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Remembering Maya Angelou

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Remembering Maya Angelou

A Tribute To A Legendary Woman And Poet
Nancy Levin
Nancy Levin More by this author
May 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back many times over what you put into it.” –Maya Angelou

Legendary American author and poet, Maya Angelou, died May 28, 2014, at age 86. A voice revered around the world for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights, Angelou leaves behind a body of important artistic work and a shining personal example of a woman who pushed for justice, education, and equality. Here, poet and author of Writing For My Life, Nancy Levin, recounts her own experience of Maya Angelou’s beautiful spirit:

When I moved from New York City to Boulder, Colorado in 1992 – solely in pursuit of my MFA in Poetics from Naropa University – I did so by truly following my heart. Even though I had been writing consistently since 11 years old, primarily poetry, I had no idea that it was even an option in life to be a poet.

Enter Maya Angelou. Waking and walking in a world where Maya Angelou’s words wielded precision, power and grace gave me the courage to proudly identify as a poet.

I was blessed to be in her presence once, several years ago, when she spoke at a conference I was producing. Witnessing her, I finally understood on a visceral level that being a poet is actually more about just being than anything else. And I now notice how being a poet informs and infuses every aspect of my life no matter what I’m doing.

Sharing my story, revealing my truth in service of supporting others to do the same, is like pressing the release valve on a pressure cooker. Guilt and shame can’t survive when you let the steam out. There was a time I thought I needed to hide aspects of myself in order to be loved. Poetry provided me with a portal to my truth. Poetry invites transparent revealing. Poetry has been my passage to healing.

As, Maya Angelou said so eloquently, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” I have learned that the pieces of myself I thought I needed to hide are actually the ones that make me more real and relatable. It’s time to let yourself be seen and heard. All of you. 

About Author
Nancy Levin
Nancy Levin is the bestselling author of Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth, Jump … And Your Life Will Appear and Writing For My Life. She’s a Master Integrative Coach and the creator of the Jump C Continue reading