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Monday, April 16, 2012

i saw oprah effing winfrey today: part two.

"the single greatest thing you can do to change your life today, 
would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. 
and the more grateful you are, the more you get." --oprah


the word of the day, it resonated through all 8,500 of us, hanging in the air, thick and warm, you could almost touch it. it was like we were wrapped in it, a soft cashmere blanket of gratitude. if i could feel even a fraction the way i did today, everyday, i couldn't possibly forget to be thankful ever again.

alarms set for 5:20am (i have never woken up that early in all my life, and never plan on doing it again), we were up with the birds and in full on oprah mode. we made it to the metro toronto convention center by 7:15am, thinking we were there in plenty of time to get a great spot in line, until we spotted 8,498 people were already waiting to get in. we thought we had pulled a quick sneak attack, when we found a line that had formed inside, but by the time we reached the doors to the convention center, we realized we weren't going to be as close to oprah as we wanted to be. and we wanted to be real fucking close.
we found two seats towards the front half of the venue and assessed the situation. there were massive monitor's set up everywhere you looked, a giant stage that spanned the entire front of the room, and a sea of jewel toned females as far as the eye could see. a couple "token" men were spotted throughout, but with the amount of estrogen that was pumping through that place, i'm surprised their little dink and balls didn't fall off and they turned into women the second they stepped foot in that room. the show was scheduled to start at 8am, but it wasn't until after 9:00 that the first person took the stage. we were read a policy about this being a live taping, and that we could be on television, and were told that we were allowed to have our phones and camera's out to take pictures, text, tweet and facebook at any point, and were even provided with free wifi. i love that it was a fully connected and interactive event, and the whole point of the day was to share what we learned with the people in our lives.
deepak chopra, iyanla vanzant, tony robbins and bishop t.d. jakes were the 4 key speakers that made up oprah's panel of experts for the lifeclass. each of them spoke for around 30 minutes, sharing stories, lessons and techniques to get yourself in a state where you can fully be present in your life, and thankful for the things you have in preparation for the things to come. about 10 minutes in, i wished i had brought a pen and paper, there were too many amazing things being said not to document all of it. instead i grabbed my phone and made notes on the key lessons being shared, these are a few of my favourite teachings:

"life happens to me, and not for me"-iyanla
"the world is a university, and everyone is a teacher. make sure you wake up tomorrow and go to school"-the bishop
"some people experience post traumatic stress, other people experience post traumatic growth"-tony robbins
"if you feed something, it will grow"-the bishop
once each "teacher" had a chance to speak, it was time to bring out the big guns (literally, oprah has giant breasts), and miss. winfrey made her way on stage. the crowd erupted in screams and applause, but it was mostly tears. i'm not kidding, there was not a dry eye in the joint, myself and jules included. having that woman in the same room as us, changed everything. to have that kind of effect on people, to give off an energy that is so positive, and so powerful--that's the kind of woman i want to be. it's the kind of mother, daughter, wife and friend i want to be. that may have been the greatest lesson i learned all day: be the kind of person you want to meet, the kind of person who can turn others into the best person they can be. now that is something to be grateful for.

during the show, oprah had tony robbins do an exercise with everyone, which he calls "emotional flooding". he had everyone clap their hands, chant and scream to get their heart rates up, and then hold your hand to your heart and close your eyes. he went through a list of memories he wanted you to reach for, and put them in the forefront of your heart. "a spritual moment when you felt connected. a sexy moment. a memory of laughing as a child. a great smile." each memory was 'stacked' on top of the other, until you felt 'flooded' with only real, honest, happy moments, and it brought me to tears. it brought everyone to tears, it was the only sound in the entire room. all 8,500 of us, standing with our hands on our hearts and tears streaming down our faces, it was the most powerful moment of the entire day. at the end of the exercise i turned to jules, and we couldn't do anything but hug each other and smile. sharing that moment with her, is something i know we will both cherish forever.
after all the tears and life lessons, the icing on this giant, beautiful oprah cake, was when she made her way through the crowd to thank us for coming. she made her way from the stage, to the back of the room, and back around. we didn't want to run around and try to get near her like everyone else, it was kind of scary to see her get pushed and shoved around, even though she was totally surrounded by her posse, so we waited to see if she would come to us. and she did. we found the perfect spot, not too crowded, and watched as she made her way towards us. my hands shook so bad i couldn't take a proper picture to save my life, but touching her shoulder as she walked past, and being able to physically put myself into oprah's life...holy fuck. something i never imagined happening, and wouldn't even bother dreaming about. it was an honour to even be near her, and i love her even more than i did before.

the day came to a close and we left the convention center so light we were basically on our tippy toes. the line up had already formed for the evening class, and the streets were crowded with people smiling from ear to ear. jules and i grabbed some drinks at the bar across the street, and sat on the patio in the sunshine to "debrief". we talked about our favourite moments and the lessons that impacted us most, and we thanked one another for being able to share an experience as encouraging and motivating as the whole day had been.
before going to the show, i told jules that i was disappointed that i didn't list "seeing oprah live" as one of the items on my 30 by 30 list. i told her i didn't think it would ever be possible, and didn't want to ''waste" an item on my list that seemed so unattainable. then jules told me that seeing oprah was the number one item on her own bucket list, it always had been, and would always be, regardless of the almost impossible opportunity to accomplish such a task. jules showed me the value of reaching for a goal you think you can't possibly imagine accomplishing, because when you do, the feeling of crossing that goal off your list-me oh my, what a feeling it is.

today i am grateful for oprah. i am grateful for jules. 
and i am grateful for having them both in my life, at the very same time.


  1. seeing Oprah live is on my bucket list as well...and like you, I never thought it would happen. But, if it's going to happen to anyone - who better then someone who appreciates it as much and you and jules do!!! Im SO glad you guys had a great time and thank you for writing this post. I del one semi quasi inch closer to her now that you touched her shoulder, sooo don't wash your hand until i see you again so you can pass some of that big gun onto me. xoxox

    1. I'm so glad it's on there, you NEVER know. It was one of the best days of my life, and I know that if she ever comes to Van City, or close enough to you that you can see her, I definitely suggest it...worth every penny all damn day. I may put a Ziploc Freezer bag on my right hand for the rest of time ;) xoxo

  2. Wow. WOW. I could feel the energy & emotion in your post; what an out of this world experience!! I think any life lessons from that woman in the same room would never leave my pounding head. No pen & paper.. oh the shame!! Glad you got to scribble some gold into your phone though. Great photos, they really tell a story. Thanks for sharing with us!!!

    1. You said it sister! An experience I will never forget and always cherish! Thanks for the love :) xo


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