An Invitation from Oriah

Published By on June 9th, 2006 in Circle Stories From The Heart

While on one of my first Shamanic Canoe Trips that I lead in 1997 I was introduced to the poem “The Invitation” by Oriah

This poem deeply affected me, as at the time I was being asked to step into my power and prepare to work on the behalf of my father, who was just diagnosed with leukemia. I often share this poem with participants in programs I facilitate, as well gift my private clients with a small book called “Opening the Invitation”.

Oriah visited the Edge in 2002 while preparing for a multi-day Vision Quest. I was pleasantly surprised when she shared her experience at the Edge in a book she wrote after her Vision Quest called “The Call”.

Oriah invites us to listen to a CBC radio interview that was recorded last spring which will be replayed this Sunday, June 11, on Tapestry with Mary Hines. Tapestry is a weekly exploration of spirituality, religion and the search for meaning that airs on Sundays at 2:05 p.m. ET, AT, CT, 2:35 NT, 3:05 PT, and 4:05 MT on CBC Radio One.

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.

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,

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.

by Oriah from the book THE INVITATION published by Harper San
Francisco. (c) 1999 All rights reserved, posted with permission of
the author.

“It’s not what we do, but who we become that changes the world.”
~ Sandra Ingerman, Medicine for the Earth

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