If you’re struggling to find a mentor, a role model or someone who you can  simply pray to for strength + courage, look no further than to heaven’s most recently-crowned angel, Maya Angelou!

There’s no doubt about it, it’s good to be a lot like Maya Angelou and here’s how you can emulate her wits, her charms &  her undeniable goodness (in eleven very specific ways):

  1. Courage. She said it was the one virtue required for consistently practicing all the other virtues. And isn’t that the truth? How honest can you be without courage? How faithful? How kind? How strong? It takes courage to be kind particularly during tough times in your life. It takes courage to forgive. And it certainly takes courage to believe in yourself and the beauty of your life.
  2. Don’t Give Fear Your Energy or Power.  A lot of people tend to say that you need to walk through fear, acknowledge it, see the shadows, etc. But I’ll tell you something I’ve noticed about Maya and her approach to fear. Sure, she sees it for what it is and maybe looks it straight in the eye for a second or two,  but that’s where it ends. She doesn’t let it have her power, her “strength”. She seems to demote it by not naming it and by deciding not to give it strength or power. She says “back up“. Maybe there’s something to that… Because she seemed pretty unafraid didn’t she? On fear she said, ” If I did think of something, I wouldn’t give it the strength to name it“.
  3. Forgive Everybody. It’s not that they deserve it or that you ‘should’ do it because you’re a ‘good person’. But rather,  it’s good for your health, heart and sanity. So that’s why you forgive. You forgive because you know that as long as you hold someone else accountable for the heaviness in your heart, you’re losing and we’re all losing. So you forgive. Maya said on Super Soul Sunday , “Forgive everybody. Just forgive it“. She goes onto to say, “You really are lighter. You feel lighter. You just drop thatand she continues withAnd then you’re free to do other things. To have some ambition and so forth“.
  4. Care About People & Understand Their Darkness Is Yours.  
  5. Accept that God Loves You. This was Maya’s miracle – her moment of divine understanding, her “aha”. And I think it’s the major aha for all us. When you accept that you’re loved by God, by the Universe, by the great thinker or even by your highest self – whatever you want to call that which is bigger than you – you somehow love yourself a little bit more. You decide that if God loves you, you should live a good life. And so you do. Believing you’re loved by God – no matter what –  puts you in a place of accepting abundance.
  6. Dance & Be Grateful. And maybe dance calypso. “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances“. Maya was grateful for many things including her ability to move…
  7. Always Seek to Learn (More) & Be Curious
  8. Be an Activist for the Voiceless. If Maya was anything other than a phenomenal woman or writer, she was an activist. She marched. She wrote. She cared. She protested.  Don’t curse the ills of the world and say ‘oh they did this‘, but rather do something and bring your ideas to the forefront.  Maya said, “But protest, yes, all the way to the Supreme Court“.  She was also a fan of the right and privilege to VOTE. 
  9. Cook with People You Love. This NPR article articulates this point quite beautifully …  As does this New York Times’ article.  I would simply add to cook as organic as possible. Maya said, “I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression“.
  10. Be Sassy & Have Some Pizazz.  “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”  Maya was a Phoebe Beasley fan. Have you seen her work? It’s beautiful — and full of pizazz.
  11. Work For It Because No One Is Giving It To You. Maya worked hard. Like she famously said, “Nothing will work unless you do“. She understood and taught that you had to own yourlife, your experience and your result. She knew that no one would work for her so she worked for herself… And she got quite a good result. A legacy of strength, love + brilliance.  So DECIDE what you want and GO FOR IT. And don’t be frightened “at all” ↓…

PS:  I hope Maya can be an angel for you. She has been for me.  Maya was a beautiful writer and has been called an ‘understudied’ poet. Her poem dubbed ‘Weekend Glory’ is good to Read! And this is a great article from Youth for Human Rights.org (I didn’t know MLK died on Maya’s birthday).

PSS:  Check out this clip from Super Soul Sunday of Maya singing “Run Joe” . It’s sassy!

Stay tuned for the It’s Good To Know & Love Maya Angelou wherein we will get into facts like how Maya’s birth name was Marguerite Annie Johnson, how she was writing a book about her experiences with national leaders when she passed, or how she’s an Aries (not surprisingly so considering her fire & grace) and how her bestie/daughter  is an Aquarius – also not surprising considering how  they inspire each other… 

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