Lights, Camera, Oprah Oct17

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Lights, Camera, Oprah

This past weekend I attended the “O You” conference in Atlanta, GA organized by O Magazine and its many sponsors. It was fascinating to see all 5,000 participants march in with such energy; it was truly palpable and quite admirable.

I had many “Aha” moments throughout the weekend. It was a dream come true meeting Peter Walsh and Dr. Oz; however, I must say that the highlight of my weekend was spending quality time with my beloved 72-year-old mother. For 25 years she has followed the philosophy imparted by Oprah inspiring her to be her “best self”.

My mother bypassed the luncheon at this event in order to get in line and save a good seat for us both. Her excitement to finally see Oprah in person fueled her and even provided her with balance as she nearly fell to her knees when a stampede of frantic women rushed past her in a attempt to reach the front of the stage. Sadly, I was not with her at that moment, but two other kind women came to her rescue.

Moments before Oprah made her appearance, my mother pulled out her camera. When Oprah approached the stage, you could see my mother’s vibrant enthusiasm as she felt the presence of her idol. After asking for my help to take a photo, I suggested that she approach the stage and have the pleasure of capturing that moment for herself.

Soon after, she returned with tears rolling down her face saying, “My batteries died.” My heart dropped as I saw her raw emotion. Here was a woman whose bottled up anticipation had temporarily gotten in the way of enjoying this grand opportunity to be in “the now” because all of her planning for this instant crumbled at the unsuspected turns of life.

I can’t help but wonder how often we fall prey to our “bottled anticipation” with the inflexibility to accept life’s little surprises, and allow our expectations to rob us of our joy. I know my Mom saw past her disappointment once I told her I took some photos with my iPhone from the jumbo-tron.

Later that weekend we were reminiscing and she shared that on an early morning when I was about 13, she went to my room and was shocked to see that I was nowhere to be found. She then looked around the house and discovered me tucked into a corner sitting by her orchid garden writing poetry. It struck me with particular curiosity how, in that moment, she did not resort to a photo to remind her of something retained with apparent meaning dear to her heart.

We often fixate on the notion that in order to capture something of value we must bring it into permanency in the physical realm. How far is that from the truth? The things we most treasure are photographed by the mind and kept in a secure file by the soul. Love transcends and prevails beyond space and time when you succumb to the moment and become still.