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 are 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I have been thinking about this poem for days, ever since my new favorite yoga teacher shared it in class. After years of yanking up the welcome mat before certain emotional guests arrive, or meeting them at the door with clenched teeth, or sabotaging their visit by leaving the toilet paper roll empty in the guest bath, I am finally learning to make peace with their sporadic arrivals.

But showing gratitude for their visits…well, I’m still working on that part.
Maybe more yoga will help.

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  1. Love the passive aggressive toilet paper roll.

    And your yoga teacher sounds much more enlightened than the one I sometimes go to at Gold’s. She thinks “apposed to” is a word.

  2. Dude. TOTALLY needed this this morning. Seems like two weepy overtired screamy guests showed up, greeted by a cranky sarcastic overtired innkeeper. Hugs all around. And sighs. Lots of sighs. I mean “yoga breathing.”

  3. haha. reminds me of my mom’s mantra growing up, her advice on how to deal with things you were less than excited about: just smile and act nice! still makes me laugh.

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