Living Your Best Life Weekend, New York City -May 7-9, 2010
“Fill your own cup first, and let that overflow to the people around you.” “What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine.” Oprah
The Live Your Best Life weekend was truly memorable! It was a celebration of life, love, health, hope, faith, fun and the importance of nurturing ourselves. I spent the entire weekend enfolded in Oprah’s World and surrounded by the abundant love that makes you one of the most cherished people in the world.
The weekend started with a wonderful welcoming reception at Gotham Hall on West 36th Street in Manhattan. Gail stopped by to say hello as we picked up our first gift; a goodie bag with items we needed for the weekend; a journal, guidebook, pen, scarf, chartreuse t-shirt, mints and more. We enjoyed champagne and hors d’œuvres, posed for specially arranged photos sponsored by L’Oreal then headed home to rest and prepare for the next day. My dear friend, Diahann, made off to New Jersey and I to Westchester County.
“I’ve always known that life is better when you share it. I now realize it gets even sweeter when you expand the circle.” “Let passion drive your profession.” Oprah
By 8:15am on Saturday, we queued up outside The Jacob Javits Center in great anticipation of things to come. New friends were made and old friends reconnected as the lines and our excitement grew. Questions flew back and forth; How did you hear? When did you register? What life shops will you take?
In between murmurings and retelling stories of our personal journey to the weekend, were echoes of jubilation and words of praise, thanking God for the grace and fortuitous events that led us to this place. Many spoke softly of your impact and we blessed you. In blessing you, we had blessed ourselves; in honoring God’s abundant, divine gaze on your life, we had invited the divine to gaze compassionately on us.
“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.” Oprah
We walked through security and settled into our seats in the cavernous hall bathed in blue and pink light emanating from the stage and waited for you to arrive; such soothing healing colors, such anticipation.
All of a sudden, there you were, exhorting us to be our best selves and enjoy the life shops, then introducing Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat. Love. Pray. as the keynote speaker and finally advising us sagely to “Fill your own cup first, and let that overflow to the people around you.” Elizabeth echoed same in her speech, warning us to stop seeking perfection and as you said to just “be present.”
“It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are – not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within – that you can begin to take control.” Oprah
After the keynote speech, we set off to spend time with Martha Beck, Nate Berkus, Donna Brazile, Suze Orman, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Peter Walsh and more where we filled our day with words of wisdom and the gentle caress of caring words. In between breaks, we stood patiently on several lines waiting for our turn to pick up our second goodie gift bag and to be pampered, photographed or videotaped for a chance with the soon to be launched (1/1/11) Oprah Winfrey Network – OWN. Standing in line offered its own special brand of respite; it gave us time to reflect and connect with others. I left Javits Center full of great memories and mementos.
Radio City Hall awaited us as the evening program loomed ahead. How much more could we handle? Could Oprah top an already full day of festivities and great lessons? Yes, you could and did. There was more… much more waiting for us at Radio City Hall. Our evening there was superlative; simply fantastic.
“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” “I really believe when you give to other people, you give to yourself.” Oprah
Oprah, you welcomed us with another gift; a beautiful book of lessons and then gave us a magical evening of song, sharing and sage advice. We laughed, sang along and cheered you on, as you told your life story with humor and shared your love for God with conviction and a spirit of gratitude.
You sang the refrain from the Hymnal – I Surrender All - by Judson W. Van DeVenter beautifully and powerfully.
♫ ♫♫ I surrender all, ♫♫♫ I surrender all;
All to Thee,♫♫ my blessed Savior,♫ I surrender all.♫♫♫
Yes, it was a profoundly inspiring moment to pause and be reminded that the One who made you also made me and knows what the future holds. I believe that at the moment where you sang I surrender with such feeling, everyone in the hall felt touched by God’s grace and glory. We left uplifted and empowered.
Sunday was truly the walk of a lifetime; a walk into our best lives. It was also a charity walk to benefit 10 charities. Best Friends Animal Society was my choice; I was walking for those who cannot speak for themselves. Sade Baderinwa was the morning hostess as we waited to start the walk across to 42nd Street with Oprah, Mary J, Jennifer H, Bette Midler, Dr Oz, Suze and many others. Oprah gave the gift of her gigantic heart and more… It was a weekend extravaganza par excellence! At the end of the walk, we got our final goodie gift bag, a cupcake, lots of extras from the sponsors and heard Jennifer Hudson sing Happy Birthday in honor of O Magazine’s 10th Anniversary. Thank you all!
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the one who knows the future.” “I really believe that when you give to others, you give to yourself. Thank you for giving back today.” Oprah
My fondest memory will be walking with you, my twin daughters, my best friend, Diahann and thousands of women on May 9th which happened to be both Mother’s Day and the 20th anniversary of my beloved father’s passing. I walked in honor of my mom and moms everywhere, in honor of my dad, in honor of my past/present ancestral tree, in honor of all helpless animals, and in deepest gratitude to God’s grace…
Thank you for this special blessed experience. As I say to everyone, the weekend with you, Oprah, was not an event, it was an experience; a phenomenal experience!
Thank you again, and again and again!
Did you attend the weekend with Oprah? Do share your memories and thoughts below. Do you have questions about the weekend or views on it in general? Please share. As always, your comments are always appreciated. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Thank You!
Please Stop by later for more pictures!
Oprah Welcome at Javits Center & Radio City Hall from personal photos
Artexis611 via Flickr
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©