In a previous blog I shared a list of great publications that put the spotlight on grit. I called it GRIT Lit and one of the two poems is ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I thoroughly enjoy this poem because I feel as though it draws attention to the range of grit needed for all manner of situations that life inevitably throws our way.
I invite you take a few minutes today to find a quiet space and read the poem out loud from beginning to end in one sitting. You may even need to read it more than once; take your time and let the words settle around you as well as within you! As you’re reading, notice which sentences make you nod your head in agreement or even utter mmm-hmmm. Can you identify a person in your life who embodies these characteristics? Are there any lines that fully align with who you are? Is there a section that you feel doesn’t fit with you at all? Finally, take notice if there are any verses that cause confusion or heartache! Are there any sentences that make you shake your head in disagreement? Perhaps there are some parts that seem like a new thought or new way of thinking?
For me, the last two sentences in the poem speak to my soul. They reliably get my head nodding and my GRIT growing: “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 truly enjoy the company you keep in the empty moments.”
Let the words sit with you and allow yourself to fully embrace the invitation!!!
The Invitation by Oriah
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 dreamfor 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 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, “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 upafter 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 © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation, published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved