Heisted your listeners, it's Audie Cornish from NPR's Consider This a daily news podcast where every weekday we bring you the perspective and expertize you need to understand the world around you. And it's more than just information. It's what the news means for you and your community. Make sense of today's biggest national and D.C. Metro regional news in 20 minutes. The Consider this podcast from NPR and WAMU.Today's episode is brought to you by Mars, Inc., the makers of brands such as Pedigree, Eminem's and Benzer Retinol, the new campaign from Mars ensures more women's voices are heard across the world.
To do this, they're asking all women a question what needs to change so that more women can reach their full potential? Add your voice today to the Mars Global Study by visiting Be Heard on Mars Dotcom. I'm Oprah Winfrey, welcome to Super Cell Conversations, the podcast, I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us.
Starts right now.
One of my greatest joys is watching someone experience an aha moment. I delight in seeing that person's eyes light up with the spark of understanding, especially when that recognition might change the trajectory of his or her life.
I hope at the start of every conversation is to expand hearts and to create an open space for learning. This is because I've always known that teaching is my true calling. It's the tap root from which all of my other skills and talents grow. I felt this even when I was a little girl playing school in my grandmother's yard, trying to get my cousins Willie Mack and Lonnie to spell the Bible names Shadrack Me, Shekinah Bendigo correctly. Any chance I got to play teacher, I took it.
Author James Hillman calls this the OK within the acorn. We were created as individual acorns in need of nourishment and proper conditions to help us grow into mighty oak trees. I firmly believe it is no coincidence that I ended up sharing wisdom with millions and what became the world's largest classroom, The Oprah Winfrey Show. It wasn't kismet, serendipity or even plain old luck. I don't believe in luck. For me, luck really means preparation, meeting the moment of opportunity.
I was born to teach. My only job was to listen, trust and obey the call. The same is true for you. In following your call, you will hear stories of others who tapped into their unique essence, took a leap of faith, and now have a clear understanding of who they are and why they are here.
Like me, they've come to know that there is no moving up and out in the world unless you're fully acquainted with the person you are meant to be.
What an unbelievable world we would live in if everyone were doing exactly what they were created to do.
A few years ago, I was talking about this very idea with Amy, my chief of staff.
Amy's job is to keep all the trains in my life on track while at the same time juggling a wide assortment of daily curveballs thrown our way. It involves a whirlwind of multitasking. As Amy and I talked about recognizing one's early, unique gifts. She had her own aha. She told me that when she was young, all she wanted for her eighth birthday was a filing cabinet. She just loved the idea of labeling the files and managing paperwork. She also had a calendar before there were events to even write in it and printed rainbow business cards so that people knew she could organize their lives.
Now Amy's job is to organize mine, and it makes me smile to see her delight when she's checking off a list. She followed her calling all the way to my office in Hollywood. Of course, your purpose doesn't have to be tied to your career. I have many friends who told me they knew they were meant to have children before they even understood what it was to conceive. I've always believed that accepting the call to be a mother is the choice to become the ultimate spiritual teacher because mothers live in service and sacrifice to their children.
Whatever you're calling, it's already rooted within you. And those roots can be trampled or tugged at but never removed. They grow stronger only when tended, nurtured and most important, shared with others.
My deepest desire is for people to get still enough to identify what makes them unique and connect to hope, possibility and fulfillment in all areas of their lives. As author and spiritual trailblazer Gary Zuckoff so brilliantly taught me, when you align your personality with your purpose, no one can touch you. We start with Nate Berkus.
I was the kid that cared so much about the things around me, he cared so much about the way things looked, but more importantly, the way things felt that I was tortured by sharing a bedroom with my younger brother. And for me, it was my own space. And my mother knew that. I don't think she knew that I would end up working in design. I don't think she knew that I would end up being on your show. I don't think that anyone predicts or tries to her dreams for that.
But what she did know was that her son was the kind of person that had to control the way a space felt and the way space looked, and that I would get great pleasure out of not just the privacy. That wasn't the point. It was the selection. It was the process. It was watching a space that was raw concrete walls in a basement be transformed into a space where I could live out my daily life. Because when you are connected to those kinds of things, meaning your inner world, the space around you really matter, really mattered, because the space around you reflects your inner space.
And I think it's universal. I think no matter who you are or what we have or we don't have, everybody wants to live better.
Next, Brian Grazer. So you weren't a great student, you didn't even read well, I being back in the day, you would have been called dyslexic, probably, right.
And your mother was really upset with you because you were failing the third grade, which is reason to be concerned.
Yes, I. I'm totally failing the third. Yes. But your grandmother wasn't worried. My grandmother wasn't worried.
She liked all the questions I asked and always give me an answer. And she'd always say, Brian, you're going to be special. You're going to use this curiosity. You're going to be a special kid. And I often was looking at my report card while she's saying you're going to be special. My report card said all ifs, ands.
And I'm going, does she know what's going on here?
I'm getting all F's and she's telling me I'm going to be special. But she just had this sustained belief in me and validated me for questions and and asking questions and curiosity that I did use this curiosity to meet new people in subjects that I would have never learned anything about. And by meeting these new people, it's given life to movies and television shows I've done. It's helped me in my personal life with my children.
It's been a powerful force in my life, so powerful and profound. And now Lin Manuel Miranda, my parents both worked really hard.
I have never known either of my parents to have just one job. They always had many jobs at once and they worked really hard so that we could have the things we wanted. And I grew up aware of that. But I also grew up in a house where they were not around for the nine to five, but they were there for the important stuff. They never missed a play. They were very present, but they weren't around. And so I had this enormously rich, imaginative life, as my Twitter followers will know, because you will see hours of VHS videos and movies that I made growing up.
And now Tracy Morgan, when did you know that comedy was a way out and that was funny?
Yeah, your dad was he was Richard Pryor funny? It was. Richard Pryor did it in Vietnam. Wow. He was funny. So I didn't really stay under my friends. I'd like hung out with my dad and his friends. The conversations of his friends and him were more stimulating. I couldn't learn nothing from my friends and they knew what I knew. But I could learn from my father and his friends. And he was funny. He was funny.
I remember when he came to the projects, everybody came out because Jimmy's here and I remember him sitting me on his lap at 4:00. He's to say to booboos say your mother is in there. And I said to your mother and everybody started laughing and I like that. And that's how far back it went was my dad, Sister Joan Chittister.
I've never quite met anybody who knew at three years old standing, looking in a casket that being a nun was your calling. Can you tell me how you knew that?
Yeah, I do. It was quite clear to this little mind. My father had died. He was 23. My mother was a 21 year old widow with this little baby. How many children do you have? Oh, I meant yeah. Yeah. And she dressed me to take me to the funeral parlor. Her brothers and sisters said, you cannot take that child to a funeral parlor. My mother said her father died. She has to grieve like we do.
She's going. So she's holding me now in front of the casket. I've got my little hands around her head. I can feel the tears, her face as well.
I know something terrible, but I'm looking over his shoulder like I'm looking there and down there at the end of the casket, I say, Mama, what are those two things? What are those things there? At the end, my mother hugs me a little and she says, Honey, those are those are sisters. Those are special friends of daddies and special friends of God. They thought your daddy in high school and they're going to stay here tonight.
And when God comes for Daddy's soul, they're going to say, this is Joan's daddy and he's very good. Take him straight to God. And I said to myself, I want to be one of those. I thought that was the best job in the world. You just sit around waiting and hoping that you're helping people's daddies get to God.
Right. Helping people.
That was and I spent the rest of my life racing across streets to say hello to nuns. Hi, sister. My sister and I went to a Catholic school and I was not disappointed. I don't have any horror stories of my Catholic education. Those sisters were loving. They were smart, they were competent, and they became a model of womanhood for me a long time before there was any language for it.
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Don't go anywhere. More to come after this short break in 20 21, it's finally OK to talk about our mental health and happiness. Humans aren't meant to keep everything inside. It makes us sick and therapy helps. But what is therapy exactly? It's whatever you want it to be. Maybe you're not feeling motivated right now and would like some tools to help.
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Join the millions of people who are seeing what therapy is really about. It may or may not be for you, but it's worth looking into because you are your greatest asset. This podcast is sponsored by Better Help and Oprah Super Cell Conversations. Listeners get 10 percent off their first month at better help. Dotcom Super Cell. That's better at dotcom super soul. Reverend Ed Bacon. When I was five, I was playing alone in a pine grove in south Georgia and all of a sudden.
I felt enveloped by warmth and light. And I heard. Inaudibly In the deepest part of myself, you are the most beloved creature in all of creation. At the same time, I got that message also heard, and every other person is the most beloved creature in all of creation. Changed my life. It made my life what it is. Rupal, Charles, we know it is interesting, I knew that you were my kind of human when I first heard you say that we're all born naked and the rest is just drag, because I have a different way of saying that.
But I mean, the same thing that we're all in these kind of body suits and you come up with these definitions in these ideas about who you really are. But we all are my favorite quote, you auditioner who said we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah. And I got that as a kid, you know, I was a young kid and I thought, is everybody getting that? This is all kind of an illusion?
And I couldn't get anybody to corroborate with me and tell. Do you remember the first time you thought that, though? I remember when my parents were in the living room going crazy, you know, beating each other up.
I knew this is this can't be right. But when I was about 11 years old on PBS. Yeah, I found my tribe in Monty Python's Flying Circus. I thought, OK, they get it OK. They're irreverent, they're not taking anything seriously and they're having fun. That's what this is all about. So that's when I got it very early. My sisters also, you know, we laugh. That was our our sanctuary was a place where we could find some peace.
I like the lighter things of life. I like the music and the colors and the smells. And I like love. I like those things. I like to stay away from the dark stuff. It's there, but I tend to go to the lights.
I remember after I brought my little list home, I was staying home with my three kids because that is an amazing idea for someone with high anxiety. I was just dripping with babies and I remember going to a playdate and the woman turned to me and said, So how do you feel like you've got the three babies at home? How do you feel? And I thought, awesome, we're going to talk about how I feel. And I remember because I'm a metaphor girl, right?
So I've been working on a metaphor for how I felt. So I said, OK, I don't know a lot about science, but I know there's like two different kinds of volcanoes. And first of all, K.A. is an active volcano and the second one is a dormant one. And the dormant volcano looks calm on the outside, but inside, just like bubbling with boiling hot lava and at any moment could just explode and kill everyone in the vicinity.
That's how I feel to a stay at home mom all day.
And by the way, that's perfect. That's exactly how it feels. It's an amazing metaphor, but everybody just just silence and just like wide eyes, huh? And I had that moment where I was like, oh, we're not doing that here.
Oh, you didn't mean how I really felt.
So then I said, OK, what I meant is that I just love every minute of it. I just said, I hate when they sleep. I just stare at them. And I think if there's one word that would describe how I feel as a mother, it would be fulfilled. That's how I feel is fulfilled. And then we ended the moment and I thought, OK, well, we're not going to be honest at playdates. All right.
That's a shame.
So but saying that is what made the other person feel comfortable, feel a sense of relief or afraid for me.
I don't maybe some calls to people I don't know. Got that Glennon's not right with her.
So then I was desperate for a place to tell the truth. I knew I needed that for my sobriety, you know, to just stay naked and unashamed like this is me. And I don't think it's a mistake. So I knew I needed a place to tell the truth. And I actually did start feeling this invitation to start writing. I felt like an annoying tap from God, like get off the couch and start writing. But I ignored it because I just love watching TV.
So one day I was passing the computer and I saw this thing going on on Facebook called The Twenty Five Things. Yes. So my friends were just like making lists about things about themselves. And I thought, awesome, I can make a list. So I sat down at the computer. Twenty five things you don't know about. Right. Right. Yes. And so I walked away and two hours later I came back and opened. My list had been shared all these times for my personal page and I had twenty seven new emails and I thought something, something so.
So then that's when I thought, oh I really should have read someone else's list before I did mine. This is my number six. I'm a recovering food and alcohol addict, but I still find myself missing booze in the same twisted way that we can miss people who repeatedly beat us and leave us for dead.
That was your number six. OK, true. True.
But here's my friend, Sarah's number six. My favorite snack food is hummus. Wow, Oprah, all of them, all of mine were like that. That was like the most lighthearted one. And so I thought, oh, we're not doing that here either. We weren't doing that. And I wanted to die. I just wanted to just take it all back. But then later that night, I started opening those emails from people, and they were from people who I had known my whole life, but I had never really known because they on these emails said things like, oh, my gosh, Glenn and I just read your list.
And I've been bulimic for 12 years. And I've never told anyone, Glenn and I just read your list. My husband and I are struggling. We don't know where to turn, Glenn and I just read your list. My dad's depressed and on and on. And then they'd all be like, I mean, not all of it because whoa. But like, no, for all of them would say that as a disclaimer. And I thought, this is interesting.
This is like this truthtelling is something that can unlock people, you know, like if we really need to connect with each other than what are we wasting our time with this other certain thing. Yeah. What are we doing? Yeah. And I felt I felt connected. I felt connected like the real me to the other real other people, you know, the stuff we were meant to help each other carry. Yes.
And if everybody were being honest, it would be so much easier for everybody to carry President Joe Biden.
I read that ever since you were a little boy, you were a boy with a vision that you had a picture in your head of the kind of man that you wanted to be. Did you live up to your own expectations? Did you fulfill the vision or exceed the vision?
I, by and large, believe that I have ended up being the man I wanted to be, but it wasn't in terms of accomplishment, because people usually translate that into, you know, the young guy I knew I wanted to be senator. I knew I wanted to be president. No.
Well, that wasn't true. What was true was I want to live up to my parents expectations. And I wanted to be that person that met my mother standard being defined by my courage. I wanted to be that person who, no matter what happened, just got back up and kept going. I wanted to be that person who was there and loyal to people who were loyal to him.
Pastor Wintley Phipps, when the things that you dream of as a kid and you watch them come to reality, those are moments of destiny. But then I began to realize that and God showed me the moments of destiny and moments for which you were created. But they're not the reason for which you were created. The reason for which we were created is to grow every day to more resemble, reflect and reveal the character of the one who created us. He dreams about your dreams about me.
And the most amazing thing that can happen in the life of a human being is to catch a glimpse of what God's been dreaming for you. But the most beautiful thing that God dreams for us is for us to love, like him to be kind, like to have faith, to have virtue, to resemble, to resemble, reflect, reflect and reveal and reveal the character. That's his most beautiful dream for each and every one of us.
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, wait and review this podcast. Join me next week for another super soul conversation. Thank you for listening.