” A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Dr. Maya Angelou
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014
On May 28, we lost a consummate renaissance woman and an inspiring influence to many of us. In her rich and varied lifetime, Dr. Maya Angelou wore many hats; she was a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, film/television producer, professor, actress, educator, dancer, dramatist/playwright, historian, filmmaker, gourmet chef and civil rights activist. She lived life with gusto and taught me, and I believe many of you, the beauty and power of words. When I heard news of her death, I was numbed into silence. I felt a deep sense of loss as Maya was a cherished mentor to me, albeit from afar; her writings and measured words always filled a creative gap in my spirit.
Letter To My Daughter
Whenever I needed a dose of unfettered truth and a touch of mirth, I would reach for Maya’s books and poetry. When she wrote Letter To My Daughter, and And Still I Rise, I felt her words speaking directly and personally to me. As a foreign student in the USA, her books gave me clear and intimate insights on the soci0-political milieu that formed the fabric of her stories. Her books offered a lens into the daily life and struggles of an African American woman and I soaked up every morsel of information they shared. So you can imagine the pain I’ve felt, and the difficulty I’ve had writing this note of gratitude to Maya Angelou.
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Dr Maya Angelou
And Still I Rise
I was introduced to Maya’s writings in college and I remember how thrilled I was to get my copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I read that first book, cover to cover, and didn’t put it down till I was done. I laughed, cried, and celebrated her journey as a young woman trying to make sense of the world she inherited, and the cast of characters who inhabited it. After that first read, I devoured everything she wrote and collected copies to give to friends and family. As a college instructor, her books were on my reading list and we had many engaged and heated exchanges about her works. When Maya died, a slice of my life floated away in mourning for her.
On Being A Mentor
Over the years, I grew to love Maya and to admire her many accomplishments. Maya won many awards and yet she made time to mentor a number of people; to be a rainbow in the clouds for others. Oprah Winfrey was one of her mentees. She believed mentoring was a powerful tool to guide and shape lives; especially young adult lives. Our beloved Dr. Maya Angelou understood this role well because, if you have spent any time reading her books, you’d know that in her seven autobiographical books, she shared stories of her life in many other roles; Chanteuse, creole cook, madam, San Francisco’s first black streetcar conductor and a mother. Each role taught Maya valuable life lessons that she was eager to share. For that effort, and her grace and wisdom, I remain grateful. RIP Dr. Maya Angelou.
The Power Of Words
“On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live.” Eric Burdon
As we all prepare to eat, drink and be merry, it is imperative to remember that Memorial Day is truly a time for reflection and remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price in wars fought for the protection of people, territory and peace; some wars won, some lost, and others unending… may we all work towards peace and unity on this planet.
For More: Women’s Lives & Issues
Positive Motivation Tip: Every day, we use the written word to elevate, isolate, and hurt each other Those who have mastered this powerful tool use it with reverence because they know that it can empower or destroy us. Like Dr. Maya Angelou, Use it wisely.
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Mirth and Motivation