MEET 2009 WOW HONOREE MAIMAH KARMO
Maimah Karmo is a best-selling author, speaker and coach, and cancer survivor. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and starting chemotherapy at age 32, she founded the Tigerlily Foundation, an organization created to support and empower women diagnosed with breast cancer.
What makes you feel empowered?
“I love leading with love. I love serving others through my work. I love asking those tough questions that speak truth in power and inspiring others to elevate the way they think, feel, and behave in positive ways that make an impact. When I see someone become inspired and shift, that fires me up!”
What's the best piece of advice a woman has ever given you?
“My 4th grade teacher told me one word at graduation. She said, “Remember this word—perseverance.” Her words have always been with me, no matter what has happened in my life. I don’t give up—it’s as if the words are ingrained into my veins. I also love Miriam Wright Edelman’s quote, ‘Service is the rent we pay for living.’ It is a quote that I live by.”
What made you want to get more involved in your community?
“All of my life’s journey—going through three wars, being hit by lightning, being held at gunpoint during the coup d’etats in Liberia, surviving breast cancer, and more. Because I’m alive, I am responsible for my sister and my brother. I am responsible to put out the energy, words, and actions that I want to be. Others have sacrificed so that I could be alive, and I have an innate commitment to be the same for future generations.”
How do you recommend others get involved in their own communities?
“Find out what inspires you and just do it. Don’t wait to know everything. Join another organization or begin your own. Every one of us has gifts and talents that can contribute to society in a significant way—no act is too small and every act has an infinitesimal ripple.”
How do you practice self-care?
“My self-care routine is part of my entire lifestyle. In the morning, I meditate, do EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) tapping, deep breathing exercises and do my morning meditation, mantras and prayers. I also run and go to the gym. During the day, I am very mindful of how I feel—am I anxious, rushing, stressed, or am I being present to life? I make sure my thoughts are kind, especially towards myself. At night, I sit in my meditation room, with tons of candles, incense, energy rocks, and intention cards, and spend time in quiet or with music. Going to bed, I have an essential oil diffuser, use oils on my skin and pillow, and take baths to soothe and calm my body for the night. I keep a soft light in my room, meditation music is on while I sleep and my bed is a haven.
“Every two weeks, I have what I call ‘Self-care Saturdays,’ where I see a therapist, get a massage, and then spend time in the water and turn in early, drinking up to 64 ounces of water. Years ago, I would not have wanted to invest in myself in this way, but I know that my life, my body, and my peace—and this moment—is all that I have. It is only when I care for myself that I can give to others and empower them to do the same. So self-care is my gift to me.”