Among the many influential people that have come and gone throughout the past 60 years, none have influenced me as much as the poet, writer, actress, speaker and social activist Maya Angelou, who seems to epitomize a life well lived in spite of the odds.
It didn't matter if the situations in her life were rotten, raggedy, or repulsive, she found a way to make them whole, healing, and worthy through creative outlets and significant causes. She gathered every kernel of corn into her bushel basket of life to create hearty and sumptuous banquets.
From what has been revealed in the media portrayal of Angelou's life, we know that some of the hardships she encountered are not things that are easy to live with or to forgive. However, on the other hand, there are aspects of her life that demanded courage, risk-taking, and a revealing of the self that required a degree of vulnerability that would cause most of us great consternation.
It is in the awareness of the complexity of life that we get a glimpse of the depth of humanity and, in some cases, a view into our own souls. In harvesting life, we take the best of times and the worst of times and hold them in such a way that what is reflected back opens our heart. To cherish joyful moments, achievements, triumphs, and all that has been acquired is not to be diminished by the bumps and the bruises and the twists and the turns that may have led to pathways of pain and heartache.
To look back in wonder is an amazing thing! To be able to recognize in the journey that it’s not about perfection, nor has it ever been, but it’s about the blessing in the midst of the messiness. Letting go of anger, forgiving our past, and cultivating an attitude of gratitude does marvelous things for the soul.
All too often time is wasted looking back with regret and a sense of hopelessness at not having time to "fix" things. To be able to make peace with our past and possibly utilize the insight that was gained as a result of the things that have gone bump in the middle of the night is freeing, and it is instrumental in developing and maintaining good health and well-being.
Maya Angelou said, "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." Are we aging or saging? Can we harvest the bounty and contribute something meaningful in the form of wisdom that has been harnessed throughout the years?
You probably will not find a definition for saging in Webster’s dictionary, but there is one for sage, which is: "Having or exhibiting wisdom and calm judgment." Saging is a word that may very well be made up, however its context implies that a person who chooses saging instead of aging will find life in later years to be rich and meaningful — filled with grains of goodness and gratitude and reaping the benefit of powerful life lessons experienced along the way.
During this season of Thanksgiving, may you be among those who harvest love, light, wisdom and grace while experiencing the blessings of saging.