Traffic on Biscayne Boulevard was horrendous this weekend, and with good reason. Oprah Winfrey, AKA God Herself, was in town to speak at the American Airlines Arena. Most graciously, she let a hoard of women and some gay men in on her secrets to a successful and fulfilling life, and if anyone knows how to achieve success and fulfillment, it's Oprah.
For the mindful individual, it was a lot of sage advice you may have heard before, but sage advice nonetheless. More than anything, Oprah's Live The Life You Want Weekend is a chance to see and hear the wondrous Winfrey in the flesh. Even we, in all our cynical glory, were moved by the mogul's comforting mix of wit, wisdom, and realness.
As it turns out, Oprah is that amazing. We totally get it.
It goes without saying the Weekend is a bit of a basic convention. No doubt the women in attendance have a copy of Eat, Pray, Love on their dresser and a Starbucks card that's seen better days. It wasn't Oprah's "Walk Up To The Edge, Look Down, And Laugh Death in The Face" Weekend, but we came to admire these women just the same.
We ain't lying: Here's Oprah with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love
Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Firstly, middle-aged women want to get the fuck down. They came dressed in their best "professional pretty" and happily hip-swiveled around the arena with giant plastic cups full of red wine. Hey, it was the freakin' weekend, betch.
After an hour of dance party "madness," the lights dimmed and a video detailing Oprah's intimidating life and times rendered everyone in the room inferior. Here she was winning an Oscar, kissing Nelson Mandela, building schools for girls in Africa. As we'd find out later, Oprah is a total name-dropper. Do you have any wise friends who aren't world famous? Do you, Oprah?
Not that Oprah's beginnings aren't humble. She was born a poor girl in Mississippi, raised by her grandmother who worked so hard, Oprah almost never saw her in anything but her maid's uniform. Winfrey explained how, even as a girl, she heard her life's calling. She knew she wouldn't grow up to be a maid like her grandmother. This matronly figure would always tell of the nice family she toiled for and told the young girl "I hope you grow up to have some good white people."
"I wish she could have lived to see that I did," Oprah joked. "I have some good white people -- working for me."
Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
Listening to your gut
It's that kind of strength through humor that won our hearts. Oprah is truly a figure to be admired, and she did have loads of insight to impart. Through illustrated tales from her own life, she taught us the importance of listening to the Universe. Does it seem like nothing is going your way? Every turn is met with disaster? That your life is telling you to quit your shitty job, get out of your unhealthy relationship, or drop the bullshit and do what you know in your heart is right? Here's some tips we gleaned from the Queen:
The value of saying "no"
If Stevie Wonder calls you up and asks you to donate thousands to children in need, you have to say yes, right? Okay, that's never going to happen to you, but if Oprah can say no to Stevie Wonder without the universe imploding, you can say no to that friend when she asks you to watch the dog. Don't push yourself beyond your limit just because you're afraid of what people might think. If they're truly a good friend, they'll understand.
The value of letting go
She related to us how glory comes to those who can let go of their hate and submit themselves to the universe (or God, or fate, or whatever you call the powers that be). She showed us a picture of the couch that sits under her big oak trees and preached the power of meditation and reflection. She told us we are the co-creators of our own lives, that every action has an equal but opposite reaction, and that we are responsible for the energy of our intentions.
All of Oprah's friends are famous. Here she is hugging Deepak Chopra.
Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns
No one is perfect -- even Oprah
By the end of the evening, the whole place was down a few tears but definitely stood tall. We were all riled up for the rest of the weekend. It was enough to know that Oprah is all she claims to be; adorable, powerful, insightful, friends with Maya Angelou. She's not perfect, and neither are any of us, and that's OK, because as Oprah told us "If you're still breathing, it means you always get a second chance."
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Here's to hoping that means Oprah is planning a sequel.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.