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I have been reading A Year With Rumi a collection of 365 of Rumi’s poems translated by Coleman Barks. If you are not familiar, Rumi was a 13th century Sufi poet and although raised in Islamic tradition, his poetry was read and loved across cultures and religions. I loved the poem for the November 22 reading so much I wanted to share. Enjoy!

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 whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

I just read a post on someone’s Facebook page that said something to the effect of, “We don’t have to agree on anything in order to be kind”.

I couldn’t agree more. There is so much disagreement in the world on so many subjects; macro issues like religion, politics, sexual orientation, guns, parenting, and I’m sure you can come up with many more topics. That doesn’t even consider the many different ideas and opinions we all have and express in our daily personal interactions.

The quote above applies whether we are considering religious ideals across countries, or debating who last washed the dishes in our own home. Where is it written that if we disagree with someone that we cannot still show them kindness and compassion? I believe that we as individuals, nations and religions get too caught up in being “right”. It seems to me that we should be happy in our own ideas and convictions without the need for even one single other person agreeing with us.

There may be times when we are more or less forced to deal with some rule or situation that we do not necessarily agree with. However, we are always fully in control of our own thoughts and feelings. No matter what, we can always choose to respond with love and compassion.

Recently a friend of mine shared with me a lovely little piece he wrote on the beauty of solitude. While I could appreciate the beauty of his prose, his appreciation for solitude differs a bit from mine.

I am alone quite a bit and I have spent a lot of time over the past few years getting to know myself and cultivating self love. I think I have done a pretty good job of it, but, being a true extrovert, I draw my energy from others and need their company – at least sometimes. I am also very social, and just like to meet and talk to other people.

Then, this morning I was walking alone near the beach, a walk I usually take with a friend, but she was otherwise engaged. While I was silently giving thanks for the beauty of the morning, I was also struck by my appreciation for my solitude and the peace I felt in it.

In this space I had a rather surreal moment where I felt a profound silence all around me, even though I could still hear the sounds of my surroundings. Hard to explain, but I was able to embrace the true feeling of pure solitude with myself and the Source within me, and it was a truly spiritual experience.

Thank you to my friend for planting that thought in my heart and to my divine nature for the experience. I wish you that same peace today.

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