When Dr. Maya Angelou died on the 28th May 2014, I was deeply touched by her death and experienced with renewed vitality just how much her words of wisdom meant to me. In fact, she is one of the people I named in the Acknowledgement section of The Freedom Zone book as someone who opened me to new views and ways of thinking.

Of the many inspiring messages Dr. Angelou made in her extraordinary lifetime, there are two that stand out for me.

Firstly, her poem, Phenomenal Woman:

Whenever I hear or read or think of the words, I am present to deep feelings of pride, love and appreciation for myself.

Secondly, this quote: If not now, then when? While a form of this quote has been attributed to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, when I heard Dr. Angelou refer to it in an interview, I felt compelled to personalize it. Doing so triggered a line of inquiry that would change my life forever.

If not now then when, Donna?

When are you going to be fully alive in your life?

When are you going to have the courage to be true to yourself?

The answer was the same for each question: Now!

With this came a sense of purpose and very shortly afterwards, I was realizing my lifelong dream of being an author. I began writing The Freedom Zone: Your Gateway to Love, Liberty and Happiness with my friend, Sharon Brick.

Thank you, Dr. Maya Angelou. Thank you for the lessons – for your inspiration – for being a global catalyst for empowered living!