It takes time to digest the gigantic experience after sailing with Oprah Winfrey in the Caribbean on Holland America Line majestic Pinnacle-Class ship the Nieuw Statendam.
Half Moon Cay – Bahamas
I needed to let the excitement of the extraordinary event settle, I needed to absorb the phenomenal experience before attempting to articulate the enormity of what transpired during our three days at sea with our warrior tribe.
Every day Kerry and myself would come back to our stateroom, on our beds we had been left thoughtful gifts, like the metallic journal that I made notes in for this blog.
Every day we would come back to our stateroom after absorbing a non-stop fusion of energetic positivity, sailing in Paradise with 2,700 women (mostly) who are champions in every professional field imaginable, and included leaders of the literary world.
Every day we would read our postcards sent with love, an inspirational quote, a powerful reinforcement that we were in fact, sailing with Oprah Winfrey (I later found out that Oprah was sleeping on our deck)
The three day cruise was jam packed full of inspirational events, it was our choice to participate in as much as we wanted to.
We were sailing together as one tribe, the love and camaraderie was infectious.
We met our new friends Darlene and Chrisandra, cousins from Rochester in New York on the first day of the cruise in the dining room, after attending the ships emergency drill.
Later that evening at the exact same moment the door in the opposite cabin to ours opened, we were staying on deck number seven, which happens to be my lucky number.
Almost colliding we were facing Darlene and Chrisandra, the four of us laughing simultaneously paved the way for a wonderful alliance.
I asked the ladies why they had booked the Girls Getaway Cruise with Oprah and O, The Oprah Magazine, they explained that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Strangely enough we kept running into Darlene and Chrisandra without making plans, the Law Of Attraction was in full swing on our cruise and as Oprah says,
“There is no such thing as a coincidence”
From left: Myself, Chrisandra, Darlene and Kerry
Just like my meeting with Lucy Kaylin who is the Editor in Chief of O, The Oprah Magazine when we first boarded the ship.
I was thrilled to meet Lucy after communicating via email about my work initiating the world changing family violence legislation.
I was delighted that Lucy recognized me and introduced me to her husband Kimball. I prayed that I would meet with Lucy again, away from the crowds just like I had in our initial meeting.
My manifestation became a reality, just after midnight on the last night of the cruise I met with Lucy in a quiet space.
We were both delighted to meet again, we hugged and had a brief but important conversation about my work.
I will hold our conversations close to my heart, I am grateful to have been blessed with such an opportunity.
There was an absence of haters on board the Nieuw Statendam, Oprah’s powerful energy would extinguish any negative force in a heartbeat.
It was time to party, after all it was Oprah’s 65th birthday the day before we sailed. The B.B King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge was the place to unite.
I was obsessed with the music and couldn’t stop dancing, the dance floor was a magnetic force of superwomen.
Two floors moving in a rhythmic wave of purposeful knowing, we shared the secret. We had secured a golden ticket on Gods floating vessel of Goddesses.
I couldn’t get enough as the band sang “Ladies Night”.
I wasn’t alone soaking up the electric atmosphere. The trumpet players were pumped, they danced as they blew their hearts out. The band created joyful music as the vocalist belted out,
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
And the feeling’s right
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
Oh, what a night (oh, what a night)
Gayle King moved effortlessly in front of me onto the dance floor, the crowd became excited but respectful as she danced and weaved her way through the mass of dancers.
Gayle displayed real appreciation of all the guests in attendance.
B.B King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge – Nieuw Statendam
At times both Kerry and myself felt the crowds were overwhelming and would retreat to a quiet part of the ship.
We both enjoyed the library, surrounded by inspirational books, reclining into luxurious lounge chairs overlooking the Ocean as we sailed on calm seas.
I became lost in a quandary of space and time when I looked up to the high-resolution world screen and noticed a perfect photograph of beautiful Sanur in Bali, Indonesia.
The exact corner of the beach my husband and myself retreat to on our magical Island home.
The highlight of the cruise was being present at the world stage for,
“A Conversation with Oprah”
Kerry and myself glowed with Aussie pride when Gayle sat with Oprah and chatted to the audience about the two ladies she had met on the beach, who had traveled from Australia to attend the Girls Getaway Cruise.
Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey – World Stage, Nieuw Statendam
Being in the same room as Oprah Winfrey was an experience far beyond anything I could have envisaged.
Oprah was engaging, her realness and authenticity was confronting.
The audience sat in silence as the world stage wrapped around us, cocooned by a two story 270-degree LED screen in high definition. A warm blanket of enormous images engulfed the audience.
The images were of Sofia, the character Oprah played in the 1985 American film The Color Purple, directed by Steven Speilberg.
The story Oprah was telling us was like music in my ears.
Oprah told us how she is the master of manifestation, and how she manifested the role of Sofia.
The process of manifestation happened only after surrendering and letting go completely.
I know a lot about being obsessive, it was necessary that I pay very good attention to Oprah’s story.
Oprah told us about her obsession with Alice Walker’s book called The Color Purple. When Oprah heard that there was going to be a movie come out she started praying,
“God, please let me be in this movie”.
Although she had never been in a movie and didn’t know anything about acting in movies, but she kept praying and became fixated on the thought of playing the role of Sofia in The Color Purple.
The story continues as she told us about Quincy Jones being in Chicago because he was the producer of the Thriller album and there was a lawsuit being filed against Michael Jackson.
Somebody said that Billie Jean was their lover, and that he stole it, or whatever. So Quincy Jones was there to prove that Billie Jean was not their lover.
He had taken the red eye and he was getting out of the shower when he turned on the television in his hotel room. Oprah told us she was hosting AM Chicago when Quincy Jones saw her and said, “That’s Sofia.”
After auditioning for the role of Sofia in The Color Purple she didn’t hear a word, after two months she took this as a bad sign.
Oprah called Reuben Cannon who was the casting director asking why she hadn’t heard from him.
Reuben advised Oprah that she must not call him, if he had any news he would call her. Reuben hurt her feelings by saying he had auditioned real actresses to play the part of Sofia.
Oprah decided she needed to loose weight and retreated to what she describes as a Fat Farm, or what is now known as a Health Retreat. She needed to talk to God, to ask his help for her to surrender and let go of her obsession with Sofia.
Oprah told us that she was running around the track, crying and praying for God to help her let go because she was getting on peoples nerves. She cried out,
“Please God, help me let it go”
Continuing her pilgrimage around the racetrack she started to sing the song “I Surrender All”. Oprah was singing and crying whilst visualising The Color Purple made with another actress playing the role of Sofia, without feeling sick.
She kept thinking about the sign, the sign of the character who she auditioned with who’s name is Harpo, she kept thinking that surely that was a clear sign that the role was meant for her. After all Harpo is her name spelt backwards.
Oprah told us she kept praying and crying until she reached the point of release.
The instant that she got to the point when she thought she would be okay without playing Sofia, was the exact moment a woman came running onto the track advising her there was a telephone call from Steven Speilberg.
Steven Speilberg wanted to see Oprah in his office the next day, he told her not to loose one pound of weight, she was perfect the way she was to play Sofia.
Oprah told us that The Color Purple changed her life.
“It changed everything about my life because in that moment of prayer and letting go I finally understood the principle of surrender”
One year later Oprah went on to launch her own television show named The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show stands as the highest rated program of its kind in history.
The Oprah Winfrey Network was launched, Oprah Winfrey became the richest African-American woman of the 20th century.
Oprah’s story of surrender is familiar to me.
I have already surrendered once about my obsession to meet Oprah Winfrey.
I recited a mantra out loud as I removed Oprah’s image from my professional facebook page in June, 2018.
“Oprah I choose to let you go, you are still my muse however I release you from my obsession to meet with you”
48 hours later, Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey were talking on my IPhone urging me to sail with them on the Girls Getaway Cruise.
I took this as a sign and booked immediately (even without Kerry agreeing), the cruise sold out in less than 24 hours.
Maybe the older you get the more you need to surrender? I turn 55 in a few weeks time!
“Once again, I wholeheartedly let you go Oprah Winfrey”.
I really do mean it….
Oprah Winfrey officially named the ship in a ceremony on board in the ship’s World Stage at the conclusion of the Girls Getaway Cruise on February 2, 2019.
Winfrey was joined by Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Stein Kruse, Holland America Group and Carnival UK chief executive officer; and Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation
Winfrey reflected on the Girls’ Getaway cruise that had just concluded, saying:
“It’s been an incredible experience to see people from across the world come together with one mind and celebrate themselves, honor themselves and honor each other. Everybody gathered, made friends and connected to people they didn’t know because they felt like they had met themselves on some level. I have never seen anything like it.”
She then officially dedicated the ship as its godmother with the traditional statement,
“I name this ship Nieuw Statendam. May God bless her and all who sail on her.”
Sharon Karyasa ©2019
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