I recently read the poem “The Guest House” by Rumi and wrote my own poem in response:
Welcome, welcome, welcome
Fear of Future.
Sit down with me and have some coffee.
Milk? Sugar? Are you comfortable?
But I am not comfortable with you.
You show up at my home at the most inopportune times,
Lurk around corners, get in my way in my kitchen,
While I entertain friends, even as I lie in my bed!
In all this time I have never thought to ask you,
What brings you to my door?
How did you get my address in the first place?
Now I am asking. We are going to have some talks,
You and I
And you are going to give up some of your secrets to me.
And I believe
The One Who Sees Me
Will transform you and give you a new name.
No longer Fear of the Future,
Or Fear of Old Age,
Or Fear of Dying Alone and Homeless.
You shall be called
Confidence in the One Who Sees Me.
Until then, let’s keep having these chats.
I believe we both have much to learn from one another.
From the time of this poem I’ve made “welcome, welcome, welcome,” a breath-prayer. I have become more comfortable with my emotions and as I have welcomed them, taking the metaphor just a step further, I open the door to them. I give them time and attention and listen to them, rather than shutting the curtains and refusing to answer the door, hoping they will stop knocking and go away.