Friday, March 1, 2013

What I Want to Know



"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
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.


~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer







Painting by Winslow Homer


40 comments:

  1. Ahhh...I have always loved this. Thanks for bringing it back into my life!

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    1. My pleasure. It's new to me and I just love it! Have a great weekend...spring is almost here!

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  2. Damn, girl! You do share the most awesome pieces of wisdom! I am printing this out so I can reread it many times over, on different days and in different frames of mind. It is a truly challenging piece.

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    1. Hey Nancy! It is, and that's why I absolutely love it. Glad you do, too. :)

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  3. It makes me wonder how she came to be in "that place" when she wrote the poem. I get the sense of loneliness.

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    1. I don't know about loneliness but I think she's asking questions we could all ask ourselves and then ask of others who share this life with us.

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  4. This is so awesome. Thank you.

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    1. Will! It's a great poem,isn't it? Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  5. Wonderful, I'm so glad it's March now cause February loves to keep a brother down... lol

    My favorites are, of course,

    I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.


    for those are the moments where we are most real with ourselves and our Maker. And even in any relationship, we need to know if one can stand on their own and face the mirror test.

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    1. Morgan, It's good to hear from you... I am also very happy to have made this turn towards spring. February is not my favorite time of year...

      Yes, that's a very good question among many.....

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    2. February usually sucks me into a spiraling vortex of listlessness. I plan on doing 25 things and accomplish nothing. It's been that way for oh so long. I used to fight it like hell, and get frustrated with the results. So now, I steel myself for it, I know it's coming and will pass in a few weeks, and rather than fight it, I embrace it for all it is worth and ride it out because i know it is not a permanent condition. So what used to be dread, more aptly now is treading in a pool of complacency until I feel motion return. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it is my least favorite "cycle" of the year.

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    3. Morgan, I am smiling and nodding in recognition... I had a long list of books I intended to read along with other projects and here I sit ... I did write a few small poems I rather like but February is ... february. It's 1/12 of one of my remaining years... something's gotta give.... :)

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    1. Hi t, so nice to hear from you... glad you like this.

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  7. What a piercing poem! I love it!

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  8. glad I stopped by to read this one, wonderful, a description of the people I like to know and be around.

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    1. Yes, thoughtful, with their priorities in the right order, imo. Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

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  9. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it.

    It brings to mind the common question in casual conversation upon meeting someone: "So, what do you?" It also brings to mind all the snarky answers I've been tempted to give.

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    1. If we all asked questions of true substance among our friends, the world would be not just more interesting, but a better place, I believe.

      Honest, heartfelt answers are in short supply.

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  10. Lovely words. I would like to memorise that first verse so that I can quote it the next time I am at a boring party and someone comes up to me and asks "and what do you do for a living"

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    1. Yes, it might be a nice antidote to that mindless chitchat. :)

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  11. I try to say "yes" to whatever comes along. I'm still working on being alone with myself.

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    1. That sounds about right... where I am, also.

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  12. Some introspective thoughts on truth with oneself -- barbara

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  13. Today, my favorite snippit is this:

    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.


    Whether I've disappointed anyone is an open question - perhaps I flatter myself to think it possible. But I did make a move last night to end my involvement at the site I began writing before moving to Wordpress. I have friends there, and a six year history. It was far harder than I ever imagined to write my last post and enter it with comments closed - but now the deed is done.

    That I'm even talking about it is a sign of the pain it caused - how strange! And yet, it had to happen if I'm to move on and grow, and not keep circling around the same old-same old.

    So on we go!

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    1. These are hard decisions. But, of course being true to oneself is paramount throughout life and any time a decision must be made it leads to greener pastures, or, even better, still waters...

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  14. When I'm alone I am totally comfortable with who I am, but I must admit, after being in love with one person for most of my adult life it is hard to imagine being anything but one of two.

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    1. I think that's a beautiful way to go through life... that kind of commitment is hard to find and though I will never know, can well imagine it has many rewards.

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  15. Some meaningful words. I heard some of the stanzas from this in a beach wedding that I attended recently.

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    1. Hi Joe, Nice to hear from you. I hope all is well in your corner of the world... I can see how parts of this would make a lovely thing to read at a wedding.

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  16. Dear Teresa, thank you. Peace.

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  17. I marvel at this mystical touch. She highlighted the aspect of mind-emotion relationship which always lies hidden, an awareness of a reality incomprehensibly greater than our ordinary lives. Oriah worded her feelings of acceptance and oneness with humankind in a grandeur style.

    In the end, what are we, but an existence in the vastness of endlessness!!

    Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful and insightful comment. I absolutely Love your perspective on life and that you share it here. I am so grateful.

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  18. I need to read more of her writing. I had a pastor friend recommend a couple of her books.

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    1. Good Morning, Cherie, Yes, I was quite taken with this poem, her perspective is intriguing...

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