My Day with Oprah 

My Day with Oprah Winfrey at the Live Your Best Life Workshop

copyright© 2001 Joan Holman


On Sunday, June 17, 2001, Oprah Winfrey brought her message about Living Your Best Life to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over eight hours of pure Oprah, her lessons in life, her inspiration, her trials and tribulations, played to an audience of over 2,000 --predominantly women and a few brave men ready to "express their feminine side."


OPRAH EMBODIES MANY VIRTUES
Although successful beyond measure, Oprah does not exude ego or self-centeredness. She embodies many virtues, including a focus on service to humanity and surrender to the greater vision and wisdom of a Higher Power. Her real power lies in her deep spirituality and in being very real, very real. Nothing phony about Oprah. She sweats, she struggles, she hurts, and she lets it all hang out with tens of millions of people on television every day. No mask for her, she shares and bares it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as the glory, the power and the prizes.


VISION OF A HIGHER CALLING
Oprah started the day with two full hours of sharing the lessons of her life, drawn from her true life experiences of growing up illegitimate, poor and black. She said that she had a "vision of a higher calling" for her life, and told everyone in the audience that "you, too, have a calling... every person born, each of us enters called."


YOUR CALLING WILL WIN OUT
"Your calling is going to win out --- it will not let you be at peace. Your soul is here to enter its calling." Oprah said that you will know what this calling is by listening to the voice of God which comes to you through your feelings. "You have the responsibility to respond to your feelings, the voice of God speaking to you. We as women have been taught to repress our feelings. And your feelings will lead you to your best life."


COURAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT VIRTUE
Oprah said that Aristotle stated that courage is the most important virtue and that you must have the courage to follow your passion, your own heart. "I was called to talk, to use my voice in some way. It took me a long time getting there."


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HOW CAN I BE USED FOR SERVICE
After a personally devastating experience, Oprah began the greatest spiritual journey of her life and sought a grander vision for her life. She prayed to Jesus, asking "how can I be used for service? how can I be of service? how can I use television as a service?" And at this time of her life, she said she learned the principle of surrender, which she practices to this day.


YOU CALL PEOPLE INTO YOUR LIFE, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A COINCIDENCE
Oprah stated "I don't believe in coincidences. You call people into your life" based upon your intentions. Before she was the famous and powerful person she is today, Oprah wanted to be in a movie made from her favorite book at the time - The Color Purple. Through a series of "coincidences" -- she ended up getting a major role in that film. It did not come easily and when it looked like she did was not going to get the role, to her great disappointment, she called out to God and said "God, you've got to help me. I did the best audition I could do, but now I give this to you. I don't know what else to do." And then Oprah repeated over and over, in the form of a song the following: "I surrender all, I surrender all, I surrender all, all to my blessed savior." And after she had surrendered, and let it go, that was when she received a phone call from Steven Spielberg telling her she was going to get the part.


OPRAH'S GREATEST LESSON IS SURRENDER
"God can dream a bigger dream than you can for yourself. Set a vision for yourself and then surrender that vision. You are co-creating your life every day.....you do all you can do and then you surrender all."


INTENTIONS DRIVE YOUR LIFE
Oprah has Gary Zukov as a regular guest on her show and quoted from him frequently during her workshop. Every action, every thought, every feeling is motivated by intention. She told the audience that "you are in this seat today because you had the intention to be here." She said that you should look at the circumstances in your life and track them back to your intentions. 


BE VERY CAREFUL WITH YOUR INTENTIONS
An example of intention she gave was her production of the movie Beloved. She was very depressed when the movie flopped since she had had enormous expectations on it succeeding. However, when Gary Zukov asked her what the actual intention she really had for the movie, she said it was to have people emotionally feel what it was like for those coming out of slavery to have the courage to love after all they had been through. And Gary Zukov told her that he and his friends who viewed the movie did experience what she was trying to convey. And she said yeah all six of you..nobody else went to the film. So she said be very careful and very specific with your intention. Make sure that you intend exactly what you want. 


DON'T ATTACH EXPECTATIONS TO AN OUTCOME
Although you can set your intentions, and then do the best that you can to fulfill these intentions, Oprah said that you should not attach an expectation to an outcome. "Release your expectation and you cannot fail." She said she did the best work she knew how to do when she produced Belovedand it was so disappointing to not have people go to the film, but this too, she had to let go. 


YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE
"You become what you believe, you are where you are today in your life based on everything you have believed", not just your conscious beliefs, but your subconscious beliefs as well. When Oprah was a child, successful black actor Sidney Poitier was one of the role models she had as a possibility for her own life. She spoke of the importance of role models for young people and the belief in possibilities for their lives. "If you believe you can only go so far, it is an obstacle." Oprah had to get over her belief that she could not get ahead because she was overweight. 


WORKING ON HER WEIGHT ISSUE
Oprah admitted to loving food and hating exercise and said she was still working on her weight issue. She said that prejudice against overweight people in the last prejudice in this country. "I have been every woman, every size. I had to rid myself of the belief that I can't succeed because of weight." She has tried to figure out why this is such an issue in her life and has asked herself why she still has issues with weight. And in searching for this, she had a flash back memory of her father telling her when she was 13 that "you gonna be big, you come from big people, there's nothing you can do about it." And Oprah said, "that's it, I believed what my daddy told me, no matter what you do, you're going to be big." 


LISTEN TO THE WHISPERS
In order to hear the voice of God directing your life, you need to listen to every whisper, every intuitive feeling, every feeling. If you do not listen to the whisper, you will then get a message, and if you don't pay attention to the message, you will get a crisis, and eventually if you ignore that you will get a disaster. The first hint of fear, the first whisper that something is out of order, pay attention! "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." 


BAD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU IGNORE THE WHISPERS
Oprah spoke abut an example of a woman that did not listen to the whisper. This woman was on a show Oprah had previously taped and which aired Monday, June 18, 2001, with Gary Zukov. This woman had been married for 22 years to someone into pornography and infidelity, and Gary asked her when did she first know that something was wrong, when was that first whisper, and the woman said it was the day before she married him. And then there were repeated times when she knew something was wrong, but she ignored those messages, too.

She married him anyway because she wanted to marry him and said he was the dream guy. Oprah spoke about how many women just want to get married just to get married and they ignore their inner voice telling them that something is wrong. As Gary Zukov pointed out to the woman, by not paying attention to what she was feeling, she was not accepting her life, not accepting what her life gave her. She resisted the circumstances that life had given her. The woman was now divorced, bitter, angry and depressed and living a live of fear and seclusion, because of her reaction to the failed marriage and her fears of being betrayed "again." However, Gary told her that she has the inner guidance system to protect herself, if only she would pay attention to it. 


GOD SPEAKS TO YOU THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS
God speaks to you through your feelings and everything happens for a reason. Ask yourself, "What is this trying to teach me?" Oprah said that you have called this experience into your life and you need to ask God, ask the universe what this is all about. She told the story of her trial by the Texas cattlemen and said she asked God why this was happening to her and the answer did not come until she was actually on the witness stand and then she knew what it was all about. It was a spiritual moment for her. "What trial is, it's something standing outside yourself, calling your name and trying to tell you who you are"...but you need to "be still and know who you are ---defined by your own terms"...and say "No, this is who I am"---"I am not the person you are saying that I am. I know who I really am. I am not this cancer, this divorce, my kids," etc. "You are spirit inside of a body -- there is something bigger than we are, you can feel it in your breath."


WE ARE HERE FOR A PURPOSE, BIGGER THAT WE KNOW
"I don't hate or blame anyone anymore." Oprah had gratitude for being able to do God's work on earth. "Only by accepting your life can you change it. You must surrender and move toward your own fulfillment. Accept your own life. Accept what you life is giving you now." 


TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
it is important to take care of yourself first. Oprah had to overcome trying to be "nice." She wanted to be nice and consequently took on too many responsibilities, obligations, calls for help, calls for money, etc. She was getting run ragged. And finally, she gave up trying to be nice and set some boundaries. Again, look to the intentions that you have that are creating the circumstances in your life. And change those intentions when you need to. 


FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
Sooner or later, your passion is going to win out. Go for your highest and greatest vision for your life and align your purpose with the flow of your life. When Oprah "aligned her personality with her soul", she said nobody could stop her. And "the path to discovering why you are here is through your feelings. Pay attention to your feelings." 


TAKE FIVE MINUTES EVERY DAY IN THE MORNING TO HEAR THE INNER VOICE DIRECTING YOUR LIFE
"Connect your head with your heart. Feel your way to the reason you are here. The voices of the world will drown out the voice of God. Be silent enough to hear the voice, be quiet, part of your responsibility is to honor the quiet inside yourself so you can hear the call. People are too busy .. you haven't even given yourself even five minutes to hear... take five minutes to center yourself in the morning...set your intention every day...if you don't have five minutes, you don't deserve to have the life of your dreams." 


OPRAH'S INTENTION - USE HER SHOW FOR A HIGHER GOOD
Oprah wants to use her television show for a higher good, to have ideas that help other people. However, there was a real concern about what would happen to the ratings if she did what she really wanted to do. "It took a lot of courage to take the high road, but I would rather be significant with six million people watching a show with meaning, that everyone watching a show with no meaning." (Oprah's audience, I believe, numbers close to 30 million.) 

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