I fulfilled one of my major bucket list items last fall: going to see Oprah Winfrey's show in-person. I am crazy-cuckoohead-nuts for Oprah. Anyone who's ever talked to me for more than 30 minutes or so, has probably heard me quote Miss O or share something I learned through years and years of faithfully watching the Oprah Winfrey Show.
My love of all things Oprah
It's because of Oprah that I made a vision board (with her photo on it, of course). It's because of her show that I know to eat whole grains and to avoid hydrogenated fats. It's why I pray every night (or well, most nights), listing off all of the things I am grateful for. Because of her, I have watched life-changing movies like “The Shift” presented by Dr. Wayne Dyer and have read inspirational books like A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It is because of Oprah that I have turned my passion of travel and writing into a career. Truly, I am a better mother, wife, and person because of Oprah.
Getting tickets to see Oprah
My friends often joke with me about how I claim to “manifest” things into my life a la “The Secret”, another Oprah-inspired movie. I did not spend hours vying for tickets online. I did not get Oprah tickets because I'm a blogger either. I believe I drew those tickets into my life.
As an Oprah enthusiast I had signed up as a member of Oprah's website once upon a time. To be honest, I don't go to her site much. Nonetheless, one day I received an invitation from the Oprah Winfrey Network to put my name in a lottery to go see Oprah's Life Class in Houston, Texas. I signed up right away for my chance at two tickets. The following week, I got notice: I was in. I was going to see Oprah!
Who to bring?
Now the question was: who do I bring with? My friend, Laurie (author of the Guessing All the Way blog), is not nearly as enthralled with Oprah as I, but she is one of my dearest friends in the world. This trip gave us a fabulous excuse to spend some time together. Laurie and I met on my first-ever press trip and we have remained close ever since even though we live in different states.
Our families went for a special sleigh ride dinner at Keystone Resort together in her home state of Colorado. When she came to my hometown of San Diego for Blogher (a conference for bloggers), we stayed together in a hotel talking, talking, talking all night long. Laurie and I don't communicate all that often but when we do, we chat and giggle like grade school BFFs. With some friends, there are uncomfortable silences or the relationship seems somehow unbalanced. Not with Laurie. I get her. She gets me. She was the perfect person to join me on this bucket list adventure!
Oprah Super Fan
When I went to pick up our tickets the day prior to the show's taping, at first the young man at check-in couldn't find my tickets. My heart started thumping faster and I could feel my face get hot with worry. What if they couldn't find my name on the list? What if Laurie and I invested in air tickets to Houston for nothing?
I was told to go to another table, where a woman with a big puff of blond hair greeted me with a smile and said, “Oh, aren't you lucky? You've got great seats, did you know that?”
“I do?” I said, “Why?”
The woman said, “Well, you're an Oprah Super Fan, aren't you?”
Why yes I am! I have no idea how they knew I was crazy-cuckoohead-nuts for Oprah but they did. I was handed two pink VIP wristbands.
That's me on TV, y'all
Those pink plastic bracelets enabled Laurie and I to enter the Hobby Center auditorium with its 2,650 seats before the throngs of other Oprah fans. The first three rows were reserved for special guests, so we sat in the fourth row, center. Because there was a walkway between the third and fourth rows, camera people constantly taped our row.
Click here to watch a short video featuring Laurie and I shouting out our “I am” declarations.
There are close-ups of Laurie and me throughout the two Joel Osteen segments. (Between shows Oprah and Joel left the stage to change clothes.) One show focused on “The Power of I Am” and the other on “Why You Need to Be Grateful to Dream Big.”
What I learned
When I first found out that Pastor Joel Osteen would be the speaker that day, I was unenthused. I didn't know much about him and worried that there would be a lot of dogma. The universe has an interesting way of working, though. It turns out this show was just what I needed, so that's what I got.
Laurie and I had been whining to each other about the shortcomings in our lives and about ourselves before this show. Pastor Osteen said, “Never speak negative words about yourself or your family; you may think it but don't give them life by speaking them out.” Laurie and I looked at each other knowingly. That day we learned that whatever follows the words “I am” will come looking for us, as well as many other lessons.
I now try to replace all of my negative self talk with positive thoughts. I don't always succeed but often I do. When my husband is full of worry about finances or other problems, I tell him, “Quick! Replace the worry with a positive thought!”
It is something I need to work at continually and it doesn't always come easy, but I make the effort. Sometimes I forget and then I watch one of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday episodes and what truly matters comes back into focus.
Living life well, being a good person and acting as a positive influence in the world isn't something you can learn once and move on. It's like physical exercise; you need to keep it up or your spirit gets flabby.
My moment with Oprah
At one point, Pastor Osteen said something that particularly resonated with me and I nodded my head in agreement. Oprah nodded too and gazed out at the audience. For a moment, she and I looked into each other's eyes, nodding our heads, agreeing. Then she gave me a thumbs-up. It was just a small moment of connection with another person, a person I happen to admire a great deal.
As a student of Oprah and her incredible guests like Joel Osteen, I have come to believe that our thoughts transform our lives. If you think you are miserable, you will be. If you think hopeful thoughts, you will have hope. This does not mean that bad things will not happen in your life, but that you will be better equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
I envision what I want for me, for my family, for my friends. I put the energy out there and often amazing things arrive at my doorstep…or in an email inviting me to Houston to learn the power of “I am.”
Is there someone who has had a positive impact on your life, even though you have never met? What kinds of “ah-ha” moments have you experienced because of Oprah over the years? Let us know in the comments below!
Oprah's still on TV, people! I know many of you thought Oprah was no longer on television. I feel like I see more of Oprah now than I did during those 30 years when she reigned over network daytime TV. I like the programming even more on her new network; the shows are more meaningful. There's Oprah's Next Chapter (for which she does in-depth interviews with celebrities like Lance Armstrong and George Lucas), Oprah's Master Class (that features high-achievers like Diane Sawyer and Gloria Steinem discussing the secrets of their success), Super Soul Sunday (for which Oprah discusses soulful topics with spiritual leaders like Deepak Chopra), and Oprah's Life Class (with “classes” focused on improving lives, led by spiritual and motivational leaders like Anthony Robbins and Pastor Joel Osteen).