For me … until her passing … Maya Angelou was just a poet that had an opportunity to share her words at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993.
Since then, I’ve been inspired by her in so many ways.
Her parents divorced when she was 3. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend at age 7. At 17, she was a single mother. In her 20’s, she was a shake dancer in a nightclub, a prostitute, a cook, and ran a brothel.
Had I met her at that point, I’m guessing I’d have felt sorry for her and maybe a little judgmental at the same time. I’m pretty certain I’d never have bet on her as someone who would go on to have such an incredibly positive influence on so many people during her life … and following her life.
She went on to be a singer, an actress, a civil rights activist (worked with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King), a college professor, a writer, a speaker, and … a poet.
She also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor in the United States).
Next time I’m feeling judgmental (at work or in life) or a little down about something, or feeling some past action (something I’ve done or something someone else has done) will make it difficult to keep moving forward … contributing something positive to the world … making good things happen … next time … I’ve got a new hero.
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Nice work!
(The shot above is our eastern view from our office in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The first week we moved in, we got a rainbow that literally appeared to go into the building! We’re hoping it’s a good sign.)
3 inspiring videos from Maya Angelou…
On the importance of our words…
On eliminating complaints…
(I love the statement … “The majority of us mumble and get around with 5, 6, 7% [of our brain].”)
On language and life…
Use this link for her obituary in the New York Times.