TV broadcast: The Oprah Winfrey Show finale – 5/25/11

After 25 years – a remarkable achievement in the television industry, and 4561 shows, of which she has never missed a single one, the stage lights dimmed for the final time on the massively successful and influential The Oprah Winfrey Show. Although I can’t say that I’ve been a loyal fan of the show or that I’ve watched it regularly, I can say that I have tremendous respect and admiration for Oprah and her efforts over this past quarter of a century to shine a light on meaningful issues such as personal growth, spirituality, health and healing, social injustice, and so much more. Her final show was not only an affirmation of all this, but was, “a love letter to her fans.” She shares: “Something in me connected with each of you in a way that allowed me to see myself in you and you in me. I listened and grew and I know you grew along with me.”

There are many teachers, guides, and luminaries in the world, yet few with the expansiveness of influence to affect the lives of such a wide cross section of people in practically every corner of the globe. Scripture says that “of those to whom much has been given, much is required” and Oprah is a shining example of one to whom much has been given (although she worked hard for it) she has always turned around and given back with graciousness and generosity.

I appreciated the simplicity and heartfelt manner in which she brought her 25- year run on the air to a close on that last day. I came away with many meaningful and inspirational thoughts from the show and wanted to share some quotes from Oprah that illustrate the demeanor and thoughtfulness of this understated, yet auspicious event, a milestone in modern media:

“Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience.”

“Everyone in life has a calling. Each one of you has their own platform. Mine is a stage in a studio. Yours is wherever you are…You can help somebody, you can forgive, you can listen, you can heal – you have the power to change someone’s life.”

“You’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others. When you get that — you are responsible for your life — you get free,”

“The common thread uniting all the dysfunction is unworthiness — not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough. There is a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of happiness.”

“I’ve spoken to nearly 30,000 people on this show and all 30,000 had one thing in common: A need for validation. Everybody wants to be heard.”

And finally, speaking of Spirit, she says: ”
“I listen for the guidance that is greater than my meager mind … I’m talking about the same one you’re talking about. The Alpha and Omega, the Omniscience, the Omnipresent, the Ultimate Consciousness, the Source, the Force, the All of Everything There Is, the one and only G-O-D. What I know is, God is love. And God is life. And your life is always speaking to you.”

I found this last statement especially poignant and it reflects the unifying message that Oprah has sought to express in the 25 years of her show, as well as in her humanistic projects around the world. I’m sure that there is nothing that has been said in the above quotes that hasn’t been said before, yet it has probably has not reached as many ears and resonated in as many hearts as that which has been spoken from the stage of Oprah’s Harpo Studio in Chicago. Unlike long-running celebrities such as Johnny Carson who walked away from their show, never to be heard from again on the air, this is undoubtedly not the last we’ll hear of Oprah. Now with her new network, the next chapter is already being written. However, this show did mark the end of an era and the outpouring of sincere affection from millions of fans is a testament to a media personality and dare I say spiritual warrior who truly understands the meaning of Right Action and has put her ideals and resources to work creating a better world.