Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When I Heard Maya For The First Time

My mother loves audio books and as a child I remember going to the Yonkers Public Library picking out books. I'd be in my section of the young children books and she'd be in her own section. This had to be in the 90s because I heard Maya Angelou for the first time on a cassette. No one's voice made me feel so much emotion. I laughed, I was fearful and I was sad when I heard her story. I remember Maya telling her feelings and not holding her tongue. She was sharp and that's when I knew she'd be one of my favorite writers. She was bold, as she told her story of living in poverty with her son and she was strong when she realized she had to make a change. She was an artist,  a singer, a dancer and a writer. She was legendary because she broke boundaries. How was so fearless? Oh, and she was intelligent. She was everything I wanted to be and I admired her for being comfortable with herself, an inspiration and wisdom like no other.

So, today when I read on CNN and social media that she had died at 86 years old, I was hurt. But I knew she had lived her purpose and she had touched souls and she had given joy. She helped cultivate minds and enhanced people spirits. Most importantly, she taught people how to live.

When I heard Maya speak in the Al Lawson Center at Florida A&M University, I was proud. I wanted to write everything. My phone's recorder wasn't that good but there's one message I will never forget. "Be present,"she said. This is the most important message you can give anyone to help them live a more fulfilling life. Being present means you are in the moment without interruptions from your past or your future. You have the ability to soak up all of the knowledge and lessons you are meant to receive in that moment. How many people in this 2014 actually live in each moment? How many give 100 percent in each moment? You accomplish more when you focus on what's in front of you and you reap benefits when being present.

So in honor of a woman who lived life without boundaries and touched lives, Lets be present!


The "I'm working on being better" Phoenix 

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