The Oprah effect
Living your best life with a spiritual connection
By Michelle Heffernan
It seems fitting in a “Best of” issue to write about a woman whose personal tag line is “Live your best life.” And because Oprah’s life generally ranks supreme, people listen. She makes books best sellers, people famous and personal stories of guests inspirational. Will she fuel a spiritual phenomena and a new earth too? As a modern day Midas, she just may become known for her Oprah Effect.
These days, Oprah is bounding with the desire to find those now famous “Aha Moments” through a spiritual connection with life, a deeper purpose and meaning. Just pick up the May issue of her magazine. Even the grandiose red rose pictured with her on the cover has special meaning. Oprah worked with a hybridizer to perfect a floral tribute to the 25 women she honored in 2005 as the Legends.
Now, the average person doesn’t have the opportunity to explore spirited creativity by cultivating an honorary rose or writing of spiritual self-discovery in foreign lands like Oprah show guest, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. But Oprah’s enthusiasm is breaking new ground with her first webcast class about Eckhart Tolle’s book, The New Earth. She has proclaimed that this web class is the most exciting thing she has ever done.
With the webinar and book, Tolle offers profound spiritual teachings that make one reconsider all of life to date. A transformation of egos around the world seems like a lofty proposition, but these thoughts have inspired a new way of reaching, teaching and connecting people of all walks of life, in countless nations, for of all things—inner peace. Enlightenment and technology have never partnered in such a way. As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Roses for the soul…
Inspired by Oprah’s new Legends roses and the spiritual energy she has tapped, the following quotes and thoughts are intended to be quick and practical spiritual resources for everyday life.
Truths and roses have thorns about them. – Henry David Thoreau
Impermanence is a fact of life. The truth is nothing in life is permanent, the good or the bad. In times of trouble, remember that this too shall pass. All roses and thorns will grow and fade.
The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose. – Kahlil Gibran
To focus on the thorns of life is to focus on suffering. Tolle writes of “background unhappiness,” the ego–created negativity in forms of anger, resentment, irritation and so on. To become a witness and observer to this background unhappiness, these thorns, is to begin to become aware of your ego. Become an observer by just listening to your comments and thoughts.
I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. – Emma Goldman
Tolle writes, “The ego tends to equate having with being: I have, therefore I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego thrives through comparison. How you are seen by others turns into how you see yourself.” Diamonds can create beautiful illusions of success.
I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Take a great sense of humor as a serious asset. Make it a necessity. Laugh, laugh, laugh and learn to smile from the inside like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.
The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose. – Unknown
Deepak Chopra presents the Law of Giving in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. To withhold is to stop the flow of life, just like the flow of blood in a body. To give creates a flow outward and back to you. Give graciously.
Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. – Walter Hagen
Tolle said during a webclass, “Worry is thought pretending to be important.” Try his Deep Lake Exercise. Imagine the surface of a lake filled with a worried kind of emotion. The surface can be stormy, choppy and windy. Far below, at the bottom of this deep lake is complete stillness. The bottom remains untouched and calm. Be here when worry surfaces in your mind. The chances of smelling the roses will increase.
People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. – Iris Murdoch
The happiness of having quickly dissipates with the phenomena of wanting something else. We are so busy wanting, we don’t take time to enjoy the flowers or anything else we have in abundance. Tolle says “The ego wants to want more than it wants to have.” With the ego in charge, one will never be satisfied for long.
A rose is a rose is a rose. – Gertrude Stein
It is what it is. Acceptance is a vital tool for steering your destiny because what you resist persists. Try Tolle’s Transparency Exercise when presented with a person who is not so easy to accept. In the moment of resistance or rising irritation, imagine your body becomes transparent to the offender or situation. All the aggravating words or upsetting behaviors float by you, not able to penetrate that which is transparent. You are unmoved and completely unaffected emotionally so that you can remain present.
I never promised you a rose garden. – Martina McBride, singer
Fate is the hand we are dealt, which may be no rose garden, and destiny is how we play the hand. Now you can cry and carry on about broken promises and the garden you deserve or you can accept those things you cannot change and create your destiny. Make choices that move you forward and out of victim consciousness to feel free.
The well-known and most wonderful prayer for this moment is by Reinholh Niebuhr.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Michelle Heffernan holds degrees in design and Creative Arts in Therapy, is a professional member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and is a Reiki II practitioner. She is a consultant for Synergy Counseling Associates in Albany and can be contacted at healingARTS@nycap.rr.com.