Maya Angelou

Birth: April 04, 1928 - Death May 28, 2014
Maya Angelou (/ˈændʒəloʊ/ ( listen); born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.

I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.

- Maya Angelou

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

- Maya Angelou

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

- Maya Angelou

In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.

- Maya Angelou

When Great Trees Fall When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear. When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken. Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves. And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

- Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life. Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls. We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.

- Maya Angelou

My life has been one great big joke, A dance that’s walked, A song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke, When I think about myself.

- Maya Angelou

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

- Maya Angelou

First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.

- Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life. Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls. We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.

- Maya Angelou

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.

- Maya Angelou

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 Angelou

I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.

- Maya Angelou

There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.

- Maya Angelou

This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.

- Maya Angelou

What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it. (Popular misquote of “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”)

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.

I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.

A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

I sustain myself with the love of family.

A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself

All great achievements require time.

Nothing will work unless you do.

I want to thank you, Lord, for life and all that’s in it. Thank you for the day and for the hour, and the minute.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.

Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.

Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.