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The Guest House

February 10, 2012

A simple white mug from a dear friend brought me so much comfort while away…*

I received some very helpful advice earlier this week, which is beautifully summed up in this Rumi poem:

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, “The Guest House”
Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

One way I’m learning to deal with my anxiety as well as the negative thoughts that feed it is to stop resisting, to just feel whatever it is I’m feeling.  Both the good and the bad.  By meeting painful thoughts and feelings with resistance we give them strength, power that makes them real when they are not.  Allowing oneself to accept thoughts and feelings for what they are and to acknowledge them as they come, we are then more able to let them go and stop feeding “the monster” that is anxiety and fear.  Make room for joy.

This is, of course, easier said than done.  It’s certainly taking some practice but has been rather liberating in the process.


*I’ve totally switched to decaf, just in case you’re concerned *wink wink*

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kari B. permalink
    February 13, 2012 5:02 am

    What a wonderful poem. That, for me, has been an exceptionally hard lesson to learn since becoming a mother, to let your emotions flow freely- good or bad. It has helped bring calmness to our world. One of the best things I’ve read in the past two years was from Buddhism for Mothers, suggesting that we face all of life with equanimity, not taking anything personal, even our own fears, insecurities or self-judgements. They are not who we are and we have to allow them to pass without letting them become a part of us. You are so right about not giving them strength :)
    I hope that spring is coming soon for you!

    • February 13, 2012 9:46 am

      I actually just ordered that book last night. I’ve been wanting it since O was a baby. I don’t know why I waited so long to get it! I also ordered The Continuum Concept… My “parenting library” is not exactly sparse these days! ;)
      Thank you, Kari, for sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to *see* you again!♥


  1. Buddhism For Mothers: Buddhism and Motherhood «
  2. Buddhism for Mothers: Finding Calm «


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