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.
~ Rumi ~
This Rumi poem is such an evocative reminder that ALL of our feelings have value, even the ones we think of as "negative" or "bad." Rumi encourages us to be open to whatever feeling we meet when we wake up in the morning ( and throughout the day). Can we trust that there is something to learn from each and every feeling we experience: from the depression or meanness as well as from the joy? Can we "meet them at the door laughing and invite them in?" This implies a willingness to relate to each and every "guest" equally, knowing that they are all teachers and guides on our inner journey. Can we be more lighthearted, more engaged with all that emerges, instead of judging, criticizing and avoiding the "unexpected visitor?" What might we learn from these visitors if we opened the door rather than double-locking it and throwing away the key?
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley