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A Reply to Rumi

Welcome all the visitors you say.

Do not put bars on the windows

Or locks on the doors. Do not close up the

Chimney flue. Duct tape and plastic

sheeting will not keep the visitors at bay.

They'll pound on the doors, they'll break

your windows, they'll create the barricades

they'll storm the beach, swarm in like ants

through cracks. They'll lead like water through

the walls, and creep like mice, and curl like smoke

and crack like ice against the window glass.

Keep them out? It can't be done, don't try.

Welcome all the visitors.

 

Fine. There's all kinds

Of welcoming, however.

 

I do not have to throw a house party.

I will not post flyers.

There will be no open bar.

No one will get drunk

and lock themselves in the bathroom.

No one will break the furniture, grind chips

into the rug, throw anyone else in the pool,

or lose an earring in the couch.

 

I do not have to run a guest house, either

There will be no crackling fire

And no easy chairs. I will not serve

tea to the visitors. I will not dispense

ginger snaps and ask my guests

about themselves:

"Did my mother send you?"

"Why must you plague me?"

"Why not stay a while longer?"

"Who are you really?"

 

If I must welcome-and I am convinced I must-

Let me build a great hall to receive my guests.

Like a Greek temple, let it be open on all sides.

Let it be wide, and bright, and empty.

Let it have a marble floor.

Beautiful and cold and hard.

Let there be no sofas, no benches, no dark corners

no ante-rooms and no coat closets

No walls and not even a ledge to lean against.

 

I'll welcome anyone who comes

I'll show them my enormous empty all.

Come in, come in, I'll say. I'll even smile

perhaps make conversation for a while.

 

And if someone settles on the floor, as if to stay,

or circles round and round, as if they have lost their way,

I'll be kind, extend my hand,

and gently show them out again.

 
Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there". It is a split that tears you apart inside.

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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