I used to live with Mother Theresa and Simon Cowell.
Mama T (as I came to call her) prefered an austere cell in the basement. I’m sure she did not mean to do this, but having her around lent an ever-present un-nerving sense of futility to everything I did that was not directed at saving lives.
I mean – it’s hard to have a good laugh over tea and biscuits when Mama T’s off gathering up the starving elderly.
Simon took over the master suite. Despite having the best digs, he was never content.
“I don’t mean to be rude,” he’d say,
Most things (about me) were wrong, flawed, hopeless or maybe salvageable after daunting amounts of hard work.
Now and again Hilary Clinton stopped by.
She was good value. Elevated the conversation. She brought astonishing tales of her life-experiences and life-changing accomplishments. She packed more self-possession in her little finger than the rest of us had in our entire bodies.
Bono, singing “I am the Eggman” from Across the Universe (perhaps my all-time favourite musical) would take to making random, uninvited, utterly impromptu appearances.
He was distracting (to say the least), poking fun at us, hinting at deep meaning, being obscure. His presence however, was greatly relieving.
Gives the rest of us a break, I guess.
Bella Swan from Twilight (fess up – you’ve read the book or at least seen posters for the movie) moved into the living room.
She was tough to live with. One always felt she was working hard on something worthwhile – but at the end of the day I’d have to agree with Simon, there was never any evidence of forward progress in any one direction.
We all loved it when Mary Poppins stayed.
She brought with her a warmth, whimsy and overall sense of all’s-well-with-the-world.
I did, however, notice she tended to help the neighbours more than me so I confess to a little resentment from time to time.
One day, they all went out at the same time.
The saint, the critic, the effective politician, the randoms, the victim, the loving nanny…
All of ‘em.
I was left alone.
Just me, myself, and I.
In the utter silence of that place I glimpsed it.
That place of perfect stillness inside.
The bedrock where the “I” dwells.
That still point of calm, clear, compassionate, confident and creative connectedness.
Oh, they came back by and by. But over time I’ve begun to cultivate some boundaries. Some guests are allowed in for a certain amount of time with certain ground rules. I find I can hear what my Self has to say more clearly these days. It’s blissfully invigorating.
Are you curious about who is left when all your house guests leave for a moment?
Try it some time.
I’ll help you through the process this week.