This weekend, I soaked up the good vibrations of Oprah’s Life You Want Tour in Miami. Thousands of South Florida fans and I flocked to Miami’s AAA to be inspired by Oprah as well as her trailblazers, including one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, world-renowned Deepak Chopra, down-to-earth Rob Bell, sassy Iyanla Vanzant, and fabulous Gayle King.
Oprah opened the event on Friday night by sharing her amazing and uplifting story highlighting major hurdles, comical bits (ca-Na-da), and triumphs such as her role in The Color Purple. As her intention, she wanted us all to walk away with a new vision as a result of participating in The Life You Want Tour.
“I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it.” Oprah
As I sat in the audience with my group of girlfriends holding a copy of my memoir, When All Balls Drop, I thought about what I had been called to do. On that day in Poughkeepsie, New York (9/27/09) when a thousand pound tree limb struck me down without warning, leaving me with a broken neck and unconscious for days, I was called. At the time, I didn’t know what I was called to do, but it was through the reflection during my recovery that I learned that I was meant to write, sharing my wisdom with the world and inspiring others to the mantra that I created, Looking Up.
Through the course of the weekend, I heard each and every one of the trailblazers say something that resonated with my story of survival and life change as well the concept of Looking Up:
Iyanla Vanzant, “If you made it through the past, you passed.”
Deepak Chopra, “Do less and accomplish more.”
However, the speaker that I was most looking forward to hit it out of the park for me. As Elizabeth Gilbert began to talk about her personal story as well as the hero’s journey based from the works of Joseph Campbell, I smiled. Although for centuries, women have been left out of the myths and legends, we now have the ability to be the heroes in our own stories. And, I’m certainly the hero in my story. In When All Balls Drop, I share my bumpy road of transformation where I triumphed from a broken neck, failed marriage, and career loss simultaneously. It was a grand feat and damn heroic. At the time of my transformation, I didn’t know that I wanted to write a book about my journey, but that solidified while on a healing walkabout in 2011 in Patagonia, Chile.
Needing time out of the arena and into the sunlight for lunch, I made it over to O-Town and O Magazine where I shared my experience and book with Gayle King. Seeing my t-shirt with the book cover, she commented that there are moments in all of our lives when all balls drop. As we posed for our picture together, I told her, “There is an upside to losing everything, I had the opportunity to redesign my life.”
And Oprah, don’t think you’re getting off without a bigger mention. Do you know that you were one of my first therapists in 2009? While I was recovering on my mother’s full-out couch in Chelmsford, Massachusetts for a lengthy four months before getting my doctor’s permission to return home to South Florida to continue my healing, I was glued to my books and always to your 4 o’clock show.
Thank you all: my friends that shared the Life You Want Tour experience with me, Oprah, Gayle King, Elizabeth Gilbert, Deepak Chopra, Rob Bell, Iyanla Vanzant, and others.
As my homework from Oprah, my new vision is:
I see myself healthy and happy sharing a home with my partner (wherever that may be) with ample time to explore the world together, seeing new places and revisiting familiar places to spend time with our clan. I will continue my calling, which is to write and inspire others, with a series of books and even a movie.
Here’s to looking up!