(this was in our February newsletter… hope you enjoy)
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.
My intention for the Winter Challenge was to be open to the joys and the sorrows and allow myself to feel the whole spectrum of emotions without numbing or fear. This poem by Rumi has found me several times over the last few months. But after three weeks practicing toward the same intention it has meant so much more.
January is a typical month for me to get “the blues.” Traditionally, I begin to feel numb and empty beginning in December and it stays with me until March. I always thought this was a normal pattern for me and I could live with it. While listening to a talk by Tara Brach she recited this poem and mentioned all the ways we numb to the joy and the sorrow in our lives. One of the ways was depression. This was a shocker and a game changer for me. My first thought was “not me!” But upon further investigation and meditation I realized “yes, this is me!” I can numb myself just as all humans do. When we are depressed we allow ourselves to feel nothing.
With the studios doing better than we ever imagined and the children happy and healthy, I found I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wouldn’t allow myself to feel the joy of knowing our diligence and hard work is finally being accepted and loved by the people around us. Then I heard this poem by Rumi and it reminded me that my job is to soften and welcome it all in. I remember now that I need to enjoy the small moments of bliss and gratitude and not waste them waiting for something to happen. I remember that my children need to see a mother that is open to all emotions and willing to invite them in, unafraid.
In the same talk by Tara Brach, she speaks of a nun who lives her whole life by saying, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever.” Each day, each interaction as I work toward my intention I have begun using this as a mantra, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaints.” I notice my body expands, my breath deepens and the tightness in my shoulders and chest begin to disappear. I have even used this while in a heated discussion with my loving husband. I don’t have to say it aloud, just in my head. Somehow it shifts everything. This mantra has allowed me to welcome in the uninvited guests, to recognize them and send them gratitude for being here for each guest is an invitation from spirit inviting me in.
With a heart full of love and gratitude,