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 center 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 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, 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 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 center 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.


When getting to know someone, we rely a great deal on their words and actions.  The conversations and experiences may be guided depending on what you value in life and relationships.  Not to say all conversations or relationships warrant the level of depth illustrated by the poem above, but it makes you wonder what you really know about those we hold close to our side.

In this poem, the author, Oriah, asks the reader questions that get to the heart of more intimate personality characteristics.  Oriah is less concerned about status and materialism and more intrigued by what makes a person tick.  Oriah wrote this poem after leaving an unfulfilled social engagement where she reported a yearning to love well.  How do you love well? What do you find important to share about yourself so that others get you? Consequently, what characteristics are important to you for building relationships with friends, teachers, gurus, counselors, leaders, lovers, etc?

I invite you to answer the questions expressed in the poem based upon your own life, morals, beliefs, and experiences.  Or, perhaps, you create your own poem that reflects your true longing for love.  There is never a wrong or right here, just knowing what you are looking for, helps pave the path in your direction.

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