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The Guest House
October 5, 2014

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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

blog5 copy blog6

This altered book/ journal is inspired by this beloved poem. Rumi’s message is as relevant today as ever (he wrote this in the 13th century, but it could be a text from a contemporary book about Mindfulness- what a visionary!) Our human experience is a guest house; all feelings will arise, pleasant, painful, neither, and both. Our guests will arrive, welcome, or not. Sometimes I wake with a mind full of so many guests, form all quarters, with so many agendas, it feels like they are throwing a party; and Rumi reminds me that I have a responsibility as a host to welcome them all.

Rather than burying them or attempting to send them away, we can try to embrace all these emotions- we are the host to these feelings, we can’t turn them away.

Khalil Gibran said in the Prophet: “The more sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” By recognising the emotion, allowing it to exist, noticing the reaction of mind and body, we find freedom to look at the situation differently and choose a different story. Isn’t that the definition of mindfulness?

So here I am now, trying not to categorise my feelings into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ but to find a gift in every visitor, every experience.

Maz x

(The journal is an altered book- a concertina book about Rome, about 2 m long! …)


10 Responses

  1. this is simply stunning….moving……deep…..beautiful. it is like diving into something so healing and familiar. thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Maz

      Thanks Margie, I’m glad you ‘get it’ :) For years I battled those visitors, denying and decrying them. Now, i’m more accepting, and though some are not always welcome, I always try to listen and learn from them!

  2. jacki long

    Wow! Maz, this is GORGEOUS!
    Delicious eye candy but with relevance and feeling.
    So, so impressed, wish it was mine! ;o)

    1. Maz

      Jacki, that’s really sweet of you, thank you!

  3. Love the pages love your words. Thank you for sharing and than you for your comments on my journal spreads. I love Rumi. Yes embracing all of life is a challenge at times- I deal with depression and have been on meds for a long time- they changed my life and art always is there for me. I love your work.

    1. Maz

      Thanks Terry. I think if we are really honest about our journaling, it can really help on those dark days. For me it’s a balance between pulling up the weeds (dealing with the bad stuff) and sowing seeds and tending the wildflowers, i.e celebrating and nurtring the good things in life. :)

  4. treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    Love it Maz – love the format as well as the wise words, thank you.
    Glenda x

  5. Maz

    Thanks Glenda. Rumi was spot on with those words, wasn’t he? Hope you’re well x

  6. Hiya Maz… Oh this is beautiful! Everything you touch comes alive! And you photograph so beautifully too! I LOVE that it is an accordion book and also that it is dedicated to that poem and theme. So much inspiration for your lived experiences to be explored.. <3 Love Love Love!

  7. Hola! I’ve just nominated you for a Liebster Award – you can find out what it means and what the rules are here: http://osyth.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/id-like-to-dedicate-this-award-to/ :)

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