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: I'm Gwyneth Paltrow and you're listening to the Goop podcast made possible by our friends at Boll and Branch. Sleep hygiene and its impact on our health is a popular topic at Goop HQ. Luckily Boll and Branch is on the same page.
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: I am beyond beyond excited to be launching the first episode of the Goop podcast with one of my heroes who not coincidentally happens to be a lot of people's hero. Oprah Winfrey.
: I believe that fundamentally we are all the same.
: I had to pinch myself a few times during our conversation talking to Oprah about all the ways she has pushed and continues to push boundaries in her career and life.
: Don't hold anything too tightly just wish for it. Want it. Let it come from the intention of real truth for you and then let it go. And if it's supposed to be yours it will show up and it won't show up until you stop holding it so tightly.
: As a philanthropist, talk show host, producer, actor (go see her in a wrinkle in time), mentor, and modern thought leader. Oprah has been instrumental in breaking open old paradigms and paving the way for new voices ideas and movements. I'm so incredibly grateful for the chance to sit down with her and continue to learn from her. Here she is, Oprah.
: I'll try not to run the show.
: Now you can run the show.
: Actually there's a very big misconception.
: It is not true.
: Who do you like to run everything?
Surrounding yourself with people to free your thoughts
: I like to surround myself with people who can run things so that I can be free to be with my thoughts.
: How have you gotten there because I really do think that to be able to continue to expand and to create you do need time.
: You can't do it without time.
: How did you get there. Was there a period of time where you felt that you needed to do everything yourself?
: Yes including booking the guests and on the Oprah show when I first started. And then I realized I'm really terrible at this. But it was really important to me in the beginning to do every job so that I would understand what other people were doing. And obviously I couldn't do you know the videotape room.
: I did no editing because when I first started out in television, the very first day I was sent out on assignment, I was asked if I could edit even though I couldn't I said I could and I went to people and said you got to show me how to edit this. This is back in the old days where they're using Bell and Howell film and you had to go in the room and actually cut the little pieces of film.
: And so I would say that this the power of my being able to move forward has been based on me paying attention. And Maya Angelou used to say to me all the time, babe, you are where you are because you are obedient to the call. And she would understand she said. And even when I tell you things I like the way you listen and then decide for yourself whether it is for you. And I've been doing that a very long time.
: But I actually learned I wasn't just a talk show. I was also a listening show. So I feel, Gwyneth, at this particular time in my life that all of that listening has come to fill a space of knowing for me that I would not had had I not actually listened.
: So probably you've heard me say over the years there was a time where it made the shift from it being a show to it being a ministry and it being just an expression of my self to the world.
: And that shift, that ability for me to offer every day, whether it was Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or a woman who'd lost everything she owned because her husband kicked her out of the house, or victims of abuse domestic violence kids whatever the subject I was able to find the thread of hope in it. I was able to find what is the the thing that's going to connect to the audience.
"What is that thing"
: I'm always looking for what is that thing. How is what you're saying going to resonate with the people who are listening. Because I believe that fundamentally we are all the same. And that that's why when you go to a movie and you cry and you experience joy or you have any kind of reaction.
: What I started calling aha moments, the aha's are, it's a vibrational frequency that's touching what's already there. That's what makes you go. Ah ha ha I knew that I just wasn't able to express it in that way. Aha that feels familiar that that sounds right. That feels like the truth to me. That's what an aha is, it's a remembering.
: It's a resonance.
: It's a resonance and it's a remembering of what you always always knew.
: And do you find especially when you're in your position in this show that's what people really I feel like so many people don't have the tools to connect to those aha moments. They don't they sort of are doing their thing they're busy they're head down and they're especially then I feel like now we're more in the culture more open to spirituality and more open to resonance and open to open mindedness.
: But I feel especially during the 80s and 90s there was more doing than being and I feel like part of the thing that you did was sort of introduce in a way this spirituality.
: I feel that we do too and I think it's exciting to me that it's catching up to what I knew and believed it could be but when I first started talking about spirituality. Remembering your spirit. We had a little segment on call remembering your spirit because I was just trying to get people little pieces of it.
: And I remember doing a show with Carolyn Mace who wrote the anatomy of spirit and in the middle of that show I'm watching the audience and I use the audience to gauge the larger world audience and I can tell who's listening who's not listening and I could tell the people who just zoned out.
: And so I stopped the show stop the taping and said hey hey hey hey hey are you still with us. And woman stood up and said no no we're not what are you talking about spirit. This was 92. Wow. And I said well you know mind body spirit right. Because I said you know you're mine right. You have a body and you have a spirit and she goes Well I know I have a mind of a body but what are you talking about spirit.
: In 1992 while we were talking about the anatomy of spirit people don't know what spirit is and so. And then somebody else said are you talking about Jesus Christ you're talking about disciples are you talking about the Bible what are you talking about. No I said I'm talking about the part of you that is your essence.
: That is like your soul. That is the part that never dies that is. And so therefore we have to start from ground zero to explain what the word spirit means. So now we're a long way from that but I will say that the show The Oprah Show was a part of opening up that aperture to talk about it in a way that's not so woo woo. And of course when you are pioneering anything are introducing new ideas to the culture you get criticized.
: You do?
: Yeah. Did you hear about that that people are resistant to anything that removes them from their current way of thinking. Because it means that I have to let go of who I think I am and make room for the possibility of something else.
: So it's threatening?
: Yeah it feels it feels threatening and also like I'm used to doing things the way I've been doing it. And then if I have to change my belief if I have to believe which is which is the thing that is fundamentally disruptive to people.
: If I have to change what I believe then it means that I may not be who I think I am. Because I've based who I think I am on a belief system so if you're asking me to I remember like simple things that aren't so simple that have life changing impact on a family.
"You changed my life"
: I used to always do these shows about not hitting your kids and is spanking ok. So in the 80s we were still having that discussion. Is it ok to spank your kids. And I remember major moment with a viewer in a grocery store saying to me you changed my life and I used to just say oh ok thank you. And then I started stopping to pay attention to what that really meant because when somebody says to you you change my life that's a major thing.
: So tell me how she said well I used to be my kids. I used to beat my kids. And I used to hear you talk about every time you on TV you talking about don't beat your kids don't beat your kids and she said how you going have good kids you don't beat them?
: And so she said I decided one day I'm going just see. I'm going to see. I will try this for one week. I'm not going to get my kids she said. So I did not hit my son for a week and then I tried it another week and I didn't hit my son and then she said you know it's been weeks now and I haven't hit my son and I have a different son and I am a different mother. And she said it's not because the first time you said it it's because you were consistent. You were consistent. Every time you said it. So a little change like that.
: Look at the impact that has on that son on that mother on that family. And I recognized by paying attention to that that it's the little things that turn into big things and make major changes in people's lives.
: I mean that's a powerful thing that happened because I was consistent. So I started that was a lesson to me and I pay attention to that and it's important to me to remain consistent in my ideas and consistent in whatever it is I'm trying to to offer. But it was a that was a that was a life changing moment for me. Hearing her getting that kind of feedback from someone.
: And how do you hold being that person in the world?
: Well I think we are all that person in the world. The difference is through the platform of that show and also now who I am and the world I have access to more people. But one of the things I said when I was ending the show everybody has their own platform. Everybody has their own platform and their level of influence.
: I recognize that I am a big soul. And the way you know if you're a big soul your souls influence is in direct proportion to the amount of people you're able to affect.
: Yeah. So that means I'm a big soul. There are smaller souls that are also equally as powerful in their field just because you can't reach a lot of people doesn't mean that you don't have the same impact on the people that you are reaching.
: So I think I value knowing that that it's not just I don't think of myself as a personality as much as I think of myself as a being in personality form that has come to affect and to influence through my own expression. That's what that's what I think. But I think everybody has that.
: One of the other things. If I were to do a book which I keep thinking I might and then I think it's too hard. Now I have to talk about my parents I don't want to do. So I keep doing pieces of books. You know what I know for sure and you know wisdom of Sundays and pieces of things.
: But it would be about these great lessons I learned from listening. I just learned so much from listening. You know I never had a day of therapy but I had multiple days of therapy by listening listening listening listening and trying to not repeat mistakes that I had had conversations about. And in many ways embodied you know for a long time I was taking it in to the point where I was making myself ill. I had to find a way to shield myself from other people's energy protect myself from it and not take everything in. And also but also be able to listen.
: And how did you do that?
: I started a practice in the elevator. First of all started meditating. And then...
: What kind?
: Transcendental meditation.
: What's your mantra?
Eckhart Tolle on transcendental meditation
: And but I do all forms and you know the greatest meditation for me is actually living. Eckhart Tolle told me this. If you never meditate in your life that being able to live in the present moment is the greatest form of it. When you can just be fully present.
: So I started in the elevator going down to do my show having like a moment of covering myself and light physically having that visualization of covering myself in light so that I was protected from you know any harm and also opening myself up to be a vessel that was bigger than my personality.
: So that whatever I said would come from a place of respect and honor intention and love. And in a way that people could feel that. And so one of the biggest changes for me was around 89 90. I read Zuckoff's book and Gary Zuckoff and it was the principle of intention that actually changed my life. Forever.
: I need to get this book.
: Forever. So he has two chapters actually on intention. So if I were to say I was brought up Christian I believe in the Christian philosophy but my true religion is the golden rule which is born of the third law of motion in physics which says what you put out is coming back all the time.
: For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. So Zuckoff talked about this in Seat of the Soul. He also talked about this principle of intention that exists in always before there even is a cause or an effect.
"Intention creates the cause"
: There is an intention that creates the cause you have a reason for wanting to do things. What is the true reason. What is the pure truth of the reason why you're doing a thing. And if you look at what the intention is in every circumstance in your life the in the energy of the intention that comes before the cause which is automatically going to create an effect. The intention is what actually creates the effect. It is the motivation behind the reason you do the thing that creates the effect.
: So if it's coming from a place of lack or fear.
: That is going to show up in the effect. And so if you and I use this for everything in my life when I got it I stop saying yes when I meant no. I stopped going to places I didn't really want to be. I stop doing things for people I really didn't want to do.
: Because what happens is I used to have the disease to please. What happens is if you continue to say yes because you want the people to think I want to think I'm nice I don't want them to think that I've got a big head. I don't want them to think I want to. That's exactly what they think they think you're nice. They think you meant what you said and that's why they come back. I couldn't understand why I would loan people money I would do things for them I would show up for the. And then they're asking again why are they asking me again. I just did it.
: They're asking you again because your intention was to make them think it's okay to ask me so I'm sure I can be your doormat because I'm going to ask me at the last minute you can show up for you. I'm going to do it. And so when I started just doing things based upon what is my intention. So what actually changed me with it. The very first time I got the principle I used it in my own life to say no to someone really important would ask me to do something and I thought normally I would have said yes because I didn't want that person mad at me and then I just said no I'm not going to do that. It was a benefit to me show up Stevie Wonder. I'm not going to do that. Sorry I can't do that. And he just said okay.
: I was stunned. I thought it was going to be this big long negotiation. He just said no and saying no as it's been a big thing in my life. It's a constant. I mean I just recently was in an instance where somebody was asking me to do a benefit for them that I didn't want to do. They wanted me to be honorary chair. You know you get the honorary chairs. I don't I don't put my name on anything that I am not actually involved with. So if you see my name there means I did something.
: And I don't show up unless I feel like this is where I want to be. And so the person was saying well why wouldn't you do it. And in the end you must love the children. I get that you love the children and it's for the children.
: So I guess yes I do love the children and I'm taking care of a lot of children but I don't want to do that. And I actually had to just say why can't you hear the no way. Why can't you hear the no which I wouldn't have been able to do years ago I would have been I would have just done it. So that person would not be mad at me.
: Yeah I think so many of us especially women suffer from that. I mean we all have that disease to please. I certainly do. It's something that I'm really trying to focus on working on at this stage in my life because you know on the one hand I feel the freedom of saying no and drawing a boundary and on the other hand I still so worry about hurting people's feelings and not being what they thought I was etc.. So how do you what is the practice to get there.
: Well what you want is you want to get this principle of intention so that everything that you bring to everything you do comes from a strong. I talk about frequencies and vibrations all the time because I think that's what we all are.
: I think everything is you know the trees the grass. And that you are emanating a kind of energy from you that draws to you like energy. And so you want that energy your frequency to be the strongest. You know when I finally said yes. I didn't say yes to doing this interview until I could say a full 100 percent yes. I don't want part of me to be sitting in the chair.
: Part of me to be here and another part to be I should have done that or I should be doing this or I wanted to say when I can fully say yes and do it from a space that makes me feel good and not just you feel good.
: Even though you were really persistent.
: Well there's no other first interview I could have besides you.
: But you got me with your good Gwyneth your good.
: I'm not even Catholic I knew how to guilt you.
: Yes but I thought ok what would be a reason for me to do so.
: And what was it?
: First of all it's your first. And I remember when I was trying to do my very first show how hard it was to get a first. And we were like bribing and Don Johnson because he was doing Miami Vices time. We were like doing everything. It's so hard to get that first. I've been there with that first.
: And also I was thinking ok what would I talk about that I haven't said before. And you know then I thought it well I'm really proud of what Ava DuVernay has done with Wrinkle. And you know this is a big moment for Storm and I can talk about them and we can talk about what's going on with women in the you know in the me too. But there are lots of things we can talk about that I thought would be interesting for Goop.
: Thank you.
: For Goop.
: And also you know I ran into you at a party recently and I was coming off like a spate of people beating me up for talking about whatever you know alternative medicine. And you were so encouraging about staying the course and believing in myself.
: Any time you speak alternative people are like what does that mean. That's true. I got so beat up I got so beat up with people saying oh now it's a church of Oprah and of.
: It is by the way.
: And it's the church of Oprah trying to start your own religion. What are you doing and what are you talking about spirit. And I just stayed the course. What I realized was and Marianne told me this you know I used to be such as a zealot for things like you've got to get this you know you've got it. Oh my gosh you got to know this.
: And I realized the year we cause every year I decided that I had said to my team we are our greatest competition. There is no competition other than yourself. Don't worry about what the other guy is doing. You waste energy you take energy away from yourself even if you're in a race to turn around and see where the other guy is playing.
: I agree.
: So just focus on what you can do because you can't beat them at their race. You can only win your own. So during all of those years every time there'd be another show that would come out. My staff would go oh my god. Geraldo Rivera. Oh Ricki Lake Oh my god. You know I think there are a hundred and forty seven some talk shows that came up.
: And after a while you just learned, they learned, focus focus focus focus focus on what it is you want you can do do that better. The to the very best of your ability and because you get because you can't be what somebody else is.
: So to answer your other question about how do you how do you get there. Years ago, I have and I have a story for everything because I used to listen to stories for 25 years. One of the most impressive ones was a woman who had her son had died of either cancer or AIDS. I don't remember but she climbed into bed with him as he was taking his last breath. And she said his last words that she could barely hear only because she was lying against his chest. He said oh mom. It was all so simple it's so simple. Mom closed his eyes and died.
: And I got chills when I heard it. Is one of those things that resonates as an aha I said we're making it all so complicated and it's really all so simple. So that was also big life changing moment for me. I go. How how am I making it more complicated than it needs to be. How can I you know slow down pay attention and see the simplicity in things and sort of follow these laws that I've come to know to be true.
: The universal language that all human beings and all of nature is speaking how can I do that. And so when I started to practice actually what I know to be true. So I would say that to everyone who's listening to us right now you already know and you may have Goop as a guide or inspiration but the reason why you're drawn to that.
: You're the reason why people are drawn to those inspirations is because there is something there that is yearning to remember. Is yearning to be reminded.
: That's beautifully said.
: Of the beauty that you hold of the experiences and adventures you want to share of the the love you want to offer. The expression you want to give. And so what Goop does this remind you in physical form in tangible ways and in non tangible ways are pieces of yourself that are beautiful and that want to aspire to the best and you know who wants to criticize that.
: We're all just trying to reach for the highest truest expression of ourselves as human beings. That's the commonality that we share. And the thing that I know whether I meet you know someone on skid row or meets someone you know sitting in a billionaire's club that that person is they want the same thing I want and that is to be able to have what is the fullest truest expression of myself as a human being. And how do you do that.
Developing a spiritual muscle
: You know you can't get there without practice being connected to the essence of yourself to the source of your creation is like developing a spiritual muscle. And it does not happen if you're just running around all the time. So just like you bathe to stay clean and just like you're going to wash your hair and you going to brush your teeth. And there are practices that keep yourself healthy and viable. There are also spiritual practices that do the same transcendental meditation is one of them.
: And it is one of the practices but for me it's a conscious working model to stay fully present here and now. And I practice it if I'm at the sink and putting a cup in the sink. I'm walking down the stairs and walking up the stairs. I am in that moment conscious of my hand is on the railing.
: Gee one foot is in front of the other. Wow my legs are moving every day. This has happened for all the years of my life. I can't believe my body is still functioning this way. Isn't this great. I'm in the as I said to you earlier. Thanks for all my Goop products for bath. Bathing is my hobby. I'm putting the bath salts in the water. I'm lighting the candle. I'm aware of that. I'm fully just there. I'm just there. I'm experiencing the water my tub happens to sit in a place where I get to see the ocean. So I was in the water looking at the white caps on the ocean I'm like wow.
: Every part of it is beauty to me. Brings a little piece of joy and you know helps helps my frequency. So I'm doing that all the time I'm doing that even if something shows up that is uncomfortable. You know who taught me that is Maya Angelou. Because I lived as you have lived every other week in the tabloids.
: I was always glad when you were on taking advantage of me. Thanks. I'm glad someone said glad when to go. It's not me this week. And every time I would get so upset about it I Maya would say but baby what you don't have anything to do with that. But they're saying and you know it's not true.
: You don't know what it's like when people are saying things but she says but you're not in it. It has nothing to actually do with you. It has to do with whoever sat down at the computer at that moment. You know I've been it's been happening so long. She actually said whoever's sitting at the typewriter they're thinking what can we say this week that's going to sell some stories.
: It's also why I stopped making as many public appearances with Stedman because I realized that every time there's a new photograph there's a new story.
: It's an invitation.
: And it's an invitation. Yeah you got that too right.
: Yeah took me a minute.
: Takes a minute. Oh you know what. You know I picture them they got the pictures on the wall what do we have this week. What expression do we have. What can we create out of that.
: Who was Maya to you?
: She was in many ways the embodiment in physical form of what this character which I will talk about later that I'm now portraying in a Wrinkle In Time. This celestial wise through millennia angel woman. So she was the mother figure for me.
: You know my biological mother didn't have the opportunity to be educated. Being raised in the south being a domestic worker her whole life she didn't have the opportunities that Maya Angelou so fortunately had been exposed to. So my mother couldn't give me what Maya had. I needed a mother like my to mentor me through this whole fame process.
: And so she was my grounding tool for it all. I learned my greatest lessons from her. She was my comfort she was my nurturer she was my inspiration. She was the person who was saying you can do it babe you can do it. And she'd say take it all the way. And then she would point to the stars take it all the way. Go all the way.
: So and even now when something goes right very right and something goes very wrong her spirit abides with mine. And I verbally call on her.
: Out loud.
: Out loud. Like when I woke this morning I said Maya going to be doing this interview with Gwenyth and show up.
: And here she is.
: And here she is. Yes. I mean Maya I'm going to be because you know why because I feel that there is responsibility that comes when you are speaking to millions of people. There is a responsibility that comes with that.
: You owe that some thought you owe not to just be. It's why I'm very very careful on social media. I don't think that it's the best forum for expressing the deepest parts of yourself and so I'm careful about what I say and what I don't say and how it can be interpreted because I think words matter and have such great power. Lasting power.
: And so I think about it I think about just as before I would do every show I would empty myself and say let me be a vessel for something bigger than I be I am because I know I'm speaking to lots of crazy people who can interpret whatever we're doing or saying in whatever way they want.
: So let the crazies hear this carefully and lots of people who are in need and lots of people who are just open to hear what you have to say and some people who are not. So let me be a vessel for something that's bigger than myself.
: And when you say there's a responsibility in it. What does that mean to you.
: I mean to me it means that I think every person who comes to earth has a responsibility as I was saying this to just seek the truest highest expression and the key word here is true responsibility is how do you remain. How do you not just speak the truth. How are you the truth.
: Responsibility is to show up in that which is the most authentic truthful version of yourself. That's that's how I see it.
: And I think that you know when you were talking about Maya Angelou what she was to you without sounding completely cheesy that's what you are to so many of us.
: Well that would mean that would mean what would that mean if I could open to if I could see that. I don't know. That would mean I wouldn't be able to bear that. I couldn't. I don't know what that would mean. I don't.
: It's true though.
: ok. I don't know what that would mean.
: And you somehow gave us all permission to seek that well that's good.
: Well that's a good life.
: That space wasn't there for us before you named it and you gave us all permission.
: I'm going to think about that.
: After you leave it and take me a minute.
: That's fine.
: I would say though that this thing of "Oh mom it's so simple" that the reason why people's lives get so complicated is because you're trying to live it for somebody else other than yourself.
: That is the key. Make it simple. When you just start doing it for yourself. And that is not a selfish thing. That is an honorable thing. It's an honorable thing and I remember in the 90s I had Cheryl Richardson on who is a life coach and she did she.
: We were doing this test in the audience and asking women where are you on the list of 10 year 10 priorities the 10 top things that you prioritize most of the women in the audience also around 92 93 did not have themselves on the list or they were at the bottom of the list. And when Sheryl said out loud you should be first on the list they started booing in the Oprah Show audience and I had to say I remember it so vividly I'm saying hey we're not Jerry Springer here.
: We know that our guys started booing.
: With the idea that you should put yourself first on the list. So in the mid 90s people were like are you kidding? And that women are shouting. You must not have children. She doesn't have children. So how does she know.
: And so I said she didn't say abandon your children and leave them in the street she said put yourself on the list so you can better take care of your children. Well that principle of not being selfish but self-aware enough to honor the vessel the vehicle that is your body that is your way on earth.
: Your presence here on Earth in this dense form there is nothing more important than that because what you give and feed to yourself that makes yourself whole creates an opportunity to have your cup overflow to give more to other people and you can only do that coming from. You can only do that at your best when you've come from. You're coming from a whole place your whole.
: Right. Do you feel whole?
: Yeah I really do.
: Are you happy?
: Oh happiness is not even a word I use for myself. Cause happiness seems temporal it builds temporary and they this thing happens. I'm so happy I'm so happy now. It is far far far deeper than happiness. I can I can get happy about things but I'm generally in such a state of quiet contentment.
Beneath the surface of whatever it is and in and a sense of peace about things that happiness is sort of like an afterthought. Of course I'm happy. Of course I'm happy because I'm just I'm basically at peace and content and I've I've talked to 37,000 over 37,000 people but I've also listened.
I see the commonality in my experiences with other people. I live a very luxurious highly elevated life. I have always loved beauty and being surrounded by beauty. So to now be in a place that I live in a place that's like a park to me.
: I think it's kind of a shit hole.
: To the fact that that has happened. ok. Well before I had oak trees surrounded by you know flower gardens I lived in a little apartment in Baltimore and I couldn't afford any art and I would go to the art museum and I would buy postcards of Monet and Manet and you know Picasso and Klimpt. And I would frame the postcards on the wall.
: That's amazing.
: And I would. To me that was that was my art. And then when I could start to like buy little pieces like Beurden sketches or you know move into the world where you can actually spend money on some art. I was like the very first important piece in the piece is now still is the most important though not most expensive in my home is a picture of a slave woman on the auction block with her daughter.
: And when you come in my house is the first thing you see. And that is the grounding painting for me. And then there's the first major piece I bought like back in 1988.
: Who painted it?
: A guy named Harry Roselyn who is a 19th century genre painter who painted a lot of black folks but that woman who I've named Ana and her daughter Sarah I don't even know their story but I know their story.
: And one of the other things that I treasure in my home I have documents from slave plantations that have the names and ages and prices of slaves and sometimes when I feel like there have been times when I've been in crisis or felt like things weren't going the way I wanted them to go. I will go into that room and I will speak their names out loud.
: I will speak their names out loud. Douglass and Jenna and Carrie and Sarah and Anna and their ages and their prices and remind myself of how far I have come and no crisis seems that much of a crisis after you look at the names the ages the prices of people who were before you. Who made the. Who made this way possible. So that's actually how I live my life. It sounds like Whew but it really is. Really it really is. And it didn't.
: You know I say this to my beautiful South African daughters. You know when we're around the table you should actually pay attention. The reason you should pay attention is because I was lucky enough to get you when you were 12 years old and I have no agenda other than your highest well-being.
"Your highest well-being is my only agenda"
: I don't need you as a reflection of me. I don't have that parenting thing. You've got to do well because it makes me look good or I just I just have your highest well-being is my only agenda. That's only thing I'm looking out for. And so anything I ask or anything I tell so that I have really great relationships with them.
: That's crazy you know it just occurred to me when you said that I mean when people talk about or strive to be a mother like that to me is the ideal characteristic of a mother.
: I just want what's what's the highest for you.
: And it's so difficult.
: To not get attached to the other.
: Exactly and not project and not see your own shortcomings in your kid and get triggered by it.
: We want you to be something that's going to reflect back to me so it's good thing.
Profound sentence about mothering
: This is very very tough and we were all raised so much and that kind of enmeshed way with our parents and that is the most profound. It's so funny because you're technically not a mother. And that is the most profound and insightful sentence about mothering. I mean in terms of you just really crystallize something for me there.
: I'm glad it's one of the reasons why I could do it from the age of 12. The way I've done it but I also was and was self-aware enough even when there was all this pressure to get married and you should have children and even from Gayle like you should get married and you should have children so that our children could grow up together. Well that's not a reason I got to tell you. It would be nice but not a reason.
: Talking about the intention behind something.
: I didn't think Maya had said this to me that her mother was not a good mother for small children. That she was raised by her grandmother was one of the reasons we connected so well because I was raised by my grandmother the first six years she was raised by her grandmother in the south and her mother was not a good mother for smart young children but her mother was a good great mother for her as a young adult woman.
: Her mother could relate to her as an adult woman and so she later forgave her mother for not being there for her. As a child they became you know really strong I had a really strong bond till the end. But I don't think I would have been a good mother for baby children baby children. Cause I need you to talk to me and I need you to tell me what's wrong. I can't just figure it out.
: And I was always I knew that about myself always better with kids once they turned two and a half three. I had a real resonance with them and was like Oh you love babies and babies are fine so I don't think that was for me. Even when people were saying but you could have your own nursery and you could build it in Harpo.
: It didn't feel like it was for me so I was searching even for that. What is the higher ground for me. Where will I be able to find my instinct for nurturing and caring and support for other people. Where will that show up for me and how will that show up for me.
: We'll have more with Oprah in a minute.
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: Okay let's get back to my chat with Oprah. I want to ask you so I don't take up your whole day but I do want to talk to you about two things. One is this seismic change in what's happening with regards to women in this country and the Me Too movement and why now. Why do you think now.
: Well you can look at any given moment. One of my favorite books on earth. If you're going to be a human being you need to read a new earth by Eckhart Tolle.
: Is someone writing this down?
: Okay you have to read a new earth by Eckhart Tolle. And the first chapter is a little slow and you think oh what is this really. By the time you get to the second chapter about the ego and the third chapter about the roles that you play vs your ego and then the fifth chapter on the pain body that so many people carry, you begin to get it.
: And what he says is how do you know you're supposed to be experiencing any given thing in any moment. The reason you know is because you're experiencing that thing. So if it's happening. It's supposed to be happening right.
: And so how you manage that is understanding that there is nothing showing up that isn't supposed to teach you something about your own personal life and it's teaching you about your own personal life to the direct extent that you are involved in it and it's teaching us something about our entire consciousness.
: So is it the thing that I I have come to know for sure is that there is no experience that you can have personally or that we can have as a body of consciousness this culture that isn't here to help strengthen or elevate us. That you can use everything to take you to higher ground. And so this moment has been coming for a very long time. That's what I was trying to say in my Golden Globes speech that I wasn't trying to run for any office.
: I was just trying to say and I wanted to be able to say to the Me Too movement. Proud of where we are what we're doing but you need to know you didn't get here alone that there are those who endured suffered didn't speak because they couldn't speak because they if they knew that to speak would mean I won't be able to feed my children and who've come before you that made this path possible. So it's been coming for a very long time. So that's what the Recy Taylor story.
: Why does it have traction. Because I think know I look back and I think throughout you know modern media women have come forward about this person or that person or X Y and Z.
: It has traction for the same reason that the kids in Florida now have traction. Look at how many people had to die in order for that to get traction. I thought it was going to happen for sure Sandy Hook. That was my first that was actually my first thought when I heard there had been a shooting and five year olds had been killed. I thought this will be the thing this will be the one that breaks down. This will be the breakthrough this will get us to change. And it's only because it happened with Harvey I believe because of faces like your own.
: They were known to people that people had some kind of connection to something. There was a resonance a feeling of vibration whatever you want to call it. That's number one. Number two it had been coming. It had been coming. It had been coming it had been coming with Cosby and nothing happened they had been coming with Bill O'Reilly had been coming had been coming even with the president the United States where people can hear the access Hollywood tape and yet nothing happens.
: It had been coming it had been coming. And so that moment was the moment where it all crystallized. And it's just like everybody's so excited as as I about the phenomenon that is a black panther. Black Panther couldn't have happened 10 years ago. The way it happened recently the reason it's happened the way it has is because in order for phenomena to be a phenomena everything has to line up.
: It means the culture the zeitgeist for this particular moment in time is ready and available and open to hear that message. And so it took woman after woman after woman unheard unspoken and now some faces come forward that we recognize and have some resonance with.
: My God it could happen to them than this thing that I've been hiding within myself that I was so ashamed of that I felt guilty about because I'm just a waitress or a nurse or a clerk or a secretary or an assistant or whatever. Wow if it could happen to them. That really means something.
: So the resonance happens because there's been enough puncturing of the of the of the veil in the culture that finally is large enough for people to hear it. Now I will use this philosophy from my show days. But even as a young reporter I started to figure this out that I hated being in the newsroom.
: It just felt like I was in the wrong space in my life and I was always asking God where am I supposed to be really where I was to be really but now I realize oh I needed that. So as a young reporter in Baltimore I started to notice I was I was the street I was assigned to go out on the street whenever anything happened so I'm just literally in the car with the photographer.
: So I'd get sent to the ambulance I was you know accidents and everything and there came a time where when I first started at 22 if there was a drunk driving accident that would be front of the news. After a while you'd have to kill more than one person. You have to kill more than two people.
: A child had to be involved and then they had to be more children before it could make the front of the news we would go further and further and further back in the news because it was so just so common. And I remember one night I was working late and there was a school bus accident where seven children coming from choir practice doing Christmas carols were killed by a drunk driver that made the front of the news.
: I thought oh that's where that's where we are now. You've got to be seven kids coming from choir practice singing Christmas carols to get people's attention. And I started to learn from that that the culture becomes numb. They can't hear it. They can't hear it. They can't hear it. And then finally there is a massive enough number critical mass that people can hear it that people can hear it. So I'm certainly willing to support and get behind these kids these kids in Florida feel like the new freedom writers to me.
: And that's the difference between Sandy Hook.
: And those were little kids.
: These these young men and women have voices and they have power.
: Their parents tried to have power but they tried to do it in such a diplomatic quiet way that they were shut down. Can you believe that the parents of little baby 5 year olds and 6 year olds go to Congress and cannot be heard. It makes no sense but that's why I'm where I'm willing to.
"The new day is on the horizon"
: I want to get behind these kids who feel like the new day is on the horizon. The new day is on the horizon. So for this moment in time where women can be heard. And this moment in time where the young voices can be heard. The reason why it excites me so much about the young people in Florida is because they're going to take the energy and power of that pain and turn it into something miraculous.
: And I know what that means when you when you use those deaths to actually turn it into something you know those those those 17 people who were killed as I believe all people come you know all death is here to show us more about how to live. I felt this after 9/11. And then when we had it for a moment and then we lost it. Those people were sacrificial angels allowing us to look at ourselves in a different way.
: Our country and our culture and the way we operated in the world and the same thing is true for this moment in time I believe for the children in Florida who are rising up who've said enough enough.
: And that's what it takes. Some critical mass it takes. And you know I thought it would have been the problem with Las Vegas is there were people from all different backgrounds. ok so it's 58.
: So I was wondering is it the number. Is it the number. Do you get such a mass amount that ok people pay attention. But I think it is because these children have grown up in the age where shooter onsite and practicing for you know for such a thing to happen has been a part of their regular lives and they are sick of it. They've had enough.
: The culture of enough.
: Yes the culture of enough with the same thing for the women. Same thing for the women.
: Do you have any practical advice. This is something that we're talking about a lot in the office right now because so many women when the Me Too movement started it's sort of everybody everybody. I don't know. I don't have one friend one colleague one school mother who wasn't either sexually harassed sexually abused molested. Not one.
: It's touched everybody obviously there's a spectrum. And there's a lot now where women were all really talking about our experiences and obviously there's healing in that. But I think we're all a little bit stuck on how did you heal from sexual abuse.
: Well that is a process. But I will tell you this knowing that you're not alone is a part of the big healing. I remember the first time I realized that I wasn't the only kid who had been sexually molested the first time I realized that I was doing a talk show where somebody was telling their story.
: And I was like dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do. That is my story. This is a good cry right now. I mean I was like has happened to someone else. I thought I was the only and the first time I heard it I was in Baltimore and I didn't have the courage to speak out on television about it.
: I had a cohost in the girls telling the story and I'm like that's just like me. That sounds like me. It was her uncle. Oh my gosh. She was the same age. Oh my gosh.
: So afterwards I went into the greenroom and I said to her say and she said why didn't you say something. And I said I never heard that it ever happened to anybody before and I don't know. I don't know what the truth was I was scared.
: I was 22 or 23 at the time and that's when I started to realize Oh this is this has happened to somebody before. So when it happened on television when I was the master of my own show I said I'm not going to let this moment pass.
: And I said Me Too. On the air to that girl and she was like were you. Yes. And then it started this whole thing. But the power comes in being able to say first of all it did happen because a lot of women tell themselves it was something else. And then I just wrote what I know for sure for the magazine about this.
: At the time I was being sexually harassed in my years in Baltimore and there were several years where I had a boss who just did it just was a part of the thing. And I didn't say anything. And I don't hold any guilt about it. And I also don't hold any guilt about not speaking up as a child.
: So I would say you speak up when you feel that you are safe enough to speak up.
: So you tell and tell and tell until there's someone who will believe you. Whether you were child or whether you're an adult and you can get support and feel safe. So the reason I didn't tell as a child when I was being sexually molested by one person then in other words is because I knew I would be blamed.
: I knew that it would somehow turn on me and it would make my life worse I make that person then turn on me the whole family. I didn't know if I'd be harmed. So I didn't feel safe. And I would say to anyone even now if you're in an environment where you have a situation where you're being harassed you speak up where you can feel safe to speak up and that you're not going to be retaliated against in a way that is going to cause you more harm. I would speak to that person directly I think what the Me Too movement has done is given women the power to say back off.
: Right. It was interesting to me to see all of the men when this all happened. Taking such forensic inventory of how they had behaved and could somebody have construed this the wrong way to say the wrong thing. You know men who won't be accused of anything, taking inventory.
: Those are the people doing the real inventory. Like have I said anything or done anything or have I crossed the line I'm sure a lot of men have because we live and have lived in a culture that allowed you to cross the line.
: So lots of lines have been crossed and now it's up to both women and men to redefine where those lines are. So I think we're in this moment of figuring it out. And that's really ok yeah. We're figuring it out.
: And I don't think we like that as a culture. I think we like things binary they should be good or bad right or wrong.
: That's right.
: And we're living in a time now where we're having to really embrace the gray areas and explore them and kind of come together and figure out. Are we redrawing lines what does that mean. And it's ok that it feels confusing for a minute.
: For a minute. But I think that clarity is on the way and I think that the fact that this movement has given every woman in every part of the globe a deepened and heightened sense of I can stand up for myself.
: I can push back without feeling like I'm going to be harmed is an important part of this phase of the movement. Yeah but we're on our way. We're on our way to something bigger. But you know what. It's what's even more important. The sexual harassment sexual assault.
: Just like I was accused of I'm sure I don't know if you were accused or not because I didn't follow it that closely but I had people online saying Oh you knew I knew about Harvey. I should have known. Well the first of all I wasn't in this world.
: I was in Chicago and my own little world. But my point is this. So what I knew about Harvey was that Harvey was a bully and that if Harvey's on the phone you didn't want to take the call because you're going to get bullied in some way. For me it just meant pushing for some people to be on the show that I didn't want to and I've already done it and how many more times we need to do so. That's all I knew about Harvey and was friendly with Harvey.
: Yes I was friendly with Harvey was I you know in association with him for you know the the butler movie that we had done. Yes I was but of course I didn't know any of this was going on.
: But what I do know is that what this moment is here to show us what I do question for myself is I was willing to put up with the bullying thing.
: I was willing to put up with. ok I'll take the call. ok I'll be another. ok I'll do that. And so it's caused me to question and I think this movement will eventually lead us to is not accepting any kind of behavior that disparages you as a human being period.
: You know why am I willing to be. Why am I willing to put up with an asshole. The big question is who will accept you as an asshole but we won't tolerate other things but you can throw phones and you can call people you jerks and you can do all the nasty stuff but we're willing to put up with.
: So I'm hoping it leads us to a better way of all human beings treating each other and that this moment this moment in the movement is leading us towards that saying not only am I not going to take your sexual harassment I'm not going to take any of your bullshit. Period. You know I think we're on our way there. I think we're but as I said we're figuring it out.
: And when you were acting did you experience any of that or was it only in the newsroom. Like did you have an answer of any kind of you know onset onset.
: No. Because you know why. I mean just as you became Gwyneth Paltrow when you have the power to speak up for yourself. He's not going to say anything to me.
: I didn't when he did it to me. No I wasn't. Gwyneth Paltrow Yeah. Yeah. And that's what was so.
: So let me ask you this were you triggered by all of the when this first started to come out. Was there a part of you that was like whoa?
: Very and it's been months of me trying to process through it all. I think that I came out about Harvey in the trajectory of the whole story and I didn't feel safe to do it but I felt I had a responsibility to do it.
: And it was clear to me what had happened to me and it only happened one time. I confronted him and he never tried anything like that again. But he was a bully. So about work things about he was shaming. He was really hard on me. And then he was incredibly generous and would send me a private plane somewhere and it was kind of typical abusive relationship.
: And I don't think that I have even. I hadn't started to process through because so much of my acting career and so many of the incredible highs and lows as well were associated with him and Miramax and you know I've had to it's brought up a lot of stuff lately a lot of abuse from my own childhood that I haven't reconciled which is why I was asking you about that and then it's all kind of you know when you have these moments in your life where there's all these confluence of events and I started to think gosh I wonder if that's why I stepped away from acting really when I had my child because I had always told myself the story I lost the passion for it.
: I'm not sure why my daughter and I wanted to be home. And now I'm sort of trying to put the pieces together and think did this predominant relationship in my professional life. Lead me to not want to do it anymore.
: Well certainly had an influence. I mean certainly you know going back to this whole thing of energy and vibrations of you know you know how you feel when you have to be in a space with someone who is agitating force. And what that means to have to work with that.
: And you reach a point in your life where you think I don't want to have to deal with that. I do know that that's how I felt every time I had to be like. You had to get on the phone with you got to be around you had to deal with that.
: So I'm sure that that is a component an element of it. Because if it was a purely joyful experience where you just get to open up and be your full self all the time who doesn't want to embrace that. If there's no agitation and negative energy then there's some dark side stuff in there.
: And so when I feel safe you know that's why when we talk about speaking up I'm talking about particularly for children because you can tell someone until someone then I mean I've done so many interviews with kids who told and then they were kicked out of the house and they were abandoned and they were. So you got to find the place where you feel safe.
: That's why this moment in time where women who didn't know what was going to happen had the courage. That's what courage is courage is that moment when you you're scared but you leave anyway. You're scared but you're going to stand out there anyway. You're going to say it anyway because you've had enough. Now you've had enough.
: And also I had enough for potentially my daughter this whole next generation of women. I just thought this is not this is not us anymore. We can't do this anymore.
: What I do know for sure what I do believe really in the deepest part of my spirit is that our daughters your daughter my girls. Oh no no no. Now they are not going this way. Oh no child no. I see my girls now. It is just not going take it. They're like what you let somebody say that to you when you are 22.
: Yeah I did. In order to keep my job and I would try to walk around the other way and hold my head down at the desk into that. That is not going to happen that's over that's over.
Wrinkle in Time
: So in a Wrinkle In Time.
: You play?
: I play Mrs. which I didn't grow up with the book. You didn't grow up with the book.
: I don't know anything about it.
: So it's the story of this wonderful adventure of this young girl who father is a scientist and has been experiencing with how to touch hands with the universe and ends up being zapped out into outer space and she loses her father and he's been missing for four years. And these three angelic forces come to help her find her father who is out there.
: And being taken over by the dark side. And it's her journey to find her father. But the journey is also about discovering herself and learning to look at herself as an empowered being, girl in school where kids are teasing you and all that.
: So it's about that and I get to play the wise Mrs. W H I C H and Reese is Mrs. Whatsit and Mindy Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Callum is Mrs. who. So there are the three wise women who help her along the journey.
: And mine is a millennial force who is a combination for me in my mind of my two favorite mentors Glenda the Good Witch and Maya Angelou. So it's the embodiment of the wisdom of Maya and the magic of Glenda. And you know it's opening in a couple of days.
: So why did you say yes.
: I said yes because Ava DuVernay is a visionary filmmaker who I had come to know after shooting The Butler with David Oyelowo who handed me a DVD of her movie Middle of Nowhere.
: I watched the movie I liked the movie. She shot the movie made the movie with 200,000 hours and I googled her. I saw this lovely woman in dreads with her glasses pretty warm brown face smiling I thought I'm going to be your friend. I'm going to be her friend. And I ended up having a luncheon here just so I could meet her. I had a Mother's Day luncheon and said everybody bring your mother just so I could meet her. Because I wasn't going I wasn't going like call and going be your friend.
: And we started talking I ended up going on as a producer for Salma and I just I feel about her the way I believe Maya felt about me. She's this this young visionary who has lots of things to say in the world.
: And I can feel her essence in her spirit rising in her directorial abilities and her advocacy abilities. And I just want it I wanted this. I want to support her in every way.
: And she needs you?
: And she doesn't need me. But we've become really good friends so this is a thing that happened. She was talking about this movie she was doing and I said oh well you know you're going to be filming in New Zealand? I want to come. I am going to take two weeks off and I'm going to come to New Zealand because I've been there before and I didn't really get to explore. So I'm going to come to New Zealand I'm going to watch you film and just hang out.
: And she said well if you're going to do that I wanted to ask you Would you read it for this role of Mrs Which would you would you. Why don't you just act?
: And I said All right I'll take a look at it. And when I read it I thought well I am Mrs Which we're you're going to get to play Mrs Which which I think I am Mrs Which. And so that's that's that's how it came to be.
: Do you like acting? You're really really good at it.
: Well thank you.
: I love you as an actress.
: I don't feel that I'm great at it I don't feel that I.
: No I really don't.
: The Color Purple?
The Color Purple
: I thought I was great in The Color Purple, you know because I was carried by passion.
: You are so good in that movie.
: The Color Purple is the best story on earth. I mean I never want anything more than I wanted The Color Purple and is was the embodiment of allowing the allowing ness of something to come into your life. I never won anything more than I wanted The Color Purple and have not since allowed myself to want anything that badly because I know how not to want it that badly.
: I know that when you want it so badly that you hurt for it that you're not going to get it that it's only through the disallowing of it. When I learned this lesson that not to hold anything too tightly don't hold anything too tightly. Just wish for want it let it come from the intention of real truth for you.
: And then let it go.
: And if it's supposed to be yours it will show up and it won't show up until you stop holding it so tightly. And that's the way you live your life. And that's my deep prayer for everyone who's listening to us that the forces that we call God, nature, universal energy, Divine Light by every name that is called God in the universe. My prayer is that that force field holds you in the palm of its hands and never squeezes you too tightly.
: Amazing see thing again.
: Hey hey hey hey. Hey hey. Podcast. Goopity Goop Goop. Podcast goopity Goop. We did it. Goop on Goop on Goop on. Hey hey.
: Got this has been such like one of the biggest honors of my life to talk to you.
: Thank you for saying that.
: I just adore you.
: Thank you for joining my conversation with Oprah. I trust you already have regular doses of Oprah in your life. Whether you are a diva Titta O magazine Oprah.com is your home page you're reading her latest book in your book club still watching her Golden Globe speech on repeat or planning to see A Wrinkle In Time seven times.
: I hope hearing her today added to the magic it will long be a high for me. If you liked what you heard please subscribe and tell your friends. See you next week.
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