We Often See Our Own Turning Points In The Lives Of Others.

by Bernie Swain

An article from OWN’s Lisa Capretto recently caught my eye. In it she says, “In 25 years of hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oprah experienced more than a few “aha moments.” But there was one particular life lesson, she says, that’s always stood out from the rest.“It was one man’s definition of forgiveness that changed my life,” Oprah says.”

That man was Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky, and he appeared on an episode of “The Oprah Show” that aired on January 4, 1990. During that show, Jampolsky asserted that the secret to happiness was forgiveness, which he described in a way Oprah hadn’t heard before.

“It really means letting go of the past. It really means letting go of our perception that we need to hold a grievance the rest of our lives,” he said. “If we really want to hold onto grievances, we’ll never be happy. It’s really a willingness to see the person in the light of love, rather than in the action that happens.” Jampolsky went on to elaborate on the connection between forgiveness and the past.

That connection reminded me of a pivotal moment I shared in What Made Me Who I Am One day in the late eighties, Alex Haley, the great author of Roots, showed up at our office unannounced. On this occasion, Alex repeated one of his favorite sayings: “When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning.” That pithy phrase stuck with me, and as the days and months passed, I began to understand what he was telling me. Each life—the famous speakers I represented, the millions that go uncelebrated—is defined by experiences that have volumes to teach us. Each life is a storehouse of wisdom and knowledge, its own library, stuffed to the rafters.

What are you doing with those experiences of the past?


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