By Yashy Selvadurai Murphy, guest blogger @yashyanthi
Having an Oprah experience was not on my bucket list (Eminem…Michael Jackson, yes…but O? Nah!) but I when I was invited to attend as a masalamommas’ reporter I could not say No! I’m not a huge fan of self-help exercises and speeches and was not familiar with the friends that O had brought along with her to Toronto for her LifeClass on Forgiveness. Needless to say, my expectations were medium at best. I expected a good show with lots of emotional women and lots of hugging, crying and ‘Amen’s, not my regular cup of chai.
Deepak Chopra was a bit too deep for me and I really could not follow along. I thought I was doomed if he was the opener! Luckily Iyanla Vanzant entered the room with her booty shakin’ and her upbeat energy, greeting the throngs of fans. Alright. This was more my style. Iyanla had us laughing and through her personal anecdotes she told us that “a vision will pull you forward” and that each and every one of us was “pregnant with possibility” and that we should nurture it. Best of all she noted that we should “Be still and Listen”. This hit home for me, I’m on maternity leave and am no longer tied to a work blackberry, yet I’m constantly tied to my phone (Ahem Twitter! DrawSomething! Email!) and no longer take a time-out to ponder about things or envision my goals in life. I used to do this very often growing up, but lately I play my phone at any free moment. This was a wake up, that it’s time for me to start visualizing my goals once again. To see it, is to make it happen.
I really did not know who Tony Robbins was before he jumped up on stage (oh don’t be SO shocked!) WOW. What energy! He was so practical and his stories were easy to relate to. This was something that I noticed throughout the show. His ability to connect with those posing questions was inspiring. It’s one thing to be able to stand up and preach but to be able to provide actionable advice is a rare quality. His advice on relationships is something I will treasure for years to come. He said that happily married people “aren’t lucky, they are doing something” and if one does what they did at the beginning of the relationship (and not get lazy and morose with high expectations) they’d be a lot happier. After nearly three years of married life, I’d say I’m still in the honeymoon phase, and the thought of divorce in general, freaks me out. So this little quip sounds simple enough (let’s hope it holds true.)
I expected Bishop Jakes to take a very religious approach but again, his advice of taking control of your life and managing expectations were practical. I liked it best when he advised an audience member to take back the thermostat controller (to her house) from her ex-lover’s pad, when she informed him that she’s been waiting for an apology for the past few years. It’s time to move on and you can’t expect much from pint sized people when you’re a gallon sized person. Hey that resonated with my mediocre expectations.
Next up Miss O commanded the stage and her audience’s hearts. Her mannerisms and interactions with the audience was so candid, you’d think she’s was chilling with a group of her closest friends and not on stage in front of 8500 strangers. Her ability to connect with people and their stories and then offer genuine heartfelt advice touched even my cold heart. She did a fabulous job in being the intermediary between her fans and her guest speakers and worked around issues without ruffling any feathers. Let’s just say there were moments when no one knew what her fans were on or where her guest speaker was going with their rants. I guess there’s a reason she’s the empire she is.
All in all it was a great night out and I was reminded about a thing or two (and yes, there I was hugging, shaking women and lots of ‘Aii’s – luckily most media personalities felt just as awkward as I did). I personally don’t have any forgiveness issues (yet) but I can see how some walked away with a lesson on managing forgiveness. Though my bet is that most, like me, found it to be an experience but not necessarily a life changing one. Would I do it again? Probably not, once is just enough!
Follow Yashy on her blog: www.babyandlife.com