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Gratitude for Oprah

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Oprah first called me a few years after The Seat of the Soul was published. I lived in a small mountain town, I didn’t have a TV, and the town cable didn’t offer ABC anyway, so I didn’t recognize her name when she called. We talked another time or two over the next seven or so years, but I was entrenched in the back country resolutely avoiding my responsibility to support people who, like me, had become aware of the enormous transformation of humanity that is underway. Oprah was one of them. She helped me change that in a big way.

From our first meeting I was touched by her warm and immediate presence, interest in me, and awesome capability to create and utilize global enterprises to lovingly support as well as entertain her ever-growing audience, of which I became a part. While recording The Oprah Winfrey Show, she planned and launched O Magazine. Excuse me, she would say after a meeting on our next show, I have to get to my night job. Then came Oxygen, a satellite radio channel, a girls school in South Africa, OWN, and many TV and film productions all contributing directly to the collective well-being. How many people do you know who use their creativity in such a focused way for the benefit of all?

I have been impressed by her courage as well as her compassion. I have watched, along with millions of viewers, as she brought adversaries together on the same show to search for the best that each have to share, and asked direct and probing questions to racial bigots without rancor or judgment.

She has shared things with me off-hand that helped reshape my perceptions dramatically. For example, when a national magazine clamored for an interview with me (a new experience for a back-country recluse), I called Oprah for an opinion. Is just cotton candy, Gary. It’s just cotton candy. Most people spend their lives grasping for this candy recognition, fame, wealth, the ability to impress, manipulate, and control. Oprah does not, and that may be what drew her so strongly to The Seat of the Soul. Whatever temptations she experiences, she does not allow fear to express itself in her creations. They are expressions of love instead. Since we know that everyone experiences fear, we know that Oprah’s continual gifts of love are also challenges to whatever fears come to torment and distract her from her chosen course.

This is what I am most grateful to Oprah for. Thank you Oprah, for all that you have helped me experience and accomplish and all the gifts that you have given me and our fellow students in the Earth school. Thank you for helping seed the idea of authentic power in the Earth school. It is a joy to be a student with you.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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SEE GARY AND OPRAH ON TV AGAIN – ANYTIME

SEE GARY AND OPRAH ON TV AGAIN – ANYTIME

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Here is a gift from Oprah and me – but first here is the backstory: In late fall 1998 one of Oprah’s producers called me – would I like to come to Chicago for a short interview with Oprah? Oprah and I had spoken by phone a few times over the previous years. The first time she called to say hello. I didn’t recognize her name because I didn’t watch TV, but that call put us on a journey together that we continue today. At the moment her producer invited me to Chicago, I felt like a surfer in the ocean. A perfect wave had arrived. I didn’t need to paddle to catch I and I didn’t need to wait for it. All I needed to do was stand up and ride. I had never surfed (I grew up in Kansas), but perhaps this image came to me because I love seeing surfers dance with waves. In any case, it was a very appropriate image.

Linda and I met Oprah for the first time in a small apartment near the Harpo studios. It was a wonderfully joyful encounter. We embraced, joined in a circle, set our intentions, and sat down to talk. There was no audience – just the two of us. At the end Oprah said excitedly to her Executive Producer, “I am going to give this interview to my audience as a Christmas gift.” She did. The show based on our intimate talk aired Christmas Eve afternoon, December 24, 1998.

Oprah told me soon after that my life would change, but I didn’t notice any changes at first. Then The Seat of the Soul came onto the New York Times Bestseller list. Oprah called again a few months later. “We are going to do another show on authentic power,” she told me. “Wonderful!” I replied, “I am looking forward to seeing it.” “No, Gary,” she laughed. “You are going to be ON it.” The show aired in April 1999. It was my first with an audience. The Seat of the Soul became Number One on the New York Times Bestseller list and stayed there three years. Oprah and I just recently discovered that I have been on The Oprah Winfrey Show more than any guest! This surprises and delights us both.

Our first show has now been re-broadcast on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and this time with powerful new comments by Oprah. It touches me now even more deeply than the original. It helps me experience how deeply we are all connected, not only Oprah and I, but all of us. Oprah has also archived this show on her website – something that was not possible when we recorded it.

I am grateful to share this anniversary of my entrance into the Earth school with you, and to honor you.

Love.
Linda & Gary