Last weekend was a bittersweet weekend for me. Two events occurred that will mark my life forever. One, I got to see Oprah- not face-to-face, at least not yet, but I attended the Life You Want Tour in Miami with my niece. And two, I had to say goodbye to one of my doggies: Ladee who was very ill
I wanted to write this post because I wanted to load it with inspiration and all of the things I learned that weekend to share them with you but at the same time I didn’t think I was ready to write about my dog’s passing. I couldn’t write about one without the other if I wanted to be genuine and real with you guys. When I write, I feel better, so..here it goes.
My niece invited me to the Life You Want Tour and I said YES! I didn’t know much about it, except that Oprah would be there, and since she and I had never done anything like this before I would’ve gone to see the Grateful Dead with her if she had asked..lol but thank God she didn’t! The Life You Want Tour is designed to get you aligned to receiving- well you already know – The Life You Want. I figured it was a motivational kind of conference and I knew I’d get a lot out of it but I totally underestimated the experience.
Oprah stepped out in her beautiful gold dress, and her countenance beaming like a proud mother as she looked out at thousands of women and I thought, “Yellow is the color of Gratitude”. I knew that gratitude was the key to a life beyond your wildest dreams and I knew she had a mastery level on it and so I was eager to understand how to get to a deeper level of gratitude in order to change my life. I wanted to learn to open up more so I can receive more so I can give more- that was one of my objectives. The other was to do some soul-searching on some areas of my life that I felt needed some assistance. (Some of these answers came after I started reading her extremely insightful book called, What I Know For Sure.)
So there she was, front and center, stage ablaze with the color yellow, set amongst the brilliance of lights. She glowed and it was a glow of love. She spoke to us like a big sister would, about her life, and about the challenges she’d faced. How each tribulation had become a launching pad for her success. Each heartbreak becoming a breakthrough. She understood things, mysteries that most people grapple at their whole existence. She was extraordinarily insightful, extrapolating meaning from everything. She was truly rich. Aside from the obvious, she was rich in love, wisdom, joy, generosity, forgiveness, patience, kindness. Those are the things that really matter in life and I was hearing, from her very own mouth, how she had used those tools to navigate through life. And that’s when I realized this great woman was not great by chance. Yes, now, this…this was a woman of Faith.
I downloaded the Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend App and took notes feverishly while she and Deepak Chopra, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Iyanla spoke. If you are able to catch the last two cities check out the tour online and go! In the meantime these are some of the golden nuggets that have changed my life:
Lesson #1: Give Wherever You Are In Life
I learned that it wasn’t until Oprah used what she had and where she was in her life to serve others that her life took off. When giving to others became her priority, her life took on a whole new meaning and her career began to accelerate and flourish. We each have something we can use to help others. The world is waiting for our gifts. If we look hard enough we will find something that we can do to make this world a better place, one person at a time. Just look at your hands and open them and release the gifts you’ve been given.
Lesson #2: I Hear You. You’re Important. You Matter
Everyone wants to know they matter. The fastest way to squelch an argument is to tell the other person, “I Hear You. You’re important. You Matter.” Sometimes my son, Jordan mumbles while I have my back turned to him so I turn around to see that he’s waiting for a response not realizing he was talking to me. When I ask him to repeat himself, he used to say, “Never mind.” I stop him, look him in the eye and say, “What you have to say is important to me, so make sure I can hear you and know you’re talking to me, ok? Now what was it you said?” He always opens up after that. Communication is so important. The very first act done in our history is a spoken command: Let There Be Light! We have to open our mouths and say what we want and mean. And we have to mean what we say. Listen. Look at the person when they are speaking to you and not your cell phone. Don’t drift away or yawn when someone is talking to you. Don’t interrupt someone while they’re talking or think about what you’re going to say while they are still speaking. GIVE them the gift of your undivided attention.
Lesson #3: Life is Always Speaking To Us
“Life speaks to us in a whisper, then a pebble, then a brick.” By then it almost always costs us something. Life is always expressing its abundance to us and when we listen we can do things the right way-the easy way – the best way which benefits us. When we procrastinate, it shows a lack of self-worth in that area and eventually we end up learning the hard way -which is by the way not my preferred method of learning. Raise your hand if you agree! So, take time to meditate in the morning. Get still and connect to the abundance, the love and goodness that it is in Our Creator. He is everywhere. He is our Universe. When you meditate daily you order your day and you also connect to the limitless realm of possibilities. You will inevitably begin to experience breakthroughs, peace, joy, creative ideas and success in so many ways.
Lesson #4: We are Co-creating Our Lives
One thing that really stood out to me is that Oprah regularly asks herself, “What AM I Creating Right Now? What is My Intention?” She’s always in tune with her intention. She understands that fundamentally we are creating our life with Our Divine Creator and that we have to make sure the decisions we make are motivated by love and not fear. That was a big one. I’ve started to do this and teach my kids as well and it is really changing my life. I feel empowered and I take even more time to make decisions that bless everyone concerned.
Lesson#5: Everything That Happened To You, Happened For You
Those were the words she heard from Maya Angelou, her mentor, during a very trying time in her life. If we see the things we’ve been through as a light to a path that continually leads us to reinventing our way of thinking and transforming our lives then nothing can really hurt you.
There was a multitude of lessons learned, tears shed and realizations made. I still have a ways to go but I was so happy to feel empowered and armed with so much wisdom and guidance for my life. I could see that I was on track in many ways but also have so much room to grow, improve, give, forgive and receive.
So I came back from that weekend buzzing, feeling like I’d been kissed from heaven only to see our dog, who’s really my husband’s devoted loyal buddy, struggling to breathe. Of late she’d been uncharacteristically snappy and before we got a chance to take her to the vet she became suddenly ill. We got a 2nd and 3rd opinion and opted to have her undergo surgery since we saw that she’d started to regain her strength but in the end Ladee made up her mind to do things her own way and she passed away that night. We spent some time at the animal hospital saying goodbye to her and mustering the strength to go home without her there to welcome us with her unique way and quirky personality, knowing her Maltese sibling would be sniffing the house, looking for her scent but unable to find it.
Animals are such a blessing and the lessons they have to offer us are limitless. Ladee was a firecracker in life. You knew when she came into the room and she had this wonderful way of making you feel comfortable. She was extremely affectionate even to strangers. When I saw her, days before she passed, I truly understood what Namaste meant because I could see how precious her little life was and I saw how incredibly blessed we were to have her in our lives. Our Creator breathed LIFE into her tiny body and here she was holding on. I honored who she was and all the love she gave us.
I learned that sometimes when you hurt, you don’t always communicate it in a way that can be understood. But it takes a loving, listening heart to hear between the lines sometimes. I am learning to listen better.
I know the pain of her loss will diminish as the days go by but I will never forget her and now I smile at how she always did things her way- Ladee’s Way: the way she’d jolt right up out of a sound sleep, barrel down the stairs barking-racing, whenever we’d come in or how she elegantly lay on her side, or didn’t like walking on grass but loved laying only on the carpet, or picked out only the meaty portions in her dry dog food or try to get our attention if we took too long eating in the kitchen, or mischievously mess the floor and start galloping around the house celebrating her act of disobedience, or voluntarily put herself in the “dog house” when she knew she’d gotten in trouble for something, or how she’d like to bask in the sun, or get on her hind legs to see if we were sleeping and wake us up, or nip at your heels after you walked in. She gave us 9 of her years. I miss her and I know she knows how much we loved her. Like my brother Carlos said, “She’s probably in heaven driving our Grandma crazy” (boy did I need that when he sent that text but I also think that every time a saint arrives at the Golden Gates, she jolts right up, eyes wide and bright, barking exuberantly, her white, wavy hair flowing behind her, barreling down the streets of gold just in time to announce the arrival of every new saint.
That weekend I learned what gratitude was to a greater, deeper degree. I learned the Life You Want Is a Life of Gratitude. It is a life of always seeing the good even when what shows up “appears” bad because bad is really just a label that only WEhave the power to administer. I learned that every struggle we carry around is because we can’t see the good in it. When we start looking for the good in it we immediately shift how we see it. When we shift our PERSPECTIVE then we release the “negative” emotions from it which are the chains that bind us. We then change our EXPECTATIONS/HOPE and begin to “see” a way where there was no way. Once we recreate loving emotions, FAITH is released and we are empowered to move free from the struggle and it all starts with gratitude. Gratitude is a power that builds up and creates momentum until the scales are tipped and Bam! there it is..now you can SEE the breakthrough with your own eyes. My prayer and hope for you is that you have the vision to see the Life You Want may only be one thank you away. <3