The Invitation


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

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.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved
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One thought on “The Invitation

  1. each time I read this poem from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, it reminds me of the values which are central to my heart’s vows and offerings to my earthly Beloved.

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