Oprah's Surprise Spectacular: A Final Farewellby Annie Burnside
I was fortunate to be invited by dear friends to the United Center for Oprah's Surprise Spectacular. To say I was thrilled to give a huge, immediate, resounding YES would be an understatement. While I was definitely excited about the star power that I knew would be partaking in this event, the biggest part of me really wanted to be present to extend energetically my heartfelt thanks to someone who, looking back, helped me to come out of the spiritual closet and offer my greatest passion as my life's work to the world, beginning first within my own community, Chicago.
But before I go any deeper--y'all know that can't be stopped on this blog--even if you really just wanna hear about the A-List stars, for those of you who don't watch Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight, I'll give you the list to the best of my recollection now: Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Josh Grobin, Pattie LaBelle, Madonna, Dakota Fanning, Beyonce, John Legend, Diane Sawyer, Halle Berry, Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah, Rascal Flatts, Will and Jada, MJ, Jamie Foxx, Stevie, Seinfeld, Simon Cowell, Rosie, Dr. Phil, Nate, Gayle, Maria, Tyler Perry, Kristen Chenowith, Maya, Alicia, Aretha, and Usher....Phew! Obviously a smorgasbord of eye and ear candy that admittedly blew us all away as one-by-one each surprised both Oprah and the audience.
Okay, now that the name-dropping is out of the way, I was going to blog on this event the very next day, but for some strange reason beyond the midnight return home, I felt oddly exhausted by all of the hoopla. In the days since, I have had the opportunity to contemplate further this idea that Oprah literally paved the way worldwide for the SOUL to be an openly discussed, everyday consideration. And I personally, cannot thank her enough for that! Truly, from my perspective, her greatest contribution to the world stage has been PERMISSION--permission to delve more deeply into our own interior, permission to know and love ourselves better, permission to expand our perspective beyond traditional limitations.
As I sat quietly at times on Tuesday evening simply soaking up the delicious energy of the mind-boggling and breathtaking event, I often felt a deep sense of gratitude for Oprah. Her soul purpose while multi-faceted, as all indeed are, was not simply to interview the stars or even to give money away through her incredible charitable works as highlighted at the extravaganza. In my opinion, her true calling, whether she has always remained conscious of it or not, was to crack us all open to our own blessed humanness while simultaneously evoking within us a recognition of our true nature as magnificent spiritual beings.
Oprah deeply understands the divine paradox of and/bothness that exists in all of life--that two seemingly opposite truths can and do exist in the same space. If we choose to, we can rest within this paradox that presents itself to us over and over and over again in all life experiences. The call here is what will YOU take away from the Oprah Effect. Nothing wrong with water skiing--enJOY the beauty tips, glam, and glitter--I have enJOYed much of that, too. But if you desire to deep sea dive, grab hold of the divine paradox, integrate it, utilize it and don't ever let it go. The PEACE, the JOY, the EMPOWERMENT, the FREEDOM is found there. Thank you, dear Oprah, for offering that to the world in your OWN unique Oprah way...