today i am thankful for being able to experience these next few hours of life with health and strength and as my granny would say “clothed in my right mind”. i ask the creator for continued grace and mercy and i thank him/her/it for this feeling of optimism and newness that i am in. i feel like i’m on the verge of a breakthrough and its exciting and scary and new……
today I am grateful for laughter and bigheartedness. i am grateful for good music and good fiction. I am grateful for love stories and songs that make you sing along to the radio. today, I am grateful for a fresh start. I am grateful that each moment is bringing me to a better self.
today i am grateful for the chance to live this day to it’s fullest. I am grateful for the best parent a child could wish for and really great friends. friends that might not be as abundant as i would like but they are there for me and always building me up in the ways that count. i am grateful for dreams and the ability to strive for something greater than what i see with the knowledge that one day those dreams can also come true. thank you creator for this life, at this moment and i pray that you continue to shine down on me with your grace and infinite mercies.
Oprah: I once heard you say, “If you want to liberate someone, love them.”
Maya: That’s it. Not be in love with them—that’s dangerous. If you’re in love with your children, you’re in their lives all the time. Leave them alone! Let them grow and make some mistakes. Tell them, “You can come home. My arms are here—and my mouth is too.” Tell them, “I’m going to leave you alone. You want to listen to rock and rap? Well, I think it’s stupid, but help yourself.” When you really love them, you don’t want to possess them. You don’t say, “I love you and I want you here with me.” Naturally, if you love somebody, you do want to see their face every now and again, but that’s not a condition of your love. People often get possession mixed up with love, and they say, “If you really loved me, you would call me.” How—when life is going on? I think of you all the time, and the thought of you always lifts my spirits. But I’m not right at the phone!
Oprah: Have you been able to manage that kind of love even in romance?
Maya: It’s hard, but I do it—and I don’t know how. When I love somebody, I like him to be around; I like him to take me out to dinner; I like to look at the sunset with him. But if not, I love him and I hope he’s looking at the same sun I am. Loving someone liberates the lover as well as the beloved. And that kind of love comes with age. Some of this wisdom came to me after I was 50 or 60.
Oprah: The big question I have for you is this: Where did your confidence come from? I’ve never seen anybody who exudes more confidence than you, and I don’t mean false, modest bravado, but from the inside out, you’ve got the stuff.
Maya: There are so many gifts, so many blessings, so many sources that I can’t say any one thing—unless that one thing is love. By love I don’t mean indulgence. I do not mean sentimentality. And in this instance, I don’t even mean romance. I mean that condition that allowed humans to dream of God. To make it. To imagine golden roads. That condition that allowed the “dumb” to write spirituals and Russian songs and Irish lilts. That is love, and it’s so much larger than anything I can conceive. It may be the element that keeps the stars in the firmament. And that love, and its many ways of coming into my life, has given me a great deal of confidence about life.
Oprah: So when you walk into a room and heads turn, it’s not just confidence in yourself that we see?
Maya: Oh, no. That’s why, though I was never pretty, I did command something—because of my reliance on life.
Oprah: How is it that you came to be this wise? Because you would say you’re wise, wouldn’t you?
Maya: Well, I’m en route. I am certainly on the road.
Oprah: Is it because you’ve paid such close attention in your life?
Maya: I do pay attention. I love wisdom. And you can never be great at anything unless you love it. Not be in love with it, but love the thing, admire the thing. And it seems that if you love the thing, and you don’t just want to possess it, it will find you. But if you’re in love with the thing, it may run like hell away from you.
Oprah: But if you love it, it looks for you as you look for it.
Maya: That’s right.
Oprah: Just listening to you now, I’m thinking, “What is it about Maya?” I think it’s that you know yourself.
Oprah: You know that you are supported by something bigger than yourself. That you are loved. That you have the right to stand up for yourself. And that comes from knowing who you are.
Maya: And I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, “Can I be of help?”