I will tell you a secret in this last entry of mine here at Book Passage. I will tell you how I persevered through hundreds of days of confusion and doubt. I discovered (through an incredibly serendipitous moment) that I had a spiritual guide who seemed to be watching over me and providing me small doses of illumination and hope. His name is Jelaluddin Rumi.
The miracle of reading, and writing is the very real, visceral connection between the individual, who struggles to express and describe that which is the mysterious and unknowable, with the multitudes, who burn with the same curiosity and wonder, seeking some answers and affirmation to life through the words of those who've lived before, and reach out across time to bind together all lives ever lived with all minds blessed with the gift of thought and speech. Or, more simply put by my good friend Andrew Wilson: when the reader meets the writer on the page and (they) become the same being.
Rumi, who was born in Afghanistan in 1207, permeates every word I have written. His poetics are woven into Serpent Box. His observations on nature, human relationships and God are, miraculously, at one with my own. I feel as if we were born together. It is to Rumi I turn for strength and clarity and guidance, not just in my writing life, but in my total life.
I leave you, Book Passagers, with The Guest House, a Rumi poem that teaches us to wait and to open and to see all things as fodder for our souls.
The Guest House
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 cleaning 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.
Thank you to Coleman Barks for his wonderful translations, to the poet Michelle Murphy for giving me the gift of Rumi, to the street-poet Diamond Dave for pulling him out of my heart and to Book Passage for allowing me this opportunity to get on my little soapbox in this blog and for the chance to read to you today. See you at four.