The Guest House

I’m not really ready to blog about this morning’s session. I’m holding it close, and working through it mentally. I don’t feel prepared to write about it yet. I went straight from counselling to a meeting and then to work and another meeting and so I need time. I need time with this morning’s session.

But I did want to share this with you. About midway through, I was trying to hard to connect to myself and feeling frustrated. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling like I was failing at letting those emotions in, and out. We were talking about different emotion metaphors and I was curled up in a ball on the couch and alternating between hyperventilating and holding my breath all as A tried to get me to breathe and be aware that I don’t HAVE to have a meltdown, I can just stay connected and stay with the emotions, observe them. I don’t always have to get overwhelmingly close. I was not doing okay, and she told me “the fact that you are resisting the shit out of me right now is a sign we are connecting. It’s okay, we can meet where you are.” We were relatively quiet for a few minutes, and she said:

“PD, can I read something to you? I would really like to read to you right now. What I have to share, I think it may be helpful. You love to write, and you love words. I know that you don’t feel good right now, and I think it may be helpful. May I read something to you?”

I nodded. “Yes.” I sounded so small to myself.

“I need you to look at me though, I’d like us to connect. Can you look at me while I read? You don’t have to talk. Just listen.”

I nodded. And she read this, looking up and smiling at me reassuringly between each phrase.

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.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Her mannerisms, her voice, Rumi’s words, the idea of letting the emotions into my house, my body, as “guests” – it was what I needed to hear to come back into myself.

It was quite possibly the most beautiful, poignant, and connected moment I have ever experienced with a therapist. And what happened after was perfect. 

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8 thoughts on “The Guest House

  1. I love this poem! It reminds me of Q’s blogs, too, when she invites Self Loathing over for lemonade. Being read to is a really intimate experience, and I’m glad A knew what to do for you in that moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE Rumi! He was a 13th century Sufi mystic (Muslim). I have been on an indepth study of religious mysticism for the past several years. Mystics are people that understand the experience of being human, because mysticism is all about the human experience of ourselves and the Divine.

    I’m just beaming ear-to-ear right now… I know I’ve crossed over from being a casual observer to being personally invested in your journey, PD. That sounds scary– even to me, lol! Just know that I am rooting for you. And I have perfect faith in your ability to learn and grow through this very unstable-feeling season. Thank you for sharing your journey through your expertly chosen words. I consider it pure privilege to watch on the sidelines as you burst forth into new ways of being wholly you.
    Much love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how she knew that would both comfort me and connect us, but then again I mostly don’t know how she knows so much. She’s so observant.

      It was quite the experience. It was a moment of real, genuine connection that I was present for, and I’m not present for so much of my life.. it was full of possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm right, I know what you mean about not being present at times.. I do feel like it’s more a skill which can be learned and cultivated.

        As for A knowing, maybe it’s a mixture of her therapist preparation/training and instinctual intuition.

        Liked by 1 person

    • There was a lot to the session, but when she read that I was struck by this wave of calm and it allowed me to really connect to her.

      I wish I had a recording of it. Her voice was perfect, the tone and the pace and it really resonated with me, in that moment. I was not. okay. and she reversed that.

      Liked by 1 person

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