myself to be the hero in my own story (or the cover girl of my own magazine.)
Part VI. Gratitude. The most important part.
So that’s my mini quest. Thank you gentle reader for, well, reading. Thank you to my friends who made staring roles. And thank you Oprah for helping me remember how to write a better story.