The Invitation by Oriah

the longer i live the more i realize the things that seem to be important to most of the people around me, are not important to me. i don’t think you are better or smarter for having gone to college. i don’t think you are successful because you make a living that provides more than enough. your age doesn’t gain you my respect. your birthday or your sign doesn’t make us a good match to get along. i don’t think who you studied with creates a better student or teacher and what you’ve studied is only of interest to me if you can make it interesting for me to relate to.

this poem says so much without saying much at all. it brings into light some very important and deep truths i find resonate with me and align with how i think.

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 centre 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
without moving 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
to be realistic
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.
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 own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the 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
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre 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
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

1 thought on “The Invitation by Oriah”

  1. This speaks to my soul. Beautiful, terrible, real. I have 2 daughters, probably close to your age. This poem reminds me most especially of one of them. After working her ass off in school, after going to a good university, after slaving for dollars for 5 years or so, after a good dose of self-abuse and neglect, after listening to what everyone else thought was important, she jumped the tracks. She could not be doing better. I am so proud of her for not giving in to fear–her fear, my fear and all those around her that think they know what is of value in this life. And she is teaching me now, what it means to be alive. To sit with my pain–or my boredom or my distraction, whatever it is that I think I am feeling–until I am empty. To let go of my mind and to listen to my heart. To grow. To live the life I am supposed to live before I die. To not fear death. At all. Thank you for posting this!

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