Iyanla Vanzant helps fix lives in new OWN series

Oprah’s been raving about Iyanla for-ev-er, and now she’s giving her her own show. Iyanla Vanzant, the acclaimed spiritual life coach, empowerment speaker and best-selling author, takes to the road, providing viewers with an “emotional laxative of sorts” — you’re going to need some tissues — as she helps people confront their issues and address their real and perceived challenges so they can improve their lives. She does this by surrounding these individuals with her unconditional positive support and love.

In the two-part season premiere of Ivanla, Fix My Life,  airing Sept. 15 and 22 at 10pm ET/PT, Iyanla confronts the heartbreak and personal crisis of Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, the estranged wife of NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, who committed suicide earlier this year. Other episodes find her traveling the country meeting at people’s homes and welcoming their extended family and friends to help with the healing process. Iyanla recently took time out to answer a few of our questions on her upcoming series Iyanla, Fix My Life airing Saturdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning Sept. 15.

1. Oprah’s been so vocal about using TV for a greater purpose and helping people live better and improve their lives, as well as yourself, how does your new show help accomplish this?
Iyanla Vanzant: Iyanla, Fix My Life is an extension of Oprah’s vision and the mission of OWN because it gives viewers an opportunity to tell their story out loud and to receive practical support in discovering their own solutions. In many ways, a personal story is an autopsy of your life. Your story is a clear demonstration of how you have been living. Your story will also give you clues, information and perspective about what you must do, how you must be to continuing living and how to live better. Iyanla, Fix My Life will be an active, practical way for guests and viewers to dismantle their stories, identify their issues and address the real and perceived challenges in order to make more loving, self-supportive choices toward their personal advancement and evolution. Iyanla, Fix My Life is about healing, returning to a state of wholeness and doing what is required to live your best life. This, as I understand it, is the mission of OWN.

2. I get the impression from the clips I’ve seen that this might be a tissues-required type of series. What’s the emotional level of the series like?
Iyanla: Iyanla, Fix My Life is produced to be an emotional laxative of sorts. Emotions represent energy. Energy is the fuel that moves us through life. In order to heal and restore a sense of well-being and wholeness it is essential that we purge negative emotions and establish emotional authenticity and congruency. As we explore and examine the stories of the guests, my hope is that each and every viewer will have their own emotional catharsis. The underlying intention of each show is to facilitate a movement of mental and emotional energy within the hearts and minds of the guests and viewers so that personal change will become as natural as changing the channel.

3. I understand you will be traveling the country for your new show – tell me how you determine who to profile/help? How long are you with them? And, why do you think people agree to share these very personal stories for everyone to see?
Iyanla: The producers and I work together to vet the guest and determine the viability of the story and the willingness of the guests to do the work required to heal. I can spend as much as three days with a guest or, as little as one day, depending on the depth of work and support required. I believe each guest who agrees to come on the show has reached the place within themselves where they know they need help, support and a deeper insight. I also believe that for whatever reason, they believe I can offer them something they need. What I am not sure of is that they truly understand the depths to which we will go together to identify the “under-belly”, the true source of their issues.

4. Your coaching style and the advice you give seems so practical and so straight forward, yet people just don’t recognize these things. Is it easy – just natural – for you to fix people’s lives? Explain.
Iyanla: LOL! There is no life that needs fixing. Everything and everyone is exactly as it needs to be in order for us to heal and evolve. What I offer is not fixing. It is freedom from our self-imposed prisons of false beliefs and judgments. What I do is support people into a courageous state of awareness and acknowledgment that allows them to face their inner truth. What I do is surround people in an energy of unconditional positive support and love that lets them know they are not bad, they haven’t done anything wrong and that no one is out to get them. What I do is say the things most people are afraid to say and speak the truth in a way that makes so much common sense it cannot be denied, dismissed, ignored or avoided. I call a thing a thing and then support you in remembering that you know what to do about what you know, what you see and what you feel. I am an interruption of the deceptive intelligence of the ego that conditions the mind to focus on what is wrong, bad and missing rather than expressing the love that we are at the core of our being.

5. You’ve certainly had your own personal struggles to draw from when helping others, how is your life today? Are you happy?
Iyanla: If I characterized my life experiences as struggles there is no way I could be “happy.” I have joy in my heart because today I know that all things are lessons that God would have me learn. I have been a good student. I have mastered many lessons and there are some I am still working on. My life is a mission of service. As I learn, grow and heal, I find myself in new experiences that allow me to share my heart with the world. I cannot imagine that life can get any better than this. I love people. I work with people. I love teaching. I get to teach in the classroom of the world – television. Am I happy? Happy is an understatement. I am at peace with myself and the world.