Maya Angelou’s life is testimony to the power of resilience and steely resolve to transcend life’s challenges. Despite a traumatic childhood and significant early adversity, she rose to become a prolific writer.
As an award winning author of more than thirty books, actress, accomplished poet and advocate for human rights, Maya Angelou was ‘some woman’ as people might say here in Ireland.
She is perhaps best known for her 1969 memoir, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ which became the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman.
She wrote a poem for President Clinton’s presidential inauguration- ‘On the Pulse of Morning.’
Her most famous collection of poetry –
‘Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water Fore I Die’ – was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
The Power of Words 

Here are some of my favourite Maya Angelou quotes:

‘As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.’

‘You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod next in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.’
‘I’ve  learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
‘I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.’
‘Nothing will work unless you do.’
‘Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.’
‘We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.’
‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’
‘My mission in life is to not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style. 
‘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.’
‘Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.’

‘It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.’

‘If you only have one smile in you, give it to the people you love.’
‘One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.’
‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.’
‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.’
‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’
‘I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.’
‘I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.’
‘I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.’
‘The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.’
‘All great achievements require time.’
‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’
‘History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.’
‘If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.’
‘Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.’

‘What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.’

‘My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.’

‘At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.’ 
‘I know why the caged bird sings.’
‘You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.’