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I like to think that I’m a good judge of character. I’m also fairly savvy when it comes to spotting a sales pitch from somebody trying to sell me a bill of goods.

But I got an email from Oprah today. Oh, I know what you’re saying. You don’t know Oprah! That’s true; I don’t really know her personally. But I have to admit it: I just love Oprah. In some ways, I feel like she’s my virtual BFF.

So when I got the email from O – as some of us call her – and it said, “Convert to Digital,” I took it as a mandate.

I subscribe to her magazine, so what the email said was that I have the option of converting to digital format, like Kindle.

But I’ll be honest. Even if she was telling me to convert to digital in some kind of odd sci-fi way, like “Become a robot.” Heck, I’d do it.

If she said, “Replace your knees and elbows with robot parts,” I’ve gotta tell ya. I’d seriously consider it.

After all, they’re durable.  You’d need less skin cream in the winter.  You could do Zumba more easily.

To me, it’s as if she just knows things. It’s almost mysterious, the way Oprah’s been able to tap into the zeitgeist and stay relevant over the course of so many years. In some ways, she’s already converted me.

Seems like she’s been everywhere all at once lately, but in the back of my mind, I know she’s not omnipresent. And even though she’s got a deep well of wisdom to draw from, I realize that she’s not omniscient.

Most important, I know that she seems compassionate, but there’s only One on whom I call when troubles weigh heavy on my mind.

At the end of the day, it’s good to have role models, but I never forget my rock and my foundation.

So no matter who seems to have taken over the world – whether it be my icon, Oprah, or perhaps the robots themselves – I never forget who’s really running the show. And that’s what I know for sure.

Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? Jeremiah 2:25 (The Message)

So I signed up for a 21-day meditation course online featuring two esteemed gurus of our culture to whom I refer collectively as “Oprah Chopra.” Got myself all ready to be decompressed, un-stressed and boldly blessed. Stoked and psyched, I was certain I was on my way to Serenity Now!

Cut to: the alternate ending. I made it all the way through… Day One. There was just too much to get done! I couldn’t justify sitting there, actively doing absolutely nothing for twenty-one days in a row. C’mon, people! Only so many hours in a day and oh so many obligations.

Did I mention that the meditation course required a commitment of only fifteen minutes per day?

Maybe it’s because I’m from New Jersey, but by default, my general tendency for most of my life has been to be in a hurry. As I’ve gotten older (and due to health issues) I have slowed down somewhat, but I see it all around me here in my home state. We walk quickly. We talk over each other in conversation. We get in the car, get on the road, and get where we’re going.

Some other cultures have figured out that life should not be on fast-forward, and they’ve slowed things down.

In Spain, businesses shut down in the middle of the afternoon to accommodate the traditional siesta, and although this practice is on the decline as modern, multi-tasking life encroaches, many still swear by that mid-day nap.

The French have made the leisurely meal into an art form. The “slow food” movement has gained a substantial following. Dinner is savored, friendships are nurtured. A glass of wine (or deux) is enjoyed. La vie est belle!

Native cultures speak of finding God in nature, of waiting for his guidance out in the woods or by the river. Time seems slower. Life seems simpler.

Why is it so hard for us to stop and smell the roses? Has it simply become the American way of doing things?

Maybe we should schedule a half hour of repose every day no matter what else is vying for our attention. It will serve to make us more productive and help us to find our center, but more important, it’s a chance to connect with God and be open to His leading. It may become a habit you won’t want to break. 

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