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What Oprah Taught Me About Living My Best Life

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Super happy at Oprah’s Life You Want weekend last fall!

My love for Oprah spans decades…ok, maybe not decades but at least the last 15 years or so. When most college kids are planning their schedules around athletics, extra-curricular activities, or happy hours, I did my best to align my schedule around the Oprah Show….and being able to sleep in of course.

As an aspiring journalist myself I loved watching her navigate interviews and topics of all kinds. She could discuss any subject from apartheid to eating disorders to celebrity gossip with ease, tenacity, confidence, and compassion.

It was obvious that she had found her true calling in life and that she was living out her passion every day. I loved to watch her breeze through each show displaying just the right amount of journalistic savvy and gritty charisma. I would dream of lunching at a hoity-toity Chicago bistro with a group of fashionable friends, catching a cab to Harpo Studios and sitting mesmerized in her live audience while Oprah got to the bottom of the Middle East Crisis and then proceeded to gift everybody in the audience a Rolls Royce. Oprah would be strangely drawn to me and would offer me a job as a correspondent of some sort right on the spot. Yep, that’s exactly how it would go.

Unfortunately I never made it to Chicago and that’s definitely not how it went.

As it always seems to do, time got away from me and life took over.  I graduated college and made my way into the working world. I moved to the big city of Denver, CO confident after multiple interviews that I had secured a job as an editor of a magazine for a regional insurance company. Not the most thrilling topic of conversation but at least I’d be getting paid to write. However to my utter dismay, I didn’t get the job. Which looking back, is a scenario I should have considered before signing a 6 month lease on an apartment that I couldn’t afford on my own even if I had secured my ‘dream job’.

Aghhh youth.

When I didn’t get the coveted position and instead found myself working an array of crap-tastic jobs just so that I could manage my rent, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a failure. Not only did I not have the balls to be a straight-up hard news reporter, I obviously didn’t have what it took to wax poetic about deductibles, estate strategies, and policy renewal forms either. Working 9-5 in a pre-Tivo era didn’t allow me the freedom to watch Oprah weave her television magic either. Not only that, but I couldn’t quite reconcile the fact that I wasn’t living out my passion every day like I had respectfully watched Oprah do every day for years.

Thus my extended and unintended Oprah estrangement.

Fast forward ten years, give or take, to a lazy Sunday morning. With just motivation enough to make a pot of coffee and curl up on the couch, I mindlessly flipped to the Oprah Winfrey Network. Since I had last caught up with my heroine she had created her very own television network…was there anything this woman couldn’t do?

I caught the second half of Super Soul Sunday where she was interviewing, Cheryl Strayed, the author of “Wild”. Once again, not only was I mesmerized by the caliber of her interview but also by her overall message of spirituality, true self and authentic living. These were things that she had only lightly touched on during her run as the host of the Oprah Show and I loved the fact that she was now delving deeper into the stuff that I was really interested in. I’ve always been drawn to topics of spirituality – it’s just evolved from Sunday morning doctrine to creating an authentic experience with God and spirit…even if I’m not sure what that means all the time.

And this is precisely what Oprah seemed to be talking about.

My favorite polka dot mug!

My favorite polka dot mug!

I was immediately hooked on this new show called ‘Super Soul Sunday’ and am still hooked on it several years later. In fact, if I have my way, come 9 am every Sunday morning you can find me nursing a hot cup of coffee in my favorite polka dot mug, curled up on the couch watching Super Soul Sunday.

Not only was I captivated by the messages conveyed in her new show, I was once again completely in awe of Ms.O herself. She was obviously continuing to live out her passions by conducting these deep and amazing interviews. Her directive had evolved a bit and she had now moved on from standard afternoon television to Sunday morning spiritual resuscitation.

I loved it. And It also got me to thinking about whether or not I was actually living out my passion like Oprah always seemed to do.

It took me back to the wishful-thinking yet hardened-by-reality 23 year old that decided that paying rent was more important than living out my passion. For me, the road to enlightenment and aspiration had quickly evolved into the trap of the ‘daily grind”. It’s easy to do.  I had just become another hard-boiled, complacent wanderer.

I had never achieved the level of vigor, creativity, and spirituality melding with achievement that I had so admired about Oprah many years ago. In fact, I had gone the opposite direction – I had settled for safety and anonymity…my comfort zone.

Since that morning realization several years ago, I’ve made some big changes in my life. I quit a string of sucky jobs that I had taken to achieve nothing more than my comfortable level of safety and anonymity. I started two businesses, I work from home making twice the money I used to make while sitting completely miserable behind a desk every day from 9-5 (funny how that works), I created my own website (which I’m so happy that you’re visiting right now!), and I’ve returned to my one true love – writing.

I’m really working on living out my passions so that I can experience the joy of living life on my own terms. It’s a process and I’m happy that I’ve at least started. Except there was one thing that I did regret from my earlier years, I regretted never making it to Chicago to see Oprah in person. Luckily, an email hit my inbox last fall that enabled me to make this right.

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The show was amazing…obviously, it’s Oprah after all

Oprah was kicking off a ten city live tour! OMG, I would LOVE to go but the show unfortunately wasn’t making its way to my area. I originally reverted to my always popular “I could never…money, time, take off work, etc” All a bunch of measly excuses and my well-worn tendency toward inaction…but isn’t that what this is all about anyway?

So with a proverbial slap to my own face, the loving encouragement of my amazing husband, and the commitment of my travel-savvy friend, Teresa, we headed to the scenic and alluring city of Detroit to see Oprah in person.

The whole experience was magical and I’m so glad that I went. Albeit, it was in a stadium with thousands of other Oprah die-hards as opposed to an intimate television studio but I didn’t care one bit. I not only got to see Oprah speak in person but she also had with her a number of speakers and authors that I absolutely adore as well, like Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert and speaker, Rob Bell. Not only that, but Oprah’s got some pretty deep pockets so the show production for the entire weekend was top-notch and very impressive.

I was in conscious-living heaven.

Oprah inadvertently taught me so much about the kind of life that I want to live and I was completely stoked to be able to see her live, at ironically her “Live the Life you Want Tour”. I’ve learned a lot from Lady O over the years, but it’s me that is continuing to do the hard work and making the changes to achieve the life I really want to live.

So what that life didn’t go exactly as planned from the get-go….whose does? 

I’m just grateful for the ability to take inspiration and turn it into a joyful and authentic life experience.

I would love to hear from you! Who inspires you??

It’s Cleansing Season!! Wahoo?

January.

Genesis Pure 7 day cleanse

Mid-cleanse happiness…everything is a bit rounder this year

It’s football playoff season (not that I’m that interested anymore after my Broncos got booted), it’s the doldrums of winter (where any temperature over 45 degrees is celebrated by wearing tennis shoes as opposed to clunky snow boats and I can actually leave the house with my coat unzipped…living dangerously I know) but most important of all, it’s cleansing season!

Wahoo?!

Yes, the holidays have come and gone…but one thing that hasn’t gone is the inevitable self-loathing and excess sugar cookie encrusted fat rolls. While it was oh-so-yummy and festive going down, the results are beginning to peek out from under our sweaters and the gorge-tasticness of the holiday season is now starting to rear its tubby head. No worries, I’m right there with you.

In fact, last year due to my post-Christmas weight gain and impending mental anguish I decided to cleanse it all away with the Genesis Pure 7 day cleanse. In fact, it made me feel so incredible that I had every intention of partaking again this year, however, I’ve got 20 lbs of extra weight right around my uterus, lovingly referred to thus far as baby Woz, so I’ll give it a pass this year. But next year, I’ll be right back at it. Trust me.

As told in a horrifyingly honest kind-of way, I recounted my entire cleanse story and posted it for the world to see in all of its excrutiating yet rewarding and excremental details…you can check out my survival of the great cleanse of 2014 blog post here. When all was said and done I ended up losing 8 pounds in 7 days just in time for a trip to Jamaica in which I was able to slip on a bathing suit without nearly as much negative self-talk as usual. Winning.

And even though I won’t be participating this year I would love to coach anybody through their own GP cleanse journey. Last year I was able to help several folks navigate the ups and downs of this naturopathic liquid cleanse and experience awesome results of their own. And I would love to do the same this year.

So check out my cleanse blog post from last year and give me a holler at sarah@theblissfulseed.com if you’d be interested in giving it a go. I can’t recommend it enough.

I would love your feedback!  Have you done a cleanse before?  If so, what was your experience like?

 

So…How Do You Want to Feel?

the desire mapSometimes inspiration and divine guidance show up in our lives as if out of nowhere… unexpected footholds, hidden doorways, unfurling buds of awesomeness blooming at the perfect time. It’s all quite magical really. And while these types of occurrences have more than likely been surrounding me my whole life, I was completely oblivious of the intricate interconnectedness of it all until just the past few years.

In 2011, my husband and I were introduced to a powerhouse lifecoach it seems out of thin air, although I now know that it was the working of a beautiful and synchronistic universe rather than just luck or chance. It wasn’t just her, but also our willingness to ask for help and actually listen to what she had to say and take action, that resulted in some pretty huge life and attitude changes. Since then I’ve become more aware of when magical and synchronistic things happen… instrumental books coming across my desk, friends popping into my life, and inspiring songs jumping across the airwaves and soaking into my big thick skull just when I needed to hear them.

Being aware of my life’s seemingly effortless unfolding is something that I try to tune myself into. I admit that I often find myself more preoccupied with the annoyances, the fears, and the big fat failures more than the magic but I’m working on it. And I’m getting better at remembering to come back to a place of awe and gratitude for the magnificence that is…

LIFE.

Ok, so here’s a case in point of a small yet magical and life-altering situation that catapulted my life to a whole new level…it’s involves a friend, a book and a few innate yet undetermined desires.

Recently my new acquaintance turned friend and Reiki practitioner, Ashley, appeared in my life in a whirlwind of positive energy. She proceeded to give me and my husband a copy of The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte and it is simply AHHHH-MAZING.

Being a Marie Forleo nut and B-School graduate (which is why this website is so utterly awesome by the way) I’d heard of Danielle Laporte through the grapevine. But since my bed-side pile of spiritual discovery and personal development books (yep, just call me a hippy) seems to keep getting bigger and bigger, I hadn’t yet gotten to even purchasing The Desire Map. However once it was magically plopped into my lap I devoured it.

As a lifelong list-maker and goal-setter, it aligned with me immediately. I’ve been writing to-do lists and scrawling intentions all over my mirror for years now.

My notes to myself can range from anything to rah-rah pump myself up mumbo jumbo, i.e – you are beautiful, capable, interesting, accomplished, successful, anybody who doesn’t want to be your friend has to be delusional, etc, etc…

to action items that I crave nothing more than to cross out with accomplished gusto, i.e.- become a Genesis Pure Silver Director by the end of the year…heck yeah!!

I’ve noticed, however, that eventually these notes start to fade from my mirror after about a week’s worth of showers and tooth paste splash back. Not only that but my brain and my eyes soon started conveniently overlooking these bright red scrawling words written with such conviction until they were nothing more than just an annoyance and one more thing that is making me feel bad about myself.

I always start out very eager to daily work toward and achieve these goals but if I don’t end up seeing, or better yet feeling that I was making any headway this eagerness soon backfires and ends up sucking my energy and confidence.

This is exactly what Laporte speaks of in The Desire Map.

“Instead of talking about external goals, let’s talk about how we want to feel in the various parts of our lives.”

Amen to that, sister!

As opposed to goal setting, desire mapping feels more like an invitation to feel the way you want to feel rather than just having another list of things to do. It makes goal-setting fun and creative, transformational and achievable.

“What can we do to feel the way we want to feel? In that simple question lays a new way of living life, which subtly and slowly leads to profound changes in the way we go about getting things done. I officially gave up goal-setting systems, which eventually led to quitting to-do lists, which led to giving up the time-management systems that were totally stressing me out.”

Yes.

The Desire Map is divided into two sections, the book and the workbook. The book describes in a light and conversational tone, as if you’re talking with your best friend over a margarita swirl, the concepts of desires, feelings, intentions and goals and how all of these things work together to create your ultimate existence. All the while, the underlying message is that ‘feeling good is always our ultimate goal’….who can’t go along with that?

desire book 1The second section is the workbook. I admit, it took me a while to get through the workbook. It delves deep into the soul which can sometimes be uncomfortable, but hey, when it comes to life, no pain no gain, right? Throughout the workbook you uncover your core desired feelings. It’s tuning into these feelings that help us map out and create the life we truly desire.

At this juncture, Laporte offers a well-deserved intermission so that you can stew upon these newly realized desires and discoveries. It’s heavy and the break is much appreciated.

But  don’t go anywhere, it’s now time to get back at it and figure out how to use your core desired feelings to guide what you want to do, what you want to have and what you want to experience. And this is the good stuff. This part is about making connections between how you want to feel and what will actually help you feel that way.

What do I need to do to feel the way that I want to feel?

This part brings you back within yourself once again, which can be a scary place if you haven’t visited there for a while or ever, but required if you plan on living from a place of true authenticity and contentment. The final section is finally where the rubber meets the road and she delves into when desires meet action. Based off of your core desired feelings, Laporte encourages you to choose three or four major intentions and goals for the year. What are three or four of the most potent feel-good opportunities that you would like to actualize this year? The first part is figuring out, the hard part is working at it every day.

Honestly, The Desire Map has changed how I look at myself, my goals, and my everyday life. It’s helped me to concentrate more on what really matters – how I feel, rather than what items I’m knocking off my list or feeling bad about which ones I’m not.

If you’d like to discover The Desire Map for yourself or perhaps learn more about Danielle or check her array of beautifully created, discovery-filled and intense works such as The Desire Map audio book, workbook, or guide to creating goals mp3’s click here. I can’t recommend this book or Danielle Laporte’s writing and encouragement enough.

“Knowing how you actually want to FEEL is the most important form of clarity that you can have. Generating these feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life.”

So what do you think would be your core desired feelings?

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