here, pull up a chair

Thinking about this poem from Rumi today.

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

(via 365 grateful on facebook)

It’s easy to be grateful for the good stuff – a walk in the woods, homemade soup, a love letter.

The challenge is finding a way to be grateful for the rest – someone yelling on their cell phone in the grocery line, a flat tire, toothache.

It’s not easy to get there. Maybe the thing is not being grateful for the literal whatever-it-is, but some gift tucked inside.

I know – when you find the flat tire, and you are already late and it’s raining and the spare is actually in the garage at home, if someone suggests that you look for the gift or lesson in the experience, you may want to stab them in the face. Oh? Just me, then.

And somehow, still, maybe after a while – maybe not for a long while – there is a way to be grateful, for some part of it. A way to accept what is. A way to see and remember that there is still good in the world.

I’ve had some practice with this. And I have learned: there is a chair at the table. For every one.


  • This post is so awesome.

    I love this poem.
    So eloquently it seems to describe aspects of your journey over the last months, so succinctly it describes aspects of my journey over the last months and years..

    Sometimes it is hard to see the value of emotions we would rather not have. Sometimes it feels so easy to judge feelings.

    To me, this poem speaks to the incredible profound value of all the emotions we experience, knowing that our emotions teach us about ourselves, how we interact with the world, and provide profound opportunities for healing.

    I am learning to value all of my emotions. I am learning to offer a chair and some compassion and hospitality to my emotions that emerge from dark corners, or out of conflict. I am learning to nurture my emotions, gently, like valued children that need my compassion and love to heal.

    I am learning that now is perfect for me, exactly as it is.
    i am practicing gratitude for now.
    I am so very grateful for the incredible love in my heart’s narrative. I love how sharing from my heart feels empowered and deeply connected.
    I am so grateful for my courage to share my heart’s narrative (sometimes such vulnerability is terrifying).
    i am so very grateful for love.
    Love is real
    and I am grateful.

    Thank you for sharing.
    love & gratitude.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. Your comment attends to the heart of the poem, I think. Feelings, emotions, the fullness of our inner life – sometimes it threatens to take over, sometimes it simply feels threatening.

      To welcome this inner life – regardless of its shape – this is perhaps the gift tucked inside.

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