Gary Zukav on What to Do When Life Seems Unfair | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

Gary Zukav on What to Do When Life Seems Unfair | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

MUSIC OPRAH WINFREY: What do you do when nothing is going your way and life takes a turn that just doesn’t seem fair? KARLEEN: When I lost the baby, I felt like a victim. Mr. JEFF CISZKOWSKI: I had an accident. I went from having a promising baseball career to being a failure, seeing guys that I played with making millions and I can’t even pay my bills. WINFREY: Do you ask `Why me?’ or do you look for what your life is trying to tell you? How you choose to respond can be the difference between a life of anger or joy. KARLEEN: For the first time I said, `What am I supposed to learn from this?’ Mr. GARY ZUKAV: Perhaps everything that happens has a reason and that reason is your own spiritual growth. WINFREY: And you mean everything. What to do when life seems unfair. Gary Zukav, next. MUSIC APPLAUSE WINFREY: All right–into it. Hello, hello. Monday! Thank you. OK. We know you got rhythm. Thank you so much. I’m feeling you. It’s Monday, and that means we’re giving away another $100,000! Hello. This week’s Use Your Life award is going to a mom who’s also a lawyer fighting for children and families who are literally living in hell. So when Nancy Mintie saw some of the horrific living conditions in Los Angeles, she knew she could not turn her back on the children who she says have nothing but nightmares for childhood memories. Imagine waking up to rats the size of footballs running across your bed. Picture this: cockroaches dropping from the ceiling into your child’s bowl of cereal. What if your children could not have toys because the rats would eat them? Well, take a look the how Nancy Mintie is putting an end to the atrocities that thousands of poor families endure and giving them a voice in our halls of justice. Look at this. Ms. NANCY MINTIE: The Inner City Law Center is a community law office for the people that live in the worst slums of Los Angeles. So what we do at the center is to force these landlords to either clean up their buildings or to give them up and turn them over to somebody who can. I started my first office in a little garage behind a soup kitchen. I wanted to go to a place that no one else had gone to and serve people who otherwise would not be served. My very first housing case involved a young mother whose five daughters had been attacked by rats in their apartment, and I thought that would be the worst case of my career. From that day, almost 21 years ago, till today, we’re still seeing those kinds of conditions and those kinds of cases in this city. Unidentified Woman #1: There was–an incident happened to my little brother where he was bit by a rat, and he had scratches. My mother was very sad. She saw the youngest of her children, and he was–you know, got bit by a rat. Ms. MINTIE: We had a seven-year-old client that was so covered with flea bites that were brought in by the rats that he was scratching himself all over his body until he bled, and then he tried to commit suicide because it was driving him out of his mind. When you live with cockroaches, one of the things that happens is that they crawl into the ear canal because it’s a warm, enclosed space, and they’ll get trapped there and cause extreme pain and can damage the ear canal. The parents will stuff cotton into the ear canals of their children and themselves at night to try and keep the cockroaches out. We’ve got housing conditions that are actually killing children here in Los Angeles. In our last case we had a baby die of a severe respiratory illness brought on by the vermin, the dampness, the cold, the mold and the filth in the apartment. And then there are all the structural problems. Unidentified Woman #2: We decided that we had to leave because the–the ceiling collapsed, and I was scared for my son. I was scared that something, you know, would happen to him. It was awful. Ms. MINTIE: We’re handling a case right now where the entire building collapsed, and a young father was crushed to death, and a number of people were injured. These children, you know, grow up in buildings that are dark, dank, dangerous, foul-smelling, and that is their memory of their childhood home. And that breaks my heart. I’ve been doing this work now for over 21 years, and we’ve never lost a housing case. We force them to get rid of the rats and the cockroaches. We force them to put in heat, decent plumbing, clean up the water supply, make the building safe. Unidentified Woman #3: I’m on the faculty at UCLA Law School, and she was a student there. She comes and speaks to our students usually at least once a year, and she is incredibly inspiring to them. I think Nancy makes students really believe they can go out and do good and really change the world, and life will be richer, fuller, and more meaningful than it would be otherwise. Ms. MINTIE: The lawyers that work here at Inner City Law Center don’t get rich. We don’t do it for money. We do it for love. Unidentified Man #1: The pay is not very high, but the reason that I wanted to work in a place like this is because we have a different kind of a mission than other law firms. Ms. MINTIE: We often get involved with providing clothing, helping them find employment, celebrating birthdays. It’s just something that–that happens naturally. Unidentified Man #2: I bond with our clients because I–I try to give them the respect that they deserve but they’re often denied. Ms. MINTIE: I do this work because it is so joyful and so loving to be able to serve these beautiful people. And you know, what do you make money for? That’s to be happy, and this work makes me happy, so I don’t need the money. You know, I do the work because it’s a source of great happiness. WINFREY: Please welcome Nancy Mintie, founder of Inner City Law Center. Wow! [Applause] [Music] Ms. MINTIE: You’re the number one. WINFREY: …(Unintelligible). So, Nancy, we honor you today with this $100,000 award because you have become one of the most influential lawyers in America, not by making money, but by helping those people who need it most, by putting the ideals of goodness and honor and goodwill above dollars. And so here’s $100,000 in honor of that. [Applause] Ms. MINTIE: I–I wanted to just say a special thank you to all of you and to all of the viewers who have contributed to the Angel Network to help make our work possible, and, of course, a very, very special thank you to you, Oprah, for–you’re just a shining example of–of generosity and goodness for our world, and I–I so very much appreciate that. WINFREY: No, I think you are. I think you are. Thank you so much. Now this money for this week’s Use Your Life award comes from actor Paul Newman of Newman’s Own and you, our generous viewers. Paul Newman gives all the profits, as you know, from Newman’s Own, the spaghetti sauces–that’s why any time I’m buying spaghetti sauce, I get Paul’s–the popcorn and salad dressings, all go to charity, like our–charities like our Angel Network. So we thank you, Mr. Newman, and our viewers. And congratulations to you and the great work that you are doing for children, mothers, families. Thank you so much. Ms. MINTIE: Thank you, Oprah. WINFREY: We’ll be right back. Back–right back. Coming up, this former professional baseball player says he lost his career, his marriage and his health, and he wants to know how to break free of his negative attitude. KARLEEN: And you want to draw the rain in for me? WINFREY: And this mom says after she had a miscarriage, she became angry towards everybody and everything until she discovered what she really needed to do to feel happiness again. Next, Gary Zukav is back to tell us how to get out of victim mode and take your life in a new direction. Gary Zukav on what to do when life seems really unfair, next. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: So ask–answer this: How do you react when everything is going wrong and life seems unfair? Maybe you are frustrated and angry because you did not get the raise you felt you deserved or the job you were qualified for, or maybe you were left with nothing after your marriage ended or you’re one of the many women who has struggled for years to get pregnant or even to find love and get married and you’re still looking for Mr. Right and all the wrong ones keep showing up, in your opinion. Well, Gary Zukav is here and Gary says he has some information for you today that how you choose to respond to the difficult and challenging things that happen to you really does mean the difference between living the rest of your life bitter, angry and resentful or living your life with joy. Gary, of course, is the author of “Seat of the Soul” and “Soul Stories”–which is now in paperback–and he’s back to tell us what to do when life seems unfair. You say that when you believe life is unjust, you are declaring yourself a victim and that it makes your life even more painful. Mr. ZUKAV: That’s right. WINFREY: Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: This show brings us to the heart of spiritual development. This show is at the core of what life on the Earth, from my perspective, is about, and that is stepping into a genuine responsibility for who you are, what you do, and what you contribute while you are on the Earth. Becoming a victim is resisting your life. Now do not misunderstand me. Resisting your life does not mean contributing things to life or simply being a doormat to the world. Resisting your life means not looking at your life realistically the way it is and then moving forward from there. To the extent that you resist your life, you become, yourself, a victim. You say, `This shouldn’t be happening to me. This is unfair. It’s not the way I want the world to be and it’s not the way I believe the world should be.’ And as you do that, you lose power. Now the question becomes, how will you walk on the Earth? The choice is yours. And I am not suggesting that there is anything morally or ethically wrong with looking at yourself as a victim or in any other way. What I am suggesting to you is that you consider the possibility that everything that happens to you in your life is an opportunity that allows you to expand into a fuller potential and powerful and meaningful life. WINFREY: And you mean everything! Mr. ZUKAV: Yes, I do. WINFREY: Yes. I know once before we were talking, and you were saying that–I think we did a show about choice, responsible choice, and you were saying–which stuck with me, and–as you also say in “Seat of the Soul,” that a lot of people think the biggest choices they’re going to make in life are about their jobs or about whether to marry or not to marry or what city to live in or not. But the biggest choice, you say, is whether you decide for yourself is the–is the universe a kind and compassionate place to live or is it unfair? Or is life fi–just or unjust? That is the decision that you have to make for yourself and move through life based upon that. Mr. ZUKAV: That’s exactly what we’re talking about now… WINFREY: Right. Mr. ZUKAV: …because if you look at the universe as unfair, you are resisting it. You are imposing your idea of how the universe should be upon the universe. WINFREY: OK, but, Gary… Mr. ZUKAV: And that makes you a victim. WINFREY: OK. I understand that. But I know there are a lot of people, maybe some of you in this room are thinking, `Well, life is unfair.’ Aren’t s–aren’t you all thinking that? I can feel it right now, right here. You can feel it. Life is unfair. There are people saying, `Well, life is unfair.’ Things just happen to you and you didn’t have anything to do–things happen to you, and they don’t seem fair. Mr. ZUKAV: Right. [Laughter] WINFREY: Aren’t you all thinking that? I’m not the only one. And they don’t seem fair. Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: What I would like to do while we are together is plant in you the seed of the possibility that that perception is only one perception, and it’s not necessarily the way your life is. In other words, there are things that you cannot control. WINFREY: Correct. Mr. ZUKAV: But you can al… WINFREY: Those are things that people say aren’t fair. So what they’re really saying is there are things that I cannot control, so that’s unfair that I cannot control my own happiness. Mr. ZUKAV: Precisely. WINFREY: Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: But you can–that, by the way, is one of the things you can control–your own happiness or lack of it. You cannot control things that happen to you. Say you are in an automobile accident. WINFREY: Right. Mr. ZUKAV: That happened. But what you can control is your response to it, how you look at your circumstance. One of the most inspiring people that I saw last year is Christopher Reeve, and I related to him deeply, because he told me a story of how he was sailing at night with a friend, feeling the warm breeze, looking at the stars, hearing the water lap against the boat, and his friend and he both agreeing life wouldn’t be living–wouldn’t be worth living if we couldn’t do this. And now he can’t do it. He could have responded to what happened to him with self-pity, with a victim stance of `Why me? Why did I take that jump the way I did? Why did I pick that horse? Why did that barrier be six inches higher than it should have been? Why did I fall the way I did instead of the way I know I can fall?’ He could have consumed himself with `This is unfair.’ But he chose to respond to that differently. He couldn’t control the fact that he broke his back. But he did choose to respond to it in a way that gave him power rather than drained power from him. WINFREY: OK. When we come back, we’re going to introduce you to Jeff, who has believed for a long time that life was not fair. We’ll come back and meet Jeff in just a moment. [MUSIC] [APPLAUSE] [SOFT PIANO MUSIC] WINFREY: If you think life is unfair, Gary says it can be difficult, but try to think that what you are experiencing is not unfair. He says the universe is not random or cruel or judgmental. It is compassionate and wise, and there is a reason why these things are happening to you, and that reason is your spiritual growth. Looking at yourself as a victim blocks you from seeing that wisdom and compassion and keeps you from having a joyful and meaningful life. So we’re talking with Gary Zukav about what we all can do when life seems unfair. Gary says when you’re stuck at a pity party or victim mode, you will continue to live in negativity and pain and a lot of people have pity parties of different degrees. People–some people have an all-out bash and some people are just having a few friends over for a little semi-pity party and some people are having a major celebration of pity. This is Jeff. As a boy, Jeff dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, so when he joined the minor leagues right out of high school, his dream was very close. But after a series of injuries, he was cut from the team, and Jeff says he has had nothing but bad luck and heartache ever since, and it does not seem fair. Take a look. Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Since I was a kid, that’s all I dreamed about, was being a ballplayer. I always thought that that’s what I was going to do my whole life. When I was 17 years old, I was drafted by the Mets. After six years I was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, and after that I was with the Baltimore Orioles. While playing in the minor leagues, I suffered a few injuries, and after the second surgery on my elbow, they told me that I probably would never play again. I kind of used that as something to drive me into working at–and getting back. As my rehab progressed, I was drafted by the White Sox, and I had a pretty good spring, and then it all ended. I tore the middle fingernail off my pitching hand, and I couldn’t hold the ball, and they said, `We’re going to have to let you go,’ and I drove home from Sarasota, and I just cried for a while, and I thought, `Gosh, where do I go from here? It’s all over.’ After my career came to that abrupt and nasty ending, so did my marriage, and I felt that my wife really enjoyed being around the ball fields, and I think the life that she thought that she might have had with a ballplayer was over, so my marriage was over. Brings back a lot of memories. Mr.CISZKOWSKI: So that’s when I said, OK, I’m going to go back to school and be a police officer like my father was. While I was waiting to go into the police academy, I’d had an accident at my other job, and I broke my back, and that’s when my life really started to down-spiral and take a nosedive. People don’t understand the amount of pain that’s a constant–24 hours, seven days a week, it doesn’t stop. Now I’m being told that, you know, I’m lucky that I can walk. I lost my car. I had to file bankruptcy because I couldn’t work anymore. All the things my parents instilled in me, you know, you work hard, you–you get the things you earn, and now I couldn’t even earn a living. Everything that I had was taken away, and my dignity. That’s a screamer. Sometimes I go and watch ball games and see some of the old-timers play and just wonder, you know, what if. Unidentified Man #3: You’re looking good. Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I lost a lot of weight, man. I went from having a promising baseball career to being a failure, is pretty much what it feels like. The hardest part is seeing guys that I played with making millions of dollars a year, and here I am making a few hundred dollars every two weeks, and I can’t even pay my bills. That’s a hard thing to swallow. It just seems as though the last 10 to 15 years have just been brutal. It’s constantly banging on your brain that it’s not fair. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? WINFREY: All right. Mr. ZUKAV: Jeff, thank you for being here. And I want to tell you that I appreciate that you are in pain. Maybe I can’t even feel as much pain as you are in, but I don’t want in any way to let you or anyone else here think that pain doesn’t hurt and that it’s not real when it happens. When I say that the universe is wise and compassionate, and you’re in pain, you may say, `How could that be, because I lost my career as a baseball player, this woman I wanted to live with, that woman I wanted to live with, and all of the other things,’ and I’m not a therapist, and I’m not a preacher. All I can do is share some of the thing–some of the things that have been important to me. Here’s a small story from my life. About 30 years ago, I wanted to be a developer, and I lived in Florida, also in Miami. At that time there were vast expanses of open land in southern Florida, and I wanted to develop some of that land, but I couldn’t make it happen. And later I saw high-rises all along that Florida coast, and I thought about how wealthy I would have been. I could not make that dream happen. Mr. ZUKAV: Wherever I went, a door slammed shut. And yet now, or starting about 15 years ago, I looked back on that time in my life, and I am grateful and have been since that time that I was not successful as a developer, that I’m not living on Key Biscayne with 125-foot yacht at the dock and a five-car garage, because I believe I would have been addicted. I would still have been addicted to sex. I probably would have been addicted to drugs. I would have been addicted to having a lot of money. I can feel the pain of that life now that I wanted so much and that was so tragic to me to lose. And had I gained that life, I would not have found my way. I would not have been able to have the many experiences that have brought me to my beloved Linda, to the audience that is here, and to Oprah, and to the audience that is watching us. I am thankful every day now that none of my plans worked. WINFREY: But that’s you. Mr. ZUKAV: Yes, it is. WINFREY: That’s you. He’s sitting here and he’s thinking, `Well, I would like to be a ball player still.’ Aren’t you? Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I think that’s pretty much over with. WINFREY: Or that–you know what I’m saying? OK, so I understand and I appreciate your story, but I’m saying he–he’s not where you are. He doesn’t have that perspective. Mr. ZUKAV: I wasn’t where I am now when I couldn’t get those apartment buildings built. I was not able, and I was frustrated and I thought the world was unfair and unjust, and that the universe was unjust, and I spent a lot of my life raging at the universe. So what I’m suggesting is that there was nothing wrong with that, but it was painful. It was painful to me. So I’m not trying to convince you to change. But what I am suggesting is that there are other ways to look at your life the way it is, and I gave the story of my life simply because I’m an authority on my life, but I’m not an authority on yours. However, I do suggest to you that there is wisdom in what is happening. As I began to what I can now say follow my heart, doors began to open that I didn’t know were there, just as doors continually closed for me earlier in my life. So what I’m suggesting is this: Entertain, if you have the inclination to, that the universe is wise and compassionate, even though what you are experiencing may be painful or is painful in the moment. If what you are experiencing is painful, the pain is there. Now the question is, how shall you respond to it? WINFREY: Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: And I am suggesting that a healthy way to respond to it is to see what you can learn from your life the way it is. Now you have to trust that there is something to learn from what is happening to you, and that’s what I’m on this show today to suggest, exactly that, that your life is meaningful, it’s powerful, it’s purposeful, and your purpose on the Earth is to align yourself with the highest aspect of yourself, or your soul, that part–that part that longs for harmony and cooperation and sharing and reverence for life, and you can’t get there overnight, and you can’t even begin the journey while you are looking at life as unfair. WINFREY: Well, I would say this to you. I just–I know this for sure. That God, whether you call it God or not, can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself and that many times when you’re hitting yourself up against the wall, hitting yourself up against the wall, what you really need to do is to surrender to what life wants for your life, for what the greater life, the greater thing that I call God wants for your life, and so I think that’s what Gary is saying. You need to put your pla–yourself in that place of surrender to be willing and ope–to open your heart to what really is supposed to happen to you in your life, what you really have come to the planet to do, because, you know, based upon what we’ve seen now, it isn’t to be a baseball player. Oops, you thought that’s what it was, but obviously the creator has something else in mind for you… Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Yeah. WINFREY: …so you need to open to–your heart to receive that, because whatever that is, is what is going to give you a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness and joy than you ever could have imagined possible for yourself. Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Yeah, but now with–dealing with all the bitterness and the anger that you have, not just because that was taken away from me or it didn’t happen, it’s the everyday things that I have to deal with, just to–like take the dogs for a walk or to get out of bed, it’s affected my relationships with my friends. I’ve kind of closed myself off to that because of all the negativity that comes with the physical pain that I endure day in and day out, and that has a–I mean, just–it’s like you become a prisoner of your own bedroom, is pretty much what I did. WINFREY: We’ll continue talking with Jeff when we come back. Have to take a commercial break. I hear what you’re saying. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: Gary says as long as you feel that life is unfair, even to a small degree, you position yourself as a victim, and when you assume the passive role of victim, you are choosing not to step into the power of your own life, and Gary says this is a very painful way to live. OK. Mr. ZUKAV: Jeff, you said in your piece that your dignity was taken from you, and in my experience, that’s impossible. You have to relinquish it. And that is a choice. And I do believe you when you say that you are a prisoner, but I don’t believe it’s a prisoner of your bedroom. I believe it is a prisoner of the way that you are looking at your experience and looking at the universe and saying your–to yourself `It shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t be in pain. I shouldn’t have experienced all that I’ve experienced.’ And this is the key and the most difficult thing that all of us on this Earth are now dealing with. WINFREY: So you’re saying he should look–he should look at it as this is what it is. Now what? Mr. ZUKAV: I’m not saying that you should do that. I’m saying that is the healthiest way to approach a life. WINFREY: This is what I have to deal with. Now what? Mr. ZUKAV: Exactly. Instead of squandering your energy about how you could have been this and you could have been that and things could have turned out this way, to look at the way you are and your life is now, and the question is `Where do I go from there?’ WINFREY: Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: And you can continue to be the same prisoner until you die, or you can experiment, and since you’re in pain, what have you got to lose? WINFREY: What do you say to that, Jeff? Mr. CISZKOWSKI: Well, I–it sounds great. The thing is, is just finding that little niche or that–you know, I talked to Linda earlier about, you know, the thing that helps me was just to go out and escape–and I don’t know if I should use that word `escape’ or not–but just to go out into the Gulf and just float for an hour, because it just takes all the pressure off my spine, and it just feels like heaven. But it’s when I get out, I feel like somebody’s dropping a Volkswagen bug on my back, and I’m like `Oh, no,’ you know, `here it is again.’ And it’s that vicious cycle that you go through that, you know, you try and get away from it, and you try and that positive approach to it, but you’re always ending up in that same starting point. Mr. ZUKAV: Now you have described for millions of viewers exactly what happens when you cling to the perception of yourself as a victim. You will perpetuate your experience, whether it is being lonely, whether it is reaching out and trying to make a connection and not having the connection come back to you, whatever it is, you will perpetuate that. If you are lonely, instead of blaming other people for being who they are, look at how you are and see what involvement you have. If you feel that you are in a prison, instead of looking at the pain in your body and the things that have happened to you, look at the way you are approaching your own life. Experiment with this. I’m not saying this is what you should do. I’m merely offering you an option. WINFREY: OK. Now let’s meet Karleen. After she had a miscarriage, she says she began to think life was also unfair. As her life became increasingly miserable and her family started falling apart, she made a change that turned her life around. Take a look at how Karleen broke free from anger and negativity by shifting her paradigm, which as I was saying to Jeff, you need to shift. Here we go. KARLEEN: I’m 33 years old, married, and I have one son. When I was growing up, people always thought I was so outgoing and positive, but I wasn’t always feeling positive on the inside. I felt life was unfair sometimes. If somebody got something, whether it was a promotion or a materialistic thing, instead of being happy for them, I took it to mean, `Well, that’s less for me.’ I had to be the best at everything. I felt one measure of being a perfect mom was having a lot of children. Sorry. Two years ago I had a miscarriage. I was completely devastated when I lost the baby. I felt it was so unfair what happened to me, and I felt sorry for myself. I felt like a victim. I thought `Why me?’ I felt that life was unkind to me. My son was two years old when I had the miscarriage. I couldn’t think about my husband and the child that I did have. All I thought about was what I didn’t have. I shut out those around me, and I distanced myself from others. I became obsessed with getting pregnant and having another child. My husband became resentful, constantly telling me, `You’re focusing too much on what you don’t have and not enough on what you do have.’ And I–I didn’t want to hear it. Then one day I watched Gary Zukav on THE OPRAH SHOW. Mr. ZUKAV: The question is are you going to generate negativity and confusion and control… KARLEEN: I related to what Gary was saying about negativity, and my husband looked at me and said `That’s you,’ and I said `I know.’ For the first time I said `What am I supposed to learn from this?’ Before it was `Why me, poor me.’ I truly believe that things happen for a reason, and I felt the miscarriage happened to me because I needed a wake-up call. I’d become angry and bitter, slowly over the years. I didn’t realize it. I need to change. I started to truly appreciate my life and what I’d been blessed with. Once I surrendered my anger, there was room for love. A miracle happened. Come on in! I became pregnant. I know now I’m in a better place, and if I were to experience another miscarriage, I would be able to handle it differently. I have enough love in my heart now to try to understand it. I know I wouldn’t fall back into my old pattern of `Why me? This is so unfair.’ I realize this was my life lesson, and we all have life lessons, and if this is my life lesson, I’ll take it. WINFREY: Terrif–those aren’t all your children in the house. KARLEEN: No. WINFREY: Neighbors’ children. What do you want to say, Gary? Mr. ZUKAV: Thank you. We have here on the show two examples of two roads. Both involved pain. Both involved the world not being the way that someone thought it should be. And we have an example of one gentleman who is looking for a way to change that perception and another person who has changed that perception. You are the authority in your own life, not I. So you must make the decisions in your own life about how you will look at yourself and your life and the events that occur in it. I am suggesting that you consider the possibility that looking at the universe as wise and compassionate, even in your most difficult and painful moments, will open you to the possibility of insights that you would not be able to find if you looked at the world and the universe as unjust and unfair. Do you see? It’s a matter of limitation and opportunity, not of right and wrong. WINFREY: We’ll be right back. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] [Inspirational piano music] WINFREY: When you feel that life is unfair, Gary says think of this: What you experience is exactly what you need to experience, and while you can’t control what happens to you, you always have the option to choose how you respond to what happens to you. Gary says in every moment of every day, you are given the opportunity to create anew. To reiterate this point, you may not be able to control what happens to you during your lifetime–none of us can–but the one thing you can control is how you choose to respond. That’s what you’re talking about here. Mr. ZUKAV: That’s–that’s That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And no one has an easy life on this Earth, not… WINFREY: Because that’s what the Earth is–hard life school. Mr. ZUKAV: The Earth is, in my perception, a learning environment, and nobody has an easy time of it. WINFREY: Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: So… WINFREY: But isn’t Earth–I was just saying, we’re in the realm of yin and yang. It is opposites. Yeah. Mr. ZUKAV: It is. So if you are holding to the belief that your life should be easy or different than it is, you are in for more of a difficult ride than you need to have. This is at the heart of authentic power. This is at the heart of spiritual development. Understanding that you are powerful, that you are meaningful, that you are worthy, that your experiences are worthy of you and you are worthy of them and moving forward from there in the best way that you can. It takes courage, it takes clarity, and the only alternative you have is to continue in the way that you have been moving forward until you decide to change. WINFREY: Correct. Mr. ZUKAV: This show, this series, is an instigation, like an instigator, to look at the possibility of changing now before the pain in your life become so intense that you must focus–you must focus, because you cannot bear the pain any longer, whatever your pain is. Your pain is exquisitely suited to you. It is not something to be avoided. It is your avenue to spiritual growth. It is the blessing of your life descending upon you. You can either take that stance toward it, or you can take this stance toward it. That’s your choice. WINFREY: Remembering Your Spirit is next. Thank you, Gary. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: We received a wonderful letter from Donna in California who told a remarkable story of what it means to stop viewing life as unfair. After a decade of struggling with infertility, Donna’s dream of having a family had finally come true when she adopted first one, then a second baby boy, but when the birth parents had a change of heart and took that baby back, Donna says she felt like her life had been destroyed. So take a look at how Donna’s tragedy led her to a life with more love, peace and more meaning, how she got over that. DONNA: My parents divorced when I was a teen-ager, and I felt like my whole life fell apart. I felt very lonely and insecure. This is when I started to be obsessed with trying to create my own family, and that that was the only way I was going to to be able to feel happy again. I met my husband, and I fell in love with him and thought that he would make a great father. Shortly after we were married, we decided to try and have children. After about a year of trying, we started going to infertility treatment. We tried for five years. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was getting used to the pattern of failures and disappointment every month. We decided that we were going to adopt, and Michael came into our lives. MICHAEL: Hi. DONNA: We were overcome with joy that I finally was getting the son, the family, that I always wanted. Three years later we decided that we were going to adopt again. We were chosen by a birth mother to be the adoptive parents for a boy that we named Steven, and we immediately bonded and fell in love with him. I was ecstatic to finally have the two children that I’d always wanted. I felt like I was going to have the happiness I had been missing. Two and a half months after we had Steven, the birth family decided to raise Steven by themselves. We had to return him to the agency. I couldn’t believe why this was happening to us. Life seemed so unfair. I had been feeling so powerless and like a victim. I was extremely angry with the whole world. I didn’t think I was going to be able to go on. A couple years ago, I saw Gary Zukav on OPRAH and started to read his book. It really helped me to turn the corner. I had to learn to turn my anger back into love, and what I needed to do was to connect with the people that I was angry with. DONNA: With my parents, I was able to understand that they were doing the best that they could, and it wasn’t a personal thing against me. Here’s when they did a shower for me. I’ve been on a spiritual journey ever since then. I’m very grateful for Steven coming into our lives. I call Steven my soul baby. I feel like he was sent to me for a reason, and he’s changed my life. I’ve turned Steven’s room into a spiritual room. It finally is a happy place again. Why don’t you tell me what you’re thankful for today? I feel like I’m a much better parent now. Michael and I have much better conversations. We spend time in my spiritual room. We light a candle, and we talk about what we’re grateful for. There’s other ways to share our love as a family. Michael and I have become mentors to a young boy, and I realize that we can still make a difference in his life without him living with us, and it’s been a great experience. I do feel that the greater the loss, the greater the opportunity for growth, and I’m looking at the big picture. I really feel that things happen for a reason. Sometimes you don’t understand why for many years later. I no longer feel that life is unfair. I feel it’s all about learning. WINFREY: Indeed. Thank you, Donna. We’ll be right back. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: Thank you to Jeff and to Karleen and, of course, to Gary Zukav. Gary has a gift for everybody in our audience, a copy of the new paperback edition of “Soul Stories.” And don’t forget after the show you can go online to and see what happens after the show here in the studio after we go off the air. Thank you all so much. Thanks. Thank you. [MUSIC] [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] -Guests fly our official carrier, American Airlines, the only airline offering more room throughout coach for more coach passengers. Enjoy more room on American. MUSIC


  • TrumpetSAE says:

    Omg this past came right on time… Literally

  • Shelby Strotter says:

    I needed to watch this video

  • Jame Spencer says:

    Love helpful videos like this 👍

  • Gurudra says:

    We need to stop blaming life and take responsibility for our own happiness and peace )

  • fair is fair says:

    Ty for listening and posting full ep. Now,can we hey ep 1- finale of oprahs talk show….

  • Hugo.I says:

    When was this from, could you put the date in the description please

  • TJ Michael says:

    I have back pain too (not to his extent) and it is extremely challenging some days. People really have no way to understand other people physical or mental pain unless they have suffered similarly.

  • Liz I. says:

    This should have billions of views!

  • jayjay 154 says:

    can we have AAALLLL the oprah shows ????

  • Geneva McKinley says:

    To those who are reading this, even to those who have not.. I speak life into you in the name of Jesus Christ.. My lord and savior.

  • ShyEmpressSerena says:

    More topics like this please. Does anyone know what year this first aired? I've watched Oprah since her first year in the 80s.

  • krystalwaters47 says:

    The doctor guy sounds like a droid.

  • rifke stern says:

    i dont think gary zukav is particularly insightful. he's just copying what viktor frankl–who WAS insightful and who had the experiences to know what he was talking about–said a half century earlier. HE's the one who doesn't seem to get what the ball player is saying, but is acting like the ball player is the one not understanding. it kind of makes me mad how he brushes over the physical pain aspect as though it's the same as emotional pain, and then compares the two cases as examples of how people deal differently with pain when the grieving mother is not living with daily physical pain so it's not really the same thing at all. you can accept emotional pain after a time, integrate it into your being, ameliorate it, but you cannot do the same with physical pain of an unvarying nature, which is made all the more cruel by it's redundancy. so how to live with physical pain, the kind which never gets better, which often IS in control to the point of the sufferer feeling like pain IS his identity? gary Zukav seems to have NO insight on that whatsoever, and seems content to just repeat the same things over and over and over ad infinitum, hoping that if he talks slowly enough, evenly measuring out his words, people will actually believe he's wise. well im sorry but I don't.

  • Jade Johnson says:

    I don’t think this was the right show for Jeff. He has a lot of trauma, and pain and even depression. A therapist may have been more helpful. I don’t think Gary is a therapist

  • Anna R. says:

    Finally a FULL episode, jesus..!

  • Jen J says:

    These episodes are gems. Just known there are many of us that would pay for access to old shows.

  • fikaczu u says:

    I wonder what happened to Jeff? Does anybody know where to find him?

  • avalsifif says:

    thank you for the full episodes, I miss the Oprah show💕💕

  • ShookTV says:

    Wow this guy is terrible, he literally has no advice to give or is so old he just doesn't know what to say anymore, a damn shame.

  • Jae Haymond says:

    I Watched This Episode Of Oprah Already With Gary Zukav About "What to Do When Life Seems Unfair" & The Original Airdate Is March 26, 2001! I Enjoyed This Episode! I'm Glad About Full Episode On The OWN YouTube Channel! Brings Back A Lot Of Oprah Winfrey Show Memories!

  • sharon says:

    At 53, I have been ill for half my life. It's meant I have not had a career or children and lost a lot of friends who didn't know how to deal with me. However, I am not a victim, I constantly see people who are worse off than me. I do get frustrated that I am not well enough to help people, but I am probably supposed to learn how to be humble and accept help.
    BUT, I am more useful as a care giver and a driven person rather than a sick person needing help. I agree the universe has a plan, and is wise and compassionate . So, am I to think I Haven't learnt all my lessons yet?

  • Melanie Smith says:

    My God! This man is boring!

  • Forty One says:

    For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.All these are the beginning of sorrows.(Matthew 24:7,8) Wake up!!!

  • Meriem Nielsen says:

    America did lose to People Oprah and Jon Stewart and the result of That lost is Trump.

  • vivian Burton says:

    What do u do when police and ambulance follow u around and u have death threats on u and ur children

  • Mustafa Daif says:

    Inspirational. God, the creator of the universe, is wise and compassionate; so true.

  • Jason Gafar says:

    Oprah is so annoying. Keeps interjecting and cutting off Gary.

  • tnt says:

    More full episodes please. Much appreciated.

  • Carmen HoyosBurns says:

    What happens with Jeff Ciszkow..

  • Kenny Pham says:

    I wonder what happened to the baseball guy?

  • Christopher Sumlin says:

    Thank you for uploading this! It really helped me out. Thank you!

  • Attah Bregette says:

    Oprah please help me with some money because God give you too much money l need some .please help me. God bless you

  • Tiffany Daniel says:

    YAY!!!! Thank you so much for uploading full episodes! I miss the Oprah show so much, it's such a comfort to me 💗

  • Jam says:

    Please upload more and more episodes! They deserve to be watched

  • Susan Ndungu Muriuki says:

    I resonate with this. Soooo powerful

  • Rose J says:

    Nick vijucic can speak on what to do when life isn't fair. He has no limbs and travels around the world being a light for others who are in the dark night of the soul.

  • Rose J says:

    Oops. His name is Nick Vujicic on When I start to feel self-pity I think of him and what he lives with everyday that self-pity is silenced ASAP.

  • MG B says:

    Thank youuuuuuuuuuuu OWN!

  • Alejandra Santos says:

    Idk about the rest of you .. but I found the Drs message kind of incomplete n annoyingly slow😬

  • Jeannette says:

    "Respond in a way that gives you power, instead of draining power from you" love this!

  • Lizzy Darcy says:

    "You are the authority in your own life."

  • Ines Soto says:

    But Jeff did live his dream. He played on 3 professional teams. Even if it wasn’t forever millions of people can only dream to play just 1 game.

  • Lynn Marie Anderson says:

    I appreciate what Gary is trying to say, I can tell he's choosing his words carefully and is thinking before he speaks. This is nothing personal against Oprah, but she's interrupting him and really being somewhat rude.

  • Kristen K says:

    Jeff Ciszowski …looks like he coaches? I hope things are better for him now. 🙏

  • IMChrysalis says:

    I have fibromyalgia …and when I realized what that diagnosis meant, I grieved for the life I had known, only sang sad songs, didn't want to do anything… and then discovered that I didn't like myself that way.

    I made the choice to let the grief fade and looked around to see what I COULD do… the pain is still with me, every day, in different levels at any given time. BUT… I sing. I reach out and talk to strangers. I laugh… and the patience and compassion and laughter that were the gifts I received with that choice have been life affirming, and have gotten me through multiple events, including three separate car accidents, four minor hand surgeries and a ligament injury, neuropathy, infections that kept me on crutches for months, shingles with post herpetic neuralgia, two different kinds of cancer… I mention those only to show I could have slipped back into the sad songs easily enough. Instead, with God's help, every day I choose to find a song of joy in my heart, and at times it seems I have been able to help others gain some of that for themselves, not by doing anything extraordinary but just by being who I am, who I have become… It's a humbling feeling… and freeing. In retrospect, I am very grateful for the lessons. Sometimes it just takes time to realize and appreciate…

  • Annamaria Iannacito says:

    I watched this episode of Oprah way back when and thought…'yeah, yeah, blah blah'…and now 100 years later, I make a 'deal' with myself…"Okay, this happened, that happened, and I WILL NOT BE MISERABLE…I WILL NOT BE MISERABLE…I DO NOT NEED TO BE MISERABLE!!! This works 90% of the time. I focus on anything that gives me pleasure, after I accept that I can't change what happened.

  • priyanka chowdary says:

    This is so beautiful! ♥️

  • Tom Rhodes says:

    The Meaning of Life has finally been revealed, and I am blessed to present this information to the world in an easy-to-understand format – for the first time in recorded history. The Universe is entirely just, and absolutely everything that happens is indeed designed to benefit you….as you will understand once you know exactly WHY you are experiencing this world (which is a realm of limitation). Interestingly, I am from the same "small town in Kansas" that Gary Zukav is from. And both he and Oprah would benefit from my work, if they ever become aware of it. Give me a "click" to learn more……-

  • Aria Reynolds says:

    Great advise …..not.

  • kaw18thar says:

    I love you Oprah forever ❤️ You have changed my life for the better in so many ways. I wouldn’t have been who I am now had I not been watching your amazing show. Much love and gratitude 💕 🙏🏻

  • April Martin Chartrand, M.S. says:

    This is EPIC. Thank you. I have been Angry all of my life as I was still successful with my endeavors, but was angry and sad the same time. It is in the mind, the mind is powerful…and can messed me up as I went through life. My accomplishments were shaded by child abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse from abusive parents and in serious poverty.

  • Rená says:

    I find it tragically sad that so many people follow Gary Zukav and he has absolutely no compassion for this man in physical & mental pain. Until the physical pain is managed, he can not even address the mental pain.

    I have been a nurse for twenty eight years. I worked on the orthopedic med/surg unit for six years and I know severe pain alone causes mental stress and depression. Some patients are suicidal from the pain, others become addicted to pain medications.

    It is so wrong on so many levels, to compare this man to the woman who had a miscarriage and later had a baby.

    I read every single comment to just know that no one agreed with this sad advice by thus philosopher.

    What I know for sure, the “universe” can not do anything for us. Only the Creator of the universe can heal us physically and mentally.

  • Lakhbir Boyal says:

    My dream is to one day meet Oprah before I leave this place called earth and I know I will never give up on life no matter what life brings me ….you seriously can’t control what happens to you…. how you react to what has happened is up to you…. live and be wise to stay positive 🙏…..

  • SOS Irish says:

    Radicals near this building pushing shopping carts around and saying they're homeless said you helped them in some way get away with helping blow up the World Trade Center.

  • Michael D. Williams III says:

    To hear about how deplorable those apartment buildings are to the extreme of being rat infested and roach infested. Biting the children and even, causing a baby to sadly die was absolutely heart wrenching… And the poor former baseball player abs his ex wife leaving him high and dry…😣 Great episode and well done Oprah with your continual generosity, inspiration, and giving heart… I needed a classic Oprah Winfrey episode this evening it’s been pretty gloomy and sad for me, personally lately.🥀

  • Zack says:

    Who loves Full episode Friday’s ! ❤️😍

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