Alex Johnston - The Wallflower Rumi

Alex Johnston returns for a fascinating conversation about a 13th century mystic named Rumi and what it means to be a wallflower. Keep observing. Keep learning. These are great principles to live by, but where is the line between that and being a passive?

Julie’s Thoughts on Episode #87

1) It's time for a trip through OE episode #87 ("Wallflower / Rumi" -- with guest Alex Johnston), especially seeing as Alex recently released his new album, "No Room For Form" . . . (the title of which, is inspired by a Rumi poem!)


2) "Wallflowering." In this episode there are interesting thoughts on wallflowering; I enjoyed hanging out over here, and listening in! (Adding a few thoughts, to what was said in the episode) -- I like to think of a "wallflower" experience (in any type of environment), as a way of observing . . . being open to taking things in, (and seeing what will happen; no specific goals). It can be a way of anticipating that interesting things might happen, (whether they're only on the level of observation . . . or could tend toward further interaction, of some form). Sometimes, (in some sorts of places and situations), I do enjoy the experience of hanging back, and observing! (And sometimes I like to write letters, while I'm observing; interesting things I happen to observe, might make it into my correspondence) -- with paper and pen, is a good way to wallflower! 


3) I was amazed by the spontaneously told tale (via words and music), in Sound Affection. (WOW!) -- a truly outstanding collaboration!


4) I love reading Rumi's poetry. I can even thank Rumi for enticing me into an interest in poetry. I'd never found poetry particularly of interest to me, until I discovered (late in 2011), three poems I connected with -- (two of them, written by Rumi!) After finding those poems I fell into poetry, (and found much to love). I was hooked! -- (and if it hadn't been for Rumi, that might never have happened). The two Rumi poems I specifically connected with, (in 2011), were "The Guest House" and "Two Kinds of Intelligence." I plan to include "The Guest House" here, (the final item in this list of thoughts).


5) Have you heard o the "Whirling Dervishes" -- ? There are special spinning, meditative dances, performed by the Dervishes associated with the order of Sufism initiated by Rumi. I had the opportunity to witness some of the dances, (at "Turkfest," in Seattle, several years ago). The history behind these dances is very interesting! One thing I remember is that (historically), a lengthy period of preparation was required to be undertaken (by the would-be Whirling Dervishes), prior to performing the dances. (Preparation involved a retreat of 1001 days!) The dances were outlawed in Turkey, (in 1925), and the monasteries shut down. Years later, it became permitted for dances to be performed under certain (limited) circumstances. It was thrilling to see the special dances performed in Seattle; (two dancers spun in their white robes; theirs was the final dance in a series in which traditional and modern dances from Turkey were performed, during Turkfest). I knew I was witnessing something very special. (Also, I experienced a feeling of dizziness at times, while watching the spinning dancers!) 


6) Here is Rumi's poem,  "The Guest House" . . . 


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're 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 whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


      -- Rumi