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 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,

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.

I came across this poem late last year, soon after I announced to my dear wife that I needed to leave her to embrace my real self. I thought it was about time to post it on my blog, since it so radically impacted the way I see myself.

This poem still speaks to me, but maybe not in the same way. While I still believe in being authentic, in being true to yourself, I’m still no clearer about what that means. The line that says, “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,” maybe could say, “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to the truth.” At least that would open it up to the possibility of that there is some greater truth in life than what I know and what I experience. On the other hand, the truth that I am gay and am unlikely to change is very obvious to me, and I see no point in denying it, or belittling the fact by calling it “same-gender attraction.”

Not sure where I am going with this… I feel melancholy… I want life to be easy…

I just spent an hour looking at soft porn on youtube – a waste of time, maybe. A giving in to my desire to be titillated, maybe. But I still see it somehow as a recognition of who I am, sinful though it may be…