"I never chased something — I always felt like I was cooperating with what God and what the universe had set up for me," Oprah told the pastor and celebrity life coach
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Tim Storey and Oprah
Tim Storey and Oprah
| Credit: OWN

Tim Storey, long referred to as Oprah Winfrey's self-help guru, wrote his third book to help readers embrace wonder and hope (what he calls the "miracle mentality") — an ability he says the longtime talk show host has employed since she was a child.

"Even as a young girl, growing up in Mississippi, with a lot of limitations around her, she has told me personally that she was already thinking with that 'miracle mentality' — that there had to be more to life than what she was living," Storey tells PEOPLE in an interview about his new book, The Miracle Mentality: Tap into the Source of Magical Transformation in Your Life, which was published by Harper Horizon on Tuesday.

During a visit with Winfrey in her backyard, Storey remembers telling her, "I don't believe in chasing dreams. I believe in cooperating with what heaven has already sent."

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This statement moved the media mogul deeply, he says.

"She got really touched in her heart," Storey continues. "She said, 'That's what I've been doing. I never chased something. I always felt like I was cooperating with what God and what the universe had set up for me.' "

This is a major lesson that Storey — a pastor at the Congregation Church in Los Angeles and life coach to celebrities — wants to teach others through The Miracle Mentality. Though he began writing it three years ago, he's found that readers are gravitating towards the book's lessons as they grapple with living in a pandemic.

Despite everyday struggles that people face, which Storey says can be categorized in three ways — the "mundane," the "messy," or the "mad" — he urges readers to "make room for the magical" and to rediscover their childlike wonder.

The Miracle Mentality by Tim Storey
Credit: Harper Horizon

"I feel that the biggest struggle of the pandemic is when a dream is delayed, it makes people really nervous and fearful that if it's delayed, it's denied," Storey explains. "A lot of people feel like their dream has been denied, that it may not happen."

This can range from high school and college students who weren't allowed to walk during graduation this past spring, he says, or his actor clients who are disappointed when a show is cancelled because of the pandemic.

"Going from delayed to denied has taken people into a lot of fear," Storey says. "But I think people need to look at this: Lives delayed are not always lifetime denials. We have to believe that the right doors can swing open once again ... we're on a detour."

In his book, Storey provides tips in order to help readers navigate life areas, like parenting, romantic relationships and their health. He also opens up about his own painful past, including his divorce from the mother of his children and how he felt when he learned his dad wasn't his biological father.

Storey explains that he was 12 years old when his aunt told him the truth: He was the result of his mother's affair with a Black musician.

"What happened is that my mother is Spanish from Spain and the other four children, they look like my mother, like they're from Spain. And they have green eyes," he says. "And then out comes little Timmy, dark skin, curly hair that turns into a big afro, right?"

The author says his mother often told him, "Oh, you have an uncle. And he looks just like you."

Storey says he wishes his siblings had told him the truth, especially because he had confusing encounters with strangers who challenged his identity.

Tim Storey
The author
| Credit: Drew Valo

"I never got mad at them even to this day, but I wished they would have told me the truth," he says. "As I got exposed to people and they treated me as I am, as a Black young man, then it was strange for me. I would say, 'Oh, I'm Spanish.' And then they'd say, 'And mixed with what?' "

He says he was "devastated" when he learned the man raising him wasn't his real father. Out of respect for his mother, Storey didn't confront her with what he knew about his lineage until he was 18. She vehemently denied it, he says, and denied the truth again when he confronted her when he was 30.

"I said to her, 'Mom, I just want to tell you there's no judgment in what I'm about to ask you.' And then she got mad and said, 'How dare your aunt do this. She's lying,' " Storey remembers. "Then I waited 'til I was 30 to do it again. And she told me the same lie with the same look on her face."

The pastor has never resolved the issue with his mom, but the truth liberated him, he says.

"I never felt sorry for myself. I never yelled at my siblings. I never one time yelled at my mother about it to this day, " he says of his mother, who turned 90 on Monday.

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"In many ways, one of the most painful things that happened to me is one of the most beautiful things. Because I really aligned myself with who I am and that is an uncommon thinker," Storey explains. "A person who thinks beyond. Because to be honest with you, I needed my imagination to get me through my childhood."

Staying true to self, despite adversity, is a lesson Storey teaches in The Miracle Mentality.

After coaching numerous celebrities and top business people, Storey has also realized that humans have similar problems no matter their status or wealth.

"I get to life coach people who live in $48 million mansions and they have the same problems as someone in a one-bedroom apartment," he says. "They may just be amplified, but they're very similar."

Storey has been friends with Kanye West for 14 years and says "we're like family." His advice for the rapper, who is currently going through a divorce from Kim Kardashian, is the same he would give to anyone in such a situation.

"Whether you're Kanye West or the person that works at the bank, pain is pain," Storey says. "Heartache is heartache. Challenges are challenges. But the key is to believe that better days are still ahead."

The Miracle Mentality is on sale now.