Written in April 2015
I’ve recently had a change of location from the dance floor to the kitchen. Which is to say that I have changed my approach to this motion in my life called online dating. Why? Well ….. new energy in me seeks a new metaphor for this my sacred search.
For much of the last 18 months I’ve done the online dating routine seeing myself engaged in a dance of sorts. The swaying rhythm of this back and forth motion has always had the feeling of dance: lead, follow, step, step, quick step, slow. Sometimes wallflower, though occasionally he and I make it to the dance floor for a slow waltz — even a couple of sizzling hot Salsas. But more often we make hasty retreat from the dance floor, realizing our individual beats are badly out of synch. And, honestly, the repetition of this routine dance has become tedious and tiring especially when his online profile does not reflect the dancer’s true steps.
Enter Rumi and his invitation in The Guest House:
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
In these words I take a deep breath and feel the dance floor of dating fade as new view possibility begins to cha-cha forward. I do not want my search for partner to become jaded or stressed; I know I need a new outlook. I am thankful for the possibility of newness. I always do better when I’ve got my plan and my why. And in this idea of guest house I feel a new dating metaphor arriving.
The next day the new emerges. I am visiting with my friend and we are literally sitting on dining room chairs in her kitchen. Comfortably enveloped, I sink into the affection of her hospitality and her very comfortable chair and think of myself as the guest house. So entirely at home, I know immediately my spot in the guest house is most definitely the kitchen – the heart of any home, certainly the center of my core. Here in the kitchen is my place to meet each new arrival, each new knocker at my door. My life need not go on hold as I try to venture on to the dance floor. Instead, here in my kitchen, in the midst of my life, I can easily see whoever may approach my life as guest house, from this chair, in view of the door.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Ahh! The dance floor releases me as dating dancer. Looking up at the kitchen door, I can see this new point of arrival for him, potential partner flowing my way. Now each hopeful can step to this my kitchen door, taking in the scene of me happily ensconced in my life, my home, my heart. Each man who appears is unexpected as it is his choice not mine to dare to alight at my door. Each hopeful him steps forward taking in my countenance, my words, my life’s array. The canny ones, amongst the hordes, take in what the others most likely cannot: there is an empty kitchen chair, not beside me, but facing me, pushed away a bit as hopeful invitation, maybe even challenge, to join me in my kitchen through my door.
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.
Occasionally, a hopeful one makes an overture, testing the waters, sniffing out barriers within either him or me, trying to decide if he wants to step in and perhaps take the offered chair. I learned early on, like Rumi suggests, he may just be appearing to give me the opportunity for clearing out my own cobwebs, dumping a bag or two or three, certainly a chance for me to learn more about me.
And no matter the delight, the anticipation, the joy which may swell from arrival, there are also whispers of doubt, hesitation, uncertainty to work through both by him and by me. At first, all I can know about him is that which comes from his appearance but not his yet invisible whys and why nots. Perhaps he is just looking? Entirely up to him to work out why he may decide to try to sit for a while. And always after the first overture is made, now it is my choice to decide if he will make it through my door, to perch in that chair, still set a short distance from mine.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Some of these men I know belong back on the dance floor or at least not in this the kitchen of my life. A few come just for me so that I might see and release those darker aspects of broken heart and wounded me. And within the comfort of my kitchen without hesitation I joyfully let go. This dating Rumi in the kitchen works for me now! Me in my kitchen, talking with friends, baking treats, enjoying the beat, the rhythm, the flow of my life. Every now and then, someone comes to my door and I am delighted. I wink, won’t you come in? Sometimes he does and sometimes my wink seems to scare him away. But when he stays, we talk and we laugh and we audition the possibility of that chair moving a bit closer my way.
Be grateful for whatever comes
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
At this moment in my life, I sit in my kitchen and the other chair has not moved. An open post waiting quietly for its new proprietor yet beyond my door. One day soon enchantment will happen. A stranger will materialize at my door. He will be drawn by the warmth of my kitchen and the vibrant smile he appreciates on me from the door. He will wink, returning my smile, and ask may I? I will turn my eyes to absorb the fullness of him, taking in the sparkle of his eyes and the kindness of his smile. Please enter I will say. And when he alights, I will know that the time has come for the now engaged chair to move much closer to mine.