The Maya Angelou Guide to a Great Life

We’ve been inspiring the heck out of ourselves over at Writers In The Storm today with some great quotes from the incomparable Maya Angelou. Who doesn’t want some inspiration on this wintry Wednesday?

Maya Angelou, inspiration

Photo credit: Emily’s Quotes –

My favorite video is her reading her own powerhouse poem, Still I Rise.

Her voice is so comforting, so playful, so moving. And her words…ohmygosh. Her words just shoot fire up my spine.

The most astonishing thing to me is her fortitude. This girl was shuttled across the nation by train at three years old, alone with her brother, with only the train staff to usher them from one leg of the journey to the other. She was raped as a child. She was battered by the chaos of a pre-Civil Rights South. Yet still, she rose.

After her rape at age seven, Angelou stopped speaking for five years. When she stopped speaking, she started reading and the stories kept her afloat. She finally spoke when a teacher challenged her with poetry.

She knew what most of us know: stories are important.

Stories are friends when we’re lonely, comfort when we’re scared, inspiration when we’re down. Stories are a gift and many of us write to pay that gift forward.

I’ve had a hard week, filled with pain from being glutened, so I’m rising through words today. If I happen to lift up some others at the same time…SCORE!

Here are some Maya quotes to lift you up:

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues – you can’t be kind or fair or humane or generous until you find your courage. Courage is required to defend all the other virtues, and to be a whole person.

Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. We may not speak the same language or dance the same dance, but be a blessing to someone.

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.

Continue to shine today, my friends! Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle or your swagger. 🙂

~ Jenny



About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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13 Responses to The Maya Angelou Guide to a Great Life

  1. karenmcfarland says:

    Good Morning Jenny! Happy to have found you in my e-box. I’m so sorry that you’ve been suffering from being glutened. That is no muy bueno hermana! Love me some Maya today. I’ve yet to head over to WITS, so thanks for sharing. Hope you’re feeling better soon. ((Hugs)) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the quotations–boy, did I need them this gray, freezing-rain, bone-chilling day!! Hope you’re over the glutening soon. As Karen says, no bueno.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Everyone I’ve talked to today said the weather is miserable in their neck of the woods. I hope it gets better soon! Even faster than my glutening, which usually take 3-9 days to work itself out.


  3. amariesilver says:

    That’s an awesome poem. I’ve never heard it before. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re welcome! Hearing her read her poems is mesmerizing. Seriously, if you have an hour (or two) to be captivated, go to YouTube. There are readings from a lot of her works, and no one does them with more style than Maya. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kelly Byrne says:

    Wish there was a ‘love’ button. I’ll have to settle for the like. Really, exactly what I needed to today, Jenny. It was a particularly rough one for me, although I wasn’t personally glutened. Just one of those days after watching too many Senate hearing videos. Thank you for sharing Maya. Oh, that voice. That spirit. Such an original. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      So glad you got what you needed today. You’ve got to stop watching those Senate hearings! Politics will drive you batty, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kelly Byrne says:

        You speak the truth, Jenny. OMG. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Seriously, the best thing to happen in my life last Fall is that my news junkie husband got rid of cable. FINALLY. We moved to the Fire stick and Netflix and my life got a lot more peaceful. Now, instead of hate spewing into my living room from all the pundits (who were wrong), I can look at the news – the real news – at my leisure.

          What a frigging relief. No more CNN, Fox, MSNBC, OANN, network TV spewing it out in my living room. I don’t have words for how much it lowered my stress level.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kelly Byrne says:

            Agreed. We haven’t had cable for years. It’s just too much. But the internet is alive and well and some days it’s hard to tune it all out. Must be disciplined! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jenny Hansen says:

              Maybe it’s motherhood, perhaps it’s age, but the older I get the more I use care and caution about what is allowed in my space, both my physical and mental space. I think allowing in too many things that are detrimental to our creativity can cripple that creativity. At least it works that way for me. Toxic people stress my creative mojo, and that mojo is all I have to offer the world. I’m not saying I bury my head in the sand, I just compartmentalize the stressors as much as possible. I can’t always do it, but I try.

              I am a very disenfranchised voter. I didn’t like ANY of the candidates this year and, because I live in California and knew which way the electoral college would go here, I was able to state my desire for a third party in the voting booth. However, because I didn’t want either candidate and knew I’d get one of them, I was prepared for post-election disappointment. I think that shock of disbelief is what has brought so many of my friends to their knees post-election. They were not expecting the crappy outcome that I was, and their media outlets lied to them. I don’t blame the voters on the left for being scared and pissed off and feeling disenfranchised. I’ve felt that way for at least 5 election cycles.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Kelly Byrne says:

              I’m exactly the same as far as my creativity goes. I’m incredibly sensitive to energy both good and bad and unfortunately, in this political climate, it’s had a pretty detrimental effect on my output. I wish I were better at compartmentalizing. I think I’ll have to put Facebook aside for a while if I want to get anything done now.

              As far as the vote – I’m with you. I didn’t want either candidate either, and I didn’t vote for either. I wrote in the person I supported because I knew how our state would go. And boy did it. I’ve never been particularly interested in politics and have found most politicians suspect at best. But this election cycle was the most absurd circus/dumpster fire and I couldn’t look away. And you’re right about the shock and disbelief, I think a lot of people are still feeling that, especially whenever a new tweet surfaces at 3am. Oy. Tonight, I eat pizza and watch reruns of The Newsroom because it makes me happy and I cannot focus to save my life. Tomorrow, we move on and we move forward into our future. I hope we can all make it good together. Hugs 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

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