Gratitude: The Maya Angelou Edition

Friday


Angelou in 1969. Photo courtesy of Chester Higgins, Jr.

Photo courtesy of G. Marshall Wilson

When I decide to write anything, I get caught up in my insecurity despite my prior accolades. I think, uh, uh, now they will know I am a charlatan that I really cannot write and write really well. I am almost undone, then I pull out a new yellow pad and as I approach the clean page, I think of how blessed I am. 
 The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. 
Today I am blessed. 
(Excerpted from Letter To My Daughter

This month marks the one year anniversary of the death of Dr. Maya Angelou, author, teacher, actress, inaugural poet, dancer, Grammy-winning-Pulitzer-Prize-and-Tony-Award-nominee and so, so much more. The American national treasure-- a global treasure, who lived all over the world and spoke several languages-- gifted the world with so much work, wisdom and love, transcending time and space and body. 

One of my favorite bits of advice in general is of the just do it variety. Reading the above quote from a legend humanizes fear. The terror of writing, or doing anything that requires risk is nothing to minimize or put down as "first world problems". (Didn't our ancestors work really hard so that we might have these problems?) If I change my perspective and not allow my powerful, but flawed, mind to terrify me into inaction, that is what I'm going to do. 


What I've come to realize is that once you do something enough, once you find that one soul who finally gets you, you'll break on through to the other side. What was momentarily crippling could have derailed you, but you must make the conscious choice not to allow it. 


All around us are examples of people derailed by things that they can overcome. Out of a sense of entitlement, feeling that life should work itself out with little to no effort. Perhaps out of laziness: life is all about consistency and constant change. Definitely from a loss of trust and faith and hope, the absence of which lead to devastating consequences.


In celebration of this phenomenal woman, when things get tough, when fear rears its ever-present head, I'll take out my new yellow pad-- or a yellow pad app on my iPad-- and give a little thanks. 
If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.



 

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