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Invite your guests in! Get to know every one of them.

Do you know this poem, 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 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.

That lovely study of mindfulness was written in the second half of the 13th century by Rumi and is one of his more well-known pieces.

Mindfulness shines a bright light on whatever is happening in the moment. Mindfulness meditation is something else -- a meditation practice that employs mindfulness. But mindfulness, by itself, is simply awareness of our thoughts and actions through our own nonjudgmental eyes of compassion and kindness.

So this week, however you wake up each day, notice what "guest" has arrived at the doorstep of your consciousness -- concern, joy, depression, worry, pleasantness, boredom, clarity, suspicion, anger, love -- and welcome them. Invite your guest in and treat it with honor and respect. It's there for a reason. You might want to spend some time entertaining that guest, who won't stay terribly long, you know. Get to know your guest. Let it guide you to something deeper within you that opens that door of momentary awareness. Invite that guest in, laughing.

Perhaps you'll learn why some guests knock more often and stay with you longer. Eventually, I hope you are spending far more time with the guests you truly wish to entertain, and far less with those you do not.

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