We Are All One

Dear Readers, it has been a hiatus of many months since I posted a blog of my own on this site. After spending a lot of time soul searching and listening to words of encouragement from my wife and close friends, I have decided to return to my blogging roots and resurrect the series of blogs I called “My Inspiration.”

Today’s post focuses on the inspirational words of Maya Angelou who was one of America’s most influential people and continues to move us to search our hearts with her immortal words.

“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.”

Maya Angelou

The element of Maya Angelou’s writings that always strikes me is her innate humility. In the first line, “it seems to me” she makes it clear that all she wants to do is share personal thoughts instead of preaching a truth that we must accept. Immediately, my mind opens wide to what follows and I read on in anticipation. This gives me pause. Do I invite people to share in my thinking or am I sounding more like the booming gong and clanging cymbal in St. Paul’s epistle about love?

In her next breath, Ms Angelou encourages us to prepare ourselves to be “a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Many of us, I think, associate preparedness for a test or for success that benefits us in some way. How often are we asked to prepare ourselves in order to serve others? She makes it very clear that we should be a source of brightness and joy in the life of another person who is in the shadow of some personal trouble.

As I turn that idea over in my mind, I wonder how one prepares for that kind of service. Cultivating a point of view that looks outward beyond my own wants and needs towards others would be a good start. I need to develop genuine empathy so that I can recognize another’s need. As well, I need to shed any negativity about life that I’ve accumulated along my own journey, and be a hopeful person who looks for the goodness in others.

This kind of personal growth is no small task, in my view! Perhaps for some, being a beacon of light for others is as simple as rolling out of bed in the morning. Regardless, I agree with Maya Angelou that every human being should strive to serve with no expectation of reward from the world around us. From my own experience, the times when I have helped someone to smile, the warm inner glow I felt was reward enough.

In the last few lines, Angelou addresses the things that divide humans: race, gender, religion, and culture among other things. For her, our shared humanity is paramount. There is nothing more important than reaching out to all persons we contact, not just the ones who share the same identifiers with ourselves.

I remember reading an article that discussed the traits that are shared in common by all humans. As I read about our shared physicality, physical needs, psychological needs which drive us, and our common spiritual yearnings, I was struck by the triviality of the things that we allow to divide us. The resulting intolerance and fear of our noticeable differences precipitate conflict and warfare among us.

I believe that Maya Angelou was a visionary. She saw and experienced great ugliness in her life yet chose to live a better way. This realization on my part leads me to better appreciate our freedom to choose. We can decide for ourselves to serve others or be selfish. Do we choose to dwell on the ugliness in this world or to live joyfully in gratitude for the beauty in our world and within every human being?

Thank you, Maya Angelou. I’d also like to thank my good friend, Jill Dennison, who blogs each week at Filosofa’s Word about people who have chosen to follow the path made clear in this quote and reach out with kindness to strangers in need who are in their midst. Thanks, Jill, for these uplifting examples of how ordinary folks can work miracles in the lives of others!

Welcome to “THE CHOICE, the Unexpected Heroes” Blog Tour! @gmplano @4WillsPub #RRBC

It’s my pleasure today to welcome author Gwen Plano back to Words To Captivate. Gwen is not only a good friend and former colleague but she is also an excellent wordsmith and storyteller. This post will serve to highlight her newly released novel “THE CHOICE, the Unexpected Heroes” and tell you about the author. Please give Gwen a warm welcome here today.

Edward W. Barrett, the former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University made the claim, “Above all, one seeks the attitude of ruthless fairness, of reporting what he dislikes as honestly as what he likes — in short, true intellectual integrity.”

The scene: Documents related to the cabal were sent digitally to journalism departments at key universities across the United States and abroad. Also sent was an invitation to a debriefing at the base. In the following exchange writer, Julie Underwood addresses students and their questions.

Students line up and approach the mic. Ms Underwood asks that they begin by introducing themselves and identifying their college.

“Raymond Augustine from the University of Connecticut. You sent the evidence to journalism departments. Why?”

“First of all, you must have taken a redeye flight to get here, Ray. Thank you for doing so. To your question, I sent the information where I did because students are naturally investigative. They question, they search, and they want to cover a real story. This is a REAL story. This is what a story looks like when not fed to you. It is raw, scary, and potentially life-threatening. Just yesterday, a crucial player in this cabal was murdered while behind bars. The Lion made sure the man could never speak. However, we made sure that you and objective reporters would see the evidence. If someone tries to change the facts, you will know it, and you will remember this day.”

“James Ahern, NBC News. Ms Underwood, don’t you think you’ve exaggerated things, maybe come to misleading conclusions?”

“Mr Ahern, in what way do you believe I exaggerated? As I stated, close to two-dozen people have died. Executed. All associated in one way or another with the Lion. Tell me, how do you imagine that anyone inflated this story?”

“It’s just a question.”

“Who paid for you to travel here today, Mr Ahern? What are your marching orders? Would you like to share?”

Students start to yell at James Ahern, and Security Forces move closer to the stands. Admiral Parker walks to the mic. “Could we have quiet, please.”

“THE CHOICE” Book Trailer

BIO:

Growing up in Southern California, Gwen Plano loved learning. She earned four degrees and taught and served in universities and colleges across the country and in Japan. Now retired, she is focused on writing. Gwen’s first book, Letting Go into Perfect Love, is a memoir. Her second book, The Contract, is a thriller co-authored by John W. Howell. Gwen lives in the Midwest with her husband, and when she is not writing, she is travelling, usually to see one of her four children and many grandchildren.

Links:

Amazon

Website

Twitter

Facebook

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  
Lastly, Gwen is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB {#RRBC}! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you!
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