Women, specifically Black women, listen to Iyanla Vanzant because she's been through some heavy storms. The OWN Network personality and life coach has a successful program and travels the globe uplifting fans, but she's also lived, having gone through teen pregnancy, divorce, the loss of a child and major financial loss. And in that living, she's found a way to process grief, pain and joy into practical lessons to improve one's life.
On Sunday, Vanzant graced the ESSENCE Fest 2017 Empowerment Experience to give a word of encouragement to the full room of attendees.
A year ago, the spiritual teacher cancelled her ESSENCE Fest appearance because her colon ruptured, nearly ending her life. Oprah Winfrey —who was scheduled to be her surprise guest— ended up taking over the event in Vanzant's place.
"These people were gonna pump my naked body full of drugs," she said about being half-conscious for surgery. "And some of them might have voted for Trump."
She talked about her health scare with the crowd but also broke down four spiritual codes of conduct, which include: Grounding yourself spiritually everyday; knowing who you are; asking for what you want; and don't settle for something because it's all you think you can have or is available.
"Stop thinking you gotta work so hard for your blessing," she said. "Stop thinking you gotta work hard to prove you're worthy of your blessings."
In 2002 her daughter, Gemmia Lynnette Vanzant was diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer. Gemmia would eventually pass away, but she was able to start a line of spiritual cleansers called Master Peace. Vanzant talked about the journey of reviving the line that took 11 years to have major success.
"Don't think because it hasn't happened, it wont happen," the 63-year-old said. "Sometimes things don't happen because you ain't ready. Sometimes it don't happen because the world ain't ready. Sometimes it don't happen because you're praying for the wrong thing. You're praying for less than you want but you're asking for what you think is available. You can't trick the universe like that."
Adding, "If you're praying for something, working for something, waiting for something that hasn't happened —don't think that it wont happen. Just re-charge and re-new your vision."
Listen to Iyanla Vanzant's entire ESSENCE Fest talk on the Yes, Girl! podcast subscribe (for free).