For all the fabulous smoke and mirrors of modern-day spectacles like pop concerts, theatrical experiences and 3D or even 4D films, it always amuses me to see how Mother Nature can throw up an example of incandescent beauty, an act of natural phenomena that completely derails all man-made aesthetics; an example being this last week’s blood red moon. On travelling from Glasgow to Liverpool by train this pale eye to the universe completely transfixed me. It was also refreshing to see that social media had been taken over by La Luna too, the Kardashian types being completely overshadowed.
There is a timeless allure about the natural world that persists. I am fascinated by this and the way that certain poems, stories and myths interweave with the elements. Stories like Beowulf and the passed down morality of fairy tales in whatever guise they take. I have found that this distraction of nature and certain literature provide a necessary antidote to the speedy contemporary world we live in.
I had been avoiding listening to the news first thing in the morning for the symphony of despair tended to play a discordant tune in my head that like one of those annoying song lyrics can linger and re-play over and over throughout my day. Also, I had been abstaining from reading the free newspaper on the morning bus commute. I found that to start the day engulfed in a multimedia bamboozlement of negativity was just well too much. I’d rather stick with nature and myths.
One poem that I have recently kept re-visiting that resonates with me and helps me tackle the varied speed bumps and uncertainties of the day is by the ancient poet RUMI, The Guest House. I first discovered this writer with his simple mantra, ‘Unfold your own myth’. The more I read autobiographies and follow the Twitter feeds of artists that I admire; I see how true this simple statement is.
The poem is a warming code for living that I think can really put each day into perspective.
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 are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honourably. 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.
Okay, so now I have started listening to the news in the morning again and occasionally picking up a free paper to scan the headlines. For as the poem advocates, it is important to welcome all that enters your energy field. I challenge you to spend 21 days (that is supposedly the time it takes to form a new habit, good or bad) reading out loud or writing this beautiful lyric out first thing in the morning. You never know what this incantation may bring you. It may help soothe the wildest of monkey minds.
Picture of the blood moon from National Geographic