Temple Grandin shows me a door

Experiencing a pivotal shift in consciousness while watching the movie about Temple G

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by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted

Life opens a door and so does Temple Grandin

Related: Temple Grandin’s Amazing Work with Slaughterhouses and The Autistic World as seen thru Temple Grandin’s eyes

As you can tell by my previous posts on Temple, watching the movie with Claire Danes made a strong and lasting impression with me.

I wanted to share a moment in the film that changed me.

It was when her mentor, Professor Carlock, played by the always excellent David Strathairn, encourages Temple to think of Life as a series of doors.

Seeing in pictures, the way autistics do according to Temple, she immediately saw an actual door between her and the situation she was stressing about or fearful of addressing. As she stood there, something happened for me. The door was what she was focused on. She wanted something on the other side of it but she also was empowered. She could enter or not enter. Of course, in the movie, there were times she didn’t enter. This time, she would make the decision to walk thru the door and see what was on the other side.

I loved this moment for several reasons. Putting a door between myself and something that is fearful for me feels very empowering to me now where, before, it always felt limiting and restrictive. I think it was because I did not put the focus on having a choice. Something about this scene, in this movie, helped me see that I have a choice. It also helps me focus on the decision to open or not open the door, rather than focusing on what is behind the door.

This shift is a little hard to articulate but it’s the difference between longing for what is behind the door, and standing in front of it and choosing. If I walk away, and leave something behind the door, it’s a walk I can take now with some measure of comfort because I will realize that it was not the right time, or the right door. Another chance will come. I will grow and there will be the moment when my body will move toward the door, despite the fear. That is the time to go through the door.

If I can remember Temple’s door analogy as I go thru the rest of my life, I think decisions are going to take on a flavor of adventure rather than dread. She helped me see that walking away from a door is a kind of wisdom too. Creating a door between me and something I want is sometimes a kind of wisdom as well. Deciding to go through the door, at the time that is right for me, is soul level wisdom.

Thank you Temple Grandin.

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