Oprah urges finding your passion, acting on greater purpose

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June 2, 2003 by KRISTIN DIZON

"Live Your Best Life"The preacher wore sparkly diamonds and high heels.

The message was how to live your best, most purposeful life.

And the congregation was an audience of 2,700, awed by America's inspirer in chief.

On Saturday, Oprah Winfrey came to Seattle and led a spiritual revival of personal growth.

The talk-show host shared the collected wisdom of her extraordinary life during the seven-hour-long "Live Your Best Life" workshop at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

"The ultimate question is: Why are you really here?" said Oprah, whose tour, sponsored by "O, The Oprah Magazine," travels to four cities this summer. "I believe that whatever you have, it becomes more bountiful for you, it becomes more gracious for you, if you can give it back."

She said most of her life she's felt called to speak and inspire others, starting at the age of 3 when she could read and recited Bible passages in church.

And, she described a future for herself beyond television and magazines and movies. Oprah, 49, said her life was transformed last Christmas when she spent 30 days visiting orphanages in Africa and sharing gifts with children who had none.

"The moment I sat down and asked everybody to count to three and open their presents," Oprah said, wiping tears away, "is the single greatest moment of my life.

"I felt the joy rise up from each and every one of those children," Winfrey said. "There was a moment where I literally went, 'Aha, this is why I was born.' "

Before she took to the stage, she told journalists: "I want to become the voice for orphans around the world. It's kind of funny, because I never had kids of my own. But I will end up with millions of kids."

But, mostly, she encouraged participants to find their passion and purpose in life and to connect with something Godlike that is greater than themselves.

"When you use your personality to answer the calling of your soul, nobody can touch you," Oprah said. "Nobody."

It was a message that resonated with attendees, who came from all walks of life.

Bill Guting, who came with his wife, Cathy, from Sacramento, Calif., was one of about 25 men there.

"I figure wisdom knows no boundaries -- men, women, Martians, whatever," Guting said. "To me, Oprah is one of the wisest people in the world."

He added: "One can't help but be inspired just by hearing her story."

Joan Cainan of Redmond and her sister, Jan Murakami of Shoreline, said Oprah is an incredible speaker who had them enthralled.

"I wouldn't want to meet a king or a queen or a president," said Cainan. "But to meet Oprah, ohhhh."

Her sister, Murakami, added: "Look at the energy here. Imagine if this could be harnessed."

Oprahmania was everywhere.

Participants came from all over the country and Canada to attend the $185 event. Some bought tickets on eBay for hundreds of dollars, and Oprah mentioned one person who spent $10,000 to be there.

When Oprah arrived in a black sport utility vehicle, screams erupted when just one foot in a dainty silver mule dangled out of the vehicle. Grown women wept.

Women in their best strappy sandals and salon-perfect hair squealed with delight at a touch or an autograph. People even took pictures of her cocker spaniels.

"I love you so much!" one shouted. "You look skinny, girlfriend!" another yelled. "We just love you," many more said.

Deborah Dunn, arrived three hours early, hoping to buy a ticket. "If you really want something, you have to put yourself out there," said Dunn, of Seattle.

While standing in a line of fans, she met Oprah, who signed an autograph, touched her face and arranged for a free ticket.

"Isn't the intention everything?" Dunn said, smiling happily.

Oprah would heartily agree. Much of her talk centered on people acting and making choices with good and purposeful intention.

She described her life as a journey that begun as "an accident under an oak tree," when two teenagers had sex once. She was born from that union and reared in poverty for most of her childhood. The future billionaire was told the most she could expect in life was to work for some "nice white folks" cooking or cleaning.

She said she never believed her life was limited. She listened to her own inner voice as she became one of the most popular and influential people in America.

"I came here today as a symbol of what is possible," Oprah said.

Like many, Tia Porter-Scott, who flew from Los Angeles with three friends, said she was taking home so much more than the goody gift bag.

"It's really hard to put the words to how we feel," said Porter-Scott, 34. "She lives with such insight, and our prayer is to be able to do that."

During her visit, Oprah donated $25,000 through her Angel Network to New Beginnings, a Seattle non-profit organization that helps abused women and children.

She arrived on a private jet Friday and had cocktails with members of Seattle's Nordstrom family.Oprah--Weekdays @ 3pm

In all, Oprah spent nearly five hours talking, without taking even a sip of water.

She quoted Martin Luther King Jr., George Bernard Shaw, Maya Angelou and others from memory and never referred to notes.

She laughed and lighted up the room with her smile. She sang, whispered, cried, recited poetry and fired up the crowd.

Her day included three outfit changes. She arrived in a gold and silver pantsuit, then changed into a fire-engine red pantsuit for the stage. After a lunch break, she returned in a cream-colored, ruffled blouse with matching skirt.

One man was so enthusiastic about Oprah's talents that he wants her to be president.

Doug Beyerlein passed out 300 orange bumper stickers that read, "Oprah for president."

"Admittedly, this is a long shot, to say the least. But it has to start somewhere," said Beyerlein, a hydrologist from Mill Creek. "There's millions of people out there who love her."

Oprah absorbed the love, but said no to politics.

"I would not consider running for political office. People say, 'Never say never.' Well, I can say, NEVER!" Oprah said with a laugh.

But Oprah said she has much left to do in life.

"You might think I have done a few things," she said of her life. "I have only just begun."

Oprah closed the workshop with a yell, "Woooo! Thank you, Seattle!"

"Now, take your glory and run with it!"