Why had I never heard of her?


My friend Laura said to me at the end of May the world is a sadder place, Maya has passed. As the only Maya I knew was our mutual friend who was in her thirties I was much  saddened. little did I know that Laura was talking about one of the giants in the field of words that made a difference worldwide Maya Angelou. I am ashamed I did not know of her, reading some of her quotes I actually did but not that she had penned them.

Maya Angelou born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author, poet, dancer, actress and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I know why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonisation of Africa. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she earned the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (1993) at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.


It was probably with a pen like this Maya wrote some of her inspiring quotes, here are my favourite fifteen and what they mean to me

1. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

As we are not listening most of the time to remember the words someone spoke its how people touch our hearts that gets in, isn’t it the people who make our hearts flutter that we look forward to seeing again and again.

2. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

When you see somebody who is suffering an attack of the blues, don’t give them more reasons to feel that way, always present with a smile wherever possible,  it will be returned to you in spades.

3. There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.

If we were to believe the mainstream media of today, we would think the truth is no acts of kindness take place on the planet only war, famine and disasters. The truth is that human beings in general have good hearts it just doesn’t seems that media barons believe  that good news doesn’t sell newspapers unfortunately.

4. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.

I have noticed I am spending less and less time with my friends who complain about things instead of getting out there and making the difference. Simply complaining never resolved a single thing in my life, actions did. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

5. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

Keep your ethics in line with what you choose to do for your lifetime, do not sell yourself short to be someones friend or lover. Self Love and Love of what you do and the actions you take to do it mean you will succeed in reaching your goals.


6. Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

Never let the circumstances of a failed relationship kill off the possibility of love appearing in your life again and again. Underneath it all lies Love.

7. Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!

Are we truly prepared to receive and live our dreams. We must be ready to transform our circumstances when our dreams start coming true. We cannot remain how we were our where we were.

8. Everything in the universe has a rhythm, Everything dances.

When you get down to the atom level, of which we are made you see everything is energy, dancing its dance in life, probably why I love 5 rhythm’s dancing so much.

9. I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.

I have done many a job that did not turn me on in my 60 years of life, I was doing them to bring the cash in to survive. I hit many bumps and pot holes making my life but it is smoothing out these days. What you do for a living is just as important as who are your friends in “making a life”.

10. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

Heart space, I seem to know that when I decide from here it will all work out. When I listen to my mind lots of What If’s and it won’t seem to come up on a regular basis. Keep training in the methodology of listening to your heart, meditation helps.


11. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.

Remember to give yourself holidays on a regular basis. Kick back and just relax, don’t save the planet on these days, recoup your energy, every champion deserves a break.

12. If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.

The search for meaning for yourself is on the inner path, the satisfaction in life is gained in service to others. Making lots of Money at the expense of not giving back to the world is soulless and will stunt your growth and success.

13. Success is loving life and daring to live it.

Another Success quote simple in the question it asks, I dare You!!

14. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

That famous quote that says whether you are 20 or 80 if you stop learning you die, never, ever give up the path of learning. As our life changes moment to moment so does what we need to know to flourish.

15. “Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

This is one of Mayas poems, it is beautiful in its simplicity, saying that whatever happens in our lives we will still rise.

These 15 quotes came from a list of 480, perhaps everything you say becomes a quote when you are as gifted and insightful as Maya Angelou. I hope that this list of my favourites gives you some insight into the power of her words.

Namaste until next time, my friends.



1 thought on “Why had I never heard of her?

  1. Pingback: Within these walls Freedom lies. | I am an Interculturalist

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