The impossibly possible happened. I stepped foot onto The Promised Land, also known as Oprah Winfrey’s home in Montecito, California. In a rare and cherished event, Oprah opened up the doors to her magical sanctuary to celebrate the release of her new book, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations.
Brilliantly expanding the Super Soul brand to reach beyond the Sunday television broadcast (which airs on Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN) into the podcast realm with Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Oprah’s main goal is takes us along for the ride toward the ultimate destination: fulfilling “the highest, truest expression of ourselves as human beings.”
Walking along the cobbled stepping stones as the serene sounds of the babbling brook and the fresh smell of greenery colored our senses, we sat down at an intimate roundtable with Oprah to discuss the very beginnings of the Super Soul brand, the intention behind the book, navigating different viewpoints in today’s society and what she knows for sure.
Oprah touched on the beginning of her Super Soul journey (all the way back to the Remembering Your Spirit days!) where she initially struggled to truly be heard -- this brand wasn’t always as fully embraced as it is today! “This message is truly a part of my calling, it’s why I’m here -- to unlike human possibilities for people. To unlock people’s potential.”
Oprah is a self-described “teacher” and “storyteller” with the key intention “to get people to see the best in themselves.” There was a particular moment when we truly felt like we were in church as Oprah grabbed a book and declared that we flip to page 115 for a passage by Mark Nepo that digs deep into learning and understanding each other. Oprah described today’s social climate as a “crossroads of human culture,” then deliberately pointed to her book and dubbed it the passageway to “get woke,” referencing the significance of a self-spiritual awakening. That self-work then leads to a “collective consciousness” to “rise to the best of ourselves.” Oprah is down for the resistance culture, but she suggests we “resist higher” and never meet the low at their level.
In one of my favorite moments of the chat, Oprah settled into the simple moments of her extraordinary life. As a woman who literally has over 3,000 trees on her property -- she had a tree counter confirm! -- it would seem easy to lose herself in that extraordinary bubble. However, Oprah has made a deliberate choice to keep her bearings by living in the now… and by implementing gratitude in everything she experiences.
She then took us on this mental experience of a night at her home, reveling in the stillness, hearing the Montecito frogs in the pond and realizing that getting from there (rural Mississippi) to here (over 65-acres of Promised Land) took concerted “Spiritual GPS” work. “The reason I live this ‘elevated life’ is because I’ve been on my way to it for a very long time,” she said.
So, what does Oprah know for sure right now? “I know for sure it’s gon’ be hot out there!,” she exclaimed to a sea of chuckles from the table, referencing the looming Super Soul Gospel Brunch. It’s her penultimate statement and one that I wanted to gain insight into as she sat before us that very moment, so I asked Oprah, “What do you know for sure?”
“I know for sure that my intention is for this book to get out into the world and that it launches in a way that people actually feel the spirit of it.”
Peak blackness shined throughout the amphitheater as we were legit taken to church in a gospel rendition led by the legendary Bebe Winans, with an alley-oop from Donald Lawrence. America’s Got Talent Emily David -- who brings with her a wonderful story of grace as Oprah aided her family after they lost everything in the flood damages from Hurricane Harvey and invited her to sing for this special day -- sung a beautifully heart-wrenching rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Additional performances from Erica Campbell, Cynthia Erivo, Yolanda Adams, Andra Day and Common complemented by a beautiful backup choir filled with ankara-print-dressed ladies rounded out the day as we collectively got our lives.
We certainly worked up an appetite as we headed over to the grand finale: the brunch! Produced by Colin Cowie, the entire space was enriched with the Super Soul brand from the signature cocktails named “Wisdom” or “Hope” to the soft colors of the table design. Before we began, Bishop TD Jakes blessed our food and our souls. Chef Art Smith oversaw the menu and brought us his well-known southern style with delectable fare such as chicken and waffles, gumbo, lobster, cheddar biscuits, oysters, grits, the most tender brisket my teeth has even grazed, macaroni and cheese topped with truffle flakes, red velvet cake and more… all of which was colored by a wonderful open bar.
Oh, and did I mention the guests? The phrase “anyone who is anyone” rang true and I couldn’t help but notice the array of black excellence that surrounded me like the warmest embrace. From Ava DuVernay to Sterling K. Brown. From Luvvie to Bozoma Saint John. From Gayle King to Shonda Rhimes. From Angela Bassett to Courtney B. Vance. From DeVon Franklin to Meagan Good. From Alicia Keys to Usher. From Angela Rye to Ms. Tina Knowles. The list went on and I was here for every second of it.
Photo: Harpo, Inc./George Burns
Super Soul Gospel Brunch spiritually fed me in a way that has me longing for leftovers. I was honored to share space with Oprah in her home and am forever thankful that she opened her figurative and physical doors to us as we traipse along the journey to our highest selves.
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations is available now!
More on Oprah's 'SuperSoul' series is below:
BOOK: “The Wisdom of Sundays”
Available on October 17, “The Wisdom of Sundays” comprises the most memorable aha moments that have enlightened millions on the three-time Emmy Award-winning “Super Soul Sunday.” The book features personal essays by Oprah herself and includes selections from the most meaningful conversations between Oprah and some of today’s most-admired thought-leaders including Gary Zukav, Shonda Rhimes, Devon Franklin, Brene Brown, President Jimmy Carter, Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and many more.
PODCAST: “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations”
OWN’s first-ever podcast, “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations,” debuted in August on Apple Podcasts as #1, featuring audio from the three-time Emmy Award-winning television series “Super Soul Sunday.” Delivering insight and inspiration from top thinkers, authors, visionaries and spiritual leaders to awaken viewers to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them, “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” is available now on Apple Podcasts at ApplePodcasts.com/OprahSuperSoul. The podcast has been downloaded nearly 10 million times by listeners in over 190 countries worldwide!
“Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” is available now on Apple Podcasts. New releases below.
- Monday, 10.16: Francine and David Wheeler lost their 6-year-old son Benjamin in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012. They sit down with Oprah and with astounding grace and wisdom, share how suffering can be a catalyst for transformation.
- Wednesday, 10.18: Oprah Winfrey sits down with Hollywood power couple DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good as they open up about their faith, courtship and marriage, as well as the key to their successful relationship.
- Monday, 10.23: Oprah Winfrey speaks with visionary thought leader Eckhart Tolleto discuss his view of why the world is in the midst of an emotional shift.
- Wednesday, 10.25: Oprah Winfrey is joined by Michael Bernard Beckwith, visionary founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, for a conversation about living with intention and creating a vision for your life.
- Monday, 10.30: Oprah Winfrey speaks with Brother David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine monk, author and scholar, to talk about the true source of lasting joy.
- Monday, 11.13: Oprah Winfrey speaks with former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, about his political career and his personal tragedies, including his decision to not run for President and the death of his beloved son, Beau.
TV SERIES: “Super Soul Sunday”
“Super Soul Sunday” is the OWN’s three-time Emmy award-winning series that delivers timely, thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring programming designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them. The series features all-new conversations between Oprah Winfrey and top thinkers, authors, visionaries and spiritual leaders exploring themes and issues including happiness, personal fulfillment, spirituality, conscious living and what it means to be alive in today’s world.
“Super Soul Sunday” airs on Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN
Upcoming episodes this fall include former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, about his political career and his personal tragedies, including his decision to not run for President and the death of his beloved son, Beau.