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!…
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.
I love this poem because it illustrates the uncertainty of being alive. Like I mentioned on day 4, we love to have routine, because routine is predictable and predictable is safe. The unknown feels threatening. Yet the only thing we can be certain of is change.
My mum trained to be a hypnotherapist when I was a teenager. She decided to use the white family as guinea-pigs, trialling out her new hypnotising voice and visualisations. At this time in my life, I was so fearful of being out of control, of something going wrong or not being able to deal with the potential disasters that might be around the corner. I suffered greatly from compulsive thoughts and anxiety. The visualisation my mum chose has stuck with me and feels relevant to share with you now.
Imagine a small stream, with the water flowing over rocks and moving past obstacles. This stream then meets a point where it joins a fast flowing river, along with many other streams coming from all directions. The river then becomes a waterfall. Large quantities of water spill over the edge into a deep pool at the bottom. The water on the surface of the pool is turbulent, but deep down under the surface the water is calm.
The streams represent aspects of life; family, friends, finances, love, career and so on. The river represents these aspects of life coming together. The waterfall represents something unexpected. The turbulence of the water on the surface represents the shock and discomfort. The stillness at the bottom of the pool represents the ability to find calm in the face of challenge.
Sometimes life is beyond our control. We can’t stop the water from rushing over the edge, but we can accept it and find comfort in the calm of the pool.
- Learn to inhabit your body, cultivate moments in your day where you are still, take some deep breaths in and out, find calm in that stillness.
- Try a body scan meditation. This will help you to notice the sensations of your body without reacting to them, accepting whatever arises! For example, having an itchy nose and not scratching it!
- Make friends with your vulnerability, discomfort or fear. Hold space for it, accept what is here and know that it will pass.
‘Bring acceptance into your nonacceptance. Bring surrender into your nonsurrender. Then see what happens.’ Eckhart Tolle
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach- Accounts of people Taras worked with and loads of meditations to try.
The Tao of Pooh and the Tee of Piglet – Insights from pooh bear and piglet and how this relates to Taoist Philosophy.