Updated: Apr 1, 2020
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Sometimes we lack the energy to motivate ourselves. We put everyone before our needs. The kids need a bath before bed. The husband is having a guys night out on Thursday and your mother keeps calling asking when you’re coming to visit. In the middle of life’s demands, and chores, we never stop to really breathe and get back in tune with ourselves.
Last weekend, a friend of mine and I attended Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus in Los Angeles. It was MAGIC! Not Harry Potter magic, but the kind that makes you feel like your mind, body and spirit are all on the same page.
It was an all-day event beginning at 9am and ending at 3:30pm. SO WORTH IT. Don’t worry, lunch was provided with every ticket purchase.
Before going inside the venue, my friend and I stopped at all the cute booths. We each bought a book by Oprah and made our way to the hair stylist. Yes, you read that right. There were hair styles braiding and twisting women’s hair! I previously curled my hair so I didn’t do it, but my friend got a pretty side French braid. There were photo op sections with an Oprah cutout and of Oprah’s front porch home in Maui.
The event began with a mini dance party. Everyone was up on their feet filled with excitement and ready to be inspired. Then, Oprah walks out. The place went crazy.
Oprah spoke, shared personal stories (I’ll share one later) and asked questions. The vibe in the air was pure and emotional. Every woman there, and a few men, were ready to be honest themselves and in search for balance.
We got gift bags. Inside was a cute travel coffee mug with a bunch of other goodies including a questionnaire self workbook about your motivation, nutrition, relationships, and emotions. The goal of this exercise was to show us how much -or how little- balance we had in our lives. Most of the women in attendance scored low, showing them how little they put their needs first and how out of tune they were with their spirit. Not just mothers who put their family’s needs ahead of her own needs and wants, but single millennial women too.
And I as a single, millennial can relate. Add Latina to that mix and we have a dangerous concoction of a low-balance-people-pleaser. We, as girls, are raised to think that we have to always look and smell pretty, have dinner ready, a spotless home, and if someone asks for a favor, even when you want to say ‘’no,” you do it anyways.
So when Oprah spoke about saying yes when you mean no, it was right up my alley. I learned that I can respectfully decline an invite out simply because I don’t want to go. I learned that you’re allowed to disagree with whatever box life is trying to put you in, I am in control.
Later, we a mass meditation session. I suffer from claustrophobia so being in large venue, sitting in a small space usually triggers panic attacks. That meditation helped me center and calm myself. To the point where I forgot I wasn’t sitting at home. It’s like Oprah knew I needed that.
I took a moment and to observed the crowd and couldn't help but notice that women were crying, smiling, laughing and some listening very closely to every word. This was proof that, as women and humans, sometimes we needs more. More time to heal our wounds. More time to ourselves. More time to feel. More time to sleep and maybe more time to talk about feelings, but how do we balance it all?
And then, Jennifer Lopez steps out! Jennifer spoke about all the things we were dying to know. How in the world is she 50 and still rocking out like she’s in her 20’s?! How has she accomplished that? At 50 years old, what has she learned so far? What is her advice to fans? How does she feel about remarrying? What do her kids think of ARod? Does she feel she has found balance?
One thing that stuck with me about her time on stage with Oprah was when she said “I honestly feel the same way I did when I was 28 and put out my first record. And I think it’s a mindset of just continuing to realize that I’m still growing. And so long as I’m still growing, there’s still somewhere to go. That there’s more to the journey. That just because I’m going to turn 50 it’s not not over. That’s what I’m realizing. It’s not over. We’re just at halftime right now.”
Like Jennifer Lopez, I came to the realized that I can reinvent myself whenever and as many times as I want to. I don’t need permission and its ok to live my life on my terms.
I recently turned 30. And not like most of my peers, I don’t feel the pressure to be married, buy a home or have children. Turning 30 gave me a new purpose and permission to be exactly who I want to be.
To end the day, Oprah shared a sad, but touching story about her lack thereof relationship with her mother. Winfrey’s parents were never married or in a relationship. When Winfrey was born and until the age of six, she lived with her maternal grandmother. She was never told that her grandmother was very sick and no longer able to watch after her. She was sent to live with her mother in Milwaukee. Winfrey's mother, who had a small baby, rented a room in a women’s home. Winfrey remembers feeling that the owner of the house didn’t like her. The women asked Winfrey’s mother to not bring her inside the home. Soon, a small “room” was build on the front porch where she slept. At age 14, Winfrey was sent to live with her father. She’d live there until her departure to college.
Winfrey’s mother died in late 2018. Although Winfrey and her mother didn’t have a relationship, she always made sure her mother was taken care of financially. Even while in hospice. Winfrey recalls having so much to say, but nothing would come out. She didn’t know how to approach all of the unspoken trauma she endured as a child and why her mother didn’t fight for her.
As her mother lay in her hospital bed, on what would be her last day, Oprah thanked her. Instead of being resentful and angry, she thanked her because all of the horrible experiences made her strong, even when she didn’t know it. Many times we spent time upset about not being able to change a situation when we should change the perspective and ask “what is this trying to teach me?”
Oprah didn’t expect to be OPRAH. She never saw what she could become. She just wanted to make it as a news anchor. What I learned from that seminar was that there is more to who I am than what people think of me, I have to be the best version of myself, no matter what that looks like. Find a place of balance and contentment. Be grateful for how far you’ve come/what you’ve overcome, stop trying to control what is already out of your control, and learn to love yourself.
You are here. You’re STILL here. Live unapologetically. Be unapologetically YOU. Whatever that may be, just live your authentic self and everything else will fall into place.