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’.
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.
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.
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??