Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 14: What Animals Can Teach Us


Lesson 14: What Animals Can Teach Us

A Miracle horse, Oprah’s dogs…animals can make our lives better.  This episode confirms how animals can reach out to us.
Aired: 10/27/2011
Today’s Question:  How has a particular animal changed your life?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:


Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 14: What Animals Can Teach Us
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 14:  What Animals Can Teach Us
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Lifeclass Question

Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 13: When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them


Lesson 13: When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

Webcast Week 3 in Review

Oprah says that of all the lessons she’s learned in her life, this one may be at the very top of her list.  Maya Angelou explains… people know themselves much better than we do.   So don’t expect them to be something other than who they are.
Aired: 10/26/2011
Today’s Question:   Think of someone you met recently. What have they shown you about themselves? Who are they?
What Others Are SayingJournal Questions:

Often when a person does not show you the exact problem or issue, you get little whispers, little messages, little problems – something is a little off.  Although she did not know he was gay.  He had shown her that he was a person accustomed to keeping secrets, deceiving, not being open.
Make a Pro and Con List
If you’re still searching for a soul mate, relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant urges you to pay attention to red flags and don’t settle for someone you have to fix. Like Iyanla said in 1998, “If you see crazy coming, cross the street!”

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:

Always be prepared to renegotiate an agreement.  If the original agreement does not work out, renegotiate.

Remember to Pay It Forward…

 


Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 13: When People Show You Who They Are, Believe them
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 13:
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Lifeclass Question

Warning! Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!


Well I broke my foot.  The tip of the fifth metatarsal and the displaced fractured piece is  attached to a tendon.  My doctor told me that it’s a “troublesome” fracture in that with any strain, if my heel-foot has any weight bearing,  it is very likely that the tendon will pull the fragment loose and then I’ll need surgery.   He told me that I can either stay off my foot completely – aaarghh –  for a month, or if I take chances with it, it’s very likely that I’ll require surgery to place a pin and then I’ll  be off my foot for 2+ months. Since they’d have to catch me first – for surgery – there’s not a lot to consider here…

This happened two days before we were leaving for a couple of months to escape the Pacific Northwest winter.

Chloe

Ok.  I’m very active, walk 10,000 steps – minimum – every day.  Walking controls my blood sugar and blood pressure.  It takes care of my excess energy and helps me sleep.  It’s my time with my dog, Chloe.   She sniffs.   I think, listen and contemplate….

Now then…if everything happens for a reason – well, I’m waiting to find the reason for this one.  I do get that there is a lesson in everything that we experience and I’m thinking I’m supposed to be learning…

Courage

  • Postponing our trip….To make a decision from logic?  What a concept!   I had an impulsive, strong urge to take my chances and travel on crutches  and deal with anything that might happen – wherever it might happen.    ( A Whisper in my ear – Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11)  The whisper is saying – “any fool can see that you’re  a klutz with the crutches and can see that  there’s probably huge potential for another fall  – at least at this point.   And the whisper is loud.    Mature decision?  Me – who has almost always thought that maturity is usually  overrated!   But then I thought of food.  I have to be able to move my bod if I want to eat what I want.  Or take a pill.  And I’ll do just about anything rather than take a blood sugar med!  At least as long as I can manage another way.   So I made up  my mind… I’m trying this “mature” thing (as defined by my daughter and also my best friend…and the whisper).   But I’m not totally convinced that maturity works for me – chuckle…  Since when would that be?
  • To change plans that involved disappointment and  inconveniences for several others?  Uhh….For a compliant  (probably not my husband’s first thought when describing me:) – translated  struggling to get thru this without my not-too-far-behind-me- people-pleasing-nature taking over;  it took great fortitude to utter “I think I want to postpone our trip until I can enjoy myself too”.

Vulnerability

  • I’m very independent.  It’s very difficult to ask someone else to do something for me.  Those around me are not used to my being very needy.  Talk about ripple effect….  Lessons for all?

Change

  • Over the months, I’ve learned to enjoy walking – out of necessity.  But now it’s a habit that I truly enjoy.   Then…I’ve detested weights, exercise classes, going to the gym.  Now…The new no-weight-bearing me has discovered that I can use tubes (available and unused for years) while I’m sitting.  I was shocked at my weak upper body muscles and how quickly they “burn”.   Jane Fonda is whooting in my ears!    I can see the sugar burning, courtesy of my glucometer.  I can lie on my back and ride an imaginary bike.  I am also amazed at these weakling thighs.  I’m obviously using different muscles than walking requires!  My blood sugar is under control – without a pill!  My heart rate soars – quickly.   And,  I’m exercising my mind trying to think of new and effective ways to move so that my body feels exercised.   Ahhhh…

Acceptance

  • I can’t change or fix this one.  I just have to wait for it to heal.

Patience

  • A very big challenge.  A definite work in progress!    I repeat my prayer that I read somewhere years ago..”Please Lord!  Give me Patience!  Right now!”

One thing I know for sure…There’s no place like home.   When I’m in pain or ill.   Even if  my bedroom, art studio and office are upstairs.  Climbing stairs on hands and knees works for babies.  It works for me too.  And it makes me laugh.

I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse – an ankle, knee, hip.  Yikes – or neck!

I’m very grateful!

Happy New Year – 2012!


Peaceful Place - Original and prints available at sharonabbottfinearts.com

I want to stand on the highest mountain – well figuratively, of course – and shout “Happy New Year” to all mankind, to the universe!

I’m feeling so grateful and in a state of anticipation and excitement for this new year, 2012.

This morning, I had a mad desire to express my feelings in a poem, and made multiple attempts but it’s just not happening  So I’ve been reading poetry blogs and am in awe of these poets – some amazing gifts out there!  You poetry contributes so much to my world.   Thank you!

I’ve been enjoying blogs that share paintings, photography and graphics this morning.  And choosing not to be intimidated by the talent, but inspired.  Wow!  That’s a whole lot of inspiration…

Music rocks my world.  It makes a difference.  I constantly have music playing.  Sometimes just in my head.  But it plays.  And brings me joy!

The blogs!  The myriad of subjects, writing styles, humor, insight.  The list is long – the gifts endless!  Blogs broaden my world.   My life has been changed in so many ways.  By blogs!

Art – in any form – is good for my soul.   I’m so grateful for life…for expression…for diversity…

I haven’t made resolutions for years but today am renewing my commitments to myself… and am writing them for days when I need a little reminder…

  • I am practicing my art, my gift, every day.  I make no expectation of the result.  I’m practicing.
  • I am present.  I am listening.  I am seeing – really seeing.
  • I am in service.  My open sign is on.  I’m showing up – and I’m there when I’m needed.  In the best way possible.

What will this year hold?  I can’t wait for the adventure…

Lesson 12: Holding On to the Past


Lesson 12: Holding On to the Past

Oprah believes that a universal issue for so many of us is that we are holding on to the hurt and pain of our past.  In this class, five sisters have been entrenched in a bitter feud for years and find ways to move on.  Getting on with the “now” can only be accomplished by letting go of the past.  Some insight from Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 12….
Aired: 10/25/2011
Today’s Question:  What memories of the past still dominate your thinking?  What do you need to let go of?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:  Oprah says, “It’s not just letting go of the past, it’s all bigger than we can ever imagine.”  We all want a  better life.  How do we get there?  

Are we living in what could have, what should have, what we wished could have been?  Living in the past is one of the biggest detriments.

Five sisters’ relationship went from a simple misunderstanding to a full scale war.   The conflict was affecting the sisters emotionally, physically and spiritually.   When we see defensiveness, that person is in pain and needs love and acceptance.  It took a major tragedy – the loss of one sister’s son – to bring them to wake up.    18 years later the sisters reconciled.   Jackie’s oldest son was dying of AIDS and a sister, Vicki took him in.  In order for her to see her son, she had to be in Vicki’s home.   The reconciliation had begun.

When we resort to name-calling, it means that we are out of control and we’re using that to bring more value to ourselves.

The only person we ever have any control over is ourselves.  We have a choice in how we see the situation, or we can remove ourselves from the situation but we  cannot change the other person.

Whatever energy we are carrying from the past, we carry into the future and that energy colors everything we do and experience.  It blocks us from being all that we were meant to be.

Forgiving is necessary to let go of the past.  It doesn’t mean that we say “it’s ok”.  Forgiveness is acceptance, not approval.

All of life is about “waking up”.

When the Oprah Show first started talking about men having affairs, women in the audience were adament that they would never put up with it, they would leave.  That attitude gradually changed over the next few years – in the 90’s.   Oprah says that she has discovered that men don’t cheat because of someone who is more attractive, smarter or…. He cheats because of how another person makes him feel.

In 2008, Psychiatrist Gary Newman, found that men cheat because they feel underappreciated, unimportant, not admired.  Men want to feel valued.

Unless the other man (or woman)  completely understands and expresses remorse for what they have done, it’s very difficult for the betrayed person to get over it.   Both parties need to sit down and talk about it openly.  Give yourself permission to deal with the issue.  It takes time to build trust again.

Not everyone can get over an affair.  You need to decide for yourself  if you can or can’t get over an affair.  If you decide that you can – then really get over it.  Deal with it and let it go.  You have to deal with the past or it will continue to show up in your relationships, your health, in every aspect of your life. If you can’t get over the affair, then move on from the relationship.  Don’t live in between.  There needs to be emotional closure.

On losing a loved one…with Gary Zukav… Oprah says…It’s not just about letting go of the past.  It’s about the ultimate lesson for us as human beings.  I am not my body, I am not my circumstances, I am not what everything looks like.  I really am a higher level of being and consciousness that is a soul.  My personality is not my soul.  My personality is here to serve my soul”.

We, our lives, are bigger than what it looks like.

A couple lost a new preterm baby, a twin.  They were both born perfect but on the third day after their birth, Ryan had a brain bleed.  He could not save the baby.  The parents went into a tailspin, were having a difficult time not letting this tragedy take over in their lives.

Gary Zukav counsels -“Look at Ryan as a soul, like everyone on this earth, that left this earth when it chose, then you will have a different perspective.  You will be able to see the gifts that this soul gave you during it’s short stay on this earth.  You will reach a place in your life where you are grateful that this soul chose to be with you for however short a time.  If you do not, you will live your life feeling that a tragedy has occurred.  Whenever you see your other son growing up, you will say Ryan should be here.  You will be placing a burden on your other son, the twin, because no matter what he does, what he accomplishes, he will be causing Mommy pain.  If you look at Ryan as a great soul who voluntarily entered the earth school and voluntarily left it in, you will begin to fathom and appreciate the interaction that you had with that soul and you will be able to receive the gifts that this soul came to earth to give to you and your family.  And if you do not, then you will continue to be turning away from those gifts.  You will be denying the very wealth of wisdom and compassion that was offered to you by this soul. ”  The soul is a great deal more than just a personality.  Interact soul-to-soul.  Recognize the power of the soul.

Many others were impacted by this story.

Oprah says that this story gives us a glimpse a notion that you are bigger than your body and your personality.   Oprah called this a holy moment in the room that day.   Oprah says it reminds her to stop and and think about her own soul and everyone around her, causes her to just for a moment to disconnect from the egos and personalities around her,  and to recognize that it is all bigger than we can ever imagine.

“You are not your circumstances.  You are a higher level of being and consciousness that is a soul.”  If we think life is only what we can see, then we are missing the whole point.

Oprah encourages us…”When you lose somebody in the physical form, the formless becomes an angel that you know”.

“Life is much bigger than just a body.  When you are grieving over the loss of a loved one…sense the presence of their soul, which is always with you, instead of the personality that is gone.”

Oprah quoting Iyanla Vanzant…”You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people.  But until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.  You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick you hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”

Oprah says…”The sooner we can let go of the past, the sooner we can get on with the “now”, our daily life.  If we don’t let it go, it becomes a wall, a barrier, and it prevents us from the vibrancy, the aliveness, the glory that our life should be. ”

Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 12: Holding on to the past
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 12: Holding on to the past
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Lifeclass Question

Wanting


I was driving down the street today and realized I was feeling very intense.  And my posture was expressing my mental stance.  I wasn’t speeding.  I was just intense.  Then I had an immediate “A HA Moment”.  At almost 72 years of age (however feeling no more than 40 – at the most!) I had a moment of realization – that as a working adult, I have been used to getting what I want.   If I wanted something, I just worked a little harder and got it.  I was not necessarily discriminating in my wants.  And these wants certainly have not always been for myself.  Many times I want to do something for someone else, help someone else.   Sometimes too much.   This morning I was examining my intentions and motivators.   This morning I had a moment of clarity about my long painful lesson and how grateful I am at this moment for what I’ve learned.   It involves ego, self value, intentions, being conscious.  How I’ve tried to fill emotional needs with material things.  The old story.  But now it’s very real to me.

I grew up with very little in the material way.  Our basic needs were barely met.  But we sisters had a lot of fun together and probably because we had very few toys, and of course no tv, became very creative  and found innovative ways to entertain ourselves – built tree houses carpeted with lush moss.  We collected empty cans and boxes to fill our imaginary cupboards.  We usually had a couple of goats  ( I still enjoy them if I don’t have to milk or smell them) and I spent a lot of time following them around and pulling limbs of huge oak trees within their reach – they loved eating the leaves.   We strung laurel tree berries and created beautiful jewelry (to us) – necklaces and bracelets.  We were very competitive – racing and checking to see who had picked the most blackberries and red clover for our Mom.  She gave us a few cents for every quart we picked.  It seemed like a lot of money then.    Our family was large and money was very scarce.  But we had a lot of fun during that time.

My A Ha moment led to thoughts about how I learned to be self-sufficient, creative and so very determined.  There was a point that I remember – in junior high – when I spent much of my time in deep despair and intense “wanting”.  To have things that my school mates had – carefree laughter, nice clothes, a watch, cafeteria lunches instead of homemade bread sandwiches – whole wheat!  Oh no!  Just when white bread was what everyone was eating.   I so wanted to be like everyone else.  And I wasn’t.  I lived in “want”.   I wanted to be different than I was.  I wanted a family that was very close.  I wanted to be close  with my Mom – I wasn’t.  She just wasn’t available.  Neither was my Dad.  They were in a relationship break-down that ended a few years later in divorce.  A very painful and messy divorce.  In a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business.  Not a fun time.  It was an intense time and I formed some lifelong habits.

The wanting began to be a lifestyle for me.  When I started working at age 14, I discovered that if I wanted something, I could get it.  And that continued and escalated for most of my life.  As an adult, I’ve always had a good job and above-average income.  Eventually I started my own business and literally became a workaholic.  I was lacking in the “relationship department”, to say the least – for many years.    The wanting continued only I didn’t recognize it as “wanting”.  I wanted me – and those closest to me – to have what they wanted.   It was wanting and  it was a habit.  I just worked a little harder if I wanted to do a little more.  I didn’t even get it – but the “wanting” was driving me.   I was trying to keep up with the want habit and I was never enough and I never had enough.  I didn’t think about that consciously – ever.  It didn’t connect for me.   I called it competing with myself to do better.  But I drained myself and was always stressed and “behind”.

I retired a few years ago and my financial picture dramatically started changing shortly after that.  The “A Ha” this morning was a recognition of what has been happening in my life for the last six years.  I was being pushed into a lesson  that I would never have jumped into by choice.  It has been obvious and definite.   This morning as I look back over the lesson years when I was feeling very humiliated and deprived, I realize that I  had all that I needed – and more.   I’m on the other side of this lesson – finally.  And yes – I got it today.  Clearly.   I recognized that for most of my life,  many things I thought were “needs” were actually “wants” and that I needed to learn the difference.  I needed to learn my value (I’m still working on that one) without my props, my things, my kudos.  I am enough.  I say that to others.  I need to listen to myself!

Today, I consciously realize how different my life is now – and why.  During my  involuntary lesson, I was forced to live with less and less, down to real basics – and I learned.    It feels amazing to finally really be living the difference.   With deep gratitude.   I feel a whole new consciousness.   These words don’t begin to define the impact of the reality in my life.  And I can clearly see the difference today.  And I’m grateful.   I’ve almost always questioned myself when spending – do I “want” this or do I “need” this.  But that very rarely had very much to do with my decision.  Today I realized that now it does.

I’ve said the words for years – “as soon as I get something I want, something else will take it’s place.  So just say no”.   I’d tell myself no and then justify reasons for needing it.   Woo Hoo!   I now truly know the difference between wanting and needing.     It’s a new lifestyle that I was forced into by circumstances, part of a lesson, but I’ve come to appreciate it  – deeply.  It’s been an incredibly difficult few years but today I realized how much I’ve grown and the joy that has come into my life.    It’s exhilarating.  Over the last few years, I’ve gotten rid of almost everything that I’m not actually using.  It feels so good.  I was carrying a heavy load of possessions and obligations, chaos and clutter!  Quietly but intensely.   “I don’t have a life” was my mantra for many years.  I kept myself busy even after I retired,  when I wasn’t actually doing something useful, I kept myself busy with stress and “mulling” and inner angst.   Even in my successes, I felt a deep void.  I felt that I didn’t do enough, that I wasn’t enough.    Arrrrgh!

Today I realized that I also have a different view of the wants and needs of those that I’m able help.   I really appreciate that.  Whatever that compulsion was to help others get what they “want” is gone as well.  Now I am free to help people that are in obvious need.   And I feel free to declare that boundary.   It’s such an awesome freedom.    I look for the best use of the comparatively small amount that I have.  I’m finally in control of my wants.  Appearances, status, and ego are not my motivators.  My Dad preached, “Be in control of your money.  Don’t let your money be in control of you”.   Material things do not fulfill my emotional needs.  How many times have I heard and said that!  And thought I understood….

Today I had a few moments of clarity, of remembering how my life used to be.  And how it is now.  Huge difference – in almost every way!   I have a life!   Even with much less, I have freedom!  Wanting is no longer an unconscious habit.  I feel content and relaxed.  I have joy!  My life is so full!

And I’m so very grateful!

Lesson 11: Your Life Speaks to You in a Whisper


Oprah talks about one of the greatest principles of life – Listening to the “whispers.” Practicing this principle saves lives.  Ideas on learning how to recognize moments when your life is trying to tell you something.
Today’s Question: What’s the whisper you’ve been hearing for a while? What will you do about it now?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:


Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11: Your Life Speaks to You in a Whisper
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 11: Your Life Speaks to You in a Whisper
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Question