Thursday, 29 May 2014

Thank you for lighting my way…..

Maya Angelou has taught many people across the world lessons about life from the simple honesty with which she could lay open her own life for others to perceive. That she is no longer with us today does little to diminish the power of her wisdom and the scope of its influence,  because her literature will carry her voice even more stridently than ever before to generations that span centuries to come.

I discovered her books in London and read her writings in the years when I was young and shaping my own personal feminist mould; and through her wry humour and quiet factuality, she opened up a world of courage for many by her fearless ability to leave no space for secrets or shame to cloud the clarity of the truth that she delivers.

To laugh at yourself is what keeps the balance in ones life when the odds are against one….
and to know that tenacity is required to find what you desire from life rather than merely letting life dictate to you in random ways, is a very Maya Angelou lesson that scripts itself between all the lines that she writes.

Maya grew up in a period of extreme racism and yet knew how to hold the dignity of her equality at all times; insisting that violence and bigotry would not break her spirit ever. She attributes a great deal of her influences to her mother, who taught her to stand up and fight for what she knew to be right and not care too much about the consequences, because otherwise fear would rule you and despair an endless trap.

I remember listening to an interview that Tim Sebastian did on Hard Talk with this legendary writer and was amused at the open flirtatiousness with which Maya ended her talk with him, leaving the otherwise rumbustious Tim completely floored. For a man who normally exerted control over those he put in the hot seat to interview, Maya effortlessly subverted the power-equation to effectively  ridicule such methods of communication,  and put him in his place with great humour. Her confidence always filled a space she shared with others with experiences that were powerful and her responses provoked a deciphering that required you to examine yourself more closely to find your own indomitable spirit to succeed.

Oprah Winfrey has always regarded herself as Maya's spiritual daughter, and I have loved the few interludes I watched them interact on the Oprah Winfrey show, communicating beyond language and exuding such a strong bonding that is drawn from the lineages of shared history and feminist quest. Maya Angelou radiated a light that was about self empowerment and self esteem, and the desire to know oneself without fuss or pretensions.

Many of us are also Maya Angelou's spiritual daughters. 
Re-born from her wisdom and engulfed with the celebration for life that she insisted living must entail….her life offered us a second chance …..a new beginning from the words of her enlightenment.

Warm and compassionate, in interviews she would talk of life with her throaty laughter interspersing the poetry of her words, bringing you closer to a space within yourself,  of understanding and forgiveness. A mighty woman who like a massive tree, even if felled,  would surely  have its roots spreading  far and wide;  Maya Angelou's roots spread over a universe and more.

Know you are always loved dearest friend,  as your spirit resides in each of us you have touched.

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