The Oprah Effect: Love, Determination, Faith & Destiny
By SCN Blog Contributor Maimah Karmo
This post was previously posted on The Huffington Post Blog
As I sat next to Oprah Winfrey, I asked myself, “What does a refugee girl from Liberia have in common with the most powerful woman in the world?” The answer, “Everything”.
I ran home from school daily to make sure I didn’t miss her. Like the millions of people glued to the television for her show, I felt she was talking only to me. The more she shared of herself, the more enamored I became with this woman who was an intriguing blend of vulnerability and strength. She represented ideals at the core of human beings – love, determination, faith and the belief that dreams can and do come true. Here’s why she inspires me.
- What’s Wrong with “rose-colored glasses”? Oprah is a larger than life personality, but in my eyes, she’s just a girl, like me, who saw the world through a different lens. A girl, who turned challenges into gifts, consciously deciding to always “vibrate higher”, than her current situation, crafting her own perspectives on life’s narrative. I would bet that as a little girl, while living in poverty, feeling scared and alone, Oprah dreamed of a magical world, where people were generous kind, loving, grateful and abundant. I believe that she dreamed of influencing nations and changing lives, so that other children would have more and better than she did. I believe that the little girl in Oprah never grew up; and that it is that little girl from Mississippi, with the rose-colored glasses on, who continues to manifest bigger than life dreams and inspire millions.
- You Don’t Have to Become Your Circumstances. Oprah Winfrey’s life may seem like one epic success after another, but the sound bites ignore the reality of her childhood. She was born to an unwed, teenage mom, lived in poverty, sometimes wore potato sack dresses, and suffered abuse. Shuttled between family members, she felt unwanted and lonely. Oprah went to live with her dad, who planted the seed that she was more than her circumstances. This belief shaped Oprah’s life – that circumstances can be shifted by our perspective – and that our future depends on how big our vision is.
- Create the World You Want – It Will Shift to Meet You. Oprah is not conventional in any sense of the word. She wasn’t your conventional beauty pageant girl, yet she won beauty pageants. In a talk show world dominated by White males, she dethroned Phil Donahue and created a new type of daytime television – focused less on sensationalism, and more on self-improvement and spirituality. She made us think about the gift of life, and inspired us to pursue our soul desires. She inspired us to unmask, and made the hidden parts of us topics of mainstream conversation. In doing so, she shifted the consciousness of millions of silent sufferers, of depression, anxiety, and self doubt, who could now share, release and connect.
- She Got Rid of the Box. Oprah’s beliefs have rippled through the entertainment, spiritual and philanthropic world, and shaped our conversation. For years, we heard the phrase “think out of the box”. As we watched Oprah expand her magic touch to “Oprah’s Book Club”, O The Oprah Magazine, films, philanthropy, then becoming the first Black female billionaire, we realized that there was no box, only limitless parameters within which reality could manifest. Girls of any color, socio-economic, religious status or sexual orientation could rule the world…and believe that maybe…one day, a woman could even be President.
- She’s a Badass. Oprah might be all spirituality, love and miracles, but she is not a woman to be messed with. She runs her empire with grace, cloaked in a will of steel, unflinching integrity and business acumen. She’s no wilting flower. Women often think they have to compromise their femininity for strength or vice versa, but we don’t have to. Oprah exemplifies how to be a BOSS! She can shift an industry with a few words, change the course of an election and turn around a fledgling network, while Super Souling, and not skip a beat.
After fleeing civil war in Liberia three times, I found myself at 15 years old, a refugee in America, scared and alone. I worked countless hours while paying for college. When I thought I’d arrived at success, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt cheated and angry, but Oprah’s voice reminded me that I could change my narrative -while in the midst of cancer – I was not my circumstances. I put on my rose colored glasses and created a world for young breast cancer survivors, as I dreamed it to be.
I heard Oprah’s voice reminding me to live the life I want, so I eradicated the box. She did it, and I could do the same. While in treatment, I created Tigerlily Foundation, to help young women with breast cancer, then Bliss Magazine. She even inspired me to write Fearless. I never imagined that following my soul would lead me to her, until I was sitting in the chair next to her on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The Oprah Effect changed my life. Eight years later, I was asked to share my story again, on OWN Television’s “Where Are They Now (WATN)?” I was now a true believer that we can manifest bliss in our world as we want it to be. Next, I’m manifesting sitting next to Oprah on Super Soul Sunday!
As I watched the WATN episode, I realized the true power of Oprah – like me, she never left that scared little girl behind. Like me, she doesn’t live without fear, but, she jumps on the backs of her fears and conquers them, as fearless warriors do. Like me, she believes in goodness, and, she still carries with her the child-like determination, faith and love that ultimately allowed her to shape her own destiny. It’s that pure, little girl faith that resonates with all of us, inspiring us to believe that everything is possible.
Until next time, live bliss, pursue your passion and manifest magic! To be a guest on my Pure Bliss podcast or get coaching on how to Manifest Your Magic, contact me here!
Much love, Bliss Boss, Maimah.