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.
For me, the early days of 2018 will forever be marked by the devastating mudslides that swept through my community of Montecito, California. 22 people perished in the powerful avalanche of earth and debris that surged down the mountains and the aftermath of deadly wildfires and torrential rain. As I watch my neighbors gather to grieve, link arms and ultimately endure, I was reminded of how in a flash your entire life can be changed forever. Natural disasters, illness, accidents and unexplained events.
There are gut wrenching moments occurring every day that can blindside even the most aware and bring us to our knees. This experience has heightened my understanding of what circumstances beyond our control really means, and it's made me more attuned to what we truly have the power to control the mudslides were a phenomenon. There was no way to prevent the catastrophic tragedy that literally came crashing through people's front doors. But that's not the case for most personal struggles. Situations like job loss, financial problems, a painful breakup or a chasm between you and your child might feel like a shock, but they rarely arrive without whispers along the way.
Over the years, I've taken every opportunity I could to share one of my most cherished spiritual principles, your life is always speaking to you.
It speaks in whispers, guiding you to your next right step. And in many situations, the whisper is also the first warning. It's a quiet nudge from deep within saying, Hmm. Something feels off. It's a small voice that tells you this is no longer your place of belonging. It's the pit in your stomach or the pause before you speak, it's the shiver, the goosebumps that raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Whatever form the whisper takes, it is not a coincidence your life is trying to tell you something.
Heeding these signs can open the doors to your personal evolution, pushing you toward your life's purpose. Ignoring them, sleepwalking through your life is an invitation to chaos. Life is about growth and change, and when you are no longer doing either, you've received your first whisper. Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected and stimulated, follow your intuition, do what you love and you will do more than succeed. You will soar. Up first, Shauna Niequist.
If we went out to dinner and talked about the things that mattered to us most, I would say, you know, family matters so much to me. My spiritual life matters to me a deep sense of connection with the people that I love, play and memory making an adventure. That's who I am. And if you looked at my day to day life, you would say, frankly, who you are is exhausted, isolated, anxious, not sleeping well, always hustling to leave something early to come late to the next thing, skimming in all of my most important relationships, hoping that they'll still be there when I get back from this thing or that thing.
So I was forced to realize that the gulf between the two was growing at quite a rapid rate. Any journey like this has like a million different plot points. Yes, a lot of warnings that you don't take heed of and then it gets louder and louder and louder. But I was starting to realize that I was avoiding silence and stillness at all costs, that maybe I wasn't just busy from a scheduling standpoint. Maybe I was hiding from something, but I hadn't quite articulated that yet.
And we went on this trip and some people recommended this beach that was like the best snorkeling ever. And so I went with my son. He's eight at the time. We're holding hands. I mean, it's one of those picture perfect parenting moments. We're like, this is it. I'm going to hold this in my heart forever. And it was like two halves of my brain and two halves of my heart. And I had this deep I think the best word I can think of is self-loathing.
This I hate myself. I hate being myself. I'm the problem. I'm the problem with everything. I'm ruining everything. The set of voices that didn't seem to have any bearing. I couldn't figure out why they were coming out at this point, except I realized the only time I'd been silent and as long as I could remember.
Oh, well, that makes sense because I'm like, why would you be feeling self-loathing in that moment?
Complete total silence. Not my own voice. Chattering Not my kids, not my husband, not my to do list running in my mind, not me running from one thing to another, not a television show, not a song on the radio. Complete total silence that I did not choose. And it was in that silence that I realized there are a lot of things I think that I've been running from, that I've been hiding from. And I've been using busyness sort of as a defense, as a barrier against facing where these feelings coming from, what are they about, what will it look like to heal them and bring them out into the light?
OK, you love your life on the outside, but had become someone you didn't want to be around.
Tell me that I was exhausted. And for me, my exhausted self is my worst self. Yeah, I'm short tempered. I'm anxious. I get controlling about stupid things. Things need to happen my way when I'm really, really tired.
Something you said that struck me that you were productive, productive, pretty if you all relate to this productive, productive, productive. But you knew you were not.
Well, when I look back I'm like, hey, I had migraines, I had vertigo. I had what our family affectionately termed the stress barfs. I would just throw up several times a week when I got anxious about something. You weren't sleeping, not sleep. I would wake up every day at three a.m. like these are warning signs. And I was like, that's just kind of how life is. Yeah, I wasn't listening to my body. I wasn't listening to my soul was just continuing.
So even when your body is saying something's wrong because waking up in barfing and all of that is your body saying, hey, your body is trying to speak to you, I always think that everything is speaking to you all the time. Your life is speaking to you all the time, but even then you couldn't hear it or called it something else.
I think I was so invested in the perception of being known as a highly competent, responsible person, and that was so important to me that I sacrificed my physical health, my emotional health, so that I could be known as someone who is really, really capable.
More of this conversation in just a moment. Spotify and higher ground launch a new podcast, Renegades Born in the USA. President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen sit down to discuss the country that's given them both so much, chronicled the stories of its people and connect their own search for meaning, truth and community. With the larger story of America, they may seem like unlikely friends to men with very different backgrounds and career paths. Yet they built a friendship on their shared sensibilities and a belief in the American ideal.
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This podcast is sponsored by Better Help and Oprah. Superficial Conversations. Listeners get 10 percent off their first month at better help. Dotcom slash super soul. That's better Atleti dotcom slash super soul. Welcome, Danny Shapiro. I was waking up at three o'clock in the morning every morning into this state of sort of existential panic, I didn't know what was wrong, but there was this feeling that I was falling and that there was just nothing to catch me.
And I intuitively knew that it had to do with a spiritual crisis.
You know, what's interesting is you were feeling this sense of angst, the sense of urgency, the sense of flooding your body all of the time. But at least you were feeling it. I think so many people are so disconnected and numbed by the routine of life that they don't even have an opportunity to stop and know what they're feeling. And that's why sometimes it's three o'clock in the morning, it's waking you up.
Well, the feeling that I had was that I would get my whole day done and check everything off every list that I had to do and drive everywhere that I had to drive and do everything that I had to do and get dinner on the table and answer emails and just do all of the things in that same thing that everybody goes to fall asleep. And then something in my being. Yes. Was forcing me awake because it was the thing that I hadn't dealt with.
It was the most important thing. But what happens in life is it's just very easy to kind of say, well, I'll deal with that later, OK, I'll get to that at some point.
Yeah. So you're blessed to have that restlessness, really?
Yeah. It's a gift. It's a wake up call. Now it's Carolyn Mays. We have an intuitive voice in us, we are born intuitive, we are so intuitive that it's actually, for most people, the source of their greatest suffering. Right.
That inner guidance tells us, I'm just going to I don't even know what you mean by that. How is your intuition, your intuitiveness, the cause of your greatest suffering, I think would be the opposite.
Oh, no, no, no, it isn't Oprah. It's actually the source of people's greatest suffering. Why?
Because people hear when they've betrayed themselves, people are very much aware when they are not honest with themselves, people. It's that voice that says you shouldn't have said that.
You know, that's not right. Or you're still with this person and you know, you should have left ten years ago.
Yeah. This is the voice, your conscience. It's the voice of your consciousness. It's the voice of your gut instincts, the voice you don't want to hear that never turns off.
OK, and when you follow this voice and you push, this is the part that says you should push and you should do this. So it's the part that keeps us moving and turning the wheel of our life. It's also the part that says you've done as much as you could now.
This is it, you've done everything you can, so it's the part that will say that's as far as you can go, it will guide you, it will say this is it.
So what you're saying is, is exactly what I've always believed and how I've operated, being able to accept lives within the range of doing all that you can do as you have done everything right.
You can do you surrender it.
That's it. Let it go. That's right. To the power and energy that's greater than yourself. That's it. That's what you do. That's right.
You got to give it your all. Give it your all. Give it your all. Give it your best and this inner voice and then not be attached to the totally.
You got it. That's it. That was great. Now let's hear from Audur Shauntay. What we're doing is we're always living a life where we're chasing to fulfill a sense of self. Which feels underneath it. Inauthentic. Mm hmm. That's just rampant in our society. Yes. Oh, I don't like myself. I have bad self-esteem. Or are you basing yourself on everything that everybody else everybody else is? That's why it feels like sometimes when you're watching.
When people in crowds, they just kind of everybody's sort of moving in that direction because everybody says, we do this now.
We wear that, and then life becomes a compensation for not knowing who we are because it is almost like a wound within us when we get disconnected from the truth of our being. We do feel that. And then we're trying to fill it with love or approval or success or the million ways that we seek fulfillment from outside of ourselves. And no matter how much fulfillment we get, there's that place inside that intel. We've realized the truth of our being until we've realized we are our presence primarily and a person secondarily, we will feel estranged from our own being and each other because that's where we connect.
John, cowbirds in. What mindfulness is saying is find your own way, listen to your own heart, use the word longing, longing, listen to your own yearning, because what we're really trying to do is live our life as if it really mattered. Because it does. It does.
I glanced over and I saw these books on the shelf, and this was one of them, the Pacific Crest Trail, Vol. one, California. And I'd never heard of the trail before. I had never gone backpacking before. I'd done a lot of hiking and grown up in the wilderness of northern Minnesota. But something about this book called To Me. So I turned it over and read the back and it told the story of this amazing national scenic trail that went from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington, along the spine of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range.
And it just it seemed like such an important thing, such a grand thing, such a significant thing. And I was none of those things at that moment in my life. And I just knew that I wanted to attach myself to it.
You know, the best way for me to describe it, something bloomed in my in my chest. I felt some sense of opening or or wonder. And I thought, well, maybe I should do that. And then I came back. I knew instinctively the wilderness was the place that I felt most gathered.
Pema Chodron. I was living at this community in England, a Buddhist community, and this teacher came through who was very important to me, and he was giving the ordination, monks ordination, nuns ordination. And everyone in the whole place, which was about 30 people, was trying to decide whether to do it or not do it. So it was like the topic. And for some reason I thought doing it is forward. Not doing it is backward.
My whole life I've had that instinct of what's forward. I don't know if that makes any sense.
It makes all the sense to me. I think everybody has patterns. Yeah. And it's your job to figure out what your pattern is. Mine is. I've learned as much as I can learn doing this thing. Now I need to go forward. Yeah. Yeah. And that happens when when I've learned as much as I can learn that thing. And then something else opens itself and now days forward.
I never know where forward is going to be these days, you know. Yeah. But somehow there's always a forward. Yes, I think as long as there's still breath there is forward. Yeah.
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This spring go to get Jusu Dotcom and use promo code super soul for 10 percent off. That's get J. S you dotcom with promo code super soul. Amy Purdy. I want people to not look at my story and say, oh, it's amazing what she's done, that's so inspiring, I want them to also feel that they have that inside of themselves to live an inspired life, live an inspired life. Well, you're doing that. You know, you're doing that.
So I've had all these little whispers throughout my life. You're meant to do more. Amy, you're meant to do more. And now those whispers have quieted down, I feel like because I'm doing it, you're in the space where you belong, right?
Yeah. John Lewis. We were just ordinary human beings, ordinary people. Touched by what I like to call the spirit of history. Some force just grabbed us. People had to do something, then people had to say something. If not. I don't think history would have been kind to us listen to Dr. King inspired me. He gave me hope and I kept up with the drama that was taking place around the country, what was happening in Montgomery and about the Supreme Court decision of 1954.
And I dream of going to a better school, Ryan. About a bus. I didn't like the fact that my mother and my father, my grandparents, my uncles and aunts didn't have any rights. My mother was so over and over again, boy, that's the way it is. She was saying, you know, cool it, be quiet, don't get in trouble. Well, I was inspired to get in trouble. To get in good trouble.
Good traveler is simple when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just you have a moral obligation, you have a mission, you have a mandate to speak up. To speak out, you may get arrested. And taken to jail, you may be beaten and left bloody and you could be murdered, you could die. That is part of the price that you have to pay, not just to liberate yourself, but have free and liberate others.
Wes Moore. So you now believe that there is an evolution that lives in us all and it leads us to where do we belong and how do we know how to follow? I love the phrasing of that. There's an evolution that lives inside all of us, and it leads us to where we belong. You know, oftentimes I would think that, oh, well, I'm just waiting on God to tell me where he wants me to go. Yeah, I'm just God.
Tell me tell me what is it you want me to do? And I've come to a very clear understanding. Now, it's not that God's not talking to me, is that for so long I just haven't been listening. Yes. I've been allowing so much of the noise to cloud this conversation I'm supposed to be having. And I've been so distracted that he's been sending messages this whole time.
Oh, you are so correct. I see that all the time because your life is always speaking to you. It's always speaking. OK, so we talk a lot about calling on Super Bowl Sunday. How do you know when it truly is the calling or if it's just something you just really want a lot? That is one of the most challenging things to to understand where it's like. How do I know? Yes. That I'm doing exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing.
I think about it the way that I knew what it was and I was supposed to be doing when I first started working with college students, when we were when we first found the bridge to you, it was because I knew this was a problem and this was a challenge that I was going to work on no matter what. I then tried to figure out a way. So how do I make it what I do with every day of my life and the reason I became so passionate about education, higher education, helping that transition was because I thought to myself, you don't understand my story without understanding the role that education played in it, where I feel like all of our lives are like homes that are built on stilts.
Right. And our experiences are the different stilts. So for me, there's a there's a military still. There's a finance still. There's a White House still there's all these stilts.
You can shop one of those stilts out and the house wobbles. Yeah, but the house stays up. You could chop out the finance bill and shop out the White House, still shop out the military. Still, there's one thing that is not a stilt. It's my foundation and that's my education. If you chop that, the whole house crumbles, nothing else makes sense. And so the way and the reason that I knew that this was the work that I was supposed to be doing when I said, you know what, I'm going to work on this no matter what you're that's how you know.
That's how you know, that's how, you know, I'm not I'm going to work on it no matter what. So why not?
Even if I have to do a night job and a part time this in order to be able to do this, I'm going to do you know where to find me?
You know where to find me. You know where to find me. Kerry Washington. I really believe that if I want something that God has three answers, it's either yes, yes, but not right now or no, because I have something better in store for you.
Thomas More. The ultimate keeper of the soul is being so identified with a life that wants to live through you. That's the idea of that dream wants to be embodied. I mean that very practically. So at any point in your life, you may get the hint that you should be moving on to a maybe a different job or different even a different marriage. And if you hold back on that and say, no, no, that would disrupt me or you wouldn't even think of through it, but you would decide to say no to life, then I think that's where the soul gets wounded.
Most of their individuality comes from your soul, not from your head. It comes from allowing life to live through you, so you're open enough, you're the receiver. 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.