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 CNN.com

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. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

understanding ourselves: advice for writing and life

"The goal is to understand your true self before launching an action plan. Deep realizations about yourself don’t come all in one sitting. Be your own ethnographer for a month. One of the people that I admire most in the world is Jane Goodall. Imagine Jane sitting in the forest, looking at those chimpanzees with compassion and curiosity. Take on her kind tone and attitude while observing yourself. Be gentle and curious but never judgmental. This is very hard for us to do because we’re always talking shit to ourselves.
Take a notebook and notice every time you get excited about something. It doesn’t have to be a big moment or work related… Just write it down each time—no judgments. What happens over the course of the month is you start seeing some patterns. It gives you a peek into your authenticity and things that energize you. When your whole body lights up with joy, it’s really trying hard to tell you something—it’s saying, “hey, this is important, please pay attention.”
[…]
You need to spend time understanding who you truly are before you forge a path. If you’re making plans based on other people’s perception of you or the perception of yourself that you want to project based on some external force, you’ll always end up in the wrong place.
Advice to those just starting out on a creative path from Sharon Ann Lee,

Via Brain Pickings:
http://explore.noodle.org/post/82992510210/the-goal-is-to-understand-your-true-self-before?utm_content=buffer826a5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer