What I Learned Sitting Behind Oprah


As Wayne Dyer once said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.”

What an honor it was to attend the taping of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) “Super Soul Sessions out in L.A. a few weeks ago.  To say my heart was full walking out of there is a complete and utter understatement.  It was truly a trans formative experience for myself and my friend, Rae, who attended with me.

This past Friday, women gathered at my home for a “Super Soul” Share Class/Happy Hour and I shared and shared all that I could remember from the day.  I was scared that I would be nervous and would ramble and forget everything but as soon as I started in, it just effortlessly flowed out of me (probably for much longer than anyone wanted (just like this blog post..consider yourself fair warned!).  I really and truly love, love, love this stuff and I hope the women felt the authentic energy that poured out of me.  It is almost like a culmination of what “Sharing Our Life, Love and Food” is all about, my avid love for reading, my love of this subject matter and the basic need to connect with other women on these topics that made it all the more special; and to feel it resonate in each of their hearts was so incredibly special.

It was so great to have my friend, Leith McHugh, join in and share her journey with Brave Beauty.  You just wait folks, this gal will touch your hearts in unimaginable ways and I know she will have a national impact on women’s lives in the years to come.  I feel it in my bones, she is magnetic, authentic and raw with each and every person she meets – a gift that truly comes effortlessly to her.  What is so great about her story is that it’s not neatly tied up in a box with a pretty, little bow; but really whose is?!  It’s convoluted, messy, brave and beautiful, all at the same time, and the best part of all, she openly shares her story, no holds barred.  Truly powerful stuff!   Another of Brave Beauty’s founding members also joined us and I was so excited to have her there because I found out she is an avid reader and flocks out of the library teetering books in hand just like me…a kindred spirit!!  I’m not alone in my crazy love of non-fiction!!  Yahoo!!  But really and truly thank you to each and every one of you who came out to be a part of this “Super Soul” class, loved, loved, loved having you each there!

There is so much more to all of this than what I will share below so I hope you will watch when they air the “sessions” on tv this Fall (remember to look behind Oprah for Rae and I and then be on the lookout for OWN’s short lifestyle documentary as well ‘cause I’ll be making my OWN debut!  Yikes!!).

I want to preface this all by saying that some of you might find this all hokey but I know in my heart that these work and have learned them all the hard way on an imperfect, twisty and winding path (which quite frankly I’m still on).  It’s a journey I’ve been on for the last several years and the irony I found after listening to all the speakers is that each of their lessons shared are in one way shape or form in the legacy cookbook that I wrote for my kids.  I obviously didn’t articulate it as well as these amazing speakers (nor would it fit on a single page of a cookbook) but I thought it was pretty cool to see the correlation between their messages and the stories/lessons that I wanted to share with my kids – truly amazing to me!  Here are just a few of the correlations:

  • Mess Before the Beauty – same message that Brene Brown shares in her new Rising Strong concepts: Reckoning, Rumble & Revolution
  • Figuring out Who I Am and Blossoming – Janet Mock shared her path to authenticity and Tim Storey’s Life Knocking the Shout out of You
  • Faith Matters – each and every speaker shared this message.
  • Value of our Hands and Authentic Angels – Iyanla Vazant’s message of the Life in Our Hands
  • Every Recipe, Every Life Has a Story – this was a common thread throughout each speaker and the power of the story we tell ourselves, how it can transform us and heal us and that each and every one of us has one.
  • Gratitude and Happy and You Know It – Shawn Achor’s Happiness is a Choice
  • Friendship – Brene Brown’s “marble jar” friends.
  • Kindness Counts – Marianne Williamson’s focus on “being love”.
  • Do What “You” Love – Elizabeth Gilbert’s message of pursuing curiosity and Janet Mock’s and Oprah’s messages of honoring who and what you are.

So let’s jump right in with some of the other great take-aways from the Super Soul Sessions (For the die hards out there who want the full 25 page version of all my notes, just shoot me an email and I’m happy to send it your way in its rough draft format, this post is already long enough so I don’t want to send some of you over the edge with the full 25 pages!):

  • Set an Intention Before Every Action (Oprah Winfrey)Before ever taking any action on something, set an intention. Oprah shared this important lesson with us at the start of the day and then shared her intention of why she gathered all of us like-minded people there that day.  She said openly, “my intention is that every word that is spoken here today bless your life so you can live your best life and in turn you go and bless others.”  My heart was overtaken with joy after she stated her intention and I knew walking out there that day that I had to go and share the words that blessed our lives that day.  So, that was truly the intent behind hosting the “Super Soul” Share Class – to take the words that were shared with us at the sessions and then in turn share those with others so they could feel the same blessings and inspiration of the words spoken that day (and it’s why I’m sharing this post….personal posts I rarely share on Facebook..food posts are so much easier….so stretching out into unknown territory here).
  • The Anatomy of Trust (Brene Brown) Learn to trust yourself first – if you can’t count on yourself, you can’t count on others.
  • With each and every action you take, you have an opportunity to build trust or betray it.
  • Vault – I hold in confidence what you share with me. I don’t share information or experiences that are not mine to share.
  • Generosity – assume the most generous thing about the words, intention and action of others.
  • Choose courage over comfort. Learn to lean into discomfort instead of running from it.  Most people shut down instead of reaching out.  Brene said, “you can choose to stay safe but never go anywhere or risk asking for help by reaching out to someone and learning quite quickly that you are not in it alone”.
  • Stop pulling your past around like a carcass.
  • We all have to learn to become an active participant in our own unfolding instead of leaving it to chance (Michael Bernard Beckwith). Don’t be a bystander.  You did not come here to be on the sidelines and watch others live their dreams.  Get in the arena and discover your own strength and power.
  • As we mature along our spiritual path, we move through four stages of consciousness: Victim (someone else’s fault); Manifester (responsible for own life, perceptions and words); Channel – (when we surrender and realize that the universe is for you not against you); State of Being/Being Consciousness – Enlightening Living (we are all one in the same).
  • All forgiveness is self-forgiveness. Remember if you are hanging on to hate, thoughts are replicated.
  • Lack of forgiveness is the highest form of self-abuse.
  • The Life Altering Power of a Positive Mind (Shawn Achor) – Your entire life is based on the thoughts you choose. The thoughts you choose are more important than the school you attend, the job you get, the wealth in your bank account, the talents you have, the love of your family or the health of your body.
  • Happiness is a Choice. It’s about your mindset and your habits (read the book, Mindset, by Dr. Carol Dweck).  By creating small, tangible habits in our lives (exercise, practicing gratitude, meditation/praying), we can all trump our genes and our environment and raise our levels of happiness.
  • Faith Matters – Shawn Achor shares, “There’s a very high correlation between spiritual/religious beliefs and happiness. Some of the reasons for that is that you are practicing gratitude via prayer/meditation.  You are out doing random acts of kindness in service to others and you learn to embed that into every experience.”
  • Catch Happiness/It’s CONTAGIOUS – Happiness is a daily spiritual practice (write it down, put the focus where it matters).
  • Social Connection – greatest prediction of long term happiness.
  • The Spiritual Purpose of Relationships (Marianne Williamson) – “relationships are laboratories of the soul.” Relationships are assigned to us as an assignment to foster intentionality in order to lift us to the highest level and give us the maximum opportunity for soul growth.  Just because someone has a lot to teach us, doesn’t mean we like them.
  • Paraphrasing Marianne: Your relationship with yourself is the most precious resource in your life.  Are you walking around with a bitter soul?  Or are you spending the day with an advocate who cherishes and champions you?  Nothing in life will replace a lack of self-love.  And nothing in life can take you down when you have it.
  • The moment you allow someone else to intimidate you means you think you are worthless, and you are not worthless. Everyone holds value, so value who you are.
  • Are you coming from fear or love?  Because where you come from is where you’ll go.
  • We are all lamps.  Our light is meant to shine and light the universe. “Learn to Plug In”.  With every prayer, every thought of forgiveness, every act of love, we plug in to allow our light to shine through.  Imagine a more “connected society” – More Love, More Humanity.
  • Our society has become transactional instead of relational.
  • Grace will take you places that hustling can’t. People who hustle are trying to hustle their worthiness.
  • When we are blaming others or offloading to others, we are craving deeper emotional connections.
  • What is not Love is a Call to Love.
  • When you do things you love to do, you radiate generosity.
  • Love is what we are born with, fear is what we learn.
  • God is in everyone or God is in no one. We are all in this together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.  When you realize that we all are connected that “I’m just like everyone, just as wounded, just as hurt”.  You develop compassion and empathy for others.
  • It’s a matter of discipline and training our thoughts (just like yoga). If you start to walk up to someone, and judgmental thoughts about yourself or them creep in, stop “your thoughts” in their tracks.  Choose Love.  Stand for Love, Stand for God, Stand for Enlightenment, Stand for Self-Care, Stand for Love.  Don’t beat yourself up.  We all can start again.
  • Life uses other people to show you the truth of yourself.
  • The Heart and Soul of a Comeback (Tim Storey). A Comeback Is Not A Go-Back.  Most try to go back and try to fix it and make it the way it was.  When people fall down they don’t know what to do to get back up so they sit in their setback and they settle and the set back often turns into “step back”.  And that’s the place where you find yourself so far away from the real you.  And the “Real You” will make a demand on you.
  • Storey talked about getting our “Shout” knocked out of us when life happens. You know how kids are always loud with excitement and then as adults we lose our voice when we encounter pain and hold onto it. He said DON’T LOSE YOUR SHOUT!! Thinking back, I remember when I realized I had lost my shout so I knew exactly what he was talking about.  Ready to learn to “shout” again.
  • Learn to let God breathe into you. Let the Divine breathe in you.  When he breathes into you, you get inspired.
  • God’s Opinion of Me Makes Man’s Opinion of You Irrelevant.  My friend calls it “vertical alignment”.
  • “Let life leave you better, not bitter.”
  • It’s easy to lose faith. It’s easy to feel small.  It’s easy to doubt your life.  But these are all just careless, burdening thoughts.  Rise up anyway.  Learn to be independent of your own dismissive opinion.  I haven’t always had faith when I moved forward.  I’ve gained faith by moving forward.
  • You Matter (Iyanla Vazant)
  • Everything you think, you do, you desire, you don’t do, you laugh at, you admire, it all matters. No matter what your background is, history is, YOU MATTER. This is about YOU.  It’s about you working.  It’s about you loving.  It’s about you growing.  It’s about you crying.  It’s about you healing.  It’s about you touching.  It’s about you speaking.  It’s about you thinking.  It’s about you loving. – Iyanla
  • The Joy of Growing Younger (Rob Bell) – Don’t wait for the end of your life, and look back with ache and wonder on what “might have been”.
  • Rob met a woman who said to him, “I’m 92 and I’m just getting started!” Are your best days behind you?  Why does everyone pack up and head to Florida?  Where did we get the idea that you get to a point in life and just stop.
  • ‘Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
  • He had us each insert ourselves into this 92 year old’s mantra so here goes: I’m Elayne Prechtel, I’m 43 yrs. old and I’m just getting started!
  • The Flight of the Hummingbird/The Curiosity-Driven Life (Elizabeth Gilbert)
  • Elizabeth (we took a picture together so maybe that makes us friends and I can call her by first name now!) opened her talk saying that she was going to be arguing against passion. “Let go of your passion and follow your curiosity because your curiosity just may lead you to your passion.”
  • She started to formulate this idea: Some people–like her–are jackhammers. They focus intensely on one thing, diving in deeply and tuning out any other pursuit. Others are like hummingbirds, flitting from flower to flower–letting curiosity lead them from one interest to another–and making the world a better place by “pollinating” various interests with their unique contribution. Not everyone is a jackhammer!  We need hummingbirds! 
  • Follow the breadcrumb trail to your very own scavenger hunt and turn over the clues. Who knows curiosity just may lead you to your passion.
  • Finish what you start, forget perfectionism. Even after failing, inspiration will peek in and say, “hey want to go do that again”!
  • If you have an inkling to pursue something, anything, read Elizabeth’s latest and greatest, Big Magic. I swear she crawled into my mind and wrote the book from watching and making fun of my path writing and creating the legacy cookbook but in reality I’m no different, it is what we all go through when we push through to “create” something from a place of curiosity.
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  • The Path to Authenticity/Embracing the Otherness (Janet Mock) – Hiding the realities of who we are when we feel less than, deeming ourselves of being unworthy to be seen and loved. She had the fearlessness to be fully herself by listening to her inner voice.  Owning who we are is power. Be your truest, fearless self.  Unapologetically embracing “the other” side of ourselves.
  • Belief Creates Reality (Deepak Chopra) – Breath is the movement of thoughts. A belief is a thought that is true to you.  It is an interpretation of an experience which becomes your beliefs and your reality.  What you see, imagine, understand becomes our beliefs.  How to shift identity to our pure self allows us to experience infinite love and compassion.  You are a spiritual being having a human experience.  The whole universe is in you.  Go beyond the mind, go beyond the body.  Shift awareness to your being.
  • Your Own Truth (Oprah Winfrey) – Best Advice she ever received – Just Be Yourself. Don’t try to fit the standard or morph into something you are not.  When you are just being yourself – you will feel the energy to propel and move you
  • Find Your Flow – use your personality. It is here to serve the energy of your soul.
  • The Power of Speaking Things Into Being
  • If something keeps showing up in your life, ask what are you here to teach me?
  • Love will lift you to highest possible vibration which allows you to live in harmony and have a reverence for life.
  • What makes you come alive is your truth.
  • Cannot get away living without a spiritual practice.
  • Turn words into wisdom.
  • 2015-09-29_0003

We all are meant to walk our own path operating from a place of love through the power of faith, not comparing ourselves to others or trying to follow someone else’s blueprint (why do we keep thinking that an owner’s manual is going to show up and give us the answers.  Get out there and explore and the answers will come.).  Awareness and discovery of yourself will always lead you in the right direction..  You must learn to craft your own life from your own authentic blueprint that is true for you and is aligned with your core values.

As a result of this Share Class, so many of us realized how beneficial it would be to get together more often and “share” and delve more into each of these topics so Brave Beauty and I will be brainstorming and coming up with some additional in-home get togethers so stay tuned!  Can’t wait to get together again and get into the nitty gritty of each topic!  If any of this piques your interest, please consider joining in on the next one!  

Thanks for bearing with me on this incredibly long post.  Remember if you want the full 25+ pages, just shoot me an email!  As always, you can find more at Sharing Our Life, Love and Food.


6 thoughts on “What I Learned Sitting Behind Oprah

  1. “As we mature along our spiritual path, we move through four stages of consciousness: Victim (someone else’s fault); Manifester (responsible for own life, perceptions and words); Channel – (when we surrender and realize that the universe is for you not against you); State of Being/Being Consciousness – Enlightening Living (we are all one in the same).

    E, I’m forever grateful to you for holding my hand through these stages & could not be happier to be in the last & best stage of this! I am so blessed you “fit-in” my life. You are truly an inspiration!

    • You gave me chills when I read this. Ironically, it’s you that is the inspiration – the power to walk through anything and come out better! Couldn’t ask for anything more!! So happy for you! You are going to rock this life!

  2. WOW, is right! So many good thoughts and wisdom shared. It will touch many, many lives. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful things!

  3. well done my friend, well done! thank you for the shout out and lovely words…wow…im saving them.

    love you. see ya tomorrow.

    leith mchugh // connector. inviter. truthteller. brave is the new b e a u t y bravebeauty.org mchughstory.com


  4. Beautifully written summary of the weekend! Thank you for opening your heart, and your home (wish I had made it), and for sharing your love and light with us, Elayne. I’m looking forward to sharing this with friends here in CA!

    Sent from my iPhone


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