Welcoming each emotion

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor… Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. 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.” ~Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

Last night I was filled with such joy that I could hardly sleep. That was an emotion that was easy to welcome in and invite to stay.

By lunchtime today, I was so angry and so frustrated that I was ready to beat my head on the wall. Those emotions were considerably harder to welcome.

All in all, it was a rough day today between frustration at work, challenges with my cat’s health, and the fact that I appear to be coming down with a cold. I feel lousy. Yet Rumi says that I should welcome these feelings, invite them in, and be grateful for their presence here because they have something to teach me.

This seems to run counter to most of the positive thinking messages I have been hearing and reading lately that would say that I should not invite in the more “negative” emotions because these negative thoughts and feelings will negatively impact my future. However, my gut says that Rumi may have the right idea after all. There is something more authentic about being able to welcome even the negative emotions as equal players in my life rather than trying to push those emotions out into my shadow where they can wreak havoc unawares.

I believe that by welcoming these emotions and inviting them in, I increase the chance that I can learn the lessons they came to teach me, which will then allow them to dissipate like mist. Inviting them in does not mean that I need to encourage them to take up permanent residence. But when I try not to feel my unwelcome emotions, this pushes them into my shadow where they linger and grow. I miss out on the learning, and I create monsters out of these denied emotions that create much more damage than a direct facing of them ever would.

So I feel really lousy today. I am angry. I am discouraged. I am frustrated. I am tired. I am scared. I am feeling very lonely in trying to keep all this together on my own; it gets lonely sometimes navigating life alone. I don’t particularly want to feel any of these things, but I am going to try to follow Rumi’s advice and welcome them in.

I acknowledge them and am open to the lessons they are bringing to me. For those may be the very lessons that will bring forth again the overflowing joy I experienced yesterday.