Why My Face Hurts…after My First Oprah Experience (Part 1)

My face hurt the day after my dear friend Anne and I returned from watching a live taping of SuperSoul Conversations with none other than the “O”h-so-fabulous Oprah Winfrey.

It felt like I had been cold-clocked on both sides of my jaw, or had somehow managed to fall flat on the side of my face, except that both sides hurt equally. I was almost alarmed. But then it dawned on me. My face hurt because I was smiling or laughing or screaming for a solid 16 hours – from the moment I woke to catch the train, to the minute my head hit the pillow upon coming home again. Apparently, I’ve never smiled like that before because surely I would have remembered this facial strain, this post-climactic-smiling-pang.

For me, being in the company of Oprah was like finally meeting the person you fell in love with, except that everyone in the room is equally in love with the same person. But rather than let the mutual adoration divide us, it united us. Rather than think of merely ourselves, it was more like we thought collectively as a whole, because we were all thinking the same thing – this is O-mazing! We cheered in unison. We rejoiced in unison. We applauded the people with her autograph as much as if it were our own (I didn’t get her autograph but high-fived several who did). The energy was peacefully, ethereally euphoric.

I felt this type of collective, naturally synchronized vibration once before, on the mall with the masses at Obama’s inauguration. Then, I felt happy, hopeful, and fortunate. Now I feel happy, hopeful, and humble. The shift from fortunate to humble may be slight, but it’s meaningful. Fortunate means you are favored in some way, through luck, talent, or hard work. Humble means you recognize that a higher power is at work. One cannot be in the presence of Oprah, even if from the back rows of the balcony (our seats), without sensing the presence of the Divine. She is no more divine that any one of the rest of us, but she has learned how to use her God-giving talents to lift the lives of others. When you are in her presence, you feel the power of her purpose. And you cannot escape that experience, that evoked emotion, without wanting to find and follow your own.