The world has lost an incredible force with the passing of poet, wordsmith, and activist Maya Angelou. I can’t remember how old I was when I first read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but I do remember that it rocked my world. Her mastery of capturing the human spirit with her words simply bowled me over and I became a life-long, awestruck fan of the legendary author.
Then, soon after reading her for the first time, I heard her speak and my love for her grew tenfold. Her deep, gravelly voice and warm, gentle demeanor made her wise words even more powerful and moving.
In 2008, I watched her talk to Oprah about her book, Letter to My Daughter, and I watched that episode at least three times, furiously copying down some of my favorite quotes. Here are a few of those timeless quotes:
You may not be able to control all the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
Do not complain.
Make every effort to change things you do not like.
Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim’s in the neighborhood.
It is clear that she took her own advice with that last quote as her books and her wisdom have and will continue to serve as something wonderful for humanity.
RIP Maya Angelou. Your wise words will continue to resonate with the world for all eternity.