Rumi has taught me how to listen. I don't remember my first exposure to his writing. I do remember a time when I was living in Oklahoma and had become overwhelmed with my own high demands for perfection. Going full speed ahead into emotional bankruptcy, never giving myself a break, fearful to the point of paralysis that I would fail in my new career teaching, my work as a writer, and in my contributions to the Benedictine community where I lived. One morning, my dear friend handed me a small sheet of stationery with pastel flowered border. She had written out Rumi's "Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do...who we are. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." She signed it with Rumi's name as well as her own since she had added "who we are." Maya Angelou says that "love liberates." Rumi gently brings us back to our true selves. Rumi's power is in his deep connective love for human beings in their struggle to be and do what is their passionate calling. I have that little note still (after moving three times since being given this gift ten or twelve years ago) taped above my desk in my home study.
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