Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Church of Oprah; a Modern Day Spiritual Leader

I have some writing to do. It feels a little bit like crunch time in college when a procrastinator, like me, needs to catch up on her work because the papers are due. I started to have feelings of guilt because I have spent much of my time working and much of my spare time painting. (I am an artist and a photographer... as well as a restauranteur) So, I wonder to myself... why these feelings? This spirituality project is simply for me. It's my journey. I don't even have any readers (I don't think). So why am I beating myself up because I have two church essays to write?

SO, I sat down to write this essay this morning on a bright sunny early summer morning. My deck was loaded with freshly potted flowers, plants, and herbs, and I sat amidst this magnificence and wrote the first paragraph about how I have been putting off this project because I had so many other things to do. Boom. An enormous thunderstorm just swooped in, and I just barely made it inside when the rain came down with a crash and the lights went out.

Wow. I regrouped. Poured a little more coffee. (Still hot) and grabbed my laptop. It was running on batteries anyway, and I was in the mood to write.

So, it's now. The lights back on, the rain dying down, the warming color in the distant sky, and the far away sounds of very benign thunder. I sit in stillness and in the glow of recent energy surge and think of the way the last two weeks went for me spiritually, and how I am to tell about it. Is there a significance to the sudden storm as I ponder spirituality?

I attended a Unity church two weeks ago, with my dear friend, Kelly, and her partner, Jeff. They have invited me to join them many times in the past, knowing that I have been on my own spiritual path, and many times I had reasons not to go. What if I liked it? Was I ready to commit to a new community, when I was still grieving from my old one? What if I didn't like it? Was I able to hurt the feelings of my dear friends because I didn't connect with the community they hold so dear? The answer was to put off going, to keep busy, to continue to grow spiritually in solitude.

As I said in my first post, when I declared that I was going to start going to church, and that I was going to explore different religions, and write about my experiences, and how the teachings were intertwined with each other, and how connected they might be to what I have come to believe; I decided to finally check out the Unity Church.

I will tell you more about that experience, but I need to now tell you about what happened a few days later. I made mental notes about my experience at Unity, and some of the deeply powerful words and connections I felt. I also made mental notes about some of the ways the experience forced me out of my comfort zone a little bit, and challenged me to engage more than I knew how. I will get to that later.

Oh, and by the way, before I forget, the "drink" of this post is consistently: Coffee... First, on my way to Unity I realized that I didn't have my morning coffee. I had left yesterday's take out container in my center console, and it reminded me and teased me that I really, really wanted a cup. "Could I bring a cup of coffee to church?" Nah! So I "jonesed" for coffee throughout the service. I am also drinking coffee as I write right now. But, thirdly, and finally, I was drinking coffee the other morning when I watched the DVR video of Oprah: The Final Episode. Ripe with church, art, spirituality, my work with the law of attraction, I watched this episode and wept. I hadn't even written about Unity yet, but I knew then that this was more meaningful to me at the moment, more powerful, and just the thing I needed to see now, in my life, in my journey. She began to speak, to talk to us, her congregation, she spoke lightly of the joys and the journeys, and the power of what it has meant to be Oprah. I listened. Enthralled. Suddenly, I realized that she was, indeed, speaking to her church. Her fans whose lives and actions in everyday circumstances are shaped by the lessons she has taught us. She began talking deeply about life; about my life, my journey, my spirituality, my growth in the "Oprah generation". The church of Oprah. Me. The things I search for. The things I've found. My favorite things.

So, my experience at Unity has been trumped by my powerful journey into the heart of Oprah in her final episode. First off, I have to say that at 46, I grew up with Oprah. My girlfriend in high school and then my roommate in college and I watched Oprah through our "chubby" years, and remember distinctly watching Oprah cart out pounds of fat behind her while she wore her "Calvin Klein Jeans". During my mommy years, I watched Oprah as often as I could. I used my VCR and then my DVR and was truly, one of her "ultimate viewers". In "Oprah-speak" that means someone who has watched Oprah since the beginning, and knows all about her evolution, her passions, her spirit, her values, her humor, her humanness, her philanthropy, and her ways of honoring others and those who paved the path for her to shine.

I am a devoted Oprah watcher, and in the 25 years she has been on the air, and in the 46 years that I have been here on this planet, and a childhood tv junkie, I wrote Oprah my two and only fan letters. I wrote an email years ago that simply stated something like this, "Oprah, if God were to send his only child to our planet to do his/her good work. Would he be a barefoot middle-eastern Shepherd, who was the self proclaimed son of God? NO! Our generation would lock him up. If God were to send his message of eternal peace and goodness; Of Energy, and life; Of Doing good deeds for the planet and humankind, by showing leadership in the things that our society values, and taking action to better the planet. No pressure, Oprah, but it is you. You come from humble beginnings, and often show the world your human vulnerabilities. You lead us to be better people, and show us books to read, and people to honor. By example, Oprah, you have made the world a better place. Thank you." I heard nothing, but thought to myself that she probably thought I was some Jesus-Freak and didn't want that kind of pressure. Who does? Years later, when Oprah was struggling publicly with her weight again, and I had felt empowered by having strengthened my own connection with my inner athlete and conquered my battle with weight, I wrote to her again with a little strategy. Anyway, in this letter I let her know that I had recently seen an episode where they were cleaning our someone's hoarding den, and created a place full of good chi. Oprah had said that she could never function in a home that wasn't orderly, neat, and a sanctuary. I wrote to Oprah and suggested that in her weight-loss struggle, she remembered that her real home is in her body, and that if she couldn't live in chaos at home, to remember to take order of her health... and look at it that way.

Why did I just tell you this? Wow, I get so ADD sometimes. Suffice it to say. I am a huge Oprah fan.

SO I apologize to the Unity church, because their story is going to have to wait as I am compelled to speak about the Church of Oprah this week. Her words filled me spiritually in her final episode. So, the subject of today's blogpost... is The Church of Oprah..

Oprah began her "service" with the description that the hour was not a typical Oprah show, there would be no frivolity, no surprises, no give aways, no make overs, no music, no tearful reunions. No, today's last and final episode was a "Love letter to you". Us. She was talking to her people. Her flock. Me.

Here are some of the powerful statements she shared with me, (with us).

"Use your light to change the world." I ask everyday for this direction.

"you are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself... and you are responsible for the energy that you bring to others. All life is energy and we are transmitting it at every moment." Yes! That is it! That is the understanding I have of the divine spirit, that it is life energy flowing through you and others in each moment, whether you are conscious of it or conscientiously working with it for your good in your life. Oprah is so my church. Take responsibility for your own energy and for the energy you bring to others. Ok, I will, Oprah, I will think more responsibly about my own energy.

Oprah quoted Newton, " For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
She went on to say that "we all need to learn that we are responsible for our lives. We are not to let anyone save, fix, or complete us, and that when we understand that we are all responsible for our lives, we get free." Wow. In my roller coaster of a post divorce life, that statement was powerful to me. I am just learning that I can be alone. I can like who I am. I can be a creative, active, giving member of society. I will take that little nugget of a suggestion and think about how I define myself. After you are part of a "we" for such a long time, it is a challenge to remember that it is ok to just be a "me."

"There is a common thread that flows through all of our pain and all of our suffering; Unworthiness" Such a powerful statement, and I can honestly say that from my experience, and in my insecurities, I define myself often as "unworthy". As Oprah would say, "Aha!"

"Even people that feel like they deserve to be happy and have nice things, often don't feel worthy when they have them." She went on to say, " There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy, and knowing you are worthy of happiness." Knowing my worth is a daily effort. I listen to Oprah and agree with her language about our connection. How does she know I needed these little kicks in the pants? How did she reach through my television, describe how I feel about my connection to spirituality/God, and then she socks it to me about unworthiness, and gratitude. Lessons I consciously work on in my own life. How did she know?

I am a student and sometimes teacher in the application of the law of attraction and how it applies to our spirituality, our purpose, and our daily lives. I believe in the power of our life energy and our connection to it and to each other. I ask for guidance in the areas of my life where I may feel unworthiness. I ask to be shown my path to my best self.

In this journey I have found painting. I picked up a brush and paints when my marriage broke up a few years ago, and have been painting ever since. If you are interested in seeing my most recent stuff.. go to to see my latest collections. My Goddess Collection represents my spiritual connection to other women and to myself.
They are extensions of who I am, and who I have been, and who I wish to be. Thank you to Oprah for encouraging me to find what brings you joy and to share it with others. I love to paint. I love to write. I love to learn and think and discuss. This blog is a fun action based exploration of who I am in relationship to the divine in humankind.

Spiritual energy fills my everyday life, and is a daily focus for me as I continue on my journey to find a new spiritual path. Last year, I wrote an essay on "2012: predictions" in my other blog: "Energy, Spirituality, and the Law of Attraction", and in it I talk about the world shifting in a more positive and modern spiritual way. I believe that we all can feel the growing need for a new spiritual movement. One that incorporates a more modern day way of looking at our planet, our connection, and our path. I thank you again, Oprah, for being a leader to so many of us for 25 years. I wish you peace in your journey foward. Many blessings, my friend.

Look soon for the details of my visit to Unity. Sorry for putting you on the back burner.