The Invitation by 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.

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 shriveled 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 youcan 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,

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.
*  *  *
My apologies if the line breaks do not follow those of the original. You get the idea.

On Wednesday, during a meeting with my work Mentor, he suggested I have a look for this. He suggested I would appreciate it and it might be useful. I duly did.

As far as a piece of writing goes, the Creative Writing tutor in me, would love to cover it in red pen. Scrawl all over it. As far as a piece of wisdom, the skeptic in me who hates pop psychology with a passion verging on the murderous. I want to get chopsticks and poke out Dr Phil's eyes. To the person who was mortally offended at my response when he suggested my experiences over the last 2 years were 'challenging'. Be grateful. Be grateful, I had enough self-control and didn't immediately bludgeon you to death with the metal folding chair.

However, there is something glorious in it's imperfections. Heartfelt, in the simplicity of message. It reminds me of the Life I want to lead.

It reminds me of my goal: when I'm dead, people will say 'that Roses, completely nuts, but damn she Lived.'

I've had a bit more time to think on this. I've finally figured out why, although I do like the idea, it makes me grind my teeth.

Yes, as a clarion call to lead an authentic life, it's very well intentioned. However, I'm also a big fan of the superficial. I'd like to lead an authentic life, with pink, sparkly nail polish. I like indulging in my Laura Mercier bubble bath. There are times when only murder and mayhem will do on the television. It introduces more fractures and is done in a 'worthier than thou' manner.

I suppose people are a complicated mish-mash and I'm no different. I want the space to allow for everything about me.


  1. Well, you're halfway there, anyway.

  2. That was the complete opposite of "Three shades of pants"

  3. dave ~ thanks. At least no one will ever say, I'm boring.

    madman ~ yes, despite it's flaws, it is the opposite of three shades of pants.

  4. I go back and forth between poems such as this. Back and forth between "it's inspirational and honest" and "Please, give me a break!" I think my cold, black heart refuses to be sweet talked with sentimental crap. So part of me is all "Sentimental hogwash!" and the other part's all, "That is quite a lovely sentiment!" Depends on the day really.

    But I agree with YOU. Yes, I truly do.

  5. veggie ~ exactly that. It's just a bit worthy. But there is something sweet about it.

    It's like a card from Blue Mountain Arts.

  6. Good evening Roses,

    I am what I am. And that's all that I am. From the Popeye school of self analysis.

  7. karl ~ and you are lovely. From the School of Roses' Opinions.

  8. I think I'm a bit too English for all that stuff. It makes me feel polite.

  9. Ah shucks, thank you.

  10. I'm as shallow as piss on concrete. (Stolen from an Aussie mate.)

  11. z ~ that's understandable.

    Beneath that stoic layer of Englishness, lies a woman who enjoys a drop of naughtiness.

    karl ~ you're very welcome.

    xl ~ I love your definition of shallow, but I think you're too lovely to be described in terms of 'piss'.

  12. Roses, I will tell you my exact reaction to this poem... I was going to be facetious...
    I got to this line:

    I want to know if you have touched
    the centre of your own sorrow

    ...and I thought anyone who has written this never has. And then I felt mean for thinking it.
    After all, we all respond differently to our experiences, don't we?

  13. ms scarlet ~ when I first read the poem, because of the recommendation, I was expecting to feel very moved by it. It's taken me awhile to figure out why it makes me grind my teeth.

    I think you're absolutely right. Such things can't be glibbly summed up. Be as facetious as you like. Don't hold back on my account.


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