InStyle (USA) - - Content - By AVA DU­VER­NAY

The book A Year with Rumi, by Ava Du­ver­nay

I’ve al­ways been some­one who val­ues ex­pe­ri­ences over ma­te­rial things. But if I had to pick one item that has meant a lot to me over the years, it would be this book of quotes by my fa­vorite poet, Rumi. It was given to me by a class­mate at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les when I was a stu­dent there in the early ’90s. I had just grad­u­ated from an all-girls Catholic high school, so at UCLA I was en­ter­ing a big new world with a lot to learn and ex­plore. I was also rec­on­cil­ing with my spir­i­tu­al­ity at that time, and when I be­gan to read this book, I was sur­prised how deeply Rumi’s words res­onated with me. The po­ems il­lu­mi­nated a breadth of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence that I im­me­di­ately found a lot of joy and com­fort in.

These days I keep it next to my bed and read a pas­sage ev­ery morn­ing when I wake up. In­stead of reach­ing for my phone, I reach for this book. It helps me find some bal­ance be­fore the busy day starts to rush in. My copy has be­come a lit­tle worn out over the years be­cause I take it with me ev­ery­where I travel, from Mumbai to Dakar. It helps me stay fo­cused wher­ever I am in the world. I’ve even started to in­cor­po­rate Rumi’s po­ems into my own work, whether it’s the lit­tle lessons I’ve learned or quotes that I love. In [my film] A Wrin­kle in Time, Mindy Kal­ing’s char­ac­ter, Mrs. Who, re­cites one of my fa­vorites: “The wound is the place where the light en­ters you.” I love that I was able to in­clude the line in the film. It is the sim­ple wis­dom of Rumi’s words that has helped me gain per­spec­tive in my life.

Du­ver­nay is the cre­ator and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of Cher­ish the Day, an up­com­ing ro­man­tic an­thol­ogy series on OWN: Oprah Win­frey Net­work.

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