Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
My Blog

Getting Religion XXXXII The Day I met Maya Anjelou

A conversation with Maya Anjelou was one of three conversations that first opened my eyes.   

It was a flight from Dulles to San Francisco.  She was sitting in first class, seat 7B, back near the galley of the stretch DC 8, and I was working as "galley slave" preparing food and carts for dinner service. 

After dinner was over and the movie was being shown, somehow Maya and I started talking.  The movie didn't interest her and without warning, this kind-faced African American woman began to talk to me. "You've been busy this evening?" Her voice had a depth and resonance I'd not experienced before. But I was exhausted with no sleep from the night before and feeling stressed by all the responsibilities: getting the food warmed, organizing the china and glassware, mixing drinks, asking for dinner selections, and trying not to appear uncool and distracted.  Yet this woman with the interesting voice wanted to talk and because I couldn't be rude or unprofessional, we slowly began an exchange that continued over almost an hour. 

What I remember was her ability to turn our experiences into a most satisfying exchange. I found myself sharing my story while encouraging her to do the same.  And as we stumbled along, she fascinated me. Her ideas about writing and art, her experiences with trauma, her period of withdrawal.  She told me there was a time she chose not to talk, a time when fear had trapped her fully inside herself.  By my asking questions, she generously gave of herself, telling me things I somehow needed to know. And as she gave, I was inspired by her passion and felt connected to it as she explained how making art had become her mission and purpose.  

With her, I shared my love of painting and dance, my bout with mental illness and anorexia, my love of flying.  As she listened to me, her expression and words of encouragement cheered me on. Yet I didn't know her. I didn't know her name and, even if I had, her name and reputation were not familiar to me. What I did know was that she was accomplished and remarkable. Her grace and presence were palpable even to a tired and self-absorbed flight attendant she'd never talked to before. Whoever she was, she transported me to another state of being: a place where I felt comfortable and honored by her attention. 

As our conversation began to close, she mentioned having written a book and encouraged me to read it.  She said she wrote it to make sense out of senselessness. She wanted it to be read as a way of reaching out and of showing that a life full of lemons can be made into lemonade. On my layover in San Francisco, I went directly to the book store. Her book was waiting for me on the shelf.  "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

To be continued ...

6 Comments to Getting Religion XXXXII The Day I met Maya Anjelou:

Comments RSS
best professional resume writers on Saturday, July 07, 2018 12:51 PM
Yeah I completely agree with it.I believe just as our body needs food to survive,our soul also needs these talks.Good Job,I hope your idea would be successful.
Reply to comment

Corporate Catering on Saturday, July 28, 2018 12:29 AM
I like religious posts but I have few objections from this blog post which I would like to share in my next attempt.I am these days quite busy.
Reply to comment

landscaping company sparks on Saturday, August 11, 2018 11:37 AM
This post shows that there are different phases of life and every phase teaches you about new landscaping company sparks style which is sometimes very confusing but sometimes very interesting.
Reply to comment

Cheap SSl certificate Godaddy on Monday, October 29, 2018 1:37 AM
I really love to read this kind of interesting blogs. I agree with it. thank you so much for sharing with us such a amazing blog.
Reply to comment

James Murphy on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 5:40 AM
This is my first visit to this website, you have shared information which is unique and easy to understand.Keep up your good work. gym matting made with quality rubber
Reply to comment

Chris on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 3:40 PM
Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is fine. non slip mat
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment