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October 2011 (174 posts)
After Oprah's Lifeclass last night, Oprah invited Eckhart Tolle to take viewer questions about the lesson at hand: the ever-elusive ego and how it affects our lives. One viewer, Scott, talked about his addiction to designer labels (at which point Eckhart got a laugh--yes! Quiet, thoughtful Eckhart made a joke!). Then he got quiet and thoughtful and explained that Scott needed to stop thinking about other people and find out who he essentially is: "It's not a story in your head or something your mind is telling you--it's something deeper." They also heard from Skypers and viewers at home. The webcast is like a post-game follow-up, with questions from reporters seeking clarification, wanting to know a certain thing meant--except those reporters are you. Join Oprah at 9/8c tonight on Oprah.com and Facebook for another live webcast with Iyanla Vanzant. They'll be taking your questions via Facebook and spotlighting answers to Today's Question. Keep watching every night this week for more!
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The problem with holding onto anger, or even irritation, is that it tends to sit heavily, queasily, in your gut, like say, over-stewed meat. You may be absolutely positive that you were in the right, and you may well be so too—but 60 years later, who remembers or cares? Perhaps I should go ahead and let down my defenses; get, so to speak, naked.
My family is famous for keeping grudges. There is one lady to whom I am related (I won't mention names for fear of getting on her wrong side for the next FOREVER) who didn't speak to her brother-in-law for some 60-odd years after a perceived sleight having to do with whose turn it was to use a bathroom. And they worked together. Right next to each other. I'm sorry to say, I seem to have inherited this knack for simmering anger slowly, completely, stewily, the way a crockpot cooks beef. It's a habit I'd like to give up. But how?
Spencer Tunick is an artist known for his photographs of large groups of nude people, and his latest project, a gathering of over 1000 people in Israel's Dead Sea, has an extra twist. Five Israeli students asked Tunick (via Facebook, of course), to create an installations/photo series in the name of peace. "The idea is simple: If we're naked then we are, most likely, unarmed." The students wanted to metaphorically lay down their swords and show the world a different side of their country. (More photos here at the Huffington Post but be warned, the naked people are naked.)
These brave (and from the looks of the photos, maybe a bit chilly) people have found a beautiful way to call attention to a movement of pacifism in a notoriously militaristic part of the world. Makes you think, doesn't it? If people are willing to put aside generations of strife, can't we put aside our petty little issues?
Somewhere between, say, brushing your teeth, taking the car in, and paying the cellphone bill—try adding Derek's Walcott's classic poem Love After Love to your to-do list today.
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
There are so many reasons his poem is so moving: the idea of nurturing (instead of denying) yourself with food and drink, the idea of re-meeting who you were (and who you still are) despite all the years of disconnection due to ego and its insidious double, insecurity. Most of all I love this idea of feasting on your life, from the wonderful moments (the love letter) to the revealing moments (the photographs) to the painful moments (the desperate notes). Let's all feast today, even if that feast takes place while we're buying coffee filters or "making" a premade rotisserie chicken for dinner. Reflection happens everywhere—even in the aisle of the supermarket.
Shockingly, the evening doesn't unfold in daze of gallantness and rose petals.
Well, the Wall Street Journal has found a name for this: "stress spillover" (and here we just thought it was a mean case of the Mondays). In Putting the Honey Back in 'Honey, I'm Home!', Elizabeth Bernstein looks at "the real Witching Hour, that after-work period when we are tired, hungry, desperate to unwind yet still thinking about work" and offers solutions for avoiding a blow-up (read the storyto find out how a man cave and other stress-relieving outlets can help ).
Dr. Oz's 7 ways to reduce anxiety
Take the stress-detector test
4 sanity-rescuing techniques
Things in life are so rarely as they seem. Take the insightful new blog we discovered, Bowl of Saki, whose names suggests it will extol the virtues and varieties of drinking high-alcohol Japanese wine. This saki has to do with metaphorical wine—a way of "drinking in"the world that was advocated by Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan in the early 1920s. Each day, the site features one intriguing—and challenging—idea, my favorite being this one from September 23, which focuses on (ouch) the ego. "The whole tragedy of life," says Khan, "is in losing sight of one's natural self, and the greatest gain in life is coming into touch with one's real self."
I have felt this pain, as I suspect we all have from the moment we start picking lipstick—and the shade of smile beneath it—to appeal to the larger world. And yet what followed was what really stopped me."The real self is covered by many layers of ego; those which preponderate above all others are hunger and passion, beneath these are pride and vanity."
Contrary to what we usually think, pride here is regulated to a distant third in the recipe for an raging ego. First is hunger. Not hunger as in meatballs, hunger as in "strong desire." What, I wondered, did I have a strong desire about? Oh dear, I knew instantly. I have a strong to be a lunch-box note mother.
A lunch-box note mother, to me, is a mother who remembers to tape loving but not embarrassing notes on her child's sandwich each morning. She volunteers at recess and never loses her temper and never runs around the house in her underwear, bitterly accusing her offspring of purposefully hiding her office shoes. Her children revere her, and grow up to be popular, smart, and marvelous at the clarinet. All the other mothers, too, worship her and invite her and her kids over for playdates just to study her maternal perfection and get her recipe for banana bread.
All this glittering accomplishment and adoration, unfortunately, has nothing to do with mothering, which is the process of loving your kids and raising them to adulthood and sending them to school with a lunch and a note. I am no a wise old Sufi soothsayer, but I can see the value of a certain test I like to think as my pocket egometer. Compare the noun form (marathon runner) with the physical action (run long distance as fast as you can) of what you want to do. If your hunger for the noun form is stronger, please consider that this impulse is exactly what's preventing you from doing it to your best ability. Then go drink a glass of wine or get a hug from a friend—and start over in the morning at the action, not the ideal.
Oprah's brand-new series, Oprah's Lifeclass, premieres tonight, and features 25 years of insights and lessons from The Oprah Winfrey Show, complete with an online companion course course that has exclusive videos, articles, quizzes and advice. In this sneak peak of the show, Oprah explains how, by watching and participating, you can get on the path to a better, richer and more fulfilling life. The first episode airs this evening at 8/7c on OWN—with a big revelation from Oprah on what she thinks now about one of her most talked-about moments. Tune in every night this week for a new lesson....and then at 9/8c, go chat with Oprah on her Facebook page and Oprah.com.
Tonight on OWN, Rosie introduces us to her new boy-crush: the handsome, rakish, British comedian and actor, Russell Brand. After they met cute at the airport (of course), Rosie became obsessed with Russell, waxing enthusiastic about him and his "brilliant" humor to anyone who would listen. Watch this video to hear how their romance has blossomed from that chance meeting to a series of "scandalous" emails (can you believe what he wrote to her?!) to...an appearance on tonight's premiere:
The Rosie Show airs nightly on OWN at 7/6c.
But Stephanie Izard has a funny way with everyday ingredients. The only woman to win Top Chef--and also one of the 15 breakthrough stars we profiled in October's O magazine--Izard is the chef/owner of the Girl & the Goat restaurant in Chicago. Her cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen, hits bookstores this week, and it's a riot of unexpected pairings (shallot custard with apple-endive salad; pear-pistachio-parsnip soup; artichoke and strawberry panzanella) and lesser-known finds (kohlrabi, anyone?). Izard's collection looks so mouth-watering that when my wife settled on a fungus-heavy recipe, I decided to give it a go. Someone who thinks apples are equally at home in a pork ragu as a bacon-studded macaroni and cheese might have something new to show me about mushrooms, I figured.