No one likes to be suddenly swept off their feet.
But it happens.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to say exactly what we think and express ourselves freely without the dreadful fear of being shamed or judged for how we feel.
We would have the courage to walk up to the person we daydream about and tell them how hard we’re crushing on them, without the perpetual anxiety of being rejected. And the spectrum of our whole emotions would be encased with love, joy, openness, fulfillment, and compassion.
Except that, we don’t exist in an ideal world.
Instead, we live in a world where hearts often get broken, people are let down, and we must savour the bitter flavours of abandonment, loneliness, shame, and judgment at least a couple of times throughout our lives.
These bitter feelings eventually turn into invisible scars that we learn how to conceal while putting on a fake mask of bravery, hoping that if we try hard enough, they will conceal the depth of our inner wounds.
And so we move throughout life, never fully pausing to understand how we truly feel.
Rumi, the beloved 13th-century Sufi poet, who wrote eloquent words about grief, sorrow, loss, and transformation that were inspired by the loss of his beloved companion, Shams, had a different approach.
In his poem, The Guest House, he invites us on a beautiful journey to envision our emotions as guests or wanderers who occasionally visit our only true home: our bodies.
He asks us to treat all these emotions—including the most challenging ones, such as depression, shame, or meanness, with gratitude as they are precious messengers who have been sent to help us look at ourselves with the eyes of compassion and love, which are the true essence of our human existence.
His poem is an invitation towards being mindful, awake, and loving to whatever present moment experience we may receive at any given moment.
So the next time our difficult emotions come pounding at our door, unannounced, like a crushing hurricane, may we have the courage to process our difficulties from these beautiful words of Rumi:
“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 honourably.
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.”
Another powerful read: 7 Ways to Stop our Fear of Abandonment from Turning us into Emotional Vampires.