The Invitation

I hate having to feel careful when writing about all I believe in. I think that while it’s always good to reflect on your practice and admit areas that need to be faced, I resent the fact people pull apart and denigrate anything they please without actually reading the words properly. Or chosing not to read the words because it suits their hideous attitudes. Even worse, insulting your very being, just because then can.

This is my favourite poem.


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’ll 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’s not pretty everyday, 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, “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 Dreamer

6 responses to “The Invitation”

  1. Kel

    what a beautiful, fully life affirming piece of writing. the love and joy of life seem to get missed by quite a few, sadly we all bear the brunt of their dogma but they seem to derive a heady power by deriding others and side stepping reasoned discussion. unfortunately it appears they dont even know they are doing it and merely perpetuate exactly that which which they accuse others of doing.from my experence, fanatics and fundamentalists are always like this.

  2. Grant Horsfall

    It still surprises me what people will say whilst “hiding” in cyberspace that they wouldn’t say face to face or under their own name.

    I also find it interesting that insurance policies tend to have lots of exclusions for liability for anything to do with internet based activities.

    Perhaps when a few people have collapsed under claims from uninsureable internet acts things will change.


  3. Morag

    Hey Lisa,
    We met at Tania’s house about a year ago (perhaps more, time flies…). I used to blog publicly at mamamidwifemadness about my student experiences, but went “quiet” after the trolls came after me. I simply had too much going on, and had no more energy left at the time. I wish I’d read your poem then, it may have given me a little more strength. :) I am so glad you’re still writing, still pushing back. You’re an inspiration to me (and my student mates), always give me good things to think about, and I’m grateful that you’re here.
    Don’t let the bastards grind you down. The tide is turning, and they feel it too.

  4. Naomi

    There is one go at the here and now. Grab it by the jugular!

  5. Allison E

    Hi Lisa, Have read both Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s books. Inspirational. Loved them.

  6. Cass

    That’s been my favourite poem forever. I read it at my best friend’s wedding!

    Would love to see you at coffee morning sometime.