Maya Angelou the monk mindset

Marguerite Annie Johnson, better known as Maya Angelou, was an American poet, memoirist, and actress whose several volumes of autobiography focused on racial, economic, and sexual oppression.

Angelou was born in St. Louis but spent the majority of her childhood in rural Stamps, Arkansas, where she was raised by her paternal grandmother. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was not yet eight years old, and told her mother about it, which led to him being murdered. The traumatizing events left her nearly mute for several years. It was about this early life that she wrote her first autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969; television movie 1979), which won critical acclaim and a National Book Award nomination. We were spoilt for choice when picking Maya Angelou quotes!

Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, and Mom & Me & Mom follow.

With her mother, Angelou moved to San Francisco in 1940, where she worked intermittently as a cocktail waitress, a prostitute and a madam, as a cook, and as a dancer. Her professional name was acquired as a dancer. As a member of the Harlem Writers’ Guild in the late 1950s, Angelou found encouragement for her literary talent. Meanwhile, Angelou was cast in an opera production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, which was sponsored by the State Department; she toured 22 countries across Europe and Africa with this troupe. 

Additionally, she studied dance with Martha Graham and Pearl Primus. In 1961, she was a featured performer in Jean Genet’s play The Blacks. She moved to Cairo in the same year after being persuaded by a South African dissident, who she briefly married, to work for the Arab Observer. A year later, she relocated to Ghana to work on The African Review.

Maya Angelou Quotes - The Monk Mindset
Source – NYTimes

Here are some of Maya Angelou’s most famous works:

1. “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.”

Maya Angelou

2. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou

3. “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

Maya Angelou

4. “When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”

Maya Angelou

5. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

6. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Maya Angelou

7. “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

(Popular misquote of “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”)”

Maya Angelou

8. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

Maya Angelou

9. “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

Maya Angelou

10. “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Maya Angelou

11. “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

Maya Angelou

12. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Maya Angelou

13. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Maya Angelou

14. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”

Maya Angelou

15. “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

Maya Angelou

16. “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

Maya Angelou

17. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

18. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Maya Angelou

19. “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.”

Maya Angelou,

19. “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

Maya Angelou

20. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes - The Monk Mindset

21. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

Maya Angelou

22. “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

Maya Angelou

23. “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”

Maya Angelou

24. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”

Maya Angelou

25. “Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”

Maya Angelou

26. “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”

Maya Angelou

27. “No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

Maya Angelou

28. “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

Maya Angelou

29. “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!”

Maya Angelou

30. “When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”

Maya Angelou

31. “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

Maya Angelou

32. “Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”

Maya Angelou

33. “I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable.

But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.

I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”

Maya Angelou

34. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

Maya Angelou

35. “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

Maya Angelou

36. “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”

Maya Angelou

37. “Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.”

Maya Angelou

38. “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

Maya Angelou

39. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

Maya Angelou

40. “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Maya Angelou

41. “Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.”

Maya Angelou

42. “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

Maya Angelou

43. “There were people who went to sleep last night,

poor and rich and white and black,

but they will never wake again.

And those dead folks would give anything at all

for just five minutes of this weather

or ten minutes of plowing.

So you watch yourself about complaining.

What you’re supposed to do

when you don’t like a thing is change it.

If you can’t change it,

change the way you think about it.”

Maya Angelou

44. “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

Maya Angelou

45. “Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

Maya Angelou

46. “When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.

And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.”

Maya Angelou

47. “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

Maya Angelou

48. “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

Maya Angelou

49. “I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

Maya Angelou

50. “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

Maya Angelou

51. “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

Maya Angelou

52. “Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”

Maya Angelou,

53. “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

Maya Angelou

54. “We need much less than we think we need.”

Maya Angelou

55. “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Maya Angelou

56. “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes - The Monk Mindset

57. “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Maya Angelou

58. “Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Maya Angelou

59. “I sustain myself with the love of family.”

Maya Angelou

60. “When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”

Maya Angelou

61. “Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”

Maya Angelou

62. “I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all.

So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you.

When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”

Maya Angelou

63. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

Maya Angelou

64. “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

Maya Angelou

65. “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”

Maya Angelou

66. “Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.”

Maya Angelou

67.“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

Maya Angelou

68. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

Maya Angelou

69. “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Maya Angelou

70. “Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.”

Maya Angelou

71. “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

Maya Angelou

72. “There were people who went to sleep last night,

poor and rich and white and black,

but they will never wake again.

And those dead folks would give anything at all

for just five minutes of this weather

or ten minutes of plowing.

So you watch yourself about complaining.

What you’re supposed to do

when you don’t like a thing is change it.

If you can’t change it,

change the way you think about it.”

Maya Angelou

73. “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

Maya Angelou

74. “Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

Maya Angelou

75. “When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.

And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.”

Maya Angelou

76. “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

Maya Angelou

77. “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

Maya Angelou

78. “I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

Maya Angelou

79. “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

Maya Angelou

80. “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

Maya Angelou

81. “Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”

Maya Angelou

82. “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

Maya Angelou

83. “We need much less than we think we need.”

Maya Angelou

84. “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Maya Angelou

85. “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”

Maya Angelou

86. “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Maya Angelou

87 “Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Maya Angelou

88. “I sustain myself with the love of family.”

Maya Angelou

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