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  • Writer's pictureLiza Stirlinglass

#Rumi - The Guest House. Welcoming Difficulty.

Last week I was invited to host a session for The Gossip Collective using creativity as a strategy for managing difficulties. Difficulties relating to #Covid and beyond. For many people, adults and children, #mentalhealth has been adversely affected due to lock down, financial struggles, overcrowding, lack of personal space and uncertainty. When will we be able to hug, go to school, hang out with friends at the pub et al?

In his poem The Guest House, Rumi offers the thought that to welcome in our difficulties as a guest we will understand what is possible in the future. It's a beautiful thought and one that I started to practise myself. The exercise we did online and which I hope the participants will bring with them to our next session on February 16th was to create a piece of artwork, writing or collage that responds to the poem.

The difficulty I chose to work on was procrastination. It's a habit that has not served me well, in fact it has been the root of many difficulties. When I started to welcome in procrastination explore why it was there and understand it, amazingly I found I wanted to attend to the tasks that I had been putting off. The fear of the tasks evaporated and the double bind of procrastinating served no purpose.

This is the original poem by Rumi read by #HelenaBonhamCarter

Writing this response helped me clear the decks this morning as I finally tackled the overflowing pile of papers balancing dangerously on my desk.

In Response

(to The Guest House by Rumi)

Welcome them you say,

Those rambunctious wee darklings

Who creep up on you in the night

Reminding you of failings past and present.

Welcome them you say,

Treat them like precious stones

Whose glory is not seen

Until your cloth has wiped them clean

Welcome them you say

Greet them with warmth and love

Explore their offerings

They may surprise you, even please.

Welcome them you say,

Those reminders of what has passed

And what in future may be refused

Welcome them, breathe, feel at peace.

Liza Miles February 8th 2021

If you are free next Tuesday, February 16th, please join me and members of The Gossip Collective and friends to share a time of tranquility and reflection. For the link please contact

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