The Wisdom of Maya Angelou

For the past few days, my news feeds on various social media sites have been filled with articles, gifs, and random quotes on the passing of poet Maya Angelou.  Although I haven't generally posted on current events in the past, It just felt right to talk a bit about it here.

I have admired Maya Angelou for a long time.  If you know a bit about her back story, she experienced significant trauma as a child.  After her traumatic experiences, she stopped speaking until her teen years.  I think it is amazing and inspiring to see how dramatically her life changed after she began talking, gaining increasing recognition as a writer and civil rights activist throughout her life.  It is a very hopeful story - even if you are bound by anxiety, it is possible to break free and flourish!

As I was re-reading On the Pulse of Morning, my favorite passage really stood out to me. I love the idea that each new hour brings new chances and new possibilities.  She delivers such an important and strong message of moving away from reacting in fear to pursuing dreams with hope!

Anxiety, fear, and self-doubt can be a very crippling force.  But, I find that anxiety flourishes when we give in to it and fail to fight it.  In self-doubt, as in much of life, the best defense is a good offense.In many of the "best of Maya Angelou" quote lists I've seen this week, the following has also really stood out to me:

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

- excerpted from Letter to My Daughter, a book of essays (2009)

So, as you go forward this week with pursuing your dreams, remember that you can control how you react to the things happening around you.  Although it may not always feel like it, you do have the power to decide how you are affected by things that happen in your life - both good and bad.

And remember, even if you have moments of weakness and fear and doubt, each hour truly does bring new chances to re-focus on the positive and decide not to be controlled by your circumstances.