The Invitation by Oriah


I’ve been thinking about this inspirational passage by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and thought I’d share with you all. I first heard it after an amazing yoga class at the Yoga To the People on St. Marks in New York a few years ago. The pictures are from my trip to Costa Rica in 2010 where one of my dreams came true- hiking in a pristine rainforest, getting soaked to the skin and coming alive amidst the lush landscape and the music from the critters that call one of the last wild places home.

“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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