Oprah first called me a few years after The Seat of the Soul was published. I lived in a small mountain town, I didn't have a TV, and the town cable didn't offer ABC anyway, so I didn't recognize her name when she called. We talked another time or two over the next seven or so years, but I was entrenched in the back country resolutely avoiding my responsibility to support people who, like me, had become aware of the enormous transformation of humanity that is underway. Oprah was one of them. She helped me change that in a big way.
From our first meeting I was touched by her warm and immediate presence, interest in me, and awesome capability to create and utilize global enterprises to lovingly support as well as entertain her ever-growing audience, of which I became a part. While recording The Oprah Winfrey Show, she planned and launched O Magazine. "Excuse me," she would say after a meeting on our next show, "I have to get to my night job." Then came Oxygen, a satellite radio channel, a girls' school in South Africa, OWN, and many TV and film productions -- all contributing directly to the collective well-being. How many people do you know who use their creativity in such a focused way for the benefit of all?
I have been impressed by her courage as well as her compassion. I have watched, along with millions of viewers, as she brought adversaries together on the same show to search for the best that each have to share, and asked direct and probing questions to racial bigots without rancor or judgment.
She has shared things with me off-hand that helped reshape my perceptions dramatically. For example, when a national magazine clamored for an interview with me (a new experience for a back-country recluse), I called Oprah for an opinion. "It's just cotton candy, Gary. It's just cotton candy." Most people spend their lives grasping for this candy -- recognition, fame, wealth -- the ability to impress, manipulate, and control. Oprah does not, and that may be what drew her so strongly to The Seat of the Soul. Whatever temptations she experiences, she does not allow fear to express itself in her creations. They are expressions of love instead. Since we know that everyone experiences fear, we know that Oprah's continual gifts of love are also challenges to whatever fears come to torment and distract her from her chosen course.
This is what I am most grateful to Oprah for. Thank you Oprah, for all that you have helped me experience and accomplish and all the gifts that you have given me and our fellow students in the Earth school. Thank you for helping seed the idea of authentic power in the Earth school. It is a joy to be a student with you.
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