Friday, March 18, 2011

The Invitation

I was in Pennsylvania one night and couldn't sleep. I went downstairs to get a book to read and as I judged them all by their covers (we don't like to admit it, but we do), my aunt stopped me and said, "Wait,  have you heard of The Invitation?" I had not heard of the book, the author or the poem before and after I read it, I wondered what bed of flowers I had been sleeping under. 

In her book, she said that she came home from a party one night and wrote this at her desk. In the quiet, late at night. I was greatly inspired after reading this and hope that you will be too .

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 dreams 
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 shrivelled 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
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 on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, 

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 a 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 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
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

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