Self-Expression Wisdom from my Maya Angelou Experience

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak almost a decade ago, as of today. Her warmth and wisdom heavily influenced my radical self-expression practice, and so today, I share what she told me, and honor her willingness to consistently risk expression.

Her message was simple: Say thank you, and then say no.

Saying no can come with some scary what-if’s, and for me, hearing her say that, gave me permission to begin considering my own yes-that-really-meant-no experiences. Her wisdom became part of my regular practice in exploring and honoring my own feelings, and I thank her from the depths of my soul for that.

Rest in Light, Dr. Angelou!


  • Powerful, real, received, digested and sho nuf practiced all de time now! thank you my love for sharing this.

    I remember a time with there was a mother figure in my life (not my biological mom but a woman who had a mother figure like role in my life) 2 women actually who at two separate times held that title, felt I was the best option to discuss frustrations they were having in their personal romantic relationships. Me being me, of course I’d listen and take it in to learn how I can best support them Until I realized that I WAS TAKING IT IN! I was ingesting it because that’s what I do – it’s just who I am – and I was allowing that to impact my relationship with others. It was hard to distinguish my true feelings for others from their feelings. It hit me about age 29 this was happening and one day, I stopped the one mother figure and told her she could no longer talk to me about this as it was impacting how I saw her, my level of respect for her and impacting my relationship with the other person. I told her it was clouding my judgement because I would think about and wonder and maybe worry about her situation (because I after all ingested her situation as my own because I cared). I realized at that time that I didn’t need to STOP doing that (deeply connecting) I needed to learn discernment of when it was appropriate, situations that mattered to me where it fueled me to be so deeply connected versus depleting me. I had to sense continue to practice this. Not always to perfect 100% success – it’s a daily practice – but each time I’m more keenly aware, focused and self-assured of my decision to say “no I can’t take this in right now”. I had to learn to say it even before I knew how to release the guilt behind it. lol