And Still I Rise – Tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou

A special era came to a close this week as we celebrated the life and legacy of  Dr. Maya Angelou who rose to a greater place in history on May 28th, 2014 at the dawning of a new day. I feel compelled to remember one of the greatest women in the world who was able to bring nations, countries, communities, families and relationships together through her spoken word. On that eventful morning, she passed on her torch to billions of people.  I can say that I was deeply touched and inspired by the light she possessed and shared with others – knowingly and intentionally to build a collective light to bring peace and love to anything, any person and anywhere more light was needed.  

Throughout my life she sang to me, told me I was smart and beautiful – and that was more than enough to grow on and become the person I was created to be.  I was honored to share Maya’s story of climbing the ladder of success, enduring what many perceived to be life’s most challenging circumstances. She overcame! During many stages and seasons of my life when I faced similar challenges, I thought about what she did, what my mother did, what my grandmother did and what many before them did – they learned something new and they survived. They believed in the impossible and created the unimaginable. They had faith in God and their future and then they lived a great life. Their stories are what dreams are made of – and are a part of the fabric of my life – from beginning to beginning.

Maya stated, "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."  She was and will continue to be one of the greatest influencers in world. Somebody listened and somebody learned from her trials and successes. The written word and the spoken word will live on because she spoke them, she wrote them and she sang them. I truly could not get enough of all that she had to offer. So brazen, so beautiful and so true!

I am positive because it is my choice to be positive. I know a lot of positive people as I surround myself with their energy and we feed life to each other every day, where our cups are over-running with all of the grace and beauty we were gifted before the beginning of time. Maya helped us to look deep within ourselves to see it, feel it, taste it, hear it and live it – every day on purpose. She stated, "We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay and rise!" She taught us to love our reflections, grow our light, rise above our circumstances and enjoy the journey.  Thank you Dr. Maya Angelou for your love and your light! We will rise. ~ Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny~