Ode To Oprah

I received an offer from O, The Oprah Magazine for a $12 yearly subscription.  I haven’t been a subscriber in a while but since the show is ending and a $1 per month price is crazy, good, I decided to send in a check.  Besides getting a free O totebag and a chance to win a Kindle loaded with every Oprah book pick ever featured, I also got a leaflet that noted Oprah’s all time, top 10 “What I know For Sure” tenets.

In honor of the final Oprah show airing tomorrow and all that we’ve learned from her many guests, I’d like to give a shout out to Ms. Winfrey as these tenets definitely have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.  Some I’ve used. Other’s I’m still working on.  All I’ll try to pass down to my daughters.

  1. What you put out comes back to you.
  2. You define your own life.
  3. The past has no power over the present.
  4. When people show you who they are, believe them.
  5. Worrying is a waste of time.
  6. You become what you believe.
  7. The only prayer you ever need to say is Thank You.
  8. Your happiness is directly proportional to the amount of love that you give.
  9. Failure is an opportunity to go in an different direction.
  10. If your thoughts and choices are different from others the world will not fall apart.

Number 4 is the tenet that has helped me the most.  I’ve ended friendships, kept my distance from people, made important life decisions – all to my advantage by  following that nugget of wisdom.  I use it at work, at home, in my neighborhood and even at dinner parties.  I used to make excuses for people’s behavior.  I now see bad behavior as information that I need to have.

Other Oprah life lessons that I’ve benefitted from are:

  1. To get your attention, the universe will drop a pebble on your head.  If that doesn’t work, it’ll drop a rock, then a brick, etc.  I’ve found that over the years, I’m better at reacting to the pebble and not needing a piano to drop on me.  Thank you, Oprah.
  2. When you see crazy coming – Cross the street! Iyanla Vanzant  taught us that one and it’s very similar to the when people show you who they are, believe them philosophy from the above list.  It also works with when you see bitterness, laziness, judgement, I’m going to take advantage of you, or I’m going to be a pain in your ass, coming – cross the street as well.
  3. Knowing when you’re trying to be right versus trying to solve a problem.  (A Dr. Philism from his early days pre-his own show). This has assisted me when having discussions with my husband as well as shaped many an argument with my teenage daughters. I’ve definitely not mastered it, but at least it’s in my consciousness.
  4. Truly tapping into and trusting your intuition is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself.  I’ve had the opportunity to be in situations where I knew no one, had no background information and only had my intuition to guide me.  My internal guidance system was eerily accurate during those times. Thank you Gary Zukav for sharing this with your readers and the Oprah show audience
  5. Seeing fear as a gift that keeps you safe.  Security expert Gavin de Becker’s idea that you should ALWAYS listen to that voice in your head and never out logic yourself when it comes to your safety.  Who knows if it’s worked as I’ve never been a victim of anything violent, which could in fact be proof in and of itself.

I can honestly say that over the last 25 years, I’ve learned quite a bit from Oprah’s show, her magazine and all of the experts she’s featured.  Of course not everyone agrees.  Joan Rivers was once quoted by The National Enquirer as saying that “She feels Oprah’s real gift is exploiting people’s suffering and emotions and turning them into TV ratings.”  I don’t think she exploited people’s suffering as much as she’s wanted her audience to learn from it.  Many of her viewers featured these last few weeks have illustrated that point by coming forward to share how the show has changed them, or even saved them.

One woman said that a show about safety made her fight an attacker to avoid being taken to second location and thus saved her life as her attacker as she later discovered that her attacker had killed people in this manner.

Another viewer said that show about a stressed out mom who’s baby died when she forgot and left her in a hot car made her a more mindful parent.  When her own baby’s cries that she normally ignored as fussiness seemed different one afternoon, she remembered the mom that had been featured, walked into the nursery only to find her infant being strangled by the cord of her window blinds. She believes that being inspired to be more present saved her child’s life.

One mom said that advice given to a grieving mom on Oprah was her only “anchor” as she dealt with the overwhelming grief that she was experiencing when her own child died.

That’s powerful and important television.  How many talk show hosts even come close to that?

Oprah isn’t perfect.  Not every guest was phenomenal.  In fact, I’m still a little confused as to why she gave so much airtime to celebrities without medical training spouting medical advice?  But in the end, even the gaffes are okay because I also believe that…

  1. The universe honors intentions not necessarily outcomes

and I believe that her’s were good.  She never guaranteed results as much as she simply gave us more options.

I think the Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes show that’s been airing on OWN really drove home how the “Oprah Way” of doing things is not a bad way to live. Each week you get a behind the scenes look at Oprah and her team pulling together two shows.  Many of these hard working producers (that are clearly working long, stressful hours) are at their core, very centered and present people.  When something goes wrong, they are surprisingly calm, compassionate and gracious, even.  They, along with Oprah, seem to really live this “Oprahic lifestyle”, if you will.  Yes they get angry and disappointed and flustered, because they’re human – but they stay centered in a way that you don’t see illustrated in most reality shows. It makes you wonder what it would be like to work in an environment like that every day?  Or better yet, be the type of person that brings that energy to a work environment each day.  Maybe that’s why the show has been so successful – because it’s not only been hosted by Oprah, but produced by people that are very “Oprah-like”.  People with good intentions that are mindfully attempting to do their jobs well.

I’m definitely going to miss Oprah.  I think women over 50 are just beginning to settle into their power so imagine what else she could’ve taught us had her show stayed on the air?  I look forward to seeing what she’ll do with an entire network.  I’m guessing that it’ll be pretty spectacular.

Thank You Oprah.  Wishing you all the best.


5 responses to “Ode To Oprah

  1. Well said. I will definitely miss her. I’m excited to see what she does with her new network.

  2. Pingback: Goodbye, Dr Oprah – and Good Riddance. | The Blog That Ate Manhattan

  3. As a doc, have to say I’m glad she’s gone. Blogged about it today, pointed to your post.

    As a TV viewer, I agree – she was great TV. But as a doc, she was a huge disappointment to me.

    I think a little back and forth on things like this can be fun. Hope you fell same.



    • Thanks for your comment/link to my “Ode to Oprah” post. You know me, I love a good back and forth discussion. The problem is, I didn’t just bury my sister like you did, so my guess is that this is WAAAAAY too raw of a topic to have a “friendly disagreement” about. I don’t know the details re: her last days – when you’re ready (and with your family’s permission) maybe you should blog about it? That being said, I’m curious if she was straight up praying for a cure, reciting novenas, attend a daily mass to recite the rosary or frequently hitting a confessional – would that have been different for you? Would you or do you feel towards a priests, rabbis, or pastors the same way you feel about Oprah and the writers of “The Secret”?

      As a person with a progressive neurological disease that will most likely kill me – I get how something like The Secret could eventually be an anchor to grab onto. It’s something to do. Faith isn’t a verb. It makes you feel proactive. No one can tell me what caused my MS, what course it’ll take and even why the medicine I’m prescribed works. Yet later this morning as I shoot some Copaxone in my ass I will (in a very Oprah inspired manner) visualize a brain scan free of lesions since the 9 I had in 2009, didn’t show up in the 2010 scan. Why? Because the more my medicine works. The worse I feel. My brain is lesion free yet my parathesia, dysphagia and weakness/balance/limping is worse. After yesterday’s 100 degree temperature – I’d chant mantras to Oprah’s big toe if it would change my reality. Am I doing something wrong? Should I change my diet? Take a supplement? Do more yoga?

      Yet I too feel annoyed that I’m somehow responsible for curing myself. I want to sit on my ass and let modern medicine do all the work. Then someone in a motorized wheelchair zips by me and I’m horrified into looking for another answer (medical or otherwise) while constantly trying to figure out what I’m supposed to learn from MS. Looking for the blessing (another thing Oprah taught us). Wondering if it somehow makes me a better speech therapist or yoga teacher? Wondering if I’ll even give a damn if I find myself in constant pain at some point. Wondering if having 2 autoimmune diseases is some sort of metaphor for my life? Did my negative inner critic take things too far this time? Maybe I did do this to myself?

      Would love to keep this conversation going. I’m going to post this comment on your blog as well.

  4. Pingback: Goodbye, Dr. Oprah – And Good Riddance - Better Health

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