Almost 9,000 men and women lined up around a full city block in Toronto on April 16th, waiting to hear words of wisdom from Oprah and her chosen guests. The reason for the huge lineup was to get a chance to see the icon that has been an inspiration to so many for so long.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m one of Oprah’s own – I read her magazine, I watched her show, and I often quote something I’ve heard from her or one of the men and women she has taken under her wing.
My colleague Rebecca Follows and I travelled to Toronto together. When we arrived and saw the huge lineup we knew that we had to do a little creative thinking. My new book, “Cycles of Life, Keeping You on Track” had just hit the streets and I quickly recognized that I could use one of the lessons in the book to get us to the front of the line! The lesson was, “learn from the past”. I remembered when I was working at this venue and I duplicated what I had done then. I always valet parked, so that exactly what we did! Then, because I had a media pass, we were able to go directly to the area where the show was to be held. Learning from the past, we got to the front of the line.
As a journalist, I wanted to share what it was like to be in the audience; to experience that massive collection of human beings, men and women, all of whom were Oprah fans. I chatted with people around me, and I listened to their stories as they shared how Oprah or one of the guest speakers changed their lives. Later I found a colleague who has a complete collection of Oprah’s O magazines. She has 143 issues from May/June 2002 to May 2012, plus 2 Commemorative issues. That’s a true fan!
I learned that 80% of the wealth inNorth Americais controlled by women, but that statistic alone is not enough for us; we have to do something significant. I’m positive that most of the women in the room were determined to have a life changing experience before they left the building.
The event, billed as a look at Oprah’s classroom, was an opportunity to share life lessons alongside teachers like motivational speaker Tony Robbins, spiritual healer Deepak Chopra, life coach Iyanla Vanzant and humanitarian Bishop T.D. Jakes.
The entire audience was spellbound as they listened to each speaker. And what an audience it was; it appeared that almost every culture from around the world was in that room! The multi-cultural mix reminded me of a song I sang as a kid in church, “Every colour, black and white all are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!” Well this was Oprah’s world and we all felt the love!
The theme for this Life Class event in the world’s largest classroom in Toronto was forgiveness. The teachers each shared their personal insight on the power of forgiveness, into letting go and moving forward. They supplied some of the tools needed to break free of the past and take control of the future.
Tools and Timely Tips from the Teachers:
Tony Robbins: Live a passionate life. Fear is a counselor, not a jailer.
Deepak Chopra: The true self is stable. The everyday self shifts constantly.
Bishop T.D. Jakes: The pursuit of life is to find your purpose. To waste your life is to miss that purpose.
Iyanla Vanzant: We all play a role in the pain we experience. We show up for it. We tolerate it. We acknowledge our contribution; then the healing begins.
I was there, in that room with 9,000 people and I recognized that everyone was there for a similar reason – they all needed a little inspiration, to kick start them on their journey of discovery.
Did we all find ways to forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us? Only time will tell, but from my observation, I think there were many who will forgive, and be forgiven.
I have my fingers crossed that Oprah will come back to Toronto with another Lifeclass.