Come On In

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

 

A few weeks ago, my wonderful counselor read this poem to me to start a session and it has stayed with me since that night. I am not sure why, but it spoke to my soul and tethered itself to me. I am not sure why, but it spoke to my demons and made them cower in fear. I am not sure why, but it spoke to that inner child still full of pain and gave her comfort. I am not sure why, but it spoke to my warrior and it made her feel stronger. I am not sure why, but I know that it is important.

My guest house is a little stone cottage in the woods, complete with a thatch roof and a dutch door. It is surrounded by woods, gardens full of beautiful flowers, and sits on the edge of a small, tranquil lake.  It is a mix of all the fairy tale homes I have read about and my family camp on Lake Superior. It is old, but protects you with solid walls. It is small, but envelopes you in love and warmth. It is worn, but invites you in with safety and comfort. It has been battered by storms, but despite the damage is still a sight to see.

The guests as of late, have not been ones to enjoy, but ones to tolerate. The guests as of late, have not been ones to embrace, but ones to observer. The guests as of late, have not been welcome, but ones that needed shelter. The guests as of late, have not been friendly, but have caused me pain. The guests as of late, have not been calm, but have caused chaos within. The guests as of late, have not been my warrior, but instead have been my demons.

No matter who shows up each and everyday, my guest house is open. No matter who shows up each and everyday, I will welcome them with a smile. No matter who shows up each and everyday, I will try to learn from my guest. No matter who shows up each and everyday, I will let the emotions of their visit wash over me. No matter who shows up each and everyday, I will try to keep my balance. No matter who shows up each and everyday, I will look forward to my next guest.

My guest house is a place of learning. My guest house is a place of growing. My guest house is a safe place to feel pain. My guest house is a place of joy. My guest house is a  place of solitude.  My guest house is a place of gathering. My guest house is chaos. My guest house is my calm. My guest house is love. My guest house is me in all its imperfections.

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