Below are my favorite stanzas from a poem I’ve loved for years. It’s called “The Invitation” and was written by the author and poet, Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
A bit about Oriah’s history: She was raised in a small community in Northern Ontario by Christian parents who encouraged her to explore whatever “other” religious ideas and philosophies appealed to her. So she did. When Oriah was thirty years old and suffering from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she had a dream where several elderly women (whom she called “Grandmothers” in the dream) told her to change her given name to “Oriah” because it would help her heal. She was nervous at first about doing something that people might think of as “flaky” but her commitment to be healed emboldened her… She took the name “Oriah” and has been called that by everyone (except her mother) ever since.
Interestingly, a year after “becoming Oriah,” She went to a shamanic teacher who gave her the medicine name, “Mountain Dreamer.” “That means,” he told her, “one who likes to find and push the edge…”
Oriah has been “pushing the edge” ever since. And her poem is an “invitation” for us to do the same. All things considered, it seems like a good idea….
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.
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 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.