My Very Own Guest House

I went to a women’s writing workshop retreat awhile ago for some much needed R and R. It was wonderful. We were asked to read a couple of poems and write from that. Here’s the first – a poem by Rumi translated by Coleman Barks.

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’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.

My Very Own Guest House

When I remember what Rumi reminds us – that all my thoughts and feelings are welcome guests – that they come as a “guide from beyond”, I relax and learn what is there to learn.

Earlier today someone said while giving wise counsel, “What you resist, persists.” I can see the image. I can see a hand pushing back on mine. What happens? What happens when I keep not wanting to look at a guest – I want to turn her away? If she can’t come in the front door, she’ll come in the back or even the window or chimney. If she is sent by Above to offer me the gift and blessing to learn something new about how I am or how I can be or what I am doing that is not good for me, thank God for her persistence.

What would these 64 years be worth if I had not learned by virtue of my self-hatred that I am loveable?

What would they be worth if I had not learned that forgiveness frees me of the negative energy ties binding me to those that hurt me?

What if I hadn’t learned that I can have love and respect and be valued “above rubies” by a beautiful, kind, intelligent and creative man?

What if I had stayed lost in pot or food or abusive relationships?

What if I had not healed my very sick body?

What if I had allowed my ever persistent ego to keep me right instead of happy and peaceful?

What if I stayed hurt and broken and didn’t learn that with each experience came gifts of learning and love?

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

I wonder who’d packing her suitcase this very minute having been sent from Above to guide me to my next beyond?