Written at WRITE ON!

Written at WRITE ON! is a series of articles written by participants during a WRITE ON! workshop, and shared with the community.

Maia Lisa wrote this piece during Kind Fools’ fourteenth WRITE ON! workshop and was inspired by the poem “The Guest House” by Rumi.


Walk into the Guest House. Up to the check in. Rooms to fill, always vacancy.

To tell the truth, we welcome all here.

And when we find ourselves reluctant to check in a visitor, we know they need to be here even more than the others.

We examine our reservations. We look discomfort right in the eyes.

Look deep within the closets, basement and attic. Clear the cobwebs, tend to the spiders.

Unpack the boxes long left untouched and forgotten.

Take notice of the places where repair and tending need to be applied.

To tell the truth, there is so much work to do.

The guests continue to arrive, at all hours. Sometimes they barge in and bypass the welcome desk. Other times they enter so quietly we don’t even notice until we look up from our ledger.

But come they do. On sunny days. Rainy days. Mondays and holidays. They show up. With each arriving guest we practice gratitude. With each dirty, weary, rude visit, we are grateful.

To tell the truth, it is not easy. Every time the door opens, we don’t know what to expect. Yet we greet each with respect and warmth and hospitality.

It’s when they stop arriving that we know something is truly and terribly wrong. Each guest is a gift. Each unruly visitor is a miracle. They are opportunities, for growth, for prosperity.

We hand room keys over and offer refreshments. Each guest leaves their mark. Leaves their story.

And this is a guest house of stories. All the colors, emotions and truthful eccentricities of stories.

We are grateful. Every time the bell rings we are granted another opportunity.

To tell the truth, the difficult ones leave the biggest impressions. Give us the best dinner time conversations. The challenging feelings bring the most important chances for growth. Give us the reason to fix up ignored areas inside.

Author’s note:

“Vacancy” is an allegory for how our emotions come and go, and are simply visitors in our bodies. I have found that the practice of mindfulness has helped me create a better understanding and acceptance of the turbulence of being an emotional creature. Allowing feelings to come and go, stay as long as they need to, and treat them with the compassion I would a guest in my home, has brought a sense of comfort in difficult situations.

I am just a visitor myself, in this world, in this life. I create and enjoy art as often as possible. And I am so grateful for the work being done in the Buffalo community to bring healing and fellowship where it is needed most.

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