I just spent the last two days in LA at Oprah?s Super Soul Event with the most amazing people ever (video at end of blog to hear my personal share).
First off being, Oprah herself. There is not much I can add to what you already know her to be, except that she is MORE than all that you know her to be. More real, more relatable, more authentic, more and simply divine.
And then, there was – as Oprah calls him – the rock star of the spiritual world, Eckhart Tolle.? You have all seen him on TV perhaps or in lectures. What you may not know is that he is like this, ALL THE TIME. As Oprah said when we were toasting with wine and tequila shots later at night, ?Eckhart, we need to drink this stuff just to get to the presence you always have!? He is the epitome of stillness and presence, bar none.
Then, there was my friend, entrepreneur-extraordinaire, Marie Forleo, who has created an empire helping others manifest their passions and reach their dreams. She has allowed thousands to merge their highest selves with their ?work? selves and paved the way for them to reclaim purpose and meaning in their lives. She just blows me away with her energy, real-ness and huge heart.
Then, there were those I had never met before.
There was the surreal and graceful Kris Carr, who has created a movement through her own relationship with cancer, called My Crazy Sexy Cancer. She has allowed millions to redefine their relationship with this disease and turn it on its head. Sitting next to her at dinner was one of my sweetest moments in this weekend. I got the privilege to bear witness to a woman who couldn?t be more badass-funny and yet so powerful in her ability to stay wide-open and vulnerable.
I have heard about Caroline Myss for all my life; renowned medical mystic, intuitive and spiritual healer. Everyone in the room recognized that she had a power, that Oprah called ?kinda scary.? It was a treat to see her as a human being, hanging loose and enjoying the moment. It reminded me that each of these teachers I revere are just human at the end of the day and to pedestalize them is to rip them from their greatest essence – their heart, that is just like ours.
And then, I met the unbelievable Amandla Stenberg. This seventeen-year old has done more in her young life, than I did in all of my first thirty. She spoke about using her voice to stand up for what she believed in and that true power comes from reclaiming who we truly are. This fierce activist is also a creative talent, having appeared in The Hunger Games trilogy. She blew everyone away with her freshness and clarity of spirit that only young, enlightened people can bring to the stage.
I couldn?t wait to meet Cheryl Strayed – could not wait. It was going to be one of my star struck moments, I knew it. And the moment delivered. She was beyond awesome – so real, so present, so ready to bear her heart, so eager to share her wisdom, and most of all, so desiring that others in her presence feel their most amazing selves. I asked her, ?why didn?t you just go to Italy or India like Elizabeth Gilbert – I mean, seriously, WHY the Pacific Trail for 94 days?? She looked at me and said, ?Some journeys are meant to be done alone, the wretched and long way. I needed to go so far deep inside myself that I needed to not talk to anyone for days, until I reached the core of my being. And also, I only had 1000 dollars to my name!? She reminded me that going inward is the only way to resurrect the soul and that, if we have lost our selves, there IS a way back, even if it takes 94 days of solitude in the wilderness.
The next bright star I could not wait to hug was Shaka Senghor. If you have not seen his recent? talk with Oprah on her Super Soul, then go grab some tissues and watch it now. This man was convicted of second-degree murder and spent 19 years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement. Out for just 5 years, he has become a teacher-extraordinaire, spreading the message of redemption and healing to all who suffer from a childhood they had no choice but to fall victim too – as he had. Being with Shaka you can see a man who carries the weight of his past on his shoulders, and the crushing decisions he made reflected in his deep, dark, eyes. But you also see, someone who takes his mandate very seriously: to ensure that others do not fall prey to his choices. So he has now set off to transform and enlighten young men and women who grew up like him, every moment of his waking life. This is his life?s mission and boy, does he embody it. You meet Shaka and you are allowed to remember that you are indeed blessed, but more than that, to remember that enlightenment most often comes after pain. When you are with Shaka, you feel you are with an enlightened being. He was a gift to me.
And then, there was superstar, Kerry Washington – yes, THE Kerry Washington. That ethereal, fierce, stunning, talented-beyond-belief Hollywood sensation – THAT Kerry Washington. She talked about overcoming the prevalent stereotypes around race, beauty, gender and how she broke them down, one by one, using curiosity, her relationship with the Divine and mindfulness to help her through. She shone with her heart and led with her intuition, and she was 100% Kerry – the woman we can all relate to, feel and be inspired by. She told me how much my work had helped her and wasn?t stingy in her enthusiasm. Oh no, she gave her love to everyone around her, open-arms, wide and free for all. We all felt it, we basked in it and will forever remember it. Thank you Kerry!
I leave India Arie to the end, for my relationship with her is a deeply personal one. Two years ago when I was at a talk in Detroit, a young girl and man sang a song. It was called: I AM LIGHT. I heard it and felt my heart break open. I went up to them at the end and said, ?This song is THE emblem of conscious parenting. It is THE mantra. Who wrote this song?? They told me that India Arie had. Since that day, I adopted this song as the backdrop for conscious parenting, playing it over and over at my last conscious parenting summit in LA till people were sick of it I am sure. When I received the invitation to speak at this event and was told, ?You will be speaking right after India Arie and before Eckhart Tolle? I had a thought: The Universe is manifesting something so grand, so perfect, so mysterious and so magical! At that point, I didn?t even know the half of it. When I went for rehearsal on the day before the event, I thought I would be there for a quick 10-mins mike and light check and be out of there. However, Oprah?s team of people are so delicious that I decided to hang around and called a few of my trusted friends to join me in the audience. Oprah was going to come and rehearse, Eckhart was going to come, and ?.INDIA ARIE was going to rehearse too. So, we just decided to spend the night there. There was simply no reason to be anywhere other than that auditorium. Of course, when Oprah and Eckhart came, we all had our ?come to Jesus? moment and entered the deepest gratitude to be among those who are paving the way for the rest of us. But I have to tell you, when India Arie came on stage, I think I must have died. And then, she did her entire rehearsal for us. And then?no she didn?t?oh yes she did?.she sang just for us – I AM LIGHT. To hear her sing ?my? song, ?for me,? was perhaps one of the most touching and profound moments of my life. It was a testament that things DO manifest and that we CAN intentionally place ourselves in this magnificent stream of consciousness called the collective, the Universe, and once we flow in those waters with highest grace, things do get attracted back to us. This was a full-circle testimony of the power of attraction and will forever remind me that we are all manifestos of our own destiny. Just by the way, as I type these words, I am sitting on a plane back to Detroit, a day later to meet those same parents I talked to two years ago, and to meet that same young girl and man who first introduced me to that song. All in one incredible weekend.
So this was my unbelievable weekend at Oprah?s playground of essence, manifestation and intention.
Here are my biggest takeaways:
~ Chase Your Happiness, Follow Your Heart: this is the ONLY path to joy. Don?t believe the garbage that ?you need to make money? or ?life is too hard.? If you follow your heart, wealth will come in more ways than one and life will be glorious.
~ Only be You and Only DO you – don?t be a shard of a false self: this is the ONLY way to live an authentic real, life.
~ Every wrong decision you make – and there will be many and some will be wretchedly wrong – are designed for your awakening: you are going to marry the wrong person (but oh so right for your growth), go bankrupt, eat badly, lie or worse, hurt someone?s feelings in an unretrievable way. Wrong choices are part of the growing we need to do – expect it, pre-empt it, and when it does happen, don?t wallow in it. Be ready to embrace the teaching it has for you. And remember, if Shakha and Cheryl can turn their lives around, so can you.
~ Stop wasting time: the moment is now: Time is precious. Most of us waste our days shackled by this need to be liked, approved, and understood. Stop doing this. It is a waste of time. Don?t play your life for others. Only play it for yourself. Even if this means being alone for 94 days.
~ Live in the present: My wise-beyond-belief literary agent was also at this weekend. And she just came out and said in one line what life is really about. She said, ?I have three kids and you know what, I have finally but fully realized that this is THEIR life and they have a right to live it. I am just completely detached. I don?t need their life to look a particular way for me. I just don?t. I don?t want anything for them, except to be who it is they want to be in that moment.? She reminded me that we all need to detach from our expectations of the future. This is what Eckhart is a master at. He simply doesn?t go to the past or future. He just stays right here, right now, in the present. My agent reminded me: stop expecting anything of others, only be in this moment, un-attached to all future ideas. The moment she said that, I just breathed, let go and surrendered all my fears around my own daughter.
~ Give, give, and then give some more: Each person I met this weekend was a giver. A giver with strong and clear boundaries. They had each found a way to give of themselves so that they radiated with energy and power instead of being depleted by it. This is key. There is no point to give if in that giving you are taking from your own power source. We can only give – truly give – when we are overflowing with power source. Here is the key: we need to give in a way that feels like we are receiving. Sounds confusing? Let me explain: Most of us do our giving from a false state of conditionality and need. We give to receive gifts for our ego: approval, validation, love, understanding. Why are these gifts of the ego? Because they come from lack. On the other hand, when we give from a state of selfhood, soul-hood and abundance, we give, yes, but we simultaneously open ourselves to receiving. So in essence, the moment of giving and receiving are one and the same. This is ?true? giving – when you give from spirit so that you constantly ?receive? gifts of awakening: presence, surrender and inner divinity.
~ We are all One: Most of us have ideas of each other. We think to ourselves that, ?Oh Oprah is just other worldly, or Eckhart is just beyond reach,? but being with so many luminaries this weekend reminded we this, ?we are all the same. Even Oprah is still figuring it out and isn?t afraid to say so. Even Eckhart is on the path and hasn?t reached the ultimate destination – because there isn?t one. We are all here to support each other and uplift one another. As long as we can remember this when we feel isolated and lesser than, we will be able to come out of our hole and revel in our oneness.
Take charge of your present moment. It is in this moment that you start to create reverberations in your life. This moment is the only moment of relevance. Just enter this moment and ask: ?Am I doing what I am meant to be doing right here, right now? And if the answer is ?yes,? then dive into it, surrender to it and engage with it in full-moment presence.
To hear me sharing my Super Soul Sessions experience watch this video…
*featured image courtesy of?Jeanne-Marie Paynel