Monday, April 30, 2012

REACTION - Oprah's Master Class: Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is one of the leaders that emerged in the feminist movement in the 1960's. I love the way we, as women, have evolved thanks to Ms. Steinem's important work.

This episode of Oprah's Master Class is different from the Morgan Freeman one I blogged about it, where the "teacher (feature person)" appears in a studio with a blank canvas backdrop, speaking openly about their life.

In recent years I have become very wary of people who proclaim an absolute. Perhaps it is the academic path I have chosen (philosophy) that places me in a vantage point that forces me to process observed human behavior outside of the "isms" of planet Earth. Having an average knowledge of the more popular "isms" associated with America and Europe, I have concluded that I am quite jaded in terms of the labels that have been placed upon me through culture and religion. I am not defined by the isms placed upon me by virtue of birth. The thought that I have to be something or someone that is not authentically me stifles my spirit and prevents me from being truly free. This Master Class is a reminder that I need not be what others tell me I should be. I love that about Oprah and Gloria -- the encouragement to live an authentic life is always so inspiring.

In the segment where Oprah and Gloria appear at Barnard Collge, Oprah casually speaks of being molested and raped. What is beautiful about her casualness is that she follows-up by professing that she has done the work to heal herself. As a result, there is no shame in talking about it and no need to treat what happened with a victim's attitude. Having been a victim of rape, I speak very frankly and openly about what I endured. I echo Oprah's sentiments by saying that I can be so open about it because I have fully reconciled my experience.

 Oprah asserts, "Knowing who you are is the most valuable asset you will ever have." I love this. I used to write on my blackplanet page that no matter how hard a banana tried to be an apple, it could never happen. What is the lesson? The lesson is that we should be who we authentically are because that is all we can be.

In one of the "webisodes" exclusively on the OWN website, Oprah shares an important message about service. She asks that we shift whatever it is we think we are here to do and approach it in a manner that makes you or I be of service to the world. Doing this will make our lives more fulfilling. This is the purpose of our lives; to share our energy with the people we come in contact with.

This Master Class was different but still very wonderful. Surely we must be who we are destined to be. Who am I outside of what I have? Who am I? Who are you? I pray that we both find our life's purpose soon!

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