inspiration, part one (or, the inside work)

by Amy

Yesterday, one of my facebook friends posted a link to the transcript from Oprah Winfrey’s last show. I have never been a huge follower of Oprah, but I have definitely admired her for her accomplishments.

OK. I would be a serious liar if I said that I never watched one (or maybe several) of her shows and just bawled like a little baby.

Oprah said that the episode was her love letter to her followers. She said some lovely things about her time on the air. I have always been amazed by the level of grace with which this woman seems to operate. Even on her final show, the words she chose conveyed such a level of grace and wisdom.

What struck me the most as I read through the transcript of the last show was the sense Oprah gave of passing the torch. She basically said, “Thank you for doing for me what you claim I have done for you. Now go, and do unto others.” She spoke of our circle of influence and how we can have an impact on even a small number of people.

This really resonates with me. I have always wanted to be a person who can make a difference, somehow. I don’t care if I ever cure a disease or end hunger or suffering (although, who wouldn’t want that if it were within the powers of one person?).

Honestly, more than anything, I just want to get to the end of it all and realize that I did the best I could with what I was given – the best I could to show love, patience, kindness. The best I could to make people feel welcome and not alone. The best I could to listen, understand, and “be there.”

The only problem that I see with this grand mission of mine is… well, me. I am tired. I am unfulfilled. I am lonely. I have needs. I am creatively stagnant (and that is an understatement).

It takes all I can muster, once I am done with the commuting and the working, to do things like: go to the grocery store, pack lunches, go to the library, and stop eating ice cream. I have a ridiculously short attention span. I have a ridiculously low level of follow-through.

Some days, I can’t even find my pants.

So. Oprah. Dear Oprah. How does a mildly ambitious (when I am paying attention), bleeding heart, compulsive eating, lucky-to-even-be-wearing-pants kind of person even begin? Where is the love letter for that?