Sunday, May 22, 2011

Witness to a Piece of Peace

I am an Oprah fan from way back. I have watched her show and I have evolved and grown as a human being as I have watched Oprah's hairstyles change, her dress sizes change, and her heart change. Last week I watched Oprah's recent two part interview with James Frey, the author of "A Million Little Pieces". For context, this was a new interview five years after the famous public shaming interview of James Frey by Oprah. I felt Oprah went over the top that day so long ago. James Frey experienced a public humiliation. No matter where you fall on the topic of James Frey and his lack of honesty to whatever degrees in his memoir, it was shocking to see Oprah hold his feet to the fire. It was not Oprah's finest hour.

This is a woman who has raised the consciousness level of television. She and her team are all about redemption, compassion, evolution, responsibility and love. So to witness Oprah tear James Frey limb from limb five years ago, it was like watching a public stoning; horrifying, devastating, deeply disturbing. Here was a model of human evolution in action, acting from such a base place.

Oprah, your human was showing. Really! That was what I felt. For both James and Oprah, I saw two great teachers acting out their lessons in front of the world, and I felt profound compassion for them both, and deep gratitude. Compassion for their pain and wounds, for their inability to see the situation they were in for the great lesson plan it was. Gratitude that they were willing to display this for all the world to see, and possibly to learn from. Selfishly grateful also that it was not my life on exhibit. Heaven knows I am human as well and have made my fair share of horrifying mistakes, which thankfully have not been aired, dissected or debated on national tv.

So after last week, I bestow upon Oprah and James the Noble Prize (yes I am aware I have changed Nobel to I am not actually qualified to bestow a Nobel Prize, as yet) for Generosity of Self, in the area of Displaying Personal Growth. On the second of the two interviews last week, Oprah apologized to James, taking full responsibility for acting from her ego in her interview from five years ago. Well, I have to tell you, I was so touched and impressed. It felt as though there was redemption for all! I was so impressed by the way they both conducted themselves. It was triumphant!

Okay, so it isn't peace in the Middle East, but it is peace in the heart of these two people, and millions of us got to bear witness and had the opportunity to take a piece of piece in our hearts as well. To witness healing, transformation, personal evolution, responsibility in action, compassion, forgiveness and love is healing for us all. After seeing such a different display with the same players five years later, all I can say is, Bravo! Well done! James was contrite in the first interview, in this second one he was taking responsibility with clarity and conviction. What a beautiful example to the world. Oh, and Oprah, you get a standing O-vation from me! Awe-some! A sight to behold. Thank you for showing us the glory of humanity at her finest. I am so touched.

No matter if you like Oprah or not, and as I have said I do! She has been a fixture of our culture. She has been a great teacher. Sometimes our teachers help us to see a better way to be, sometimes they show us by example what not to do. It seems particularly precious to see the arc of evolution on one incident. To see someone make a mistake, to become aware of the error, to do the work to evolve and heal enough to take responsibility and make amends. That is grace-full. That is how it is done. My hat is off to both Oprah and James Frey.

We are all human. We all have lessons and opportunities for healing, growth, responsibility, compassion and love. We can all have peace in our hearts. The more peace we have, the further we get out of our own way, the greater the love and compassion we carry and share. It is just that simple, it is just that hard.


  1. Great post! I have the James Frey episodes recorded, but have yet to watch them. But I did watch the episode five years ago and feel the same as you. It was too much. So glad to hear this one turned out better. I'll miss Oprah. Although I have not agreed with her all the time, I have learned a lot from her.

  2. I am with you. I have not always agreed with Oprah, but I have enjoyed having her show in my life. I will miss her too!

    I guess we are all going to have to step up and be here for one another after Wednesday! That feels even better!

  3. Thanks for reminding us that when we make mistakes, we are being our human selves. And for being the kind of person who shows compassion and understanding when we slip up as we inevitably do. You're an inspiration.

  4. Shary thank you for your thoughtful words. Inspiration seems a tall order. As I contemplate that, I began thinking ideally we all inspire one another. Inspire, which literally means 'breathed upon', and in the Judeo-Christian tradition is a gift from God, or the Holy Spirit, reminds me that if you caught a whiff of inspiration near me, know it is not me or mine, it is a wink from The Divine, reminding you and indeed us all of our own greatness.