Nourishing Words

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Nourishing Words

Food, as wonderful and life-giving as it is, sometimes plays tricks on me these days. The sweetest, most perfect beets are bitter and metallic thanks to the effects of chemo; tomatoes and eggplants are too acidic at times. . . but these words, that friends have shared, soothe and nourish everyday.

The Guest House
by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

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.

Go to the Limits of Your Longing
by Rainer Maria Rilke

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.