Unwelcome Guests

Missing you hurts like hell, Kissie. It’s a fact of my life now. How could it be otherwise? I’m socially conditioned to judge my pain, so I struggle not to. I don’t think it’s productive, it doesn’t change anything, and it feels harmful. I’m convinced that judging my emotional pain also perpetuates the grief phobia I observe and experience regularly. It’s really difficult to stay out of that judgement, needless to say.

Culturally, we’re definitely not of the mind Rumi was when he wrote The Guest House, encouraging hospitality for our darkest emotions: “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.” How to entertain my darkest emotions? For starters, I’m offering regular, open acknowledgement of my grief, even when it’s uncomfortable for others, as it often is. Grief, disappointment, longing, anger, sorrow, and pain are communally viewed as “unwelcome guests,” and trying to entertain them, as Rumi suggests, is like swimming against a powerful, though often subtle, current. Persisting takes energy, and I’m not high on energy right now. But, I am committed.

When I spend time with others actively embracing their unwelcome guests, or attempting to integrate their “shadow aspects,” as Carl Jung called them, it’s such a relief to my body, mind, and spirit. Maybe more importantly, I feel a sense of burgeoning community. This unorganized, under-the-radar companionship, and the humanity I feel privileged to encounter there, are giving me the strength to resist self-judgement, and to keep “treat[ing] each guest honorably.”

6 thoughts on “Unwelcome Guests

  1. I’ve always been a fan of “welcoming and entertaining ” our darkest emotions.
    I don’t think any “dark emotion” that a friend has confessed to me has ever shocked me.
    It only confirms their humanity and makes me love them more.
    I’m very happy to hear you giving affirmation
    To our dark sides, our grieving side, our slightly
    Twisted, and perhaps even a little ugly sides.
    Cheers to reality sometimes being Dark!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, cheers to reality sometimes being Dark! And thank you, my friend, for these insights. Especially your point about “dark emotions” being an integral part of our humanity. I, too, feel a deepening of love when someone risks sharing their darkness (humanity) and vulnerability with me. #affirmation

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your journey is always important to me and expressed in ways I cannot voice, I tried to explain and understand the grieving process, and it did not work. Losing my friend is painful and I wanted to understand all of it. I tried and my own words didn’t help me . Each day is a new day and someday, I will be looking in all directions of my path. Now I am trying to be present, while missing and remembering her. Smiles and tears are holding hands with me and my friend. Today seems to be a day for smiles. Thank you for your wisdom and expression.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The words and experiences of others who are grieving help me, too. I hear you about trying to live the balance – of being present, while also missing and remembering a loved one.

    Thank you for being here.


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