This beautiful book first made its way into my hands some ten years ago. The cover is faded, pages are worn and it’s been dropped in the bath! Every time I read it, something new calls out (or whispers quietly) to me, but to be honest, with life as it is, it had been somewhat forgotten about.
This poem jumped out at me again whilst looking for a reading for an upcoming workshop - and I wanted to share it.
If you’ve never read it - or if you know it off by heart - immerse yourself and enjoy the invitation, the exploration and the adventure.
This work is so delicious and deep that I wonder what our conversations (and elevator pitches) would be like if we used just part of this as a tool for communication rather than the usual “blah, blah, blah”?
Take a deep breath, sit back and allow the words to wash over you...
The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are .
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
To hide it, or fade, it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness
And let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic,
Or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your life
From its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.