OPRAH WINFREY: What do you do when nothing is going your way and life
takes a turn that just doesn't seem fair?
KARLEEN: When I lost the baby, I felt like a victim.
Mr. JEFF CISZKOWSKI: I had an accident. I went from having a
promising baseball career to being a failure, seeing guys that
I played with making millions and I can't even pay my bills.
WINFREY: Do you ask `Why me?' or do you look for what your life
is trying to tell you? How you choose to respond can be the
difference between a life of anger or joy.
KARLEEN: For the first time I said,
`What am I supposed to learn from this?'
Mr. GARY ZUKAV: Perhaps everything that happens has a
reason and that reason is your own spiritual growth.
WINFREY: And you mean everything. What to do when life seems unfair.
Gary Zukav, next.
WINFREY: All right--into it. Hello, hello. Monday! Thank you.
OK. We know you got rhythm. Thank you so much. I'm feeling you.
It's Monday, and that means we're giving away another $100,000!
Hello. This week's Use Your Life award is going to a mom who's
also a lawyer fighting for children and families who are literally
living in hell. So when Nancy Mintie saw some of the horrific living
conditions in Los Angeles, she knew she could not turn her back on
the children who she says have nothing but nightmares for
childhood memories. Imagine waking up to rats the size of footballs
running across your bed.
Picture this: cockroaches dropping from the ceiling into your
child's bowl of cereal. What if your children could not have toys
because the rats would eat them? Well, take a look the how
Nancy Mintie is putting an end to the atrocities that
thousands of poor families endure and giving them a voice
in our halls of justice. Look at this.
Ms. NANCY MINTIE: The Inner City Law Center is a community
law office for the people that live in the worst slums of Los Angeles.
So what we do at the center is to force these landlords to either
clean up their buildings or to give them up and turn them over to
somebody who can. I started my first office in a little garage
behind a soup kitchen. I wanted to go to a place that no one else
had gone to and serve people who otherwise would not be served.
My very first housing case involved a young mother whose five
daughters had been attacked by rats in their apartment,
and I thought that would be the worst case of my career.
From that day, almost 21 years ago, till today, we're still seeing
those kinds of conditions and those kinds of cases in this city.
Unidentified Woman #1: There was--an incident happened to my
little brother where he was bit by a rat, and he had scratches.
My mother was very sad. She saw the youngest of her children,
and he was--you know, got bit by a rat.
Ms. MINTIE: We had a seven-year-old client that was so covered
with flea bites that were brought in by the rats that he was
scratching himself all over his body until he bled, and then he
tried to commit suicide because it was driving him out of his mind.
When you live with cockroaches, one of the things that happens is
that they crawl into the ear canal because it's a warm, enclosed
space, and they'll get trapped there and cause extreme pain and
can damage the ear canal. The parents will stuff cotton into the
ear canals of their children and themselves at night to try and
keep the cockroaches out. We've got housing conditions that are
actually killing children here in Los Angeles.
In our last case we had a baby die of a severe respiratory
illness brought on by the vermin, the dampness, the cold, the mold
and the filth in the apartment.
And then there are all the structural problems.
Unidentified Woman #2: We decided that we had to leave because
the--the ceiling collapsed, and I was scared for my son.
I was scared that something, you know, would happen to him.
It was awful.
Ms. MINTIE: We're handling a case right now where the entire
building collapsed, and a young father was crushed to death,
and a number of people were injured.
These children, you know, grow up in buildings that are dark, dank,
dangerous, foul-smelling, and that is their memory of
their childhood home.
And that breaks my heart. I've been doing this work now for over
21 years, and we've never lost a housing case. We force them to
get rid of the rats and the cockroaches. We force them to put in
heat, decent plumbing, clean up the water supply,
make the building safe.
Unidentified Woman #3: I'm on the faculty at UCLA Law School,
and she was a student there. She comes and speaks to our students
usually at least once a year, and she is incredibly inspiring to them.
I think Nancy makes students really believe they can go out and
do good and really change the world, and life will be richer,
fuller, and more meaningful than it would be otherwise.
Ms. MINTIE: The lawyers that work here at Inner City Law Center
don't get rich. We don't do it for money. We do it for love.
Unidentified Man #1: The pay is not very high, but the reason
that I wanted to work in a place like this is because we have a
different kind of a mission than other law firms.
Ms. MINTIE: We often get involved with providing clothing,
helping them find employment, celebrating birthdays.
It's just something that--that happens naturally.
Unidentified Man #2: I bond with our clients because I--I try to
give them the respect that they deserve but they're often denied.
Ms. MINTIE: I do this work because it is so joyful and so loving
to be able to serve these beautiful people. And you know,
what do you make money for? That's to be happy, and this work makes
me happy, so I don't need the money.
You know, I do the work because it's a source of great happiness.
WINFREY: Please welcome Nancy Mintie,
founder of Inner City Law Center. Wow! [Applause] [Music]
Ms. MINTIE: You're the number one.
WINFREY: ...(Unintelligible). So, Nancy, we honor you today with
this $100,000 award because you have become one of the most
influential lawyers in America, not by making money, but by helping
those people who need it most, by putting the ideals of goodness
and honor and goodwill above dollars.
And so here's $100,000 in honor of that. [Applause]
Ms. MINTIE: I--I wanted to just say a special thank you to all of
you and to all of the viewers who have contributed to the Angel
Network to help make our work possible, and, of course, a very,
very special thank you to you, Oprah, for--you're just a shining
example of--of generosity and goodness for our world,
and I--I so very much appreciate that.
WINFREY: No, I think you are. I think you are. Thank you so much.
Now this money for this week's Use Your Life award comes from actor
Paul Newman of Newman's Own and you, our generous viewers.
Paul Newman gives all the profits, as you know, from Newman's Own,
the spaghetti sauces--that's why any time I'm buying spaghetti
sauce, I get Paul's--the popcorn and salad dressings, all go to
charity, like our--charities like our Angel Network. So we thank you,
Mr. Newman, and our viewers. And congratulations to you and the
great work that you are doing for children, mothers, families.
Thank you so much.
Ms. MINTIE: Thank you, Oprah.
WINFREY: We'll be right back. Back--right back. Coming up, this
former professional baseball player says he lost his career,
his marriage and his health, and he wants to know how to break
free of his negative attitude.
KARLEEN: And you want to draw the rain in for me?
WINFREY: And this mom says after she had a miscarriage, she became
angry towards everybody and everything until she discovered
what she really needed to do to feel happiness again.
Next, Gary Zukav is back to tell us how to get out of victim mode
and take your life in a new direction.
Gary Zukav on what to do when life seems really unfair, next.
WINFREY: So ask--answer this: How do you react when everything
is going wrong and life seems unfair? Maybe you are frustrated and
angry because you did not get the raise you felt you deserved or
the job you were qualified for, or maybe you were left with nothing
after your marriage ended or you're one of the many women who has
struggled for years to get pregnant or even to find love and get
married and you're still looking for Mr. Right and all the wrong
ones keep showing up, in your opinion. Well, Gary Zukav is here
and Gary says he has some information for you today that how you
choose to respond to the difficult and challenging things that
happen to you really does mean the difference between living the
rest of your life bitter, angry and resentful or living your
life with joy. Gary, of course, is the author of "Seat of the Soul"
and "Soul Stories"--which is now in paperback--and he's back to
tell us what to do when life seems unfair. You say that when you
believe life is unjust, you are declaring yourself a victim and
that it makes your life even more painful.
Mr. ZUKAV: That's right.
Mr. ZUKAV: This show brings us to the heart of spiritual development.
This show is at the core of what life on the Earth,
from my perspective, is about, and that is stepping into a genuine
responsibility for who you are, what you do, and what you contribute
while you are on the Earth. Becoming a victim is resisting your life.
Now do not misunderstand me. Resisting your life does not mean
contributing things to life or simply being a doormat to the world.
Resisting your life means not looking at your life realistically the
way it is and then moving forward from there. To the extent that you
resist your life, you become, yourself, a victim. You say,
`This shouldn't be happening to me. This is unfair.
It's not the way I want the world to be and it's not the way
I believe the world should be.' And as you do that, you lose power.
Now the question becomes, how will you walk on the Earth?
The choice is yours. And I am not suggesting that there is anything
morally or ethically wrong with looking at yourself as a victim
or in any other way. What I am suggesting to you is that you
consider the possibility that everything that happens to you
in your life is an opportunity that allows you to expand into
a fuller potential and powerful and meaningful life.
WINFREY: And you mean everything!
Mr. ZUKAV: Yes, I do.
WINFREY: Yes. I know once before we were talking, and you were
saying that--I think we did a show about choice, responsible choice,
and you were saying--which stuck with me, and--as you also say
in "Seat of the Soul," that a lot of people think the biggest
choices they're going to make in life are about their jobs or
about whether to marry or not to marry or what city to live in or not.
But the biggest choice, you say, is whether you decide for yourself
is the--is the universe a kind and compassionate place to live or
is it unfair? Or is life fi--just or unjust?
That is the decision that you have to make for yourself and move
through life based upon that.
Mr. ZUKAV: That's exactly what we're talking about now...
Mr. ZUKAV: ...because if you look at the universe as unfair,
you are resisting it. You are imposing your idea of how the
universe should be upon the universe.
WINFREY: OK, but, Gary...
Mr. ZUKAV: And that makes you a victim.
WINFREY: OK. I understand that. But I know there are a lot of
people, maybe some of you in this room are thinking,
`Well, life is unfair.' Aren't s--aren't you all thinking that?
I can feel it right now, right here. You can feel it.
Life is unfair. There are people saying, `Well, life is unfair.'
Things just happen to you and you didn't have anything to do--things
happen to you, and they don't seem fair.
Mr. ZUKAV: Right.
WINFREY: Aren't you all thinking that? I'm not the only one.
And they don't seem fair. Yeah.
Mr. ZUKAV: What I would like to do while we are together is plant
in you the seed of the possibility that that perception is only one
perception, and it's not necessarily the way your life is.
In other words, there are things that you cannot control.
Mr. ZUKAV: But you can al...
WINFREY: Those are things that people say aren't fair.
So what they're really saying is there are things that I cannot
control, so that's unfair that I cannot control my own happiness.
Mr. ZUKAV: Precisely.
Mr. ZUKAV: But you can--that, by the way, is one of the things
you can control--your own happiness or lack of it.
You cannot control things that happen to you.
Say you are in an automobile accident.
Mr. ZUKAV: That happened. But what you can control is your
response to it, how you look at your circumstance.
One of the most inspiring people that I saw last year is
Christopher Reeve, and I related to him deeply,
because he told me a story of how he was sailing at night with a
friend, feeling the warm breeze, looking at the stars,
hearing the water lap against the boat, and his friend and he
both agreeing life wouldn't be living--wouldn't be worth living
if we couldn't do this. And now he can't do it.
He could have responded to what happened to him with self-pity,
with a victim stance of `Why me? Why did I take that jump
the way I did? Why did I pick that horse?
Why did that barrier be six inches higher than it should have been?
Why did I fall the way I did instead of the way I know I can fall?'
He could have consumed himself with `This is unfair.'
But he chose to respond to that differently.
He couldn't control the fact that he broke his back.
But he did choose to respond to it in a way that gave him power
rather than drained power from him.
WINFREY: OK. When we come back, we're going to introduce you to
Jeff, who has believed for a long time that life was not fair.
We'll come back and meet Jeff in just a moment.
[SOFT PIANO MUSIC]
WINFREY: If you think life is unfair,
Gary says it can be difficult, but try to think that what you
are experiencing is not unfair. He says the universe is not
random or cruel or judgmental. It is compassionate and wise,
and there is a reason why these things are happening to you,
and that reason is your spiritual growth.
Looking at yourself as a victim blocks you from seeing that wisdom
and compassion and keeps you from having a joyful and meaningful life.
So we're talking with Gary Zukav about what we all can do when
life seems unfair. Gary says when you're stuck at a pity party
or victim mode, you will continue to live in negativity and pain
and a lot of people have pity parties of different degrees.
People--some people have an all-out bash and some people are
just having a few friends over for a little semi-pity party and
some people are having a major celebration of pity. This is Jeff.
As a boy, Jeff dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player,
so when he joined the minor leagues right out of high school,
his dream was very close. But after a series of injuries,
he was cut from the team, and Jeff says he has had nothing but bad
luck and heartache ever since, and it does not seem fair.
Take a look.
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Since I was a kid, that's all I dreamed about,
was being a ballplayer. I always thought that that's what I was
going to do my whole life. When I was 17 years old,
I was drafted by the Mets. After six years I was drafted by the
Milwaukee Brewers, and after that I was with the Baltimore Orioles.
While playing in the minor leagues, I suffered a few injuries,
and after the second surgery on my elbow, they told me that
I probably would never play again. I kind of used that as something
to drive me into working at--and getting back.
As my rehab progressed, I was drafted by the White Sox,
and I had a pretty good spring, and then it all ended.
I tore the middle fingernail off my pitching hand,
and I couldn't hold the ball, and they said,
`We're going to have to let you go,' and I drove home from Sarasota,
and I just cried for a while, and I thought,
`Gosh, where do I go from here? It's all over.'
After my career came to that abrupt and nasty ending, so did my
marriage, and I felt that my wife really enjoyed being around
the ball fields, and I think the life that she thought that she
might have had with a ballplayer was over, so my marriage was over.
Brings back a lot of memories.
Mr.CISZKOWSKI: So that's when I said, OK, I'm going to go back
to school and be a police officer like my father was.
While I was waiting to go into the police academy,
I'd had an accident at my other job, and I broke my back,
and that's when my life really started to down-spiral and take a
nosedive. People don't understand the amount of pain that's a
constant--24 hours, seven days a week, it doesn't stop.
Now I'm being told that, you know, I'm lucky that I can walk.
I lost my car. I had to file bankruptcy because I couldn't work
anymore. All the things my parents instilled in me, you know,
you work hard, you--you get the things you earn, and now I couldn't
even earn a living. Everything that I had was taken away,
and my dignity. That's a screamer. Sometimes I go and watch ball
games and see some of the old-timers play and just wonder,
you know, what if.
Unidentified Man #3: You're looking good.
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I lost a lot of weight, man. I went from
having a promising baseball career to being a failure, is pretty
much what it feels like. The hardest part is seeing guys that I
played with making millions of dollars a year, and here I am making
a few hundred dollars every two weeks, and I can't even pay my bills.
That's a hard thing to swallow. It just seems as though the last
10 to 15 years have just been brutal. It's constantly banging on
your brain that it's not fair. Why me? What did I do to deserve this?
WINFREY: All right.
Mr. ZUKAV: Jeff, thank you for being here. And I want to tell you
that I appreciate that you are in pain. Maybe I can't even feel
as much pain as you are in, but I don't want in any way to let you
or anyone else here think that pain doesn't hurt and that it's not
real when it happens. When I say that the universe is wise and
compassionate, and you're in pain, you may say, `How could that be,
because I lost my career as a baseball player, this woman I wanted
to live with, that woman I wanted to live with, and all of the
other things,' and I'm not a therapist, and I'm not a preacher.
All I can do is share some of the thing--some of the things that
have been important to me. Here's a small story from my life.
About 30 years ago, I wanted to be a developer, and I lived in
Florida, also in Miami. At that time there were vast expanses of
open land in southern Florida, and I wanted to develop some of that
land, but I couldn't make it happen. And later I saw high-rises all
along that Florida coast, and I thought about how wealthy I would
have been. I could not make that dream happen.
Mr. ZUKAV: Wherever I went, a door slammed shut. And yet now,
or starting about 15 years ago, I looked back on that time in my
life, and I am grateful and have been since that time that I was
not successful as a developer, that I'm not living on Key Biscayne
with 125-foot yacht at the dock and a five-car garage,
because I believe I would have been addicted.
I would still have been addicted to sex. I probably would have
been addicted to drugs. I would have been addicted to having a lot
of money. I can feel the pain of that life now that I wanted
so much and that was so tragic to me to lose.
And had I gained that life, I would not have found my way.
I would not have been able to have the many experiences that have
brought me to my beloved Linda, to the audience that is here,
and to Oprah, and to the audience that is watching us.
I am thankful every day now that none of my plans worked.
WINFREY: But that's you.
Mr. ZUKAV: Yes, it is.
WINFREY: That's you. He's sitting here and he's thinking,
`Well, I would like to be a ball player still.' Aren't you?
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I think that's pretty much over with.
WINFREY: Or that--you know what I'm saying? OK, so I understand
and I appreciate your story, but I'm saying he--he's not where
you are. He doesn't have that perspective.
Mr. ZUKAV: I wasn't where I am now when I couldn't get those
apartment buildings built. I was not able, and I was frustrated
and I thought the world was unfair and unjust, and that the
universe was unjust, and I spent a lot of my life
raging at the universe. So what I'm suggesting is that there was
nothing wrong with that, but it was painful. It was painful to me.
So I'm not trying to convince you to change.
But what I am suggesting is that there are other ways to look
at your life the way it is, and I gave the story of my life simply
because I'm an authority on my life, but I'm not an authority
on yours. However, I do suggest to you that there is wisdom in
what is happening. As I began to what I can now say follow my heart,
doors began to open that I didn't know were there, just as doors
continually closed for me earlier in my life.
So what I'm suggesting is this: Entertain, if you have the
inclination to, that the universe is wise and compassionate,
even though what you are experiencing may be painful or is painful
in the moment. If what you are experiencing is painful,
the pain is there. Now the question is, how shall you respond to it?
Mr. ZUKAV: And I am suggesting that a healthy way to respond to
it is to see what you can learn from your life the way it is.
Now you have to trust that there is something to learn from what
is happening to you, and that's what I'm on this show today to
suggest, exactly that, that your life is meaningful, it's powerful,
it's purposeful, and your purpose on the Earth is to align yourself
with the highest aspect of yourself, or your soul, that part--that
part that longs for harmony and cooperation and sharing and
reverence for life, and you can't get there overnight,
and you can't even begin the journey while you are looking
at life as unfair.
WINFREY: Well, I would say this to you.
I just--I know this for sure. That God, whether you call
it God or not, can dream a bigger dream for you than you could
ever dream for yourself and that many times when you're hitting
yourself up against the wall, hitting yourself up against the wall,
what you really need to do is to surrender to what life wants
for your life, for what the greater life,
the greater thing that I call God wants for your life,
and so I think that's what Gary is saying.
You need to put your pla--yourself in that place of surrender to
be willing and ope--to open your heart to what really is supposed
to happen to you in your life, what you really have come to the
planet to do, because, you know, based upon what we've seen now,
it isn't to be a baseball player.
Oops, you thought that's what it was, but obviously the
creator has something else in mind for you...
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Yeah.
WINFREY: ...so you need to open to--your heart to receive that,
because whatever that is, is what is going to give you a greater
sense of fulfillment and happiness and joy than you ever could
have imagined possible for yourself.
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Yeah, but now with--dealing with all the
bitterness and the anger that you have, not just because that
was taken away from me or it didn't happen, it's the everyday
things that I have to deal with, just to--like take the dogs for
a walk or to get out of bed, it's affected my relationships
with my friends. I've kind of closed myself off to that because
of all the negativity that comes with the physical pain that
I endure day in and day out, and that has a--I mean,
just--it's like you become a prisoner of your own bedroom,
is pretty much what I did.
WINFREY: We'll continue talking with Jeff when we come back.
Have to take a commercial break. I hear what you're saying.
WINFREY: Gary says as long as you feel that life is unfair,
even to a small degree, you position yourself as a victim,
and when you assume the passive role of victim, you are
choosing not to step into the power of your own life,
and Gary says this is a very painful way to live. OK.
Mr. ZUKAV: Jeff, you said in your piece that your dignity
was taken from you, and in my experience, that's impossible.
You have to relinquish it. And that is a choice.
And I do believe you when you say that you are a prisoner,
but I don't believe it's a prisoner of your bedroom.
I believe it is a prisoner of the way that you are looking at
your experience and looking at the universe and saying your--to
yourself `It shouldn't be this way. I shouldn't be in pain.
I shouldn't have experienced all that I've experienced.'
And this is the key and the most difficult thing that all
of us on this Earth are now dealing with.
WINFREY: So you're saying he should look--he should
look at it as this is what it is. Now what?
Mr. ZUKAV: I'm not saying that you should do that.
I'm saying that is the healthiest way to approach a life.
WINFREY: This is what I have to deal with. Now what?
Mr. ZUKAV: Exactly. Instead of squandering your energy about
how you could have been this and you could have been that and
things could have turned out this way, to look at the way you
are and your life is now, and the question is
`Where do I go from there?'
Mr. ZUKAV: And you can continue to be the same prisoner until
you die, or you can experiment, and since you're in pain,
what have you got to lose?
WINFREY: What do you say to that, Jeff?
Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I--it sounds great.
The thing is, is just finding that little niche or that--you know,
I talked to Linda earlier about, you know, the thing that
helps me was just to go out and escape--and I don't know
if I should use that word `escape' or not--but just to go out
into the Gulf and just float for an hour, because it just takes
all the pressure off my spine, and it just feels like heaven.
But it's when I get out, I feel like somebody's dropping a
Volkswagen bug on my back, and I'm like `Oh, no,' you know,
`here it is again.' And it's that vicious cycle that you go
through that, you know, you try and get away from it,
and you try and that positive approach to it, but you're always
ending up in that same starting point.
Mr. ZUKAV: Now you have described for millions of viewers exactly
what happens when you cling to the perception of yourself as a victim.
You will perpetuate your experience, whether it is being lonely,
whether it is reaching out and trying to make a connection and not
having the connection come back to you, whatever it is, you will
perpetuate that. If you are lonely, instead of blaming other
people for being who they are, look at how you are and see what
involvement you have. If you feel that you are in a prison,
instead of looking at the pain in your body and the things
that have happened to you, look at the way you are approaching
your own life. Experiment with this. I'm not saying this is
what you should do. I'm merely offering you an option.
WINFREY: OK. Now let's meet Karleen.
After she had a miscarriage, she says she began to think life
was also unfair. As her life became increasingly miserable
and her family started falling apart, she made a change that
turned her life around. Take a look at how Karleen broke free
from anger and negativity by shifting her paradigm, which as I
was saying to Jeff, you need to shift. Here we go.
KARLEEN: I'm 33 years old, married, and I have one son.
When I was growing up, people always thought I was so outgoing and
positive, but I wasn't always feeling positive on the inside.
I felt life was unfair sometimes. If somebody got something,
whether it was a promotion or a materialistic thing, instead of
being happy for them, I took it to mean, `Well, that's less for me.'
I had to be the best at everything. I felt one measure of being a
perfect mom was having a lot of children. Sorry.
Two years ago I had a miscarriage. I was completely devastated
when I lost the baby. I felt it was so unfair what happened to me,
and I felt sorry for myself. I felt like a victim.
I thought `Why me?' I felt that life was unkind to me.
My son was two years old when I had the miscarriage.
I couldn't think about my husband and the child that I did have.
All I thought about was what I didn't have. I shut out those
around me, and I distanced myself from others. I became obsessed
with getting pregnant and having another child.
My husband became resentful, constantly telling me,
`You're focusing too much on what you don't have and not enough
on what you do have.' And I--I didn't want to hear it.
Then one day I watched Gary Zukav on THE OPRAH SHOW.
Mr. ZUKAV: The question is are you going to generate negativity
and confusion and control...
KARLEEN: I related to what Gary was saying about negativity,
and my husband looked at me and said `That's you,' and I said
`I know.' For the first time I said `What am I supposed to
learn from this?' Before it was `Why me, poor me.'
I truly believe that things happen for a reason, and I felt the
miscarriage happened to me because I needed a wake-up call.
I'd become angry and bitter, slowly over the years.
I didn't realize it. I need to change. I started to truly
appreciate my life and what I'd been blessed with.
Once I surrendered my anger, there was room for love.
A miracle happened. Come on in! I became pregnant.
I know now I'm in a better place, and if I were to experience
another miscarriage, I would be able to handle it differently.
I have enough love in my heart now to try to understand it.
I know I wouldn't fall back into my old pattern of `Why me?
This is so unfair.' I realize this was my life lesson,
and we all have life lessons, and if this is my life lesson,
I'll take it.
WINFREY: Terrif--those aren't all your children in the house.
WINFREY: Neighbors' children. What do you want to say, Gary?
Mr. ZUKAV: Thank you. We have here on the show two examples of
two roads. Both involved pain. Both involved the world not being
the way that someone thought it should be.
And we have an example of one gentleman who is looking for a
way to change that perception and another person who has changed
that perception. You are the authority in your own life, not I.
So you must make the decisions in your own life about how you
will look at yourself and your life and the events that occur in it.
I am suggesting that you consider the possibility that looking
at the universe as wise and compassionate, even in your most
difficult and painful moments, will open you to the possibility
of insights that you would not be able to find if you looked at
the world and the universe as unjust and unfair. Do you see?
It's a matter of limitation and opportunity, not of right and wrong.
WINFREY: We'll be right back.
[Inspirational piano music]
WINFREY: When you feel that life is unfair, Gary says think of this:
What you experience is exactly what you need to experience,
and while you can't control what happens to you, you always have
the option to choose how you respond to what happens to you.
Gary says in every moment of every day, you are given the
opportunity to create anew. To reiterate this point, you may not
be able to control what happens to you during your lifetime--none
of us can--but the one thing you can control is how you choose
to respond. That's what you're talking about here.
Mr. ZUKAV: That's--that's That's exactly what I'm talking about.
And no one has an easy life on this Earth, not...
WINFREY: Because that's what the Earth is--hard life school.
Mr. ZUKAV: The Earth is, in my perception, a learning
environment, and nobody has an easy time of it.
Mr. ZUKAV: So...
WINFREY: But isn't Earth--I was just saying, we're in the realm
of yin and yang. It is opposites. Yeah.
Mr. ZUKAV: It is. So if you are holding to the belief that your
life should be easy or different than it is, you are in for more
of a difficult ride than you need to have. This is at the heart
of authentic power. This is at the heart of spiritual development.
Understanding that you are powerful, that you are meaningful,
that you are worthy, that your experiences are worthy of you and
you are worthy of them and moving forward from there in the best
way that you can. It takes courage, it takes clarity,
and the only alternative you have is to continue in the way that
you have been moving forward until you decide to change.
Mr. ZUKAV: This show, this series, is an instigation, like an
instigator, to look at the possibility of changing now before
the pain in your life become so intense that you must
focus--you must focus, because you cannot bear the pain any longer,
whatever your pain is. Your pain is exquisitely suited to you.
It is not something to be avoided. It is your avenue to spiritual
growth. It is the blessing of your life descending upon you.
You can either take that stance toward it, or you can take
this stance toward it. That's your choice.
WINFREY: Remembering Your Spirit is next. Thank you, Gary.
WINFREY: We received a wonderful letter from Donna in California
who told a remarkable story of what it means to stop viewing
life as unfair. After a decade of struggling with infertility,
Donna's dream of having a family had finally come true when
she adopted first one, then a second baby boy, but when the birth
parents had a change of heart and took that baby back, Donna says
she felt like her life had been destroyed.
So take a look at how Donna's tragedy
led her to a life with more love,
peace and more meaning, how she got over that.
DONNA: My parents divorced when I was a teen-ager,
and I felt like my whole life fell apart.
I felt very lonely and insecure. This is when I started to be
obsessed with trying to create my own family, and that that was
the only way I was going to to be able to feel happy again.
I met my husband, and I fell in love with him and thought that
he would make a great father. Shortly after we were married,
we decided to try and have children. After about a year of trying,
we started going to infertility treatment. We tried for five years.
I couldn't take it anymore. I was getting used to the pattern of
failures and disappointment every month.
We decided that we were going to adopt,
and Michael came into our lives.
DONNA: We were overcome with joy that I finally was getting the son,
the family, that I always wanted.
Three years later we decided that we were going to adopt again.
We were chosen by a birth mother to be the adoptive parents for
a boy that we named Steven, and we immediately
bonded and fell in love with him. I was ecstatic to finally have
the two children that I'd always wanted.
I felt like I was going to have the happiness I had been missing.
Two and a half months after we had Steven, the birth family decided
to raise Steven by themselves. We had to return him to the agency.
I couldn't believe why this was happening to us.
Life seemed so unfair. I had been feeling so powerless
and like a victim. I was extremely angry with the whole world.
I didn't think I was going to be able to go on.
A couple years ago, I saw Gary Zukav on OPRAH and started
to read his book. It really helped me to turn the corner.
I had to learn to turn my anger back into love, and what I needed
to do was to connect with the people that I was angry with.
DONNA: With my parents, I was able to understand that they were
doing the best that they could, and it wasn't a personal
thing against me. Here's when they did a shower for me.
I've been on a spiritual journey ever since then.
I'm very grateful for Steven coming into our lives.
I call Steven my soul baby. I feel like he was sent to me
for a reason, and he's changed my life.
I've turned Steven's room into a spiritual room.
It finally is a happy place again. Why don't you tell me what
you're thankful for today? I feel like I'm a much better parent now.
Michael and I have much better conversations.
We spend time in my spiritual room. We light a candle,
and we talk about what we're grateful for.
There's other ways to share our love as a family.
Michael and I have become mentors to a young boy,
and I realize that we can still make a difference in his life
without him living with us, and it's been a great experience.
I do feel that the greater the loss, the greater the opportunity
for growth, and I'm looking at the big picture.
I really feel that things happen for a reason.
Sometimes you don't understand why for many years later.
I no longer feel that life is unfair.
I feel it's all about learning.
WINFREY: Indeed. Thank you, Donna. We'll be right back.
WINFREY: Thank you to Jeff and to Karleen and, of course,
to Gary Zukav. Gary has a gift for everybody in our audience,
a copy of the new paperback edition of "Soul Stories."
And don't forget after the show you can go online to oprah.com
and see what happens after the show here in the studio after
we go off the air. Thank you all so much. Thanks. Thank you.
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