Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Gary Zukav on What to Do When Life Seems Unfair | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

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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.

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APPLAUSE

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.

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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.

WINFREY: Yeah.

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...

WINFREY: Right.

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.

[Laughter]

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.

WINFREY: Correct.

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.

WINFREY: Yeah.

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.

WINFREY: Right.

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.

[MUSIC] [APPLAUSE]

[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?

WINFREY: Yeah.

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.

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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?'

WINFREY: Yeah.

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.

KARLEEN: No.

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.

[APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]

[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.

WINFREY: Yeah.

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.

WINFREY: Correct.

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.

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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.

MICHAEL: Hi.

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.

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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.

[MUSIC] [APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC]

-Guests fly our official carrier, American Airlines, the only

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Enjoy more room on American.

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The Description of Gary Zukav on What to Do When Life Seems Unfair | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network