OF THE MANY relationships we have in life, few make as profound an impact as the one we share with our mother. That connection, whether strong or strained, influences who we become in countless ways. It teaches us how to be—or how not to be—adults, partners, and parents to our own children.
Motherhood comes up numerous times in my new book, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose. It’s a collection of some of the wisdom I’ve been privileged to receive in conversations with artists, visionaries, and trailblazers of all kinds. People as diverse as Mindy Kaling, Joe Biden, Justin Timberlake, and Stephen Colbert all told me about the abiding influence their mothers had on them. The richly varied nature of that influence is exactly what we set out to capture in this month’s issue of O—in a series of moving, sometimes funny, sometimes bittersweet essays in which mothers and daughters explore the heart of this primal bond.
How do you come back from an event that upends your life? That’s the harrowing question one man asked himself after a debilitating stroke—which turned out to be the beginning of a long, illuminating journey (page 120). Melinda Gates has been on quite a journey herself, stepping up her advocacy work around the world and finding new ways in which women can help other women. I spoke with her about her mission, and it was a conversation that left me inspire