What I Know for Sure
The question “What do you know for sure?” stunned Oprah Winfrey when she was first asked it in an interview, and she’s spent years since reflecting on this and asking it to others.
I’ve been reading her book “What I Know For Sure” sharing these reflections across the themes of joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity and power and listening to her read them on Oprah’s Super Soul podcast.
It made me reflect on the question for myself and thought the learning may be useful for others too and for you to reflect on this question yourselves and ask others around you however the answers may not always be profound! I asked my four-year-old what he knows for sure this morning and he said that “I’m wearing underpants!” and my husband who said “everything” :D. Always love their down to earth perspective.
For me, what I know for sure:
- The best things in life are free – as famously sung by Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson I believe the best things in life are free including moments of wonder in nature (watching a sunrise, sunset, full moon or rainbow), positive relationships, love, laughing, dancing, tapping into our senses, mindful moments and hugs. This song came on in the car recently with my little boys and we had a conversation around it. I think the current lockdowns many of us have been experiencing provide an opportunity to really go within and be grateful for the small things which often are the main things. Of course a good wine and cup of herbal tea or coffee helps!
- We have a choice in how we respond to situations – I heard a great phrase recently that there are always two ways to ask something and we can respond to difficult situations with love and grace or we can react with anger and hurt. I like to try and take a breath, collect perspective, and respond in a calm manner. I find regular meditation helps with this and as a mum of two little boys it is a lifelong practice!
- Friends are the family we choose – I had a plaque with this phrase up in our university shared house. We can’t choose our family and fortunately I’ve been lucky to be born into a supportive and loving family yet know that is not the same for all. Friends provide us the unique opportunity to choose our extended family. I know for sure that laughing with my girlfriends is so good for the soul!
- This too shall pass – One of my favourite sayings is “this too shall pass although it may hurt like a kidney stone!”. The old adage that time is a healer I know for sure and that what we’re feeling in this moment-excitement, sadness, love, hope, will all pass so to accept the moment and make the most of what we can. I recently wrote a reframe post on this subject after fracturing my foot.
- Learning provides opportunities – A lifelong mindframe of learning is our opportunity to grow. As many like Michelle and Barrack Obama have demonstrated education can be a pathway to opportunity. I also know for sure from my experience that taking on opportunities that might scare us can help take us into our courage zone and step up to realise potential that we didn’t know existed. What extra learning time can you build into your routine?
- We can only control the controllables – My friend and spiritual sister Aminata Conteh-Biger shared recently that “all we have is now and so much is out of our control. However, we can control our thoughts and actions. There is an opportunity to make something of every setback.” This resonated for me and I am trying to keep optimistic about the latest lockdown situation and take daily actions to help like meditation, exercise and good nutrition to navigate through it. Another phrase Amii shared with me is “I am my daily routine” which really resonated. What can you control in your daily routine in this landscape of chronic uncertainty?
- Choose love – I know for sure that choosing love and loving others as a way to live your life is the best way. I try to regularly practice and show acts of love, kindness and compassion. As Oprah has demonstrated, once you choose to live from a mindframe of love it is more of what you attract. A quote in a Saturday Wisdom Chopra App meditation I did earlier today finished with – “The ignorant person seeks material things, the intelligent person seeks spiritual goals but the wise person just loves and everything comes to him or her.” A passage in Oprah’s book that really stood out to me was:
“When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives- when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty- the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.”
― Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure
I think that is the thought to finish with and I wish you all safe and well wishes and would love to hear what you know for sure.