I so love Oprah and that part of the American psyche from which she emerged – and which she’s taken to great heights I think. She always embraces the biggest, most creative and generous ideas about life and encourages people to be authentic, honest about their challenges. Yesterday I watched her interview David Arquette who had just come out of rehab, and is walking a very different path in life from that which led to his crisis and the destruction of his marriage.
He was beautiful to watch. He spoke quietly and was very open and honest about his own behavior to that point; not beating himself to death, but taking responsibility for it, facing his own pain, not running from it, getting help with it and with his recovery so that he can reclaim his life. Oprah was kind to him and respectful, nurturing in a way that was really great to see. It was real; there was no rescue in it and no pretense.
At one point she said that it was so important for us to tell our stories openly because when we see somebody else having gone through immense challenges it gives us faith that we can come through our own. And we all have challenges, nobody is free from that.
It certainly inspired me and reminded me that the journey I’m on, to heal from my past, become more conscious of what drives me and of what life is really about, to see more clearly the choices I’m making and learn how to make ones that bring more quality to my life and that of people in my world, to grow my entitlement and improve my self-esteem – a lot of people in the world believe this is a worthwhile journey and are on it themselves.
I forget that sometimes. I grew up in a culture where entitlement, emotional fluency, consciousness, personal accountability, cause and effect were alien ideas and practices. God was a Catholic God, a male and a pretty unforgiving one. You had one chance and if you blew it this life time that was it forever. You’d burn in hell for eternity. Emotions were deeply repressed, behavior consequently massively neurotic. Anger couldn’t be expressed, so passive aggression ruled the day. Nobody really understood why anybody did anything, and what lay beneath the surface was unacknowledged.
But what lies beneath the surface is what interests me the most, and it’s what always jumped out at me since I was a child. I believe it’s where all the power is in life. Still, sometimes – especially when I’m quite isolated and immobile as I’ve been lately – doubts start creeping in. Am I just deluding myself that I’m making progress, that I really am stepping out of my history? Are these ideas I harbor just new-agey escapism?
Then I see Oprah talking to David Arquette about his journey, the importance of emotions, self esteem and entitlement, accountability, the power of love, the value of where crisis can take us. That we do our best every step of the way. When we know better we do better.
And I’m reassured. Oprah’s right, we do need to see other people talk about their challenges. It validates our own, and reminds us we’re not alone and there’s nothing wrong with us because we’re wrestling with life. In fact, there’s everything right.