Only a few people post comments here, but here’s what they all have in common–a sense of humor, levity.
My yoga teacher passed along a Rumi poem when she initially guided me through the black thoughts that come up in my yoga and meditation practices:
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’re 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
–Rumi, The Guest House
I looked it over again tonight, and what jumped out at me, this time, is that we can greet malice and darkness and other visitors at the door, laughing.
This made me thing of a song that has always moved me to tears, even before this all went down. I had a sister who was “retarded,” as they said back then, who died when I was a toddler. (Later in my life, another sister explained that our sister had hydroenchephalitis, treatable, now, in the womb.) Her name was Claire. She died when she was 8 years old. My older brother and sisters remember her. I don’t. Claire’s name was never uttered without love and deep sorrow in our household. To this day, when I hear the name “Claire,” I feel sorrow.
When I heard this Natalie Merchant song, as an adult, I was so moved by the woman who meets the protagonist of the song. I picture her perfectly. When everyone was flustered and wringing their hands, she came into the room. She’s solid, she has a gentle smile, her hair is in a bun. (That’s not in the song. I made that up.) She picks up the baby, she advises that the child will not suffer. And she laughs as she says what she says.