January is a month when many of us struggle to wake up feeling inspired and energised. We start with all kinds of resolutions for improving our wellbeing, desperately trying to combat the glumness, the darkness, inside and out.
There is a broader notion of wellbeing I’m thinking about just now: the idea of wellbeing that is about being human, well. What is to be human, well? What would it be like to not only focus on the positive improvements, to our health, our bodies, but to welcome the perceived ‘negative’ in? What if the darkness holds as much possibility and promise, and even reward, as the brightly lit path to wellbeing?
This poem, by Rumi, offers an invitation to consider welcoming all those unexpected and perhaps initially unwanted visitors and to see where they might take us….
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.