Pulling strength from yourself and others at the Oprah Life You Want Weekend

New Friends and Old Champagne at Life You Want WeekendWithout question the Life You Want Weekend was an awe inspiring experience for me. In planning to go I really set off to hear Oprah and all the great speakers share their insight on success and peace and inspiration with the hopes it would take seed on my own life and struggles.  True to this expectation the weekend was a great way to catalog old and new mantras and guidance.  The unexpected gift of the trip wasn’t in a gift bag or book or souvenir t-shirt, however.  It was found in the work I put in with myself and the strength I was able to pull from the people I met around me.

Crowd at Life You Want WeekendThere is always something magical that has the potential to happen when you go to an event where everyone’s intention is change for the better. Those who paid the big bucks to go to the event didn’t do it just to do something on a Saturday night, but equally seeking something that was missing the week, day or minute before they walked through the doors.  Perhaps that something missing was self-love or motivation or understanding, but it was something they wanted to grow from by the experience.  When the room is set in this desire it becomes almost like a field ripe for planting.  Within the experience we all received new ideas or repeats of forgotten ones in a personal dialogue that could speak directly to almost any situation.  That level of receptiveness spreads like wildfire and makes you more willing and enthusiastic for the change because you see that when you came missing something that you were not alone.  O Town WristbandCollectively everyone was looking and when you lose that loneliness of your personal situation it can prime you in a way to grow and change that few other scenarios can duplicate.  The people I met along the way all exuded this spirt of receptiveness and even though I came in attending the event solo I felt like I was leaving a good group of friends at the end of day two.  Meeting these strong, intelligent, giving women was a great inspiration for me to look at my own life with new eyes and to feel thankful for the blessings that connections shine through even when they are unexpected.

Goal Setting at Life You Want WeekendKerline at Life You Want Weekend Me at O TownThe second gift to me was the guidance through some of the exercises to do the work in my own life to produce change. The accompanied book with the weekend went through exercises that let us explore some of our motivations and dreams.  With a clear vision of where I wanted to go and the why of my wanting to get, suddenly the road in between the present I have and the future I want felt less scary.   For me the exercises were a strong reminder of not just the reason for it all for me, my beautiful daughter, but that it was as okay for me to want the best for her as it was for me to want the best for me.  The combination of the internal work I put in on myself as well as the energy not just of the entire stadium but in the personal connections of the women I met helped me to leave the Oprah Life You Want Weekend energized, enlightened and ready for whatever troubles may come my way

Getting through the birthing pains of creating a new life with Iyanla Vanzant

When I went into labor I distinctly remember thinking why didn’t anyone tell me about this. While I was in the midst of it, I thought that the feelings were something other mothers would mention first as a dire warning of the real cost it takes to being a mother.  Now, however, as those moments filled with pain and complete discomfort are over 12 years ago I  know the reason…the pain doesn’t seem as bad when you consider what you get from it.  Changes in life are similar, as horrible as they seem when you are in it, when you get a beautiful gift at the end of the road all of the heartache and pain seems to diminish.  At the Life You Want Weekend, the incomparable Iyanla Vanzant gave her unique spin on pushing through the pain to get to your new life.

Iyanla reflection on the birthing pains of a new life is a great tribute to what it takes to get through the process. She gave a simple plan for getting through the process.

Live The Life You Want Weekend, Miami1. Grace and gratitude are there as vehicles to help you get through the pain. Setting up an effective daily spiritual practice helps you tap into that grace and gratitude everyday so it is strong when you really need it.

2. The starting of the process is always jarring because it demands leaving where you are to go where you need to go. Leaving is a difficult decision because dysfunction becomes comfortable and familiar, even when you know you need to leave.  Part of leaving means forgiving yourself for staying in a place you didn’t want to be.

3.  Everything you need to give birth to the new life you already have.  The more you focus on getting through the more you realize that even when you believe you don’t the tools you need to get through have come to you in the form of experiences.  You real life is waiting at the end of the process of birth and once you commit on the journey you can rely on life as the training to endure pain required complete the journey.

At the end Iyanla said something I love about life: “You don’t need an “A” to pass. If you made it through the past then you passed”.


Embracing the miraculous nature of your life with Ron Bell and Oprah

Live The Life You Want Weekend, MiamiIn and out, in and out. It is something we do every day but rarely really think about.  It’s our breath and everyday our lungs inhaling happen without much ado.  The truth is, however, even something as simple as breathe is a reminder of just what a miracle our existence is.   At the Life You Want Weekend, Pastor Ron Bell shared his secret on embracing life out of the spirit of gratitude for all around us, down to our daily breathes that make life possible.

Resetting your perspective with gratitudeRon Bell’s secret to embracing life really resets the tone of life apart from much of the general expectations that can lead on the dark road to despair.  Despair happens when we lose site that any day everything can change because everyday miracles do happen.  Without being present in everyday miracles all around us it is easy to hold our breath waiting for the big one.  Waiting for the big hit at the lotto for instance or for all our problems to just up and go away.  When that big payoff we are expecting does not happen it starts to take on the expectation that every day will be just another version of today and change our hope into despair.  A focus gratitude, however, allows the silver lining to start to shine through.  Instead of worrying about something like a flat tire you become grateful you have a car.  With that perspective you can focus on the small things that demonstrate just what a miracle the gift of another day really is and all the miracles that can come your way when you are open to seeing them.

Doubt that embracing the miracle of life could really be that simple? Well try out this simple exercise and see if can shine some light on your own miraculous life.  Think of the three events that most shaped you as a person.  Now think of how that change from who you were to who you are happened.  Whether it was gradual or sudden that transformation is in and of itself miraculous because without those events your life could be totally different.  Appreciating things, even the small things helps believing in the transformation so much you can actually surrender to the process so you can recognize the greatness in life and in yourself.



Oprah Life You Want Weekend – Kick starting your Hero’s journey with Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert LYW 2No matter if the journey to the life you want is long or short, easy or torturous, one thing remains the same: it all begins with the first step. The step towards something new and different, however, can be scary and is often one of the hardest steps to make.  At the Life You Want Weekend the bestseller author of Eat, Love, Pray, Elizabeth Gilbert, shared some ways to kick off the hero’s journey that lives within all of us.  This personal quest that gets us from where we are to where we want to be is our own hero’s journey.  By taking a look at the truth’s in our own lives we can take the cues for that we are indeed ready for change.

Elizabeth Gilbert LYW 4Elizabeth Gilbert is known for documenting the journey of her personal transformation was a deeply intimate exposure of the challenges of change. This is because on the quest to become who we ought to be you have to stop being who you are.  This type of life transformation is so hard because the unknown is scary and uncertain.  Making each step into the darkness of change is so uncomfortable enough that it keeps many from taking on the journey.

Elizabeth Gilbert LYW 1To take on what the change feels like Elizabeth shared a story that has persisted in civilizations for centuries: The Hero’s Journey. From mythology to Batman, the hero’s story have been repeated in history as a way to capture the journey of transformation in ones lives.  As Elizabeth Gilbert walked through the steps of the journey it was easy to connect to how each phase has appeared in one’s life and face the truths as to how we responded.  Elizabeth Gilbert LYW 3Whether it was a slow whisper calling for change or a move to something new in our lives, or a long road of challenges, or the friend, enemies, and mentors we meet another way, once we decide to take on our personal quest we share a common thread to others all around, no matter how unique or story may be.  In knowing this story, the common thread that links the many stories of conquering fear and the unknown can give strength and motivation. Pulling from other’s hero’s journey give insight and a light in the unknown as in our most broken moments we all have divine assistance and inner power that is unimaginable at the beginning of the story.  The story for me was a great inspiration to start on my own path of seeing how God wants to use me in my life and to spark the courage that leads to change.


Oprah Life You Want Weekend – Meditation with Deepak Chopra

Oprah and Deepak ChopraThere is something about the stillness and peace of mediation that is intoxicating to me. As most of life demands constant action to remain current, meditation starts you on a journey back to the root of you and your connection to the universe in order to provide insight and clarity.  In the second day of The Life You Want Tour we got a great start with a guided meditation with Deepak ChopraDeepak Chopra is renowned for his meditation insight and its ability to lead you to a higher level of living and understanding.  At the Life You Want Weekend he put his skills to great use during the meditation.

Young girl doing yoga (lotus pose) in the parkWhat is great about a guided meditation is that you relieve yourself of the thought “what am I supposed to be doing now?” Especially as a novice to meditation, learning how to quite one’s mind can be the most difficult challenge in the process.  In a stadium full of people and with the gentle voice of Deepak Chopra guiding the meditation it felt like an easy transition to focus and still the mind.  One of the most powerful things that I got from the meditation was Deepak’s philosophy that the entire universe is present inside each of us.  Therefore instead of looking for answers the journeys begins with us and the ability to just ask and let the answer find us in the stillness of our minds. In this spirit Deepak guided so to challenge the universe inside each of us to some of the most difficult questions we face in our journey to know ourselves:

Who Am I?

What do I want?

What is my intention?

What is my purpose?

What am I grateful for?

It is in these questions and with the stillness of meditation we can leave what we though the answers were or what the world expects the answers to be and really find our own truth. The meditation separately focused on each part of our being, from encouraging an energetic body, to a kind and compassionate heart, to a chakra that brings a reflective and alert mind all to get to the lightness of being where you can flow in harmony with the universe.  The challenge of the mediation to drown out the business of my life produced a great result as I took a big step closer to developing my own personal mantra.  As Deepak shared a mantra is an instrument of the mind that lets you go beyond the mind it is a great way to not just define ourselves to ourselves but to the universe as well.  What is your personal mantra to define your life and encourage you to reach your goals?




An Intimate Evening with Oprah at the Life You Want Weekend

Live The Life You Want Weekend, MiamiSpending an evening chatting with Oprah??? Sounds too incredible to be true but indeed at the Life You Want Weekend you walk away from the first night feeling as if you had an intimate evening learning about someone whose journey has taken her from Mississippi to becoming a household name. Oprah has the uncanny ability of being able to share her spirit and story in a way that you can not only relate to but can see yourself in.  The first night of the show put this ability on shine as she shared not just her story but some of her critical lessons and her spiritual anchors that have allowed her to handle her blessings and tribulations with grace and strength.

From the lighted bracelets to the fun music the evening starting off with building a strong sense of community. Whether you came with friends or by yourself the energy in the building made you want to reach out and touch someone for the better.  As the introductions began the dim lights and bracelets began the audience on a journey of surprises as well as awakenings.  As the bracelet lights took us from red to orange to yellow you began on a path that could lead you anywhere but also with the hope that it could lead you to everywhere you wanted to go.  As Oprah began sharing I was immediately struck not by the amazing way she was able to share her story, but the ease that her story telling leads you to see yourself in the story.  Although her story is her own I began to see where I could grow and I could change and most importantly that if a small black girl from the country of Mississippi could have the courage to reach for her dreams and become OPRAH than why couldn’t I also let the small voices of God and fate lead me to my destiny.

While there were many awesome life lessons shared throughout the night the two that provided the most impact to me where these:

I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

These two very simple truths of life have the power and shape and mode anyone’s life into the life they want as they become more aware of themselves and God and the world and their own power in it to become a better version of the person they already are. Although I believe those truths before hitting the door there is nothing like hearing it from Oprah to give you an extra push from belief to faith and walking the walk to implement those truths in how you think and how you act.  With that just being the tip of the iceberg on the journey I am excited for more in Day 2!