Soooo. I was on Ellen. All that transpired was yet another reminder that when I let go, stop trying to control the details of my life, miraculous experiences unfold.
I was considering a short trip to visit my friend Natalie in LA last week. I felt bold and emailed the producer from the Ellen show who had originally invited me right after my surgery. I had been inundated by media requests while I was recovering immediately post-op and just couldn't deal at the time. I later kicked myself for not agreeing to go on Ellen (what was I thinking?!?!?!)... The producer had mentioned that she could help get me tickets if I ever wanted to come in the future. That was in November, so I thought it was a long-shot, but I decided it was worth contacting her. She didn't respond to my request for a few days, so I put the matter out of my head, packed my bag and flew to LA. Then as I was driving to a hike in Topanga Canyon, she called saying that she got 2 tickets for me for that day's show. Great! We drove to Burbank, got in line with the hundreds of other lively people with tickets to Ellen and knew we would have some fun.
The producer spots me in the crowd, gives me a hug and says she will tell Ellen that I am there (but that I should expect nothing)... We get seated in the middle of a row, pretty close to the front... The show starts. Ellen comes out. Lots of great energy from her and the audience. She dances up and down the aisles, interacting with several audience members. She is at my row, looks at me directly in the eyes and gives an adorable little wave. I wave back and wink. OK -- I just had a sweet connection with Ellen. That is going to be my special moment. Various guests come on. Lots of cheering and dancing and laughing... good clean fun.
The show is almost over and then Ellen starts talking about someone dancing before her mastectomy... Wait! Holy shit! She's talking about me! Natalie puts her hand on my leg and says, "Ok, here you go." And then Ellen invites me down. I am shocked. I take a deep breath, allow the gratitude to sink into my bones (try not to think about the exceptionally casual yoga pants I'm wearing), and reach out to give Ellen a hug. She responds with a fabulously warm embrace. We take a breath together. Okay, this is going to be real. She is an amazingly warm and soulful woman. We connect... I feel seen by her. The direct eye contact, the very warm embrace. She tells me that she loves my soul while I'm dancing. This woman is authentic. She just sits back and listens with ease.
When they go to commercial, we sit and talk for a bit more -- about people (some of you out there in Facebook-land!) making videos for me, about how I have connected with amazing people (all of you!!) all over the world. The producers of the show then bring me backstage and interview me for their website. This is an exceptional group of 20/30-somethings. There is no Hollywood glitz. These people are genuine. We all hug a lot and get tearful at different moments.
It was just so perfectly impromptu. If I had known, I would have prepared my words, my clothes...it likely would have lost its special authenticity. I am learning how to not plan, how to embrace "unscheduliness" (which I just submitted as a new word on Urban Dictionary, by the way) -- it's a dramatic departure from a several decades-long habit of strategic planning, keeping busy, hyper-scheduling... I'm learning how to use just enough forethought while still living firmly in the moment. I'm learning how to say "YES" with discernment. I'm learning how to let go and trust that, if I act out of love, compassion, generosity and kindness, my life will unfold in unexpectedly amazing ways...
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