Friday morning I woke up with the anticipation of a child at 1:45am. I was excited about the upcoming day’s events and laid in bed for about ten minutes trying to figure out what I thought it might lead to and how I would decide to be open to every possibility that came my way. While the event didn’t start until 9am I had almost seven hours until the event started. Knowing myself, I knew that my mind would not allow me to lie in bed. I am an early riser and once my eyes are opened with surprise, motivation, or inspiration I have never been able to just sit in the bed no matter how early it is. I got up went downstairs to my office and read a few Company emails, responded, and made notes for other tasks that would have to be done after the weekend was over. When I finished doing this I still had about three hours to go so I made a video for the Life You Want Weekend and then decided to watch something that I knew would allow my eyes to fall asleep and get some rest so I wouldn’t tire myself out before the event even started. I laid on the couch in the living room, turned the TV on, and found something to watch. I was up for awhile and couldn’t fall asleep until about 45 minutes until time for me to wake up.
While driving to Auburn Hills from my home in Westland, MI I prayed and made my petitions known. My expectation since I had purchased my ticket was to get a revelation about something I already had on the inside but didn’t know how to call it up. Unsure of what it was but I knew I would know it when I got it. You know, one of Oprah’s Aha moments.
I pulled into the Palace in Auburn Hills smiling from the inside and beaming on the outside. I gave myself a little speech before I got out. I was to do whatever I felt like doing without questioning myself about it or talking myself out of it. I would be more open than I had ever been in my life. This event was important; I came to receive something so I had to be a vessel ready to be filled.
I stood in line with about two hundred women and about twenty or so men. I took in the view, took a couple of pictures, and did as I normally do; wait and watch. While we all waited for the crew to tell us we could go in, a couple of people were talking in front of me and a group of people behind me were talking as we stood there in line. A couple of times I laughed or spoke up in unison but mainly I was just an observer as I am most often in this world. But today would be different although I would observe I would too be a participator.
I heard a loud scream at the front of the line and realized that they were now allowing us to enter into “O Town”. My insides got excited, I’m not a screamer but I did a little shake. I got up to the front of the line showed my QR code and was allowed entrance. I was ushered to a table with mini laptops (notebooks) to sign in and was given an “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend wristband”. As we walked into another line that we all had to stand in before the actual gates to O Town we were opened, we were given gifts from Oprah, a “Mophie”. I don’t own an Iphone but I was happy to be given a gift. As we walked in there were different areas to take photos with Billboards of Oprah and different tents that we were able to go into and have different experiences created by the Life You Want sponsors and Oprah.
I stood in front of the stage where they had morning yoga. I’ve never done yoga before. I’ve wanted to for a long time but I was in an accident in 2005 that limits the range of motion in my left foot and ankle. Today, I was going to be a participator, remember. So today I tried to do yoga the best that I could. I stood all by myself, not caring if I looked silly or not. I enjoyed allowing myself to be carefree and not care of what others thought. I happened to turn around and out of all the hundreds of people there watching there may have been only 4 or 5 of us actually standing in the middle of O Town doing yoga. I smiled because I was one of them.
O Town was great but I was ready to learn. I was ready to get what I came for. Later that evening, Oprah graced us with her presence. She told us of her life’s story and dropped gems in the hearts of everyone in the Palace. One of my favorite of two gems was, be yourself no matter what. She told us the Barbara Walters story about how she mispronounced Canada. The second gem was to not let go of who you are and what you believe. To solidify this she told us of the short, African American Station manager that she had in Baltimore who tried to get her to change her appearance because she looked too Black. My favorite story of all was when she talked about how her Grandmother’s wish for her was to work for some “Good White Folks” Oprah never received that image that her Grandmother had for her and now have “Good White Folks” that work for her. That was day one.
Day two was my favorite. The teachings of the trailblazers are what I truly came for. Mark Nepo was the first to come out and to prepare us for the rest of the trailblazers. He encouraged us to awaken the life that we want. He gave me my first thought to ponder, “The longest distance to travel is from your head to your heart.” I received that to be true in my spirit. Since 2005 there has been a transformation going on inside of me and it has been a long traveled road to get out of my head and to get into my heart. The road is still being traveled and Mark Nepo gave me the encouragement to keep going but he also gave me an understanding of what I was doing. Aha, yes, I receive it.
We did an exercise with Oprah after Mark Nepo’s talk, and up next was the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert. She solidified for me the need to take a pilgrimage but I came to the conclusion that I was already on the most important pilgrimage of all, the one to finding “self”. When Elizabeth spoke of the Hero’s Journey it resonated so deeply in my spirit because she stated that the first part of the hero’s journey is the unwillingness to accept the journey because the Hero’s first inclination is to reject the journey because the Hero thinks he or she is unworthy of the task at hand. I too have felt this feeling of unworthiness because of the directions my life has taken through the years, the main one living my life in its truest authenticity of being a lesbian. I have since realized that does not make one unworthy, more so worthy because of the trials and tests I’ve had to endure.
I had to be honest, and outside of SuperSoul Sunday I had not been too familiar with Rob Bell, but oh what a pleasure to be in his presence. His quiet, but powerful spirit wrapped in mine from the time he walked out onto the stage. When Rob Bell spoke, my spirit opened once again and then he suggested that God could’ve made me another being in the universe. I could’ve been a tree, an ant, or anything else. Bu that God had assigned me to be a human being made me look more deeply at my life and how I was called. He then gave me what I had come for and my heart opened up a bit more. Rob said that everything that we do, do it as a sacrifice or offering to God. You’d have to understand that weeks before I had asked the Creator how I could stay in the place that I was in while writing. It was a place of openness, of love, and of simplicity, but of thought that was deeper than any of my previous thoughts while not writing. I realized the answer to remaining in that secret place that I enjoy living, breathing, and functioning in is to do everything with a spirituality and sacredness that would allow me to remain in a state of sacrifice and offering unto God.
Then, onto the stage, came Iyanla Vanzant, celebrating her birthday with us in the true essence of who she is and I loved it! Iyanla is one of my favorite people on the planet. Her talk on forgiveness was epic as usual; riddled with laughter, common sense, and depth. I love her, she makes all things simple. The one thing she said that resonated with me is that your choices have short term and long term consequences. It wasn’t like I didn’t know that but it reminded me that I was and have, lived with the long term effects from the consequences of a decision I made in 1997.
I believe that the best gift that I was given from this entire experience was the woman that sat next to me during this event. From the time she sat down we were in conversation as if something intrinsic was naturally leading us to do so. In fact, I know that it was because I don’t believe in accidents. We exchanged phone numbers, traded pictures, and before we said our goodbye’s we hugged and my new friend encouraged me to keep writing.
In my book, Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend was a hit!