A few nights ago, I had the opportunity to listen to Oprah Winfrey share part of her journey and some of the lessons she has learnt in life at an event in Sydney called, An Evening with Oprah.
Being able to see Oprah live, in person, had been on my bucket list so it was very exciting to finally have had that opportunity. And I wasn’t disappointed!
Oprah shared many stories from her past during her hour and 45-minute talk, which she described as her way to help us turn up the volume on who we are, figure out our passions, our purpose, our mission and our visions, and to step into the life that is waiting for us.
While there were many pearls of wisdom during her talk, I’ve condensed them into the 12 key lessons that resonated most with me. I found it very reassuring that so many of the lessons Oprah shared are principles I already believe in and endeavour to integrate into my everyday life.
- Your life is speaking to you every day, in every moment. We have to pay attention because life is speaking to us all the time. It is our job to pay attention, especially to the spirit voice inside us. This voice can be called our instinct, our gut, our higher consciousness, our intuition or our inklings. Oprah likes to call this voice her spiritual GPS, which is always guiding us in the right direction.
- People want to be happy but don’t often know how to articulate it. Whenever we are struggling in life, it always helps to ask ourselves, “What do I really want?” The more important follow-up question to ask is, “What does that look like for me?” Unless we have clarity on what happiness means to us, it will continue to elude us.
- Live in this place of surrender, that which is beyond you. Oftentimes, we can only “see” so much based on our beliefs or assumptions about life, but quite often, the universe will show us more than beyond what we can see or think is possible for us. There is a “beyond” for us, if we connect to our “spirit within.”
- There is no life without a spiritual life. This is not about religion, what we choose to worship or how we choose to worship. It is based on the belief that we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Each of us is a spiritual success and it is our job to honour that.
- Everyone here has a reason and a purpose for being here on Earth. Our real job is to figure out what that is and honour that calling. Why have we been called? That is our offering to the world — our calling. Our journey is filled with experiences designed to reveal to us our purpose in life. Whatever our calling or our purpose — it is the thing we are here to do. We have to pay attention to what makes us curious and what makes us happy. An indicator whether we’re on purpose or not is to figure out when do we most feel alive and like ourselves?
If we’re in a job or a relationship that deflates us, that’s our life force speaking to us, trying to move us in a different direction. The truth is there isn’t a purpose or a calling that only concerns us. We’re all here to share what we have because our life is validated through our service to others. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”
- At some point in your life, you pretend to be something or someone that you’re not. It may be in our job or with our friends. We pretend to be someone we’re not as a way to protect ourselves or as a way to fit in. We will always be a better version of ourselves than to be a pretend version of someone else. Often when things go wrong in life, it is our greater life force that is trying to push us forward in life. If we’re in a space that doesn’t feel quite right, it isn’t!
- Everybody is looking for or wants the same thing. We want to fulfil the truest, highest expression or ourselves. We want to know how can we live to highest expression of ourselves as a human being. In every argument or conversation, we are looking for the same thing — “Did you hear me? Did you see me? Did what I say mean anything to you?” Whenever we get upset, it’s never about what it looks like on the outside — it’s about the real feeling that we are not being heard, not being seen and what we are saying to another person does not matter.
- We co-create our life with the energy of our intention. Every thought and feeling is motivated by an intention, and that intention is the driving force that will determine what the outcome is going to be. That is why we’re in the reality of our life right now because of what we intended. We may be intending unconsciously, for example, saying yes when we really want to say no.
We have to be aware of the energy of our intention. What is our real intention for doing something? We are responsible for the intention we bring to every situation. Whatever shows up in our life, we should always ask, “What is it here to teach me? What is my role in it? What is my intention?” Whatever is going on for us, we should also ask, “How has my intentions created this experience or outcome?”
- We all become what we believe. We have to buy into beliefs that will give us the outcomes we want. Our job is to keep ourselves positively strong and to keep our vibration levels high. The only power we have is the power of our spirit. We have the power to control our destiny, our fate or our luck.
- There is always a second chance. We all get a second chance in life because life is speaking to us especially during our greatest trials. Failure is our greatest teacher. Failure means to either keep trying with a higher level of understanding and consciousness of what is really going on, or failure is trying to move us in a different direction. We do not want to make worthless mistakes. If we are going to make mistakes, make mistakes that matter! We have to be willing to ask ourselves, “What is this here to teach me that I’m not really seeing?” and “What do I really want?” whenever we feel overwhelmed or are struggling.
- When you are struggling and you’ve done all you can, the only thing you can do is to go inward and surrender. Surrender does not mean to give up. It means to let go of our attachment to the outcome. We have to be willing to change our narrative of our reality and surrender to it. We were born to honour that which is within. Pay attention to that voice — it is our spiritual GPS. As long as we listen to it, we will not be off track.
- The greatest practice is the practice of gratitude. When something is not going well in our lives, the quickest way to change our personal vibration and to change the energy we bring to the space is by moving into gratitude. Being grateful is a spiritual practice and there is no life without a spiritual life. Always remember — whatever has happened to you was also happening for you!
Oprah also shared a poem that had a major impact on her life. It is called Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Hopefully these lessons are as inspiring for you as they were for me and you are able to put these lessons into practice in your life.
Question: Which of these lessons resonated most for you and why? How do you intend to integrate these lessons into your life?
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