Being the Guesthouse

I’ve been meditating on Rumi’s poem “The Guesthouse” again:

The Guest House
by Rumi

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’re 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

And also holding this quotation of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in mind: “There will always be times in the midst of ‘success right around the corner, but as yet still unseen’ when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.”

Seemingly contradictory. Welcome in each Big Feeling–the anxiety, the discouragement, the despair–as though guests in a guesthouse. What do you have to teach me? What guidance? What treasure? And still. Still, I am also not keeping a chair for despair, not a winsomely hopeful table set as if for the most revered of guests. I will not feed the Big Feelings. They’re here to bring their messages and depart, to teach me what they need to teach, and go on and away.

Deep breathing, art, poetry, good music, anchoring myself in my body and my senses. I need to find the balance between dealing with the anxieties and listening to them. You there! Crawling Thing in the pit of my stomach: Let’s sit for a minute and talk about what brings you here. What is your message? What am I to learn from you? Thank you–now you can be on your way while I ground and center and breathe. And prepare for the next journey, as Dr. CPE suggests.

Gratitude List:
1. Listening for the messages in the Big Feelings, but not harboring them
2. Pondering Purpose
3. Lilies of the Valley
4. Painting again
5. Dreams
May we walk in Beauty!

“My ego is desperately. . .trying to get the experiences that I think will fill me up and make me happy again. But no matter how much I try, it doesn’t work—because it’s not in the content of experience that I’ll find happiness, but in the quality of my attention and presence in any experience I have.” —Russ Hudson

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

by David Whyte
Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens
so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” —Margaret Atwood

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald

“To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on your futures, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

“Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

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