Today, I wanted to share a poem with you that always makes me stop what I’m doing every time I run across it. I happened to come across it again this morning online after having been introduced to this piece of work many years ago. I invite you to spend some time with ‘The Invitation’ and see how/if it impacts you. You might do that by paying attention to your bodily reactions . . . is there a tightening of muscles that happens somewhere as you read a particular phrase . . . or a relaxing of muscles . . . a quickening of the breathe or an impulse to breathe more slowly . . . a stomach flip, a heart race, a desire to pull away and stop reading it? The possibilities of our nuanced reactions are endless, but when we listen to our bodies’ cues, we get cues about who we are, what affects us, how our histories stay with us a bit and inform us of today’s experiences. Take some notes for yourself or feel free to share your experiences below.
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 centre 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, 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.