I have fond memories of coming home after school in the late ’80s, grabbing a snack, and plopping myself on the couch right at 4:00 p.m. to watch Oprah. Over the 25 years she was on tv, I bought her “favorite things” every Christmas, watched her interview my favorite celebrities on that famous couch and have procured quite a library of her book-club choices.
Right before Christmas this year, I saw that Oprah was going to be on tour – and she was stopping in my neck of the woods. Well, okay… She was going to be in Dallas – 200 miles south of where I live – but still! OPRAH! In Dallas! I had to find tickets.
I was able to score three seats. Ya’ll – I was quite proud of myself. This was a highly coveted event. I wrapped up the printed ticket receipts in pretty boxes, tied them each with a bow, and gave one to my mom and the other to my sister for Christmas. They squealed with delight when they opened them.
The week of the event, I read a few reviews about Oprah’s “2020 Vision Tour” and discovered it was sponsored by Weight Watchers (aka WW). Quite frankly, I had no interest in joining Weight Watchers, but if I got to see Oprah in the flesh, I was all in.
The traffic jam surrounding the American Airlines arena in Dallas on that Saturday morning was unlike anything I had ever seen. We crept along the street for what seemed like an hour before finally finding a parking spot for $60 – even those attendants were cashing in on the Oprah craze!
As we approached the arena, we saw swarms of well-dressed women of all ages, races, and creeds standing in lines. All of us were wearing the same excited “I’m going to see Oprah!” smiles wiped across our faces. Everyone was in a great mood, making friends with the person next to them in line.
Truly a phenomenon, she had a way of bringing together an audience full of people with diverse backgrounds.
Once inside, we found kiosks full of “Oprah merch” for sale: pens, books, hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, wine glasses. I think I bought one of each, and I even got some for my Oprah-crazed friends back home. We stopped to get an unhealthy snack – just in case I decided to sign up for WW at the end of the day. Then my sister, my mother and I headed to our seats. Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” blared on the PA. The vibe was hoppin’ – so much energy and electricity filled the arena.
“Mel, entertain us while we wait for Oprah!” I said to my sister. Without hesitation, she stood up and started dancing. Pretty soon, a group of twenty ladies sitting behind us in matching red “WE LOVE OPRAH” shirts spotted her and started calling out, “Aaaaaaaay! Get it, girl!” So, in typical Melanie fashion, she played to the crowd and shook what the good Lord gave her.
Just before 10:00 a.m., the curtain opened, the lights shined down from above, and the heavens parted. There she was … Queen Oprah.
EVERYONE jumped up, clapped, hooted and hollered. Some women even cried.
“Oh, Lord Jesus! It’s OPRAH!” howled a woman in a pink cowgirl hat covered in rhinestones behind me.
Oprah looked gorgeous. Her beautiful curly hair fell to her shoulders, and she wore a long jean skirt, a sparkly vest, and a white button-down top.
“Helllllllllllllllo, Daaaaaaaaallas!” she said in her iconic cadence.
The crowd erupted again. Once salutations were out of the way, she asked the cast of Netflix’s Cheer, who were in the audience, to come up on stage. All 17,000 women screamed as if they were witnessing the second coming of Christ. It was complete pandemonium! After Jerry Harris did a “mat talk” with the audience, it was time to soak up the wisdom of Oprah.
Since I promised some of my girlfriends that I would take notes and share, I thought I’d share with all of you too! So, here are pearls of wisdom from Queen Oprah.
She began by talking about the title of her program, “The 2020 Vision Tour,” explaining that “2020” expresses perfect vision. Her hope for us was that we could envision or identify for ourselves what our “word” is for our future.
“You have to name it to claim it,” she said. “Life is waiting on you, and your clarity.” Her chosen word was “purposeful,” and I decided that was going to be my word too. If it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me. My New Year’s resolution is to be more “intentional,” which is similar to “purposeful.” Oh yes, Oprah and I were aligned.
She went on to talk about wellness, and what she said struck me: “wellness” does not mean that all things are in balance. Things aren’t equal or peaceful at all times. I exhaled deeply hearing that even Oprah doesn’t have peace and balance at all times. Did you hear that, my friends? Even Oprah, who is a billionaire – and can buy ANYTHING – doesn’t have constant tranquility. Instead, “wellness” means that we welcome the constant shifting and flow of life. We CAN have it all, but we can’t have it all at once.
I thought about my life back home. I have four-year-old twins who require a lot of love and care, and a busy twelve-year-old son who plays multiple sports. My husband and I are building a house – oh, and I am getting ready to publish a memoir on infertility. I am often overwhelmed, and at the end of the day, I might just let my kids skip taking a bath because, frankly, I am just too tired. Other days I promise myself that I will commit an hour to writing, and yet I fail. I used to beat myself up about not meeting my goals or completing my lists, but I recently decided to be nicer to myself. I think this is what Queen O was talking about.
And ladies, this is where it got really good. Oprah told us to “accept the moment.” If you are late, in traffic, whatever – ACCEPT it and deal with it. Doing this will immediately reduce your stress.
Hmm. My thoughts rewound to the day before when I was sitting at a stoplight through three rotations and my blood pressure was skyrocketing. It was 2:29 p.m., and I had to pick up my twins at precisely 2:30. In a crazed Exorcist voice, I screamed, “GOOOOOOOO, people! What the HELL are you waiting for?” I continued to be ticked off for the next thirty minutes. Instead, if I had listened to Oprah, I could have accepted the fact that I was going to be a few minutes late, and jammed out to the Foo Fighters song that was playing on satellite radio.
Back to Oprah, she said, “Don’t be in shock or denial. Just accept it and then everything moves in flow. You need to set limits to who and what get your time!” Oh, that was good. Who and what gets my time.
Oprah then turned the subject to Instagram. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone wants to be seen!” she said, going on to talk about the various guests she’s had on her shows over the years – from actors and singers to criminals and everyday people. She said she learned that everyone wants the same thing – to be seen and heard.
That is the commonality among humans. We all want to know: “Do you see me? Do you hear me?” Once we have been heard, we are validated. If you know you have been heard, you know you matter. Whenever we are in conflict, we need to let the other person know that we heard them.
Oprah encouraged us to explore our deepest fears. Sure, we all have them. For example, I am afraid of heights. (This started on my honeymoon, by the way, when we were climbing a 300-year-old church tower in Tuscany. I got six stories up, looked down, and couldn’t breathe. The staircase was just three feet wide, and I panicked, sweated profusely and clutched the rock wall beside me. I couldn’t move. I am sure my new husband was thinking, “This sure is romantic!”)
But common phobias aside, what are we really afraid of? Oprah said that our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We should ask ourselves, what would that be like?
The power is within us. It’s within you and it’s within me. Own that power!
Oprah said in her earlier years, she was trying to keep her light down because she didn’t want others to think she was full of herself. Once she embraced this school of thought, things changed. Now, her cup runneth over.
There is power within me. There is power within you. We are powerful beyond measure! So the question is this: What is holding YOU back?
Think about the highest vision you have of yourself. WHO were you meant to be? What is the vision you really have? Why are you REALLY here? “Get in the business of ordering that,” Oprah said.
I believe that I am here to serve and help others, especially those who are battling infertility. Although I have written my (no-holds-barred) memoir, I was fearful about releasing the book and signing a publishing deal – until recently. Why? I had been afraid of what others might think of me, and of being judged. I was afraid that people will see me and think, “Who does she think she is? Why does she think her story is so important? And why in the world is she writing a book about it?”
Oprah encouraged us to live in a rhythm of life, to live deeper, and to become more of who we were meant to be!
She also talked about spiritual practice, saying, “You have no life without a spiritual life. Weeeeeeeeeeeee are spiritual beings having a human experience! Did you hear me? Huuuuuuuuman experience, my people.”
Amen. Spirituality is a connection, a belief that there is something greater out there than ourselves. I cannot imagine where I would be without my faith. It is what gets us through our trials; it means that we trust that the Lord will bless us and make things right in the end.
I got a kick out of the fact that Oprah shared that she requires her guests to do tequila shots when they visit her home in Hawaii. She loooooves her tequila. I remember reading that she handed out tequila in her pajamas while on an Oprah cruise, and that she even brought tequila on set to talk shows where she was a guest! Spirits for the spirit, if you will.
Here are a few other interesting things about her Dallas show: We meditated, and we did a dance exercise with Julianna Hough. Julianna walked out into the audience and placed her hands on a woman who was apparently battling cancer. Our mom, who battled colon cancer several years ago, got really emotional watching this. Next thing you know, all three of us were doing the ugly-cry! Oprah interviewed actress and TV host Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of the legendary Diana Ross. All 17,000 of us in the audience were served a Panera boxed lunch in under an hour, which impressed me! And – my favorite part – pampering booths were set up on the concourse for free massages, hair refreshing, and more.
We ended up not signing on for WW, although truth be told, I probably should have. I had eaten one too many Christmas cookies the month before. My mom, my sister, and I had a wonderful day together – it was just what our spirits needed. We waved goodbye to my sister’s new friends up in the stands and headed out the door.
So, ladies, Queen O wants us to remember these things: Get clarity on the spirit of self, align it with your personality, and use your personality to serve your spirit or soul because that is when you are most empowered. Think about the reason you are here – your purpose. Allow yourself to get still and ask and answer those questions.
Oprah closed the segment with Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”
Practice being quiet. That is when the answers come. And on the inside, know that it is well with your soul. When things are swirling around you, find the quiet.
And then, maybe have a tequila shot.