“This too shall pass”

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

When you feel like you are sitting at the bottom of a black hole and your body and mind have been taken over by dark forces, the last thing you want to hear is, “Don’t worry, this will pass.”

I am sorry to annoy you here, but yes it will. Indeed it did for me! The last three days for me were a struggle and all the old feelings came back to haunt me. They took over my mind and body and I couldn’t find the light leading me out. It was like I was five again, and I felt the most overwhelming feelings of being unwanted and unloved. I tapped into the feelings of the five year old me who was sexually abused by my father and unacknowledged by my mother. I was fragile and looking outward for help and protection. It was an awful place to be, so discomforting.

One of my students asked me why I look so so sad in her very broken English. I taught my classes, spoke to my colleagues with the awareness of the bad feelings. I stayed with them, no distractions. I wanted to buy a box of cigarettes and smoke, I wanted to hide and stay off work, but I didn’t. I just stayed with it and my face told a story all day yesterday and the day before. What’s more I didn’t care, I didn’t try to pretend that I was ok, like I would have done before.

I have travelled to the black hole many many times since I began this healing journey and each time it feels like it will never be ok, and that the feeling will stay forever. Each time without exception, the feelings dissipate and leave and I feel stronger and renewed after.

I want to share this with you today my dear reader because no matter what you are hurting from, believe me when I say, “this too shall pass.” It is the law of nature,  feelings are not stagnant no matter how heavy they might feel. Feelings are dynamic and temporary, always moving and flowing.  It’s what they do. Sometimes they need to stay longer. But alas, when they have taught you what you need to know, they go on their way.

I feel like a new person today, but I am not a new person, I am the same person I was yesterday and the day before. There is the realisation that my essence remains intact no matter what storm or hurricane passes through. And the realisation also that I can weather the mighty storms. I am the same, only stronger and more aware. And you will be too, trust me!


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