Oprah Gail Winfrey

“You become what you believe.”

Sounds like it ought to be on a poster, doesn’t it? But nope, it’s Oprah live and in person talking to me.

Well, me and 649 others, but it sure feels like she’s talking to me. It’s a real skill to speak this way, and to listen too. When my daughter Jessamyn was studying psychology the professor had them watch videos of Oprah to learn how to listen.

Oprah spent her early years with her grandmother in Mississippi, with no plumbing and no electricity, the grandmother washed their clothes in a pot. “You watch me now Oprah Gail, because one day you’re going to have to do this.”

No I won’t, Oprah thought. “But even then I had the wisdom not to say it.”

“Did you watch Oprah’s television show,” Randye asked me while we were waiting.

“No,” I said. “I was too much of a snob. I hardly watched television, and especially not daytime television.” Though I’ve realized it was my loss as I’ve appreciated many of her Super Soul Sunday interviews.

Oprah’s grandmother got sick and she was sent to Milwaukee to live with her mother as she was about to start kindergarten. “That’s what saved me, moving to Milwaukee and going to school with the white kids.” Oprah’s grandmother had already taught her to read, so she was appalled that the alphabet was only being introduced. She was put into first grade that very day.  Later, she skipped second grade also. Thinking she wasn’t pretty…no one ever told her…she hung onto smarts since she knew that would be her only ticket.

Oprah talked about her current projects, including a major project she’s starting about mental health with Prince Harry. Her dream is to eliminate the stigma around mental health. “I’d love for no one to ever look at anyone else and say, ‘what’s wrong with you?'” She talked about how she’s gotten close to doing a Broadway play three times, “but when I really thought about what my life would be like in New York while I was actually doing the play I just couldn’t do it. Not enough trees.” She is currently building a house in Telluride, where there are lots and lots of trees.

“I was never trying to change the world,” she said. “I only try and do the next right thing in any given moment.”

Worth the wait to see her in person.

 

About Karen Ray

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