Saturday, 31 May 2014

On Maya

On Wednesday 28 May 2014 Dr Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86. Having just read and written a blog post about her Letters to My Daughter only a few days prior, she was already on my mind when I heard the news of her passing.

While I had the great pleasure of seeing her live and stood a mere metres from her towering frame, she never knew me. But her words spoke to me as if she did. Many times I have found myself recalling a line from her poems to make sense of my feelings or to brighten my day. 

Through her autobiographies and poems, I had a chance to know her. She was a wise, courageous and humorous woman with a generous spirit. Her words are inspirational and here are just a few of the many, oft-quoted, phrases that I love:

"People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow." 

"If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” 

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” 

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” 

"Be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud." 

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." 

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights." 

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." 

"...making a living is not the same thing as making a life." 

"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."

Farewell Maya. And thank you for all your many gifts. You will not be forgotten...