On Life

Learn from Conflict & Experience and Be In Process

Oprah Winfrey. Photo credit: Huffington Post.
Oprah Winfrey. Photo credit: Huffington Post.

“I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull.”~ Oprah Winfrey

Oprah said these words, and only recently did I read them.

I especially love the first part of her quote: “I am a woman in process.” It’s empowering to think of ourselves that way. Life is a process. Things change. Things are always changing.

I am in process.

When we think of life that way, we can be much more accepting of changes that have occurred in our lives, for better or for worse. Conflicts present themselves, and sometimes even when we try to solve them, and we think everything is going to be alright, it veers off in another direction and surprises us, even shocks us. These experiences and life lessons are important to our growth as people: we win some and we lose some. The tricky part—and the bit we have to come to peace with—is what we can take and leave behind. If things need to be eliminated in order to find that happiness and learn from that conflict, do so. Oprah is right: life is never dull.

Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy “Eat, Pray, Love” so much, and why Elizabeth Gilbert’s book remains a bestseller all over the world and appeals to so many of us, is that she was in process. We could identify with some aspect of her. She had to go away for a year to “find” herself, to forgive herself, to accept herself. While many of us don’t have the luxury of going away for a year and journaling our experiences, we may take different routes. We may get a new job; change our course of study; find a new hobby; seek out new friends; move to a new location; challenge ourselves emotionally or physically; or better ourselves educationally.

Like Oprah, Elizabeth, and many of us, I am in process. I’m always working on a new project, developing new ideas for courses I teach, reading interesting novels, seeing films that may enlighten me, meeting new people and catching up with old friends, or being there for my children as we all acclimate to a new, refreshing environment.

As the new school year begins and many students are starting their two-year or four-year stints at colleges or universities, Oprah’s quote is a great way to think about life and embrace obstacles, disappointments, and conflicts, as well as joys, pleasant surprises, and faces with smiles on them. I dare you to embrace them, then say it aloud.

I am in process.

4 thoughts on “Learn from Conflict & Experience and Be In Process”

  1. This is another lovely, insightful essay. I too adore Gilbert’s book. Isn’t it amazing to know how much the written world can impact others? Isn’t it even more amazing to know we, as writers, are a part of that impact? I had never thought of myself as in process but you’re right – we are all in process every day.

    A year ago I began a new process – I self-published my first book. It was a terrifying leap of faith but I knew I would learn and grow as a writer. Little did I realize how much I had already learned and grown leading up to that point. I have no idea what the future holds. One thing I’m sure of: I’m in process. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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