Don’t bring negative to my door. – Maya Angelou
I love fresh starts, and like yesterday, June 1, the new calendar page brings with it a clean path forward and the opportunity to find our way forward, anew.
Sometimes the fresh start is overwhelming — where do we begin? But this month, this week, this day, I know I’m focusing on being positive, hopeful. In looking for the best, we are freed up and encouraged.
Dr. Maya Angelou has long been one of my favorite role models. I loved getting to see her speak / sing with the Cincinnati Symphony in the fall of 2013, when she narrated Aaron Copland’s Lincoln’s Portrait. Despite her age, she was strong and alive. When she passed away last spring, the world lost a luminous voice. I will never forget her.
Since that time, I’ve read several of her books and poems. One poem, I keep beside my writing chair. From all I’ve read, Maya Angelou had a difficult life, but her positive spirit defines her, still.
I love so many of her quotes, and have written many here. But one which strikes me most is this: “Don’t bring negative to my door.”
There are many ways to live. As Americans, we know the glass half full / half empty image well. We know that we can choose which way we want to see things, with hope and believing the best, or without hope and expecting the worst.
Maya Angelou’s phrase reminds me of the way we can (and probably need to) filter what we allow into our lives. Those people and activities which build us up, make us feel stronger and lighter, and help us to become a better version of ourselves are ones we want to welcome. On the other hand, the ones which cost much energy, drain us of our creativity and essence, and weigh us down so we can hardly move forward are people and activities we need to stop at the front door.
Don’t bring negative to my door. I love that.
Maya Angelou wrote “Still I Rise” in 1928, and it is powerful. It’s a response to the negative, to the drain in her life, and it leaves no doubt as to how she will do even after what she has faced. Still she will rise.
The first lines of the poem (for more, click here):
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Because of Dr. Maya Angelou and many others with that strong, positive spirit, no matter what we face, we can choose to turn negativity away at the door, and to focus on the opportunities to rise despite our hardships.
Have a great week, and make it a great new month!