Life is not a Frankenstein it’s a hotel



“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 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. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” – Rumi

So, yeahI own this hotel. I often joke about becoming an “accidental business owner” after living out of a dusty backpack for so long. But trust meno accident here. In fact, it’s the Calumet Inn that taught me to believe in cosmic collision over random coincidence. Let’s face it, folks: You, me, all of us. We are souls with a bodynot the other way around. And as we clumsily feel our way through this whole Life thing, we find that “spiritual awakenings” can happen anywhere. It’s just special when the starry magic occurs in your beloved Minnesota after living overseas for years. Even more special when it happens on sacred Sioux soil where, as tribal legend goes, the Great Spirit first created human beings.

As I put Pipestone’s “jewel of the prairie” on the market, I sit back and go: “Wowwhat a wild ride. Wouldn’t change a darn thing if you made me.” I arrived as a bubbly 26-year-old whippersnapper throwing herself like raw meat against the hot frying pan. I’ll be leaving knowing this 126-year-old building like the back of my hand, and as someone who’s never been more comfortable and happier in her own skin. As is Life, the Calumet is a classroom. And it was between these thick quartzite walls where I learned the Ultimate Life Lesson: Welcome each Guest honorablybe it Joy, Malice, Trial or Triumph. Because each visitor brings to you an important message from beyond.

I have wild dreams for my life. The day I sell the Calumet is the day I buy a one-way ticket to Peru. I dream of backpacking through every South American country, of ayahuasca rituals in the Amazon, of late-night conversations more stimulating than black coffee. I fantasize about circumnavigating the globe on a cargo ship, exploring the arts of pottery and beekeeping, becoming fluent in Portuguese, Arabic, and Mandarin (English, Spanish, Thai, and broken-pigeon-French aren’t enough for me). I’ve just applied for my Master’s, but why stop there? Why not a PhD someday? I’m already organizing a non-profit called “Seed the City,” which will help Minneapolis families rip up their lawns and turn them into mini urban farms. Turning 30 will be the “triple gem,” but I can’t wait to be 40, and 50 will be epic. Wrinkles and scars are sexyyou’ve earned them, own them. Oh, andI want to be a bat-shit crazy grandmother with zany stories up her sleeve. And someday, I will tell the grandkids this:

Life is not a Frankenstein. You don’t come to cherry-pick your favorite features from different parts to create a “perfect” whole. Not for your ideal lover, child, parent, sibling, boss, or employee. That’s not the point. Love people for who they are, not who you want them to be; this will solve 90 percent of your relational issues. Life’s just no Frankenstein, sweetheart.

Life is a hotel. Each guest a special messenger carrying in his suitcase another map clue. A favorite guest my first year in Pipestone was Depression. (If you’ve just bought a rotting hotel from bank foreclosure and it’s already ripping at the seams, and you can’t find a proper maintenance guy, and nothing goes as planned, and you’re being haunted by old broken heart matters, then she’d be a “frequent flyer” guest at your hotel, too.) If my brain was the Library of Alexandria, then the Depression that sucker-punched me felt like its ransacking. Marble columns butchered like chopped limbs, books and scrolls hitting the ground like rolling heads. Battling mental illness for the first time, alone, is terrifying! But did you know that Depression packs a special flashlight in her suitcase? If you welcome her as a noble guest, she will help you rebuild your entire library. She will hire Courage as your architect, Grit as your carpenter, and Patience to file all those books back on the shelves. You’ll find that she’s designed an even stronger foundation for your library. But only if you welcome her with open arms

Life is also this vast and magical baseball field. It’s going, “Hey, you: Why do you think I keep pitching the same balls of fire at you, over and over again? Step up to the plate and SWING!” Life is tea and coffeeyou only know your true strength when steeped in hot water. We all want this Wisdom thing, but since our brains can’t digest it, it’s Pain that feeds us on a cellular level. In this way, Life is also a tattoo artist. Needle by needle, the old art teacher of Pain stains us with fabulous rainbows of Experience

And, of course, in the words of rapper Ice Cube, “Life ain’t a track meet it’s a marathon.” Not a sprint, not a race, but a marathon. With no time clock, no medals, no first or last place. No comparing, no competing. Just a jog towards light. Keep your head in the clouds, feet on the ground, and remember: We all want the same thing. It’s to go Home. Back to Light and Love. Study the map clues and you’ll find the treasure chest buried inside you all along.

Oh, but here’s the catch: To know Light and Love, you must first shake hands with Darkness and Fear. Really, who can judge you for going through darkness, when pitch darkness is a pre-requisite for discovering your brightest light? Entertain this Paradox and you become unstoppable

Life is a lot of stunning things. But it’s no Frankenstein. It’s a gift. It’s a guest. It’s a message from beyond attached to a baseball. It’s a paradox, a poem, a matrix, a maze. It’s an ink needle, just when you need it the most. Let yourself be tattooed, then step back in awe. Watch your portrait turn Pain into Wisdom, Wisdom into Calm, and Calm into Joy. Welcome all these, too, as noble guests.