About three years ago, before cancer was even in my repertoire of things to deal with, I was your stereotypical overworked and stressed out entrepreneur. Sure I was building a company I was so proud of, but the day to day was getting the best of me. I was overwhelmed, had a lack of focus, and was feeling emotionally and physically depleted.
Outwardly all was good — I was a master at internalizing my stress and unhappiness. But inside I knew I was on the verge of burnout and felt like I was disappointing everyone around me — including myself. I was desperate for some peace. And so on a random Thursday, as I was checking my email, a google ad popped up for meditation training at The Chopra Center with Deepak Chopra. I decided on the spot that I would attend the training. It did not logically make sense on any level. We were on the verge of a big product launch and not to mention I couldn’t recall the last time I took a full week off. In fact, while I had dabbled in some meditation and mindfulness over the years, at this point I had not even really practiced true meditation. But it was a deep gut feeling, and I simply had to follow it.
Sure enough, the universe started to align and what felt like an impulsive decision, started to feel supported. The product launch had been pushed out a month and the actual retreat happened to be in Chicago of which I had a plane ticket voucher for the exact amount.
When I arrived at the retreat on the first day, I noticed lots of lighting and some cameras around. Sure enough, upon the welcome we were told that this seminar was to be recorded for Oprah’s OWN network. This was the beginning of the Oprah and Chopra collaboration and what ultimately would become their combined 21 day meditation challenge which has inspired so many on the meditative path.
Now for anyone that knows me, I have been following Oprah before Oprah was Oprah. Back in the days where she was head to head with Donahue. In college I would try to pick classes that allowed me to be home in time to watch her show. This pattern later emerged at my first official job, where I would show up at 7 a.m. so I could be home by 4 p.m. for the show. This was the height of the dotcom boom, so traditional office hours were not the norm and I really just appeared enthusiastic. I would have visions of hanging out with Oprah on the show and sharing our mutual explorations of spirituality and all things woo woo.
So now — fast forward almost 15 years later and here I was sitting in a room with Oprah’s team and camera people – she wasn’t physically there – but obviously in spirit. Needless to say, I was giddy in my gut and once again validated that I was on the right path.
Now my admiration towards Oprah (which I realize is perhaps a bit delusional) is not for the reasons you might think. It is her curiosity that I find inspiring. Regardless of the platform, you can tell she really is trying to understand for herself. She is a seeker like so many of us – and that is something I think we can all relate to. For me, it is this curiosity and authenticity that I observe in so many people on their own personal journeys that really inspires me every day.
After I came home from that Oprah + Chopra seminar — my life was in the midst of transforming. I started the 21 day meditation challenge accompanied by my learnings from the seminar and a daily practice was born. As I’ve shared before, it was this daily practice that I am convinced played such a pivotal role in my cancer healing journey and ultimately helping to shape my new normal.
As Oprah and Deepak launch their next 21 day mediation challenge on July 13, I find myself excited to share the experience with others. As anyone who is starting a meditation practice knows, the primary hurdles can be consistency and accountability – and this program provides both for free. If you are at all curious and you are looking to connect with that most authentic part of yourself, I encourage you to explore with two of my favorite modern day gurus – Oprah and Deepak.
And yes, I still am an avid Oprah fan. Thanks to DVR, I cozy up often to Super Soul Sunday as she exemplifies her most curious self and soak in all the insights and inspirations that so frequently emerge.
ps. I am in no way being endorsed by Oprah or Chopra. I’m simply a transformed and loyal superfan:-)
Note: This post was originally published on March 13, 2015 and has since been updated.