Mi Casa No Es Su Casa.
Years ago after one of my every-five-year big birthday extravaganzas, my friend Ben gifted me with the title “Social Alchemist.” He’s right. I’ve spent my life as a mixologist of people as a boutique hotelier, restaurateur and bar owner, as the head of all the global hosts for Airbnb, and as the founder of MEA, a midlife wisdom school dedicated to life-changing conversations.
More than anything, I’ve loved hosting people in my life and home. Let’s face it, MEA’s campus was my home until I recently moved a ten-minute walk up the beach.
Recently, I was talking with my former mentee Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky who announced in his stellar quarterly earnings report that his primary goal for this year was to mainstream the profession of hosting, an aspiration he and I conversed about exactly ten years ago when I joined that little tech start-up.
But, I have a new slogan for the cancer inside of me: HOST NO MORE! I will no longer be the gracious hospitality professional nourishing you with sweets and alcohol. I will no longer treat you like a guest. You are an intruder and my home is no longer your home.
Ever since learning that my prostate cancer has spread to my lymphs ten days ago, I’ve been reading Rumi's “The Guest House,” which was my poetic guide for both understanding the hotel business and my emotions early in my career. It serves me well now as I escort cancer through its check-out process out of my body. I’m grateful for what cancer is teaching me and ready for the lesson to be over.
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.