"The Oprah Syndrome Part 1 - A Somatic Experiencing Blog"
sThe Oprah Syndrome by Brian D. Mahan, SEP Why do I, as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, specializing in working with stress, anxiety, panic and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D), feel so compelled to blog about Oprah? Well, I love Oprah. There, I said it. <Deep breath> I’ve been a fan of hers for far longer than I care to admit. OK, since truth and transparency are integral to my well being, I’ll admit that I have watched her since her first season and she continues to be a mainstay on my DVR. I’ve been contemplating cutting the cord with my cable provider now that I have Apple TV, Hulu+ and Netflix. But before I can make that leap, I have to figure out how I can still enjoy Super Soul Sunday and Second Chances. Ok, I’ll probably Miss Lisa Ling’s Our America, too. How many men do you know who can (or will) say that? In fact, how many men do you know who watch her show but categorically deny doing so when in public? It takes a real man to be an out-loud-and-proud Oprah fan. But, I wasn’t always like this. It used to be like a guilty pleasure that was far more appealing if done in secrecy behind closed doors … my finger perched on the remote control, ready to quickly switch channels if I heard footsteps in the hallway. Then there were the times that I found myself recanting something that I had learned on Oprah, consciously not disclosing my source, but inevitably getting busted by someone saying, “I saw that episode of Oprah, too,” to which I would respond with the cursory back-pedaling and denial to save face, “No, I don’t know where I heard that, but…” Now, those days of shame coupled with false-pride are behind me. Alas, I have joined the rank and file of Oprah devotees who cherish consciousness above and beyond social stigmatism. Speaking of powerful women, I remember attending a Deepak Chopra talk at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences several years ago, when he mentioned the name of a friend of mine at the time and her impact on the fall of the iron curtain. It seems that Dr. Chopra had found himself in conversation with the former head of the KGB at a cocktail party. The good Doctor boldly asked the former Russian official what had precipitated the Soviet Union’s collapse. The answer was, well, unexpected to say the least: Linda Gray! Dr. Chopra learned that when the TV show Dallas began to air in the Soviet Union, women there saw for the first time a new feminine archetype: Sue Ellen Ewing. In short, the former head of the Soviet Union's KBG believes that once the consciousness of the people had been raised by seeing images of a free, wealthy, empowered woman, then there was no stopping a revolution. Or should I say a revelation? (That can also be a commentary on the impact of media, hence the talk before The American Academy of Motion Picture Sciences.) But bear in mind that if the housewife, cum actress, from the San Fernando Valley can incite a shift in consciousness amidst one of the most oppressive places on Earth by playing an alcoholic on TV, then we haven't even begun to see the long-term ripple-effect of Ms. Winfrey's quest to inspire, heal and uplift the masses. Can I have an "Amen, Brother"? Be that as it may, the quantifiable reality of Oprah Winfrey's magnitude in making this world a better place is undeniable. She is the personification of the Great American Dream, having risen up from impoverished and traumatic beginnings to become one of the most powerful women in the world. She has unimaginable wealth. She has her finger on the proverbial pulse. She has read hundreds and hundreds of books. She has the energetic support of millions of well-wishers. She has the professional support of a staff of hundreds. She has the personal support of trainers, doctors, nutritionists, and private chefs. In fact, she has one-on-one access to virtually every expert in every field. And, yet, she still wages her public battle with her personal issues. Cognitively, she understands that the weight is not the issue but merely the symptom. And, what if the issue is not necessarily emotional, but physiological, instead? And, I don’t mean a thyroid condition or slow metabolism. Could past traumatic events be to blame? (More to come in Pt. 2)