Thursday, May 29, 2014

lessons from Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is immortal because of her words and activism. 

When I was a junior in college, I went with my friend Pavani to watch her speak. That week, Pavani and I had been practicing the Indian national anthem for an upcoming cultural show. Pavani is a phenomenal singer and had been teaching me about various ways to practice, on and off stage. We got to Maya Angelou's talk early and sat in the first row. When she came out, she immediately began singing, and the entire auditorium was hushed. It only took ten seconds for Pavani and me to have tears in our eyes. That, we later agreed, was stage presence. Power. Since then, I haven't seen anyone with that same ability to both stir and silence. 

 These are some of my favorite lessons from her. The world lost someone great yesterday but her presence will always linger.

Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem 
Photo from

1. Know what nurtures you
"Every woman should know where to go, be it her best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods, when her soul needs nurturing."

2. Be careful who you give second chances to
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

3. Cultivate courage
"I believe the single most important beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare."

4. Never forget the thread of humanity that binds us all
"If we lose love and self-respect for each other, I believe we finally die." 

5. Don't ever let anything bring you down
"You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies, you may trod me in the dirt, but still like dust, I rise"

She has so many more gems about everything from writing to embracing healthy body image to leaving relationships that no longer serve you. 

May she rest in peace. 


  1. What an experience to have seen her in person. She was an amazing woman.

  2. What an amazing experience to have actually seen her! The world is a poorer place this morning without her, but, oh, how much richer a people we are for having known her.

  3. She did indeed "dare to dare"--what an amazing legacy she left.

  4. Maya Angelou sang and spoke at my university when I was a sophomore. She was amazing. I feel very lucky to have gotten to see and hear her in person. May she rest in peace. Her legacy and inspiration lives on.

  5. I never had the chance to see her speak in person.
    I was very saddened by her passing but she touched and changed so many people with her life.
    Good lessons.

  6. What an experience you must have had Saumya. She was an inspiration.

  7. That's a lovely, beautiful story - thank you for sharing it! I so respected and admired Maya Angelou, and I felt her death as a real loss for all of us. I loved rereading those quotes; this whole post is a perfect tribute to her.

  8. This was a lovely share. Thanks. She is/was someone I admired so much, and truly an example of someone who triumphed over difficulties in her path.

  9. Oh I love this tribute to her!!! These are couple of my favorite quotes of hers: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


    Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it

  10. "Left and Right Brained" has been included in our Arlynda Lea's Sites to See #6. We hope this helps to call more attention to your efforts.