Next week the December solstice will be here and soon after that 2019. It’s that time of year when I am reviewing and revising my work and life plans.
What have I done (well)? What still needs doing? What do I want to say good bye to? These may be really good ideas (some of them at least) but ones which no longer dwell in my heart, or they may be taking up space in my head because I haven’t done them yet. So, good bye!
Then I begin my list for 2019 with this information and I ask – what do I want to do now? How do I want to live my life?
good bye guest house
One thing I am parting with is a poem called the Guest House by Rumi. I have carried in my pocket nearly every day since February 2017.
I’ve been carrying the poem around to help me to remember to feel the whole range of feelings I have, and not simply to embrace the pleasant and ignore the uncomfortable ones.
Emotions underlie and create nearly everything about us. They shape our actions, opinions, interests and decisions. I have wondered — how much of my emotional response is actually mine, and also enormously important, what do I really feel and believe?
There are some emotions and parts of me that I deny because social conditioning dictates those feelings are not appropriate.
Some social norms are helpful and keep us all moving in the same direction; some however are simply about power, control and domination; they perpetuate inequality and injustice, and they need addressing and rectifying. The growing Me Too Movement is a good example of this disconnect between power, influence and feelings.
infinite emotional work
My work with emotions is not done, and never will be. Emotions are one of those life-long learning adventures. But I have greater emotional literacy now and it’s time for something new. Watch this space.
And if you’re curious to know more about emotions and their hidden gifts and messages, check out Karla McLaren‘s work on emotions.
the guest house by Rumi
Below is the poem I mentioned earlier that has been my companion for a year or so. I share it with you and wonder how it resonantes with you. Let me know in the coments below and I wish you a happy solstice.
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.