Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome today's guest...

This is a great poem I just heard for the first time, yet it was written over 800 years ago.  It teaches me that daily mood diversity must be a part of the human condition.

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 ~

So, I extend a hearty welcome to today's guest:


I first noticed I was irritated early this morning when a flood of practical concerns filled my head.  I get bogged down like a computer with slow band width.  I can't get any thought out because they are all trying to cram through the door between my brain and my mouth.

Work had its' fair share of irritants.  Let's just leave it at that.

When I enter my home after a long day of work, like most people I assume, I am ready to find a comfortable place to flop and decompress.  This wish does not come true.  Empty the car of backpacks, lunch boxes, purses and spare clothing or shoes that were removed on the ride home.  The dog urgently awaits her pm constitutional and meal.  I need to start dinner.  Homework has to commence.

Throughout this course of events, I am hearing the most IRRITATING sound on the planet in my opinion and it is called ingratitude.  My kids... well, they are kids.  They are precious but oblivious to the sacrifices that others make to keep them healthy, happy and never the least bit bored.  No matter how much I serve and accommodate their end-of-day mullygrubs, I am met with a continued barrage of "Can I have... Can I go... Can you get me... Where's the... Why do we have to... "

And then there's the second most IRRITATING sound on the planet... whining.

I realize that the third most IRRITATING sound on the planet is probably a mother's guilt trip, and boy do I lay them on!  "Yes, I'll be glad to come out and turn on the sprinkler as soon as I get finished with the 87 other nice things I'm doing for you that you don't give a fart about."  Oh, I have a ton of them!  All very unbecoming, unsympathetic and ineffective at getting me what I want. (Enter the dark shame Rumi mentioned.)

I identify with Rodney Dangerfield, why can't I just get a little respect?

Welcome, Irritable, I wasn't expecting you today.  I'm having difficulty laughing at your arrival.  I've so enjoyed the last few days without you.  Listen, buddy, my kids, my husband and my students do not deserve to endure what you do to me.  You are so obtrusive.  I try to shove you back into the container you came in, but you just bust out all over, without my permission.

So, according to this ancient poet, I'm supposed to treat you with honor.  OK I'll try.  Do you care for a beverage?  So, what new delight do you come to make way for?    Give me a reason to be grateful for you, dear Guest. 

A message?  What's that you say?  (long thoughtful pause)  Yes, I suppose I have been rather burdened lately.  Since you've been housed in my mind today, I guess you've noticed the clutter.  Good grief, YES, I'll admit it!  I'm a mental hoarder.  I'm suffering under the weight of worries, from practical to extreme importance.  Yet, I just keep piling it on.

Are you just here to accuse me and point out this tragic flaw?  (pause)  No?  A warning?  Why do you seem kind of friendly all of a sudden?  I can't believe you came today just to tell me that you want my life to be a more peaceful and rewarding experience.  You must really get what is wrong with my life.  I've wanted for people to see it for so long, but the world just keeps demanding more and more of me. 

I feel a bubble of a new emotion in my chest when I say a quiet, "Thank You."


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