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Hey, podcast listeners, some of you may know that Oprah began having conversations about the deeper meaning of life in the world around us, even in the early days of the Oprah show.
When you look inward, then you can begin to create another kind of power because we know you love a super soul style discussion.
I went, oh, we opened up the vault of the Oprah Winfrey Show to handpick episodes that will enhance the Super Soul podcast library.
Every experience in our lives is to teach us to learn to love.
Please enjoy this past episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Super Cell Conversations. Have a seat. This show is going to be so interesting and I'm hoping that it will open you all up in ways that you haven't. For example, how many days have you felt grateful for your nice home and your healthy children and your caring husband, but you still feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing. You feel like there's a hole somewhere, and you think to yourself, is this all there is?
It's because your heart feels a longing for something more. If you can relate to that, you're not alone because we couldn't believe how many women share this silent struggle. You're probably thinking you're the only one. But listen.
Dear Oprah, I'm a happily married woman and a mother of two children. I've been blessed with my health and my financial stability. I'm looking for ways to satisfy an unsettling feeling. It's like a void in the center of my soul. Why am I here? My spirit keeps telling me there's more to this life. There's something tugging inside, something that's telling me you have more to do.
I'm looking for direction in my life, a sense of purpose, something that defines who I am, want something more. I just don't know how to get there. And I have a good life, good family and good friends. But I still feel like something is missing.
I have tried to find and fill the void with food, money, love, sex possessions, self-help groups. I still have this feeling that there should be something more. Well, I know there are millions of people who feel that way, men and women, it's that undefinable, something that Sarah Bandaranaike explores in her book called Something More Excavating Your Authentic Self. Sarah, of course, is also the author of the bestseller Simple Abundance, which inspired us all to start gratitude journals and to begin to cherish the richness in everyday life.
And now Sarah says with something more, that joy is our birthright. I know that's hard for you all to take in. That joy is your birthright, but the path to finding it is seldom clear and never easy. Please welcome back. Sarah. Sarah. What you have been able to do for women in this country is just amazing. I am so proud of you, so proud of you. And this book, something more, is exactly what we needed.
Let's talk about why so many people feel this lack this need for something more.
Well, something more isn't a million dollars in the bank.
People think it is a home in Architectural Digest fame or a love affair with a movie star.
And that is what we've bought into in this society, is going to be something more of our life.
So something more is that thing that. That nags at our soul that that small dread in the middle of the night, that undefinable thing that especially when we're so grateful for the things that we have, make us feel mildly guilty or downright shameful.
And we don't even think we should pray about it. And that is what the miracle is, because this desire for something more is divine discontent.
Oh, fabulous. I love the way you describe that. Why was this the hardest book you've ever had to write?
Because I had to tell the truth with my phone. Might sound strange. The book that is now out is the fourth version two years. I threw out three versions, almost 300 pages, because I was trying to tell these stories with my mind and I realized that the soul longs for communion and connection. And I knew what I wanted to say. I did not think I had the courage to say it because I was talking about the three secret wounds of our souls and no one else has talked about that.
I thought, really, do I have to?
But these have been things I had been wrestling with my whole life because you say you went into the cavity of your soul and splattered it all on the pages. Yeah, yeah. That was the only way I could write it. And the three secret wounds, self-loathing, self-loathing, self-loathing, betrayal, betrayal in the sense of understanding what betrayal is because we only betray ourselves, can only betray ourselves.
And finally, marital indifference. Nobody else has talked about that. And I wasn't quite sure that I had the courage to. And then finally, I thought, this book is going to kill me if I don't write it. So let's just get down.
Now, you say you've died twice in your life, already died metaphorically. I know that. But yes, Edna O'Brien, the Irish writer, says death comes as much as a surprise to us as birth does. When I say that I died once through my health and then when my marriage of two decades ended and each time months later, when I regained consciousness, I was a different woman. I was a stronger woman, a more passionate woman, a wiser woman.
But I was so different from who I had been that it was as if my DNA had changed. And when I say my DNA, what I mean is my destiny, my nature and my aspirations, it was complete. Transformation women have lived, we've lived many lives, and I'm not just talking about past lives being the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra, but the way our lives have evolved in episodes, you know, childhood, adolescence, early job, college, marriage, then maybe single life as a single mother, divorced, widowed.
I mean, we have these progressions, these lives, and each life has its own sediment that covers over. And what happened at about 13, you started listening to the preferences of other people, your mother, your sister, your best friend, and you started to lose yourself their preferences that you wear blue instead of your preference that you loved. Purple became how blue entered your closet and you've forgotten this. So what this excavation process is, is going back like on an archaeological dig and finding out the person you have been through, the things you loved once, the things you loved once are the key to who you are now will carry a twenty seven year old mom who relates to what you're saying.
She's one of those women who's looking for something more. So she agreed to go on what you define as an archaeological dig, so to speak, not to some lost city, but to find her lost.
So I look in the mirror sometimes and I see just a mom. I don't see Carrie the person every day. I think Jesus for the life I have. I've got a great husband, my girls I adore. But sometimes I think, you know, what was I put on this earth to do besides this? I think going through the things that my parents home is really going to be, bring back a lot of good memories, remind me of who I was, maybe why I was that way.
And just show me a little bit of how to be that free spirit again, with that in mind, Carry headed to the home she grew up in seven miles down the road, but a lifetime away. I always wanted to grow up and be in law enforcement.
Eventually, as Carrie continued to sift through the layers of her childhood memories, bringing down box after box from the attic, she came across a journal she wrote while on a school trip to Germany.
It really touched my heart when we visited the concentration camp and in German, I truly don't understand how people could do that to other people. There was almost a smell there. And I think that was it also kind of reminded me it was hard for Carrie to continue after that, but she says she learned a lot from the experience. They always wanted to be in law enforcement. And, you know, I think that that all ties into it.
She says she was reminded of her childhood dreams and hopes and connected back to the child she used to be.
My journey must go on and grow further. And in that journey, I need to be spiritual, educational, physical, the whole gamut of getting back to myself. Carrie, what did that do for you? It was really good to go back and kind of figure out some of the pain that's inside and the last person in there try and figure out how to get that person back out into this world, OK? Even when life seems right, you've got all the things that society said should make you happy, but you're still not.
Sarah Bandaranaike, author of something more. It is fantastic. It is. If you've ever felt any of this, it is a fantastic book to help you become more authentically yourself, which is the goal, really, of every human being on the planet that Sarah has so profoundly articulated.
Let's go to you, Susan. Did you follow the instructions in the book?
Did you do Discovery Journal and was able.
It gave me the opportunity to go through some memorable, exciting times that I had forgotten about and little triumphs I had totally forgotten about, whether it was a little certificate from something in high school. It brought back those memories that I am I'm I'm really a good person. I've got a lot there. I could do a lot. And it's something more than just being a mom, a daughter, an aunt, a wife, and it's something more. Yes.
And what is the discontent, Sara, that everybody's feeling that you're not living authentically, that, you know, inside in those quiet moments, that you are a magnificent, fabulous wife, powerful woman, and you're not owning who you are? Something more is reclaiming your glorious power and destiny.
Kathy told us, even with what seems like the perfect life, good husband, great kids in a job she loves, she doesn't feel like she has it all. She began to peel away the layers of her life by starting what Sara calls now. This is how you do it. OK, I know this may sound a little odd to you, but this is how you do it. Sarah calls this a discovery journal.
Sometimes I'm just miserable and I don't know why. I don't know what's causing me to feel bad. You know, I jump out at the kids, I lash out at my husband, yell at him and don't know why. My hope in doing the journal and excavating myself, as Sarah says, is to be able to deal with everyday stuff. It's meant to be a very visual journal. You can use whatever you want. There's no wrong way of doing it.
So I brought up with my magazines and old photo albums and old diary. I was surprised at how many pictures you're attracted to. There I am.
After gathering your photos and your little mementos, I'm seriously just getting envelopes and labeling them with your relationship and mystery and all the different areas that are in your life and putting them in the envelope that you think they belong in.
I love children that I feel is a success in my life so that I would put it in the authentic success envelope. This is my dream house.
I'm not sure if my husband appreciate Bitcoin someday, but we'll put it there and think I collected some information from my diary.
I realized that it's stopped worth the death of my mother. You know, a light bulb kind of went on that this is what I need to probe into my one neighbor. I envy her because she has our mother and they always do things together.
And I don't know that the relationship section is what I chose to start with a picture of my parents and cut out the cloth to kind of frame it around them. The visuals help you remember and help you remember the relationships and help you piece stuff together.
I knew the two empty chairs were my parents. You know, they're gone. They have. That left behind a lot in me. I can pass them on to my kids. Through me. The Discovery Journal is like a Rosetta Stone, and the Rosetta Stone was one of the first stones to explain Egyptian hieroglyphics. What it is, is it is a mysterious collage that your soul is creating to give you visual images, to help you find yourself, to help you find your way back to yourself.
It's sort of back to the future, is what it is, because the visual speaks to us so profoundly. We don't need to interpret it right away. So you just get it and you put it down on paper and then you use it as a source of meditation. What do you want to say? The one thing I was telling Joel earlier was that I was always amazed at my husband's memory, how I can remember things from three and four years old.
And I couldn't do that. And like, what is wrong with me that I can't remember my childhood. I had a good childhood and I realized that I'm a visual person. And once I start pulling out the old diary, the pictures and stuff like that, the stories just started pouring out. Of course, the tears, too, but they just flow through the trip back to yourself.
Nancy says when she started her discovery journal, she became a child again, never realized how creative she was.
I got into it to put this journal together. It was a ball. I had more fun. And anybody that reads the book has to do this.
It's a must otherwise then you don't continue the rest of it. As Sara said in her first book, Simple Abundance, The Gratitude Journal, she was like, If you're not going to do the gratitude journal, then don't read the rest of these pages. Right to the same thing is true for the Discovery Journal, because it pulls together in ways that you really can't just kind of sit and think about it. Oh, what is it? I really like kind of thing.
Absolutely. And it's something I believe you can continue on with. I'm never going to finish with my journal because it's made me happy. I grew so much and found that I have worth I have so much more to give in my life and so many doors to go through.
Yet as you go through the excavation process and you go through the different lives, you're going to start growing and changing.
And this is really your soul's visual biography of who you've been and who you are and who you become.
What I did is they just mentioned it in the other books, Simple Abundance. It wasn't like a requirement, but I went back to old journals and I ran across a suicide letter I'd written to myself back in nineteen eighty one because I was so in love with this guy that I'd written this note to Gail to tell her to look after my plants. And this is where you find all my things under the bed because there's no reason to go on without him.
Yeah. And had you totally forgotten you'd written that letter. I hadn't forgotten it, but I had forgotten that I was that deeply in trouble with myself and sat in the closet and wept for the woman I used to be. And just rejoice that I've come out of that state of thinking that my life could be lived by some man, you know, that my my validation, my sense of self worth. And I was pretty funny.
Suicide letter to and in the end, look after my plan. I would hate for that. Diefenbach you to die.
We're talking to Sarah Byronic, author of Something More. It's a guide to help women in particular find more fulfillment. It's a beautiful book that I know that's going to change a lot of people's lives. Thank you, sir, for writing it. And she says that there's one thing in a marriage that she considers insidious and abusive. She talks about this in this book. A lot of you who are in marriages like this, you're going to weep a lot when you read about yourselves because you're thinking you're the only one.
Sarah calls it the silent scream of despair. And what is that?
Well, we tend to think that there are two different kinds of marriages, a good marriage and a bad marriage. But really, there are three, a good marriage, a bad marriage and an indifferent marriage, which is really the worst. And indifferent marriage is a marriage where you don't really care anymore about what his day was and he doesn't really care anymore about your day was you've grown apart and in different marriage is a marriage where you have stopped talking.
You have stopped sharing, it becomes a longstanding domestic arrangement and we don't talk about it because we can barely bring ourselves to acknowledge in the deepest recesses of our heart that it's happening and we grow estranged and we end up becoming the reflection of each other's resignation. And we begin to die, you know, in the law. There's a term called manslaughter, which is used for the non premeditation of killing another human being, but I think that marital indifference is soul slaughter of the partners, the children on every level.
Yes. Now, Becky says she feels like she's just along for the ride in her husband's life.
Where you, Becky? Yes. What do you mean by that? Well, first of all, we have a great marriage and I'm very happy, but we've just moved around a lot so Joel can get better jobs. And and I would never hold him back from anything. But I just feel that. When is it my turn? I know how old are you? Twenty nine. And that's about the time you say, when is it my turn?
It's exactly about the time, actually. I feel bad. He has no idea he didn't even read the letter or anything. And he's the one that encouraged me to send the letter. I didn't. I kind of balked at the idea. I didn't really want to. But we're just about a restaurant. We have no time for each other. He has a job outside of the restaurant. He travels. And we're at the point now where we're trying to decide if we should have children.
Know really what kind of question is that? You don't have time for each other. He's just asking the question is the answer.
Yeah, but yeah, just asking the question is the I just I just worry, though, that so why would you want to bring children into it when you really don't?
And I think we feel that we're not right or something because of that. Your mom. Oh my gosh. But we love kids and we want kids, but we don't have the time for each other, like you said right now. And we are at least thinking this is this is so interesting, isn't it?
Because this is a classic case of, you know, I know so many people do this and I did it for so many years in my life. That's why I can relate to it. Is you absolutely living your life by other people's definitions? Right. You haven't gone inside and ask yourself, what do you really want? And you can have whatever you want. I didn't write the book something more, Sarah did, but I know you can have whatever you want and the fact that you are your husband is saying, well, now should we have kids?
It's because it's that quote about Joseph Campbell, which we're going to hear later on the show. Most people are so busy living the life they planned that they don't get a chance to to live the life that you're really waiting for them because it's all in your head and now you got to do this and got to do that.
So I just don't want to feel that we're just doing it because everybody else is doing it. Our friends are having children, and it just doesn't it doesn't feel right for us right now.
What do you want to say, Sarah, about that? You said you feel like you're along for the ride. You feel guilty about saying it because the moment you said it and you apologize to your husband because he's really a great husband and all that. So automatically what you just said to me and in lots of other people who understand is that you're not willing to go there all the way there.
I just I feel selfish because I don't want to hold him back, I don't want to hold us back. What is so exciting about Sarah's book, something more. And we're not going to be able to, even on this show, let you know how really excavating it can be. But joy is your birthright. I think if we could just get the people of the world to know that you're supposed to be joyous, you're not supposed to feel badly about that.
You're not supposed to feel selfish about being joyful. And there's a big difference between being happy and being joyful. Right. What do you want to say about Sarah? You wrote the book.
And what I want to say is that only you can make the choices that will make you happy because only you know what you really mean. It sounds to me like you love your husband. You want to stay together, I'd say go off together, look in each other's eyes and say, we were happy once, weren't we? Call those feelings up again and say, what makes you happy now? And then let him say what makes you happy now?
And then try to bring more of those things into your lives, not new restaurants, if that for a while, you know, find your way back to each other now before you get on so many separate roads, it'll be difficult to find your way back.
They have a saying in China that a woman can live the life of a prisoner. She can live the life of a princess, or she can be herself. Now, Sarah says that being true to yourself is the key to authentic success and that no one but ourselves can betray us. And The Discovery Journal, because a lot of people I know, if you can't even articulate the question, you ask me who is myself, how do I discover myself and how do I know when I'm doing what I'm really supposed to be doing?
That's what the Discovery Journal, even though it may seem a little weird to you at first, helps you to begin to do. And she describes it in detail. In something more. Barbara says that a passage about divorce in Sarah's book spoke to her. Barbara, the page that the.
I'm glad he left. I'm glad he left, I thank God that he left my life because that's when I decided it's time for me to become me, my creativity. Just started to boom, my happiness just took over. The first year was very hard, very hard, but now I know that I am a different person today than I was five years ago. I took that vacation by myself, OK? I go to movies by myself. I've learned to be with me.
I learned to love me.
And I remember telling him once, you will never upset my spirit again. Once you say that and once you believe that, no one can upset your spirit.
There's another page that you say, I am pretty magnificent. I know that I am I know that God has given me the creativity to give it to the world. And I feel like that now. But I had to go through that wilderness. I had to go through the divorce. I had to go through the death of my parents to find that spirit.
Maki says that she and her husband are growing apart.
My question is, how do you keep from your marriage becoming indifferent? We have I'm thirty four years old and we have three kids under the age of two. And just our day to day life, I feel like we're going to end up down that road someday and it's sort of scary. So I want to right now, at this point in my life, make a change because I feel like it's happening. But I don't know really what to do.
And I know he feels the same way. I mean, we love each other. We've been together for 18 years. But it's sort of scary that you just get in this sort of rut and you think I'm going to end up that way.
What you're missing is a soul centered relationship, frankly. But, you know, at the end of the day, we've taken care of these three kids. We've gotten through all their emotional and physical needs. We just look at each other and it's like, oh, tell me about your day tomorrow. You know, we're too tired. Oh, it's sort of scary. It is scary. And I think that marital indifference, we either we dread it, we fear it, or we're living through it.
And that's why I really want to I think it's exciting that I know you've been through it.
I know how you've been through it. And I thought it was amazing that you would be so willing to talk about it, because this is the unspoken. I often say, look at how high the divorce rate is, almost 60 percent in this country now. I think it is 60 percent. And I often think about the ones who want to but don't who live in indifference because they're trying to hold on to the American ideal and they know that it's not working.
And so they're dying a living death in their marriages every day, which is worse than than just making the decision and going one way or the other.
Yes, ma'am. I wanted to know what is meant by self betrayal. You speak about it several times, and particularly in the context of the indifferent marriage and those marriages that lead to divorce.
Betrayal is when we know that something is wrong and we deny it on every level. We betray ourselves in marriage when we start a conversation. And don't finish it because we don't want to have an argument, we betray ourselves in little ways when we disown or devalue the things that we care about and want to speak to with our partner and. We don't. Betrayal doesn't happen overnight. You do not betray yourself overnight, you betray yourself over actions over a lifetime within a marriage.
A compromise is not betrayal. Unless you have compromised everything you believe in for 20 years, then it has become a betrayal of compromising on who's going to take the kids to the soccer game this week. That's that's not betrayal. But you know what is interesting? That's why this book is so important and it's done in steps because you've got to know who you are to know that you, the who of who you are, has been betrayed. So many people are listening to us right now, have been in such denial and have lived their lives in their marriages and their relationships based on everything everybody else wanted.
And that thing that they feel is missing, that something more is nagging at them. But they can't call it betrayal because they don't even know who they are and what that is that is betrayed.
Let's talk about women. Seven lives starting over. There are only three ways to change the trajectory of our lives. For better or worse, crisis, chance, chance and choice and choice. Choice is a spiritual gift, one of the most magnificent spiritual gifts we have been given. Women don't like to think about that because we're always afraid to make the wrong choice. You know, the thought of what are you going to wear to a cocktail party? You can evoke an emotional response and women that can land you behind bars or on the floor of one, we're afraid we're going to make the wrong choices.
So the choice is the centerpiece of creating your life? Yeah. One of the things I learned in creating Beloved, I had a moment, a revelatory moment in preparing for that character, because what I came to understand is all that we know about the period of reconstruction, slavery, that it really boiled down to having no choice, having no choice. And that's what real freedom is, is choice. And so I see this every day in our lives, too, that people don't understand that they do have it.
And that's what real freedom is. All right. Surviving self-loathing is a silent haemorrhaging of our soul.
That's right. And what it is, is, you know, hemorrhaging within the body, the life force you're bleeding within, and you don't necessarily see it until it's too late in the life force leaves. Well, that's what happens with self-loathing.
If I had to give you a visual picture of self-loathing, it would be that black, blue, ugly bruise on the top of your skin because self-loathing is bleeding from within. And we don't self loathe ourselves because of our appearance, our age, our weight. We hate ourselves.
And self-loathing is different from hate. Hate at least is clean because there's a thin line between love and hate.
Self-loathing is where you despise yourself and you've have intolerance. And self-pity has become a rampant infection of the spirit.
Are we talking about you know. You know, we're talking about you. It's been there all my life, I said before, it's like I'm in this pity pot and I'm the only one in there. I mean, it's a it's a party I invite to myself all the time.
Can I just tell you something? You are not the only one at that party. I was at that party for thirty five years. I want to get out. I know how you can get out. Little tiny steps, little steps every day you can. The greatest miracle a woman can know is seeing self-loathing transform into self-loathing. And if I can do it, I promise you you can too. I want to give you an exercise. I want to do something at home every day because I did this on the way to take self-loathing to self-loathing.
I want you to look at yourself in the mirror naked every day, and I want you to say, blessed am I to live in such a beautiful temple. Blessed am I to love in such a beautiful temple. Please believe me, do that every day for a month, and then I'd like to know how you feel. I can't even look at myself in a mirror just to begin with. I mean, I do it in the mornings, get a little just to get me started, get a little small and start small.
You are a beautiful woman. I wish you could see yourself. The way I see you. There is light coming from you. Your skin is beautiful. Your eyes are sparkling. Smile, your smile. Yes, this is the thing. We don't know opera about ourselves. This is the heartbreak. Oh, I know. I didn't know it for years either. And I tell you what, Stedman helped me through a lot of it. And I just the other day I was walking out and I had my hair all twisted up and I look like buckwheat going out the door.
And I was walking out the door said to Stedman Vogue and Vogue, because he's like when he sees that Vogue cover, where is that woman?
You know what he said to me? He said, Honey, you're more beautiful than that cover. You're more beautiful than that cover. And I've always known it. And it's true. When I was two hundred thirty seven pounds standing around and couldn't see it for myself, he could see it took me a while to get there. That's why I noticed you took me a while to get there, took her a while, took her thirty five years to get there.
But see the thing that we're all missing here is and this is going to be glorious when this happens to, if you just do it, just as Sarah has said, what will start to happen if you say it to yourself? Enough times you will be transformed by the language and you will begin to understand that you really are just a spirit inside the body. And that the body is the housing place, it is the temple, but the who who you are is bigger than your body, bigger than your personality, bigger than the things that you will do in your life.
And the saying of that every day will help to connect you to it, even if you don't believe it, even if you don't believe it. I think the spirit that's inside is so deep inside. I mean, it aches to come out, but when you try to get it out, I just I repress it and I just keep I can't. I mean, it don't. But you don't have to do that anymore. You don't have to do that anymore.
Isn't that right? Yeah. Just the gentlest of ways. Just start that ones that have to be naked.
Oh, I tell you what. Start with your neck. OK, neca then your naked takes a while. But you know, like it takes a while to pass the mirror this morning. Oh Lord. Make it doesn't take as long as you think.
Yeah. Yeah I feel the temple in me. OK and the temple even larger today. Your beautiful temple. There was a book is called Something More.
I can't say enough good things about it and there's something more is self worth.
When you have self-worth, when you have repose of the soul, everything you have is enough and you have joy and takes on a new meaning. So there's something more. And the book helps you get to that, because you know how a lot of people I spent a lot of time on the show, people on my lucky self learned to just love you.
This is about how you begin to peel back the layers, including the Discovery Journal, to physically do that. How do you physically do that? What are the questions you need to be asking yourself? What do you need to be seeing in your life? How do you need to be responding in your life? That's what the book does that so many others do not. And again, I thank you, sweetie, for writing it.
Thank you for writing. I'm Oprah Winfrey, and you've been listening to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast you can follow Super Soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet, go to Apple podcast and subscribe rate and review this podcast. Join me next week for another super soul conversation. Thank you for listening.