Morning reading: “The Essential Rumi” translated by Coleman Barks
I came across this poem (p.109) that was comforting, and wanted to share it with you:
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is 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 sorrrows,
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 “unexpected visitor” was chronic back pain. Like many who battle chronic illness and pain, I could not imagine any good coming from the suffering and losses I experienced. Yes, my life was “cleared out” at times I felt robbed of all joy, and I certainly did not welcome the changes. And yet, over time I found my life unfolding in ways I never could have imagined and eventually found new ways to be happy. Some as small as cloud watching on a bad day, other larger changes in career and hobbies. Can you identify any place in your life where you have found “some new delight” despite the “crowd of sorrows?”
This afternoon, I finished the book,”One Hundred Names For Love” by Dianne Ackerman, poet and non-fiction author. It’s an illness narrative about her husband Paul West’s stroke. What makes the book poignant is that Paul is a wordsmith and Author and became aphasiac. This book gives great insight into caregiving and ongoing struggles with chronic illness. This is a wonderful book to show that the particular issues a person with chronic illness faces are universal, no matter what the diagnosis. I learned a lot about functions of different areas of the brain, and the consequences of a stroke. Dianne Ackerman’s prose is beautiful, thick with descriptions of nature in all it’s follies.
She writes, “These moments all alone before the peonies and irises in the dappled light of a summer morning seemed enough. This little everywhere, this nowhere else…
When facing our worst pain, we can seek small moments of beingness to sustain us through the darkness. Please visit this weeks post to Peaceful Refuge to see an example of how I found that illusive moment through photography. Please tell us if you have experienced a small moment of seeing the light this week, despite suffering, loss, and pain.
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