Thursday, September 30, 2010

My new attitude...thanks to Oprah. :)

"When life gives you lemons, take photos of them."
I mentioned a few days ago that I love Oprah and want to am going to meet her.  Aside from the obvious (her rise to the top, her generosity, her philanthropic ventures, etc.), the spiritual side of Oprah is what has truly changed my life.

My husband and I went through some slightly rough adventures of our own (nothing marriage or health-related) a few years back (more on that next week) and honestly as cheesy as it sounds, information I took from several of Oprah's shows is what gave me a very necessary attitude adjustment.  

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The first show that comes to mind was when The Secret was discussed.  I watched this show with various guests speaking of how this "secret" changed their lives.  I taped it (ha ha...yes we still used a VCR at the time...3 years ago) and I watched it over and over again.  I told my husband about it and while he thought I was a little crazy, he put up with my constant outbursts about the show.  My birthday was a few weeks later and he bought me the book as part of my gift.  Every page of it was like an awakening for me.  I have always been a positive person, but reading The Secret gave me such a better understanding of why that is so important in every aspect of life.   Finally interpreting  the laws of attraction, showing gratitude, and realizing that "you get what you give" made complete sense.

"Your life is a mirror of the dominant thoughts you think."  ~Lisa Nichols

After the Secret, I remember when  A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose  by Eckhart Tolle was announced as the newest piece for her book club.  To say this book was life-changing is a gross understatement.  A New Earth goes a bit deeper than The Secret and stresses the importance of living in the present moment.
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One of my ah-ha moments:  Though I considered myself an optimistic person, but found myself slipping away from this.  I had gotten to a point where I was unhappy with several things.  I was frustrated that I had always thought I wanted to be a teacher and then after several years of teaching discovered that I just couldn't do it anymore.  Then when we moved for my husband's job and I stopped working, I was completely content making our first house our home, but felt like I constantly had to answer to others ("What do you do all day?  Aren't you bored?") and justify why I wasn't working.  I also got annoyed with people saying, "That must be nice," when they learned that I wasn't working.  My frustrations with other people were starting to make me miserable.  I needed to just snap out of it.  I knew it really had nothing to do with me, but was all them and how I chose to deal with them.  Once I started reading the book, it was so clear to me, that I was letting what others said affect my daily life, and that really does not help things at all.  By living completely in the present moment, nothing that anyone said or did could bring me down and I felt more in control of my feelings because I now focus completely on what I am doing at the moment and don't let others' words or judgments cloud my thoughts.  I am rambling and I hope I am not sounding preachy, but it was really what I needed at the time.  Now, several years later,  I can honestly say that any event that has happened in the past has no effect on me now.  Whereas before I would hold grudges, now everyday is like a clean slate.  It is so refreshing.

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I have always tried to be as positive as possible in every situation, but this book just changed my attitude about such a great way. Honestly, A New Earth was the missing piece.  After reading it, I now felt silly as that sounds.  There are portions that deal with anxiety, guilt,  judgment, worry, etc., and how these serve no useful purpose.  It also talks about how people can be so focused on the future, that they forget to enjoy life right now.   It truly helped me see things in a different way and to not let little things get to me.  I also registered on for the webcasts of each chapter of the book where the author and Oprah discuss each chapter for an hour.  Some of the book got a little wordy (like this post) and confusing and it helped to have the author further explain exactly what he meant.  It was also helpful when readers would call in confused about something or disagreeing with something and to see how the author would respond.  I actually took notes and have a file.  I am a little crazy, though!  :)

So to go back to that last Oprah post for a second... In A New Earth, Tolle stresses becoming one with nature when you feel yourself slipping away from the present moment.  I was having a day where I was stressing out about future events and needed to snap myself back into the present.  I went to our patio, laid down on our bench and stared up at our tree.  That's when I saw the Oprah was all just a little weird.  :)

I hope I haven't completely overwhelmed (or bored) you with this ridiculous book of a post.  I have such a hard time putting my thoughts into words.  Until I read these two books, I didn't really know how to remain positive and present all day, everyday.  Now I do and I can honestly say that I have never been happier.   ...thanks to Oprah.  :)


Sarah @ Designmarc said...

Wow. I think I need one or both of these books in my life. I am so beyond stressed out about a number of things in my life right now. I feel like I can't enjoy anything because I am so worried about deadlines, school projects for the kids, traveling for Christmas (LOL)!

Thanks for the reminder to live in the moment. Maybe I need to come lay on your bench!

Your blog helps me on more ways than you know, so thank you! :o)


Ana Degenaar said...

I love book reviews and I am definitely looking forward to reading these. Love this!

Kylie said...

Great post! I have read The Secret and love it, despite the ridiculous criticism I got from family, friends...even strangers! I was reading it on a plane and this guy questioned me for like 20 mminutes about it. What a weirdo. Anyway, A New Earth sounds interesting. I remember when it was all the buzz, but never read it for some reason. Maybe I will now.
Great post! Thanks for sharing. I love the pictures you chose, too!

Travels in Heels said...

I love Oprah too! I need to read The Secret...I have some many great things. Thanks for sharing so much with us!


Torrie said...

Hi Suzie! Thank you so very much for having the guts to post this- such a personal, inspirational post. In fact, in visiting my friend, I got totally off track and behind on blog reading(!!!) and I refused to comment on this post until I had the time to write a comment that would do it justice. I will try not to write a book though, because, on this topic, I truly could:).

I have had the same (honestly!) experience with both the Secret and The New Earth. I have gone through so much personal learning in the past few years- since I've stopped working, and even before that. The Secret is what started my process (and my husband's- "made" him watch the Oprah show, the video, AND listen to the audio tape with me!) of thinking in a whole new way... of putting a different energy out there. One thing that really comes to mind is that I had a really hard time making friends and being social after I left work- my ENTIRE social network. I'd always considered myself friendly, easy-going, SOCIAL, but the non-working world was such a new and unknown territory for me-- and this was an unexpected challenge. I started envisioning what I wanted- for example, entertaining (at the time- even thinking about having people over caused major anxiety).

Then the New Earth...

I experienced the exact same issue as you did from others- I mean the exact same, and YES- it was very frustrating. I felt like I started to thrive (with my new attitude from the Secret) in many ways- but this seemed to cause certain people to react negatively- as if I just had all the time in the world, and was CRAZY for not being *bored, like "they would be." I got extremely frustrated and didn't know how to respond or 'let it go.' It's HARD dealing with MEAN people!

We also listened to The New Earth (during a road trip) and as you said- not just a momentary or fleeting concept, but *absolutely life changing. What really helped me is (as well as you) is his discussion that your purpose is to "do what you are doing at the present moment." I always (because of others' comments/expectations) stressed over how I spent my time- if I was taking too long on a recipe or homemade card- cleaning to much, or too little, etc. From that point on, I was truly changed- the way I think, how I spend my time, how I feel. And I finally learned how to 'quiet my ego' when I was frustrated or questioned by others- and stay focused on the fact that I am doing exactly what I 'should' be doing:).

Not that I'm perfect; for example...

I did recently start to get weighed down/uninspired, and ended up watching The Shift (by Wayne Dyer). THIS was another example of a perfect message 'coming to me' at a perfect time- and actually preceded/led to [reading others' and] starting a blog!

I am so sorry that I wrote so much in your comment box. I loved reading about the personal growth that you experienced and wanted to share that I too- was incredibly inspired by Oprah and these books these past couple of years. :)

Suzie @ cupcake monkey said...

Thanks for your comments, girls!!

I know this post was a little different from what I normally share, but I just wanted to put it out there. :)

Sarah, thanks for the sweet words! :) Honestly what you wrote perfectly describes how I was feeling before I read both books. I always feel like a pusher when I tell people about these books, but they really helped me get through all of the things you described...even the stress about traveling. I still have to remind myself sometimes to stay present and not stress about those future things, but at least I am aware of it now and can snap out of it before I lose it. :D

Kylie, I got a lot of criticism too!!...and funny enough none of the people who had such bad opinions of The Secret had even read it!

Torrie, thanks so much for sharing!! Do not ever apologize for writing too much!! I appreciate your thoughtful responses more than you know! I LOVE hearing when others have positive experiences after reading one or both of the books. I could go on and on about this, but won't because I have talked enough!! :) I will have to watch The Shift...I haven't heard of it. Again, thank you so much for sharing!!