I first came across this beautiful poem, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer a few years ago, and I return to it frequently. I generally love poetry and anything related to writing (probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me), but it’s rare I come across a poem or a piece of writing that touches my heart as profoundly as this poem has.
I think the poem shows what life is really about. What is important in this wild, crazy, magical life. And also, what isn’t important. Money, status, education, job titles… At the end of the day these things are not who we are, and they are not what sustain us when life comes crumbling down. These are not the things that will give us strength to rise up.
I have been through devastating grief, depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, and a mentally abusive relationship, and I can tell you for sure that it was not my money, my education or my job that got me through the hard times.
When it really came down to it, what got me through the hard times was ultimately my faith. My family and friends have also been my rocks through it all. Yoga, meditation, nature, journaling, and therapy have also been incredibly helpful. But had it not been for my faith I would have not made it through it all. I have always trusted the Universe. I believe in my core that everything happens for a reason, and whatever unfolds is meant to unfold. I trust that the Universe has my back. I know that I am safe, loved and taken care of.
I love everything about this poem. It speaks to my soul, and it’s just beautiful.
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, 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 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.