Shine Your Light
If there is one person in the world who has influenced me more than any other, I would have to say it'd be Oprah Winfrey. Her life has illuminated and inspired mine, as it has for millions of people around the world. Being the emotional cheeseball that I am, I created a "ceremony" in my apartment to watch her final Oprah show back in May of 2011 (complete with candles, a blanket, and Kleenex!) as my own way of saying goodbye, and wondered what the next chapter was going to look like for her. I tuned in with great interest over the following months to see what would come next on the OWN network. From "Master Class" to "Visionaries" to "Oprah's Lifeclass", and now "Oprah's Next Chapter" - I have been loving this insightful new content and continuing to learn and expand the possibilities for my own life.
Today, I saw an episode of Dr. Oz with Oprah as the "guest" - and something she said struck me: "You are not defined by what other people say about you, and you're not defined by what you do. You are defined by this moment, and the hope and the light that you bring to this moment." Clearly, Oprah is going through a major transformation in her life, but what inspires me about her now is that she refuses to be defined by her past. She is creating herself newly in the present.
It triggered a bit of an epiphany for me, as I've often wondered for myself whether having so much of my life revolve around diabetes would end up defining me that way - ie. everything in relation to having diabetes. Not only do I have to live with it and manage it for myself every day, but I work in the diabetes field so my daily conversations are about diabetes, some of my closest friends and the online community I'm connected to are people with diabetes, and the major causes I support are diabetes-related. It's the most natural thing in the world for me.
But I've also known that who I am is much more than that - and that while diabetes is an arena I play in and the current platform I use to make a difference in the world, the lessons I'm learning and the life experience and wisdom I continue to gain has much more to do with being human than diabetic.
My personal mission is "to inspire others to lead inspired lives" - and whether that's in the diabetes field or the world at large, my aim is to take that spirit into each moment and be a channel of grace and goodness and possibility.
For each of us, no matter what our respective stories or challenges are, I think what we're all after at the end of the day is to feel like we've been able to do what we've been called here to do, and to feel like our life has mattered in some way. And whatever that looks like, "living our best life" is only something we can define for ourselves, moment-to-moment.
My hope and wish for each of you is to remember how very special you are and that there are gifts inside of you that only you can bring to the world. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, bring the best of yourself to it. The world is waiting.
Cheers to new illuminations in 2012!
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