A screen door is flexible, open to letting negativity pass through to make way for clear, fresh air.
Posted in , May 31, 2018
A number of years ago, I was struggling with toxic thoughts—my own, and those of others. I lamented to a trusted friend that I was taking this negativity too deeply into my mind and—in the form of a chronically achy lower back—body.
She offered a simple metaphor that has stayed with me in the years since. Imagine yourself to be a screen door, she said. Toxic thoughts might be blowing and swirling in the wind, but they pass through you, effortlessly flowing out into the ether without getting stuck.
What I love most about this image is how simple it is, and how little it actually asks of me. I don’t have to actively repel the negative words, thoughts, news or actions I might encounter in the course of my day. I merely have to stay present to the breezes that blow around me, allowing them to pass through on their way out into the world.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
I adjust the image sometimes, to suit situations that I’m facing.
If I feel like my own thought patterns are skewing negative, or if I am feeling stuck on a decision, a quandary or an emotion, I might imagine the passing wind catching hold of the stress and anxiety that’s weighing me down, carrying it off as it moves through me.
If I am in a tense situation with another person, I might visualize their negativity as a hot wind that is uncomfortable for a moment, but fleeting as it blows by. I can breathe in crisp, clear air in its wake.
The temperate weather of early summer is the perfect time for this screen door image. The more regularly you do the visualization, the more readily it will pop into your mind as you move through your day.
The novelist Anne Bronte paints a beautiful picture of the kind of air I envision when I invoke my breezy screen door: “A light wind swept over the corn,” she writes, “and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”