What I Know For Sure

I have a habit (I won’t label it as good or bad) of buying books. I know I can check them out from the library, and sometimes I do. It would make sense to at least check it out from the library first to see if I like it enough to buy it. But I like buying and owning the book. I don’t know why. Maybe because I want to book to be mine. I like to write in my books, and mark them, and highlight words and sentences, and stick sticky tabs on pages. If I own the book I take it more seriously. It’s like the difference from when we rented a house as compared to when we owned the home (or at least owned a mortgage).When you rent your home you are only a guest there, but when you own it, it is yours. I don’t want to rent my books. I want them to be a part of me and me a part of them.

For Christmas I went to my Amazon Book Wish List and bought nearly every book on my wish list. It was exciting. All month long I received books in the mail. I loved watching them slowly stack up on my end table next to my bed. It felt like the right way to start out 2020 was with a list of great books to read that year.

On my bookshelf I have an area reserved for the books I want to read in the year 2020. I have another spot reserved for the books I have finished. Scanning the spines of the books waiting to be read I settled on Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.

I read and re-read Part I: Transcendental Aesthetic numerous times, but it just doesn’t make sense. (I am now rethinking my desire to get a Master Degree in Philosophy when I can’t even get more than five pages into Immanuel Kant’s book.)

Feeling defeated, I choose a different book from my Christmas book spree. Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know For Sure.

My initial plan was to sit down that Sunday afternoon and just read and read and get lost in conversation with Oprah, but after finishing a few of her short chapters, I realized I was reading it wrong (at least wrong for me). This book is meant to be read slowly, daily, a little at a time.

You know that person in high school that is so likable that you don’t want like them? You just have to find flaws about them so to can justifiably not like them and make it look like it is a act of good judgement not to like them. You know, that charismatic and genuinely nice person who is sincere and doesn’t need to tear others down so that they can feel good about them self? Yet for some reason you struggle with wanting to like them.

I’ll be honest, Oprah and I had a rough beginning to our relationship. I wanted to find reasons not to like her. Full confession, I don’t know much about Oprah. If I was on your team at some party and we were playing a trivia game that was centered on questions about Oprah, I most likely wouldn’t be able to Portable Photo Printer any of them. I mean, everyone knows Oprah, but I don’t really know that much about her. I’m not even sure if I have watched an episode of the Oprah Show.

I think I started having a hard time likeing Oprah when she was able to have BeBe Winans show up at her house too when she had a particularly difficult setback. Have Maya Angelou call to read me a new poem that she wrote. And when she just got back from India and only to take off for Maui to go spend a spa weekend with her girlfriends at her Maui house. And when one of her friends reach out to Sanatum Kaur and said, “Hey, I know your busy and everything, but you wanna show up in the morning to give my friend Oprah a personal concert?” and she would. Maybe I was jealous of her trip to Rome and the delightful little restaurant that she got to eat. Her a garden in Maui. A gym in Tulluride, Colorado, a backyard in Santa Barbara, a high rise in Chicago, a priviate plane. The opportunity to run around Fisher Island, which by the way if you wanted to stay there, you can find a place on Airbnb that claims to be in the richest zipcode in the US for $5,000 a night near Vanderbilt park.

It was hard to feel connected to what she was saying when her life is so different than mine. But really what that sentence should say is: It was hard to feel connected to what she was saying when her finances and opportunities are greater than mine.

Why is it easier for us to connect to people who suffering is greater than ours than it is to connect to people who success are greater than ours? It’s odd when you think about it, but think about it. Think about the stories of people you know or have read about or watched films about who suffered great adversity and rose up above it to reach greatness. We cheer for them. But why do we hold our applause for those who reach greatness without terrible suffering?

Probably around page 139 I decided it would be okay if I liked Oprah, and shortly thereafter I was able to see the value in what she has to say.

If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time.

Oprah Winfrey

What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone?

Oprah Winfrey

Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise. We apologize for our accomplishments. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more.

Oprah Winfrey

My biggest mistakes in life have all stemmed from giving my power to someone else.

Oprah Winfrey

I respect the way in which Oprah has approached life. Life is to be lived, to be loved, and to learn from. Life provides experiences that personally mentor us teaching us lessons that are most meaningful for us to learn. And when we learn something from life, it is an act of kindness and gratitude to share those lessons from Life with others.

February 18, 2020

Time writing this: at hour and 30 min

Total time writing on this blog: 179 hours 30 minutes