It sounds blasphemous, I know. Why would Lady O, queen of the talk-show venue for quarter of a century, evoke the need for self-forgiveness? While throngs are upset with Oprah's departure, others are sensing that the vacancy is purposeful. Nature abhors a vacuum, after all. It is time for each of us to consider the legacy we are leaving, too. This week, as Oprah Winfrey waves goodbye, something in us needs to wave hello.
Regardless whether you are an Oprah groupie, a disgruntled fan, or completely indifferent, you've got to admit that Oprah has been willing to "pull out all the stops," get on the playing field, and deliver for longer than many of her fans have been walking this earth. A number of them, like Julia, a 29-year-old attorney, report: "I grew up with Oprah. As my mom watched her show, back when I was four, I watched alongside her with my Legos. She was building an audience, and I was building my world. We were both new at what we were doing. I remember my mom's friends discussing the show, and the way that all sorts of situations were discussed at length. Even though I was a kid, I knew something important was going on, some sort of 'women's work' that I got to witness. With her leaving, I do wonder what will take her place, because nothing really can."
Irreplaceable you. Amen, sister. Whenever any of us, including you and me, answers our call, it will be uniquely renewing. There will also come a time when the moment arrives to move on down the road. Like yours, Lady O's life has made a difference. When you or Oprah or anyone else have courageous conversations with your own awakening self, everyone benefits. The end result is a more connected world, one with increasing evidence of shared inspiration, collaboration and celebration.
Take yourself, for example. I cannot tell you how many times I have been touched, inspired, motivated to "do better" by your interaction with one another, here, on this site. You and Oprah are living larger than what you believed was possible some time ago. You would not be here, joining into the conversation unless you were open to challenging yourself more, and hiding less.
There are those who believe that heaven is in the hereafter. There are those who believe that what matters lives only in the present. Whichever camp you occupy, we do sense, in our deepest selves, that life is both too short and too long to waste time pretending to be who we are not, pretending to be less than you are, son or daughter, bestowed with divine heritage to shine on, pay it forward, turn whatever you fear into the stuff from which courage is garnered, and creative solution is born. One of Oprah Winfrey's gifts has been the demonstration of the difference between the dreamer and one who manifests through clear intention. Inspiring millions, Ms. Winfrey has done so by claiming good intention in service to human transformation. It is one thing to serve the ego. It is another to realize that whatever resources we've been given are magnified by giving them away through serving what is beyond self-doubt.
Whatever we've projected onto Oprah, the good, the bad or the ugly, it is time to take back the projection and own our own gifts and talents, cultivating whatever seed of desire embedded in the heart, bringing it forward through our own capacity and collaboration to make a difference in the world, even on lousy, bad hair days. Remember one thing: Oprah did not pull off what she has pulled off alone. She "gets" the idea behind "it takes a village," and has been willing to do the necessary outreach. She's mastered something else: the willingness to receive abundantly, and pass it along. The time has come for each of us to "get cracking." This includes forgiving ourselves for taking the time it has taken to get to this decision.
Life is impermanence. Perhaps this is why it is time for Oprah to go, time for her reinvention. It surely is time for ours. So, if you are one of the grieving, or witnessing those who are, (overhearing others say: "What will we do without her") take heart. All things must come to an end. Without endings, there can be no new beginnings, neither opportunity nor room for whatever seeds of consciousness planted in your heart to come into fruition, and shared at harvest. One thing is for certain. There's a bigger game in town than we've been willing to play. Not, necessarily bigger in the eyes of the world or media ratings, but bigger in the sense of requiring faith in something beyond self, fear, mistrust.
Prescription for procrastination. The next time you have an inspiration, and are dragging your feet in the "getting your show on the road department," what if you were to play the game called "act as if"? It goes like this: Ask yourself what the person you most admire would do. For example: What action step might Oprah take next with your heart's desire? Do not censor the answer that comes. Write it down. With a quietened mind, sit with what comes, and ask your deepest wisdom to direct you to take one little action step today that would best renew your Spirit. This will have a ripple effect on others.
Be forewarned. Whatever moves you towards the renewal of life will require a shedding of what is in the way of greater good coming into your life. Life renewal comes in whatever form is needed, stays as long as necessary, and like a good guest, knows when it is time to leave. Whenever its time to grow, expect change. At these junctures, the soul cries out for liberation into something large enough to house its evolution, some new stage.
We forgive Oprah for moving on, because we know that it's not wise to overstay and dwarf development. As she moves off the stage, into the wings, we are charged with a kick in the backside, a cue to assume our own. It is our time to get out of the bleechers, taking whatever we admire in others, and grow it in the soil of our own lives, in positive, present, and precise ways. It's time to renew our own spirit, remembering what's available to Oprah is possible for anyone. It is a matter of choice, and willingness to pay the piper.
Meaning this: Your next chapter requires galvanizing the gumption to step through fear, know that there is a need for the unique expression that you are. It demands a willingness to plug into that universal source of life energy, like any good electrician, and get our show on the road. Maybe your 'audience' is small, perhaps today your "show" is composed of a neighbor, who needs help hauling out the trash, or a stranger, who is glum, and looking for some reason to smile; maybe your audience is a child with a temperature, who could use an extra cuddle, or a widower you know who has been fearful to date, and could use a reminder that it is OK to grow forward when the holy nudge strikes the heart. Who knows? We are each here with purpose, even when we claim we don't know ours.
Two women come to mind that we recently buried. They did not know each other. They claimed they did not know their purpose. They did not have an international television show, nor did they give away their favorite things, trips to Australia, nor cars. What they did leave behind, as Oprah does today, is a legacy to live in accordance with a genuine heart. We are changed not because they leave, but because they have touched us. Each passes on the gauntlet of the greatest relay race the world has known: that "hand-off" to those of us still waiting, still procrastinating to run the race that is ours to run, while we are here this day.
Life is reinvention. Just when we've gotten all comfy and cosy, the universal moving company van pulls up to our door, and says "get packing." Some situation arrives in your life that says: "Hey, you. I'm not done with you, yet! There's more life for you to live out, in this new and unexpected form. You might not see the possibilities for yourself; you might be mired in self-doubt. You might be drawing back, when it is time to step forward. Stop dawdling, pretending to be less wise, less gifted, less amazing than you are. Get yourself out into the world. When you renew your spirit, you bring life wherever you go. This is not just about you, you know! Follow your heart. A chain reaction will follow. You have no idea who's watching. It's none of your business, actually. The truth is that its time to let your heart sing in whatever way brings joy."
Your turn: What's your intention? Where do you need to forgive yourself more, and judge your dream less? Where would you like to play a bigger and/or more meaningful game? I'm listening, and learning from you, my teachers.
For more, see carabarker.net. For updates, contact me at carabarker.net, or dr.carabarker@gmail. To receive email notices when I post new blogs on HuffPost, click "Become a Fan" at the top of this page. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including "Practicing Love." Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker.
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