Archive for June, 2013

Aha moments! Oprah; a trip above the clouds

This year has been a year of shift for the world, and I had my own nudge from the universe; I took some time away from blogging to take inventory of my life and make changes, so I may relaunch my creative dreams. A few months ago I had the opportunity to see Oprah, in Hamilton, Ontario, and then wrote about that experience. This blog post captures Oprah’s theme and her quotes, and the message that she expressed to her Canadian fans. I have written it from my perspective, like as if the reader could be me, so I hope you enjoy the trip….

“I’m on edge of Glory and I’m hangin’ on a moment with you.

I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hangin’ on a moment of truth.”

The Lady Gaga b-e-a-t, Edge of Glory, infuses the atmosphere as we enter the coliseum. Women huddle together to take group pictures, giggling and laughing like spirit-soaked devotees. The vibration feeds my veins with adrenaline, and I’m feeling a slight vertigo as we ascend to our seats on the second balcony.

I’ve had a career in the film and television industry for over a decade, so I’ve experienced first-hand, many famous people. I believe I have a certain ability to be grounded and maintain perspective when it comes to celebrity. Still, I found myself hypnotized by the buzz in the building, pumped to see Oprah Winfrey in person, and be inspired perhaps to take away some words of wisdom. And that’s exactly what happened. Inspiration came streaming through, one life example after another, in true Oprah style of “aha” moments.

“Why are you here?” Oprah asks. Shifting in my seat, I observe, that I am one person, among some 15,000 now all in sync. “Aha” moments speak to inspire us all, but they impact each individual in the context of their own life. Oprah wants us to turn up the volume of our life, so loud that we will hear our calling speaking to us, and ignite our passion so to be about the business of doing it.

The only difference between you and a person of fame, she says, is that more people know her name.  And that her salary makes news headlines regularly. But Oprah has earned every salary as she rose to her position today, having her own network: OWN TV.

She cooks on the weekend. She doesn’t have to. But she wants to, because she enjoys it, along with a little merlot! So how did a girl from Mississippi, USA, journey from there to here, tonight, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada?  It’s rather an awesome thought, don’t you think?

Oprah has paid attention to why she’s here. “We’ve all been called. Your lesson is that you are here.” We all came the same way, (served up with a little humour).  Our job is to hear our calling. That thing, that voice in the quiet of our minds, when we’re not playing the roles that we play.

“I am a whisper on the breath of God. I am a human living within and through divine intelligence.”

When you’re in alignment with your purpose, you begin to notice the threads, which reveal the links in your life. It’s not one thing – it’s everything leading up to this moment. “Find the link that sows together the pattern of your life, and let it reveal the clues to your purpose.”

“Because the privilege of a life-time, is to be who you are. And after all, the fact is, you are here! You are HERE!” she says, as the entire audience surges into cheers. Yes, I am here. Without a doubt, we all have a story that has brought us to where we are today. Over a year ago a concussion created life-altering events, forcing me into resolving, choosing, taking inventory, letting go, the moment-by-moment adjusting of my emotional GPS, and now I begin each day with gratitude.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” Life’s trials, Oprah says, are sent to show you who you are. When life seemed surreal and I wasn’t sure how to get through, I can only say that there came a time where I learned to let go, and surrender; on my knees, sitting silent, or lying in any position possible that gave relief.

Oprah has BIG faith; she describes it like a sunrise. “It’s like that moment when we rise above the clouds.” Life’s common threads are what make us human. We all feel it, even famous people; sadness, grief, pain, love, joy. Out of a dark place of separation or loss, low self-esteem, tragedy – we’ve all been there.

“Let our deepest practice be gratitude.”

Riveted by Oprah Winfrey standing on stage, glancing at her familiar face on the big monitor, seated on the second balcony with fellow OWN Ambassadors, I felt grateful. In fact I was feeling entirely blissful, and my spirit was elevated. Was anyone feeling this too? (adjusting in my seat again) Was it vertigo?

I’m on the edge

the edge

the edge

the edge

And suddenly, I felt myself falling, metaphorically, induced by a wave of sweetness, drifting, as if the air became lighter. “These experiences we all have,” Oprah says, Nothing gets unused. The events that happen to you all hold energy – use it. Instead of letting it use you. ”Forgive yourself. “Forgiveness – (we all join in), is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”

My emotional free-fall was accompanied by Oprah’s narration of a beautiful poem, Love After Love, by Derek Walcott.

The time will come,

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the others’ welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

I hadn’t brought tissues.  Mock my words, or just believe it when I say: it was a moment. I loved listening to Oprah tell her story, and laugh, cry or sigh as I heard that inner “aha.”

We soar to these places above the clouds, and appreciate the moments of glory, all the more in knowing that we gained strength through our struggles and persevered. What’s your story? Why are you here?

(this story was published first at http://canadasownviewers.com/?p=1031)

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Double Header Sunday at Chopra Yoga Centre

Summer YellowThese days in Toronto it’s a bit of a fashion crisis, figuring out what to wear when one day the temperature is 20° Celsius, and another day it dips to 6°. Today is a perfect cool-ish sunny Sunday,16° (feels like 10°), and I’m heading out to Chopra Yoga Toronto, to participate in one of their community events, in the hot yoga studio, where the temperature is set to 32° (feels like 32°).

In so far as Sunday’s go, I often take the day to disconnect from the grid, but remain connected with people, if you know what I mean. I don’t have a garden to tend, or perhaps my earthy side might be digging dirt, or planting flowers. Sometimes I go for a walk and find quiet places for contemplation or meditation.

Today, I’m called to a different kind of “double-header,” Power Vinyasa Foundationclass, followed by a guided Meditation. According to Deepak Chopra’s “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” today is the “Law of Pure Potentiality.”

“The source of all creation is pure consciousness … pure potentiality seeking creation from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realize that our true self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe. Pure potentiality is the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity.”  ~ Deepak Chopra

As I place my mat down, with all the essential accoutrements, I am aware of my belief that how we are on the mat is a reflection of our selves in the world. I give thanks that I’m here after a long hibernation period, and just in case, (I become overwhelmed or verklempt), I’ve brought plenty of water, a towel, bolster, and blocks for support. I am feeling vulnerable, but trust the process, and I know that even if I simply sit on the mat, there is power in support from the energy of the group.
Power Vinyasa Foundation is a slower practice, geared to beginners or anyone wanting to take more time to review the asanas. Ultimately, any level benefits from the intention to slow down and connect.

Here in this moment I surrender to spirit, and forget about any worries, relationships, the weather, other stuff, (over which I really have no control anyway), and focus on the mind-body connection instead. This reflective Sunday, my escape to engage pure potentiality, helps me lean into my body, noticing areas that need tending, not unlike gardening, watering a plant, or deepening roots.

After the class, there’s a break to enjoy some tea in the tea lounge, a little snack and some conversation. The event is hosted by “Lole” active wear for women, a Canadian clothing company which aspires to motivate well-being and peace. Besides being a clothing brand, Lole is committed to giving back to the community. This summer they’re taking their cause on tour, stopping in Toronto on June 22, 2013 (www.lolewomen.com/whiteyoga). Aptly named “The White Yoga Session” where everyone dresses symbolically in white, it is a practice dedicated to peace: “peace in motion.”

“The White Yoga Session represents us, creating space to come together and to share one message, one emotion, which is peace”  ~ Grace Dubery, (Yoga Instructor leadingthe #LoleWhite, Toronto)

Part two of the “double-header” is a meditation. Sitting comfortably, the warmth of the room and candlelight is soothing.  After the vinyasa class I can feel my body settling and more relaxed,

Leading the meditation is the Director of Chopra Yoga Toronto, Vivian Wong.

“You don’t have to have all the answers today, but take the time to ask the questions and they will manifest when the time is ready.”

“Who am I?

What do I want?

What does my body and soul need in order to be nourished?

What is my dharma? What is my purpose in life?

How can I serve those around me with my unique abilities?”

Focusing on the breath, the mantra we use is “so-hum.” I first learned about it from one of my favourite books written by Deepak Chopra, “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire,”  but he often explains the mantra in his teachings, as well as in the 21-Day Meditation practice, offered online 2-3 times throughout the year, (https://www.facebook.com/ChopraMeditation).  So-hum is the mantra of the breath; as you inhale, the vibration is “so” and as you exhale it is “hum.”

We focus on our breath, with eyes closed, inhaling (so) and exhaling (hum), where gradually our breath becomes very quiet. It’s ok if thoughts come into the mind, just observe them and let them go. Soon the breath is so quiet and the silence in the room is like a blanket, gently wrapping us with love. At some point I forgot I was sitting in a yoga room full of people, and yet I always notice a stronger vibration of relaxation when I meditate with a group. After about 15- 20 minutes we release the mantra and return our focus to the room, and feeling freer, lighter to carry on with the day. One thing I know forsure is that I always feel better after yoga, and after meditation, than when I arrived.

Pausing to let life catch up with you is nourishing to the soul… Yoga has always been an outlet, for me to connect with people, and to myself, turning inward. Since I’ve been away from the practice for a while, I was curious to hear about something new and different happening in the city. I have taken part in yoga fundraisers, yoga in the park, and yoga festivals before. There’s a kind of feel good, a la flash-mob, fun feeling about“The White Yoga Session,” and I’m down with that.

No matter how I look at it, there’s a sort of natural orchestration, being outdoors in the park, which appeals to everyone, whether you are participating in yoga or simply witnessing and enjoying the weather. Today, 24° (feels like 30°).

Related Links

For more information on The White Yoga session:

Twitter: @LoleWhite  www.lolewomen.com/whiteyoga

View upcoming events at Chopra Yoga:  www.choprayoga.com/Toronto www.facebook.com/ChopraYogaToronto   Twitter: @ChopraYogaTO

(article published first at

http://www.choprayoga.com/toronto/double-header-sunday/