In your darkest moments, when your heart feels tender and broken wide open, I hope you’ll turn to the wisdom of the poets. A good poem can act as a balm for your soul as well as prepare you for the truths you’ll rediscover at this time. One of the poems, “The Guest House” by 13th century Persian poet Rumi, is frequently recited in mindfulness circles as a reminder not to resist the thoughts and emotions passing through you but to meet them with courage, warmth, and respect. Heartbreak is like a cleanse. These seemingly unwelcome guests in the guesthouse of your mind will scrub away at everything that is untrue or unhelpful, if you let them. And not to worry, being guests, they’ll eventually depart as well. ~Anubha Kothari
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’re 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.
— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)
You, from whom we come
And to whom we go,
You give us time for change and growth
In this time of great change in my life,
please, give me courage to change and grow
and cheerfulness amidst growing-pain.
Let me take ever deeper roots in love
Make me faithful without clinging
And let me remain faithful in letting go.
Into your hands I lay my life
And the lives of all whom I love.
—from Prayers for All People. Collected by Mary Ford-Grabowsky
Making the Ask
Give me a heart that breaks,
a heart that longs to open
wider and wider, always revealing
more space. Give me hands
that long to serve. Make them strong
enough to build what must be built.
Make them fall in love with letting go.
Make them unable to hurt. Give me a mind
that leans toward generosity. A tongue
that speaks in only we. Feet that run
toward those in need. Eyes
that see beneath the masks. Ears
that hear the silence
that is the staff for every sound. A nose
that follows the fragrance of truth.
Blood the same red as everyone else’s.
And give me a heart that breaks again
and again, the way ocean waves
break, unpredictable, an endless
breaking, an endless release,
in which nothing is ever really lost.