Tag Archives: Dr. Maya Angelou

Story Time

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

We all have a story to tell. Sometimes our stories are happy…sometimes sad. Sometimes they are long…sometimes short. Sometimes they are powerful…sometimes they are inspiring. But no matter what your story is, the important thing is to make sure you tell it.

So many of us keep our stories to ourselves because we think our story is no big deal or that no one would be interested. I know I always did. But what I have found to be true is that people love to hear others’ stories. Why? Simply put, human nature. We are curious and we want to relate to one another…and our stories help us do that. Other people’s stories show us we are not alone in the trials and tribulations of our lives – there are other people in the world who have experienced joy and loss just like we have. Their stories can also show us that those people we thought were darn near perfect are just as human as the rest of us – they have flaws just like us. Their stories inspire us to work through the difficult times and they teach us important lessons. In the end, people appreciate when you share your authentic truth, your story, with them. It is a meaningful and powerful way through which we can connect with one another.

The other thing I have learned about our stories is that when the universe has a story for you to share, a truth for you to tell, a message for you to proclaim, there is no escaping it. It will happen. It has to happen. The world needs your story. You can try to avoid it all you want, but the universe will set the stage for you to share whatever it is you are meant to share. This is, at least in part, the agony that Dr. Angelou refers to in her quote. It’s why we experience the good and the bad in life…you will experience whatever you need to experience so you can share your story. Basically, the universe conspires with you so you can tell your story – things happen throughout your life for a reason…people come in/out of your life for a reason – that reason is so we can tell our story and help others. So tell your story – you really do have something important to share…believe that. Whether you share your story with people in person, write a blog, poem, essay or book, or create a podcast, YouTube video, or try your hand at Periscope…just share it. It’ll good for you and good for others as they can learn from your story and be inspired by it.

Family

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day…one of several holidays that causes us to stop and think about family and to say thank you to them for all they do for us. Webster’s Dictionary defines family in a number of ways, many of which speak in some manner to the relatedness or connectedness of a group of people or things. I think my personal favorite out of all the definitions provided by Webster’s is, “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.” Family isn’t just the people under one roof…it isn’t just our blood relatives…it’s all the people in our lives who love us, care for us, guide us, protect us, help us, and support us. When you think of family in this way, you begin to realize just how big your family really is – your relatives, your closest friends and maybe even some neighbors and/or colleagues. Those people play a significant role in your life.  Whether you consciously think of them as family or not, they fulfill that role on a daily basis.

As humans we need one another. Even the most extreme introvert needs others to sustain themselves to some degree. It’s how we are built…it’s how we are designed…it’s part of what makes us human in the first place. And while we can all work on each other’s nerves from time to time and at times even hurt each other’s feelings, in the end we know our “family” is always here for us. Dr. Maya Angelou said it well, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” And indeed we do. We crave that love and support…we need it to survive and to thrive.

So, take a little time this weekend to think about all the “family members” in your life and to thank them for all they do for you. We are stronger because of them…and I would argue that we are also better versions of ourselves because we have our “family” along side us on this journey we call life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the “mothers” in our lives!  Thank you for all you do for us!

Change

Change can be scary. Change can be uncomfortable. Change makes us do things differently than we have always done them. Differently, perhaps, than we would prefer to do them. At one point or another in our lives we have all felt this way about change. It’s human nature. The desire to avoid change makes things feel safe. And, for many of us, avoiding change also provides a bit of a respite from all the other chaos in our daily lives. As humans we naturally crave routines, “the norm”, and the status quo. Our prevailing attitude is “don’t make ripples in this little pond I call my life”.  Like it or not though, change is necessary. (Okay, if it makes you feel better we can even say it is a necessary evil.) Call it what you will, change is necessary. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently put it, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.

Just think for a moment of all the things you enjoy in your daily life that would not exist had it not been for change pushing us toward progress and the opening of people’s minds to a different way of doing things. The smart phone, tablet, or computer on which you are reading this blog…your favorite playlist on Pandora or Spotify…that fact you can buy pretty much anything you want without ever leaving the comfort of your living room…all perfect examples of how change has pushed us forward toward what society, for the most part, calls progress.

I like the John F. Kennedy quote in which he said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Change does indeed help us progress and move forward. As humans we should learn to be more open to change and be less attached to how things are now or how they used to be. We cause ourselves so much stress, anxiety, and unhappiness when things change. We rob ourselves of joy, freedom, and opportunity…if only we could learn to be more mindful of our attitude and state of being when it comes to change.

Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” And quite frankly those are just about our only choices, if we are looking at this from a productive standpoint. (In other words, sitting around and complaining about change is technically an option, but not a very effective one, nor one for which most of the people around you will have a high tolerance level.) Change is going to happen…everyday…all around you. Choose an attitude of mind that puts a positive spin on that change, for your sake and the sake of those with whom you interact on a daily basis. Negative attitudes, thoughts, or comments don’t change things. Look for the new opportunities in change. Look for the new lessons to be learned, the new experiences to be had. Look at how the change can make your life even just the smallest bit better today than it was yesterday. Work toward being grateful for all that change brings you. So let go, breathe deeply, and embrace change when it comes your way.