VIDEO: Ellen DeGeneres Shares How a Meditation Retreat Helped Her Come Out

Ellen DeGeneres appeared on Oprah’s Master Class, and shared how she almost didn’t come out as a gay women back in 1997. In fact, she had no plans to do it at all. But after attending a meditation retreat at Esalen in Big Sur, Calif., she gained the clarity and courage she needed.

“Someone gave me a gift, a course at a place called Esalen,” she said “It’s kind of a hippie place, and you go in, and [there’s] no TV and no music and no anything, and it’s just meditation and different things and different courses — and there was a course called Changing the Inner Dialogue of Your Subconscious Mind, and I thought, ‘That would be an interesting course to take because I wanted to know what the inner dialogue of my subconscious mind was.’”

Once she started to calm her mind, her biggest fears came to the surface about coming out, including “Would I still be famous? Would they still love me if they knew I was gay?” she said. “My fear was that no, no they wouldn’t, and then it made me feel ashamed that I was hiding something. It made me feel ashamed that I couldn’t feel honest and really be who I am, and I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”

Watch the clip below: