We all know the wonders of Oprah Winfrey. Her Super Soul Sundays are always intriguing and I thoroughly enjoy listening to her speak and reading her work. A friend recommended her book, “What I Know for Sure,” and I received it from husband for Christmas – I finished the book in 2 days. She is such a brilliant writer, thoughtful wordsmith, and inspiring woman (FYI: listening to the audiobook is also amazing).
Here are the top 5 things Mrs. Winfrey taught me:
1. Fear is bull shit.
We create our fears and sometimes we allow them to literally take over our lives. I understand that some fears are legitimate, depending on your positionality in the world, but I believe that they are designed to make us stand still. Oprah says it simply: “When we feel the ground beneath us shifting, we panic. We forget everything we know and allow fear to freeze us…What I know for sure is that the only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance.” (35)
2. Birthdays are to be celebrated.
There is extreme pressure for women when it comes to aging – staying young and relevant isn’t easy! But here is one of the most prominent women in the world shouting from the mountain top that she’s 60…and that she is “no longer…concerned about what anyone thinks of her (me)!” I don’t plan on waiting until 60 – I vow to celebrate every birthday out loud. (157)
3. Live in the now.
Eckhart Tolle taught me this lesson and Oprah encouraged me to learn about and truly understand the power of now. When you are in the present moment, you understand that your thoughts are designed to persuade you away from experiencing what is real. So living in the now “is a decision you make daily: to be in the world but not of it.” Much easier said than done, that’s for sure – but right now, I can handle it. (147)
4. People want to be heard.
Authentic communication is a key component of all relationships. When we’re entangled in instances of frustration, anger or upset, our ability to communicate can quickly break down. According to Oprah, in these moments we must ask someone what they really want or need; this leads to “some variation of the following: ‘I want to know that you value me.'” When you tell the people in your life that you really hear them, you will notice marked improvement in your interactions. (55)
5. Gratitude changes the course of your life.
Essentially, it is the law of cause and effect. I’ve expressed gratitude for things, say thank you regularly, and know that my life is blessed in many, many ways, but let’s face it, I’ve been missing a lot of opportunities to be grateful. Since February, here are 5 random things I’ve been grateful for, according to my journal:
- 12/02/2015: the fast beat of my heart during a workout
- 09/03/2015: the smell of sweet red peppers
- 15/04/2015: walking through the rain on Bourbon Street
- 10/05/2015: finding $20 on the sidewalk…and no one was around to claim it
- 14/06/2015: a Sunday nap with Zach and Gigi, falling asleep to the sound of chirping birds
“I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your whole world…you radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and are not focusing on your have-nots” (77). Whether big or small, noticing things makes a difference; it empowers you to express joy, remain resilient, be in awe, and share the spiritual wealth with others.
The gratitude piece was powerful for me. So now, in addition to my journal, I plan to expand my “gratitude attitude” and share a dose of thankfulness with you at the start of every week. Since Mondays have the ability to make us all feel a little blue, I’m looking forward to changing the course of my Monday, and yours, by focusing gratitude.
(*** numbers in parentheses refer to page numbers from “What I Know for Sure.”)