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The Oprah 2020 Vision Tour Gave Us Gems For Days

The media mogul says it's time to turn up the volume on your life.

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On Saturday, January 25, Oprah Winfrey reminded me who TF she was. Not that the global media mogul needed a reintroduction, but in case she did, Oprah played no games on the fourth stop of her Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus multi-city tour in Atlanta.

I came, I saw, I laughed, I cried, and most importantly, I focused. This was all in the presence of a woman who was intent on helping an audience of 12,000 people elevate to their highest selves with true clarity. Presented by WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined), the full-day wellness event began with complimentary hair touch-ups courtesy of Love Beauty and Planet, express hand massages thanks to Vaseline and a quick refresh in the form of deodorant wipes by Degree.

The hand massage was a great way for me to start the day

Promptly at 9am, we were treated to a pre-show dance party, a walk through Oprah's own wellness journey, a guided meditation session with Jesse Israel's The Big Quiet, and a workbook exercise where we honed in on our intention of the year.

(I walked away confident in the fact that my word for 2020 and beyond is "intention.") "Wherever you are in your life, today is about kicking it up a notch," Oprah said. "Turning up the volume on your life." Later on that day, we were joined by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who spoke candidly about losing his father, raising daughters, learning empathy, and the importance of having an anchor.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Oprah

The end result was a day filled with "new year, new me" energy and gems that helped ensure the seeds we planted that day would indeed grow and blossom into a fruitful harvest.

I left the event so inspired that I wanted to share the most important takeaways with the xoNecole readers.

Let's soak up this energy of renewal together and get clear on our 2020 vision. Keep reading for more!

1. Define Successful

Oprah is a self-made billionaire whose reach extends past any border. Her ability to connect with people is unrivaled, so much so, she's built a global media brand off of that gift. The fruits of her labor are evident in the wealth she's acquired, the vast opportunities she's created, the fabulous homes she's built, and the brilliant relationships she's cultivated----the list really could go on. To learn that the nine zeros behind her net worth had little to do with how she defined success was a surprise to say the least. She explained:

"I have the most magnificent life of anyone I know. Don't be hating because whatever you think it is, it's 10 times better than that---to the 10th power! Because what you see in the world cannot explain the peace. What you see in the world, all the material things, all the red carpets and the acquisitions, cannot describe the contentment and the joy. So, that's what I think is a successful, full life. It's being able to live with the peace and the joy [and] few regrets."

2. Begin Each Day With Gratitude

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Along with the focus of wellness, stillness and being mindful about cherishing the present as a gift was a focal point of the day. Oprah believes in the digital age, the key to returning to self is reclaiming your time. According to her, you need two things: A spiritual life and boundaries.

"One thing that's difficult for all of us to manage, I know, is this 24-hour access to phones. The phone rings, you got a text, and you think you have to answer immediately, so you need to set some boundaries for when and when you're not going to be responding. I know this for sure, there is no life without a spiritual life. You don't have one. You're just walking through life. You're the walking dead.
"And so, I try to give my time to God. I wake up, the first thing I say is 'Thank you,' I spend a moment in gratitude. Then, I spend a moment in stillness before I pick up the phone. The moment you pick up the phone, now you are controlled by whatever's on that phone. Your day is ordered by what everyone else wanted you to do instead of you ordering the day for yourself."
"Get yourself still. Get still because that's how you get full. You don't get full out here because the noise of the world will drown out the voice of God every time…"

3. Name It & Claim It

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There's power in your ability to speak things over your life. Whether positive or negative, you are whatever you think of yourself, whatever you feel about yourself, and whatever you speak about yourself. So, why not wield that power the way it's meant to be? When you speak the things you want in life, you claim it. Oprah says you are more than deserving.

"I don't think there's a better gift that you can give yourself than to leave here with clarity because in all things, you have to name it to claim it---in all things. You don't have what you really want because you haven't clarified what you want."

4. All Things In Balance

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Balance is a beautiful thing and can mean different things for different people. One of the reasons our site has a recurring series called Finding Balance is because we wanted to gain insight from other women about what balance looked like for them. During the event, Oprah gave us a window into her world when she revealed that, for her, balance reflects her definition of "wellness":

"Here's my definition of what 'wellness' means to me: It's all things in balance. For me, balance does not mean that all things are equal. It doesn't mean that things are going to go well all the time. It means that you welcome the constant shifting flow that is your life. That's what it means to be human. So, I've learned that you can have what you want, you just can't have it all at once---and all in balance, just like a wave in the ocean of life. And there is a flow to your life that is not mine, that could not be mine…
"There's a pattern and there's a rhythm and there's a flow for you that is yours alone. And the reason why so many people don't get what they say they want is because you're messing in other people's flow."

5. Find Your Flow

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As a water sign, I must admit I'm quite moved by the presence of water. I find comfort, peace, and sanctuary, and I get a connection to myself when I'm near water. What I love most about water is its properties---its vitality, its ability to sustain, its strength, its fluidity, and its flow. Water acts as a reminder of the importance of flow, of going with the current, of the cycles of life. You can lean into those things, accept them as a part of life, and learn to ride the wave as a result.

"Find your flow. Move with the flow that is your life and stop struggling against the current of life. For me, the center of that flow is being well in all things and having all things in balance. The center is presence."
"What I've learned is stress is just wanting the moment to be something that it can't be. That's the truth. And that's the truth whether you're in a bad marriage or whether you're in bad traffic. The number one thing you can do whenever you are confronted by something that is stressful is to accept the moment… In all things stress is wanting the moment to be something that is not. And if you can accept this moment right here… everything is OK. You are well…"

6. Own Your Full Self

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One of my favorite words is "shameless." I love it because it acts as a slight nudge to be who you are and do so unapologetically. As a woman, I sometimes find it hard to be my fullest self, and I'm sure there are people out there who can relate to that effort of swallowing and diminishing just to be more palatable or less seen. It's an element rooted in fear and one I'm continuously trying to unlearn. And according to Oprah, it's a feeling she had to kick to the curb in order to move past the potential and become fully realized:

"We're all meant to shine. That's what creation is for. We all have our gifts. Here's what I realized: What I had been afraid of were the voices outside myself... And so what I realized, I'm afraid to be full. I'm afraid to be full. I'm afraid to be powerful beyond measure because I'm afraid you might not like me if you see how full I can get. So, here's what I can tell you at 66: I'm all full up. I'm so full, my cup runneth over."

7. We All Want The Same Thing

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Oftentimes, we see our differences before we even touch the surface of understanding our similarities. If ever. Through her work with The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah expressed that she's been able to encounter people from all walks of life, from Barack Obama to Beyonce, and scientists to politicians. From those experiences, she gathered one essential truth:

"The theme that is running through all of our lives, the common denominator in our human experience, is not just validation. Everybody wants to be heard and know that they matter. But everybody also wants the truest, highest, purest vision of yourself as a human being. That's what you want. You want to live it out, you want to live it until you cosmically burst. You want to live the truest, highest vision of yourself. That's what you've come to fulfill and that's the real word for you and me and everyone for 2020 and beyond."

Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus will resume on February 8 in Brooklyn, NY with marquee guest Michelle Obama. Tour dates will continue through March 7. Click here for more info on the tour.

Featured image via Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Oprah

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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