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Mountain Dreamer

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(an Indian elder)

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
dreams, 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, be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human. 

It doesn't interest me if the story
you're 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.
I want to know if you can be faithful
and therefore be trustworthy. 

I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it is not pretty every day,
and if you can source your life from God's presence. 

I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine, and still stand
on the edge of a 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 for the children. 

It doesn't interest me who you are,
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 !


Excerpted with permission from THE INVITATION by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (published May 1999). Copyright (c) 1999 by Mountain Dreaming Productions. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 10 E. 53 St., New York NY 10022.