SHINE: Love by the Spirit — Divine Love in the Lessons

SHINE! … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

Divine Love in the Lessons

© 2011 Tonya M. Evans

February 24, 2011

“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” ~ Charles C. West

Credit: George Burns/Harpo Studios

Last Thursday my SHINE post was all ready to go. And then I listened to the re-broadcast of one of the most moving and transformative Oprah Winfrey Show interviews I’ve ever experienced … and that’s saying a lot, especially because this is her 25th and final season and she and her producers are truly putting their BEST selves into every show.

I was then led to write something entirely different, something that did not come together until just now. Oh, my goodness – that show!!!  But the interview – strike that – the conversation between Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah that we were privileged to experience as observers exposed a powerful example of what it looks like when spiritual beings — both with lessons to teach and to learn – attract, collide, divide and, ultimately, re-connect. We experienced forgiveness. We witnessed redemption.

Iyanla Vanzant is a spiritual teacher and relationship expert who appeared regularly for a time on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the 1990s and quickly developed a large following. She was considered one of Oprah’s “Best Life” prodigies along with Dr. Phil and Suze Orman. I also remember meeting Iyanla when she was promoting her first book (and by first I mean the first self-published version of Tapping the Power Within) at the old Philadelphia Convention Center in the late 80s/early 90s. But suddenly they parted ways without public explanation and apparently did not even communicate for years. Over a decade later, she re-joined Oprah on stage last week for a two-part interview to allow their souls the space to reconnect as they cleared the air in the most public of forums.

They both spoke of decisions made, mostly out of fear rather than love (Iyanla’s indirect push for her own show and Oprah pulling up the draw bridge on advice of her advisors who were furious at what they perceived as Iyanla’s ingratitude). And they spoke of misperception, miscommunication, delayed opportunities and difficult consequences. We witnessed two powerful spiritual beings at a cross roads, reconnecting with humility, forgiveness and redemption all in the span of less than an hour (Part 2 aired February 23, 2011 and I will listen to that episode today at 1:00 PM sharp!). All of this unfolded before our eyes and ears as we watched on television and listened on XM Radio Oprah’s conversation with Iyanla.

And it was a beautiful thing. It was beautiful that both women “showed up” at least to begin a conversation that seemed both long overdue and divinely timed. It was beautiful because the words and energies seemed raw; the interaction was like two old, familiar souls sharing the same intimate space again. The interaction was at times funny, poignant, heart-wrenching, tense, and even uncomfortable (or maybe it was just me!). And it was mostly authentic and un-rehearsed (although I am certain each of them played out how the conversation might go a time or two). I think ultimately, however, they both set an intention and released both the process and the outcome to God. Both women opened themselves to the purpose so that they might find the Love in the lesson.

By doing so publicly, they mirrored for us what it means to stand again at a cross roads on life’s journey and have the divine opportunity to make a better, wiser choice. But in between the first (or second or third or umpteenth) time, exists the process, the journey, the lesson.

“When we know better, we do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

A lesson is defined broadly as a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. And life (also known as that dash on your tombstone between your dates of birth and death) is such a time. And, of course, life is full of lessons. Incremental lessons, cumulative lessons, objective lessons and subjective lessons. Some are elementary, meant for all to master. And some involve higher levels of spiritual acumen and I consider those advanced lessons (think great spiritual leaders). All life lessons are designed by God to fulfill a Divine plan, made up of infinite integral life plans; and there is one uniquely tailored for you. And despite our free will, the intention is that our uniquely tailored lessons will be learned, sooner or later.

The unfolding of the Creator’s Divine plan – that we might be full expressions of God’s love without any (mis) perceived separation between where we end and God begins – is a process; sometimes the process is painful and draining and at other times inspiring and delightful. We aren’t called to like the process. But we are called to surrender to it and accept that when we flow with rather than against the proverbial tide, we are moving closer to the insight, wisdom and spiritual maturity we need to blossom into our best selves, to thrive and, ultimately, to serve.

Charged with the wisdom of life’s lessons throughout our journeys, we are called to make different choices, wiser than the day/month/year/lifetime …. or moment before. The reason is clear. When you learn the lesson, you change the direction of your life. And, as always, the choice to learn, to Love, and to SHINE is yours!

I leave with you today, two quotes to meditate on. Both are from last week’s conversation between Iyanla and Oprah. Both inspired this message. Both were what I needed to hear, to feel and to believe. Both were my lessons to learn.

“All things are lessons that God would have us learn.” Iyanla Vanzant

“We all teach what we most need to learn.” Oprah Winfrey

Buy Iyanla Vanzant’s new FANTASTIC book: Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through what You’re Going Through

Excerpts from The Oprah Winfrey Show conversation with Iyanla

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