An invitation for reflection

After the reading with Lynette, I received a follow up email. It outlined the people I needed to contact for the balance, breath work and kahuna sessions, it provided the names and authors of the books I was recommended to read and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Over the weeks since the reading I’ve referred back to the email and keep seeing different things. This morning I noticed a poem.

I did in fact know the poem was in the email but every time I referred back I skipped over it eager to get to the other stuff I was looking for. On the bus on my way to work, I noticed it properly and took the time to read through it.

And it feels like a call to action.

We all have ideas of how we’d live our life if money was no obstacle and we didn’t have the responsibility of work, children, pets.

Mine have always been ‘outward’ goals. I’d travel the world, sleep in the slums of India and palaces of Persia, find Atlantis and take a trip with Virgin Galactic. Among a other things.

While I’ve spent quite a bit of time imagining the ludicrously wonderful things I could do if the parameters weren’t quite as impossible, I’ve never stopped though to consider inward goals I could achieve where the parameters are possible. Funny huh.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
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
or 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
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 up
after a 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 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, The Invitation was published by HarperONE, San Francisco in the spring of 1999. It became a best‐seller and has been translated into over fifteen languages around the world.)

Being somewhat pragmatic, I approached this as a checklist – absolutely not an exhaustive guide to fulfilment – but a starting point to ponder nonetheless.

Yes! I dare to dream of meeting my hearts longing. I’m on this journey to decipher what the longing is, where to find it and how to change to get there.

Yes! No. I have risked looking like a fool for love. But to follow my path? Would I risk it for that?

No. I’m not sure I’ve been opened by pain I think perhaps I’ve closed myself for fear of more.

Can I sit with pain without having to protect myself? I don’t think so. I have to fix the cause of the pain, or at least have a strategy to fix it – whether it’s your pain or mine. Perhaps some work on acceptance is needed here.

YES! I can dance and live in the moment of ecstasy!

No. I know I find it very difficult to disappoint another to be true to myself. Work to be done…

Do I have the kind of integrity I expect of myself? I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation to truly test it.

Failure is a tricky one. I guess it’s not the failing that stops you from saying yes, but the knock in confidence. Can I remain confident after failing? Have I in the past?

Yes! There have been experiences in my life that caused deep grief and years of despair. Yes, I know I can get up in the morning and go on – though perhaps not as well as the day before.

Yes! I know that if there is no plan b, no alternative I will stand in the centre of the fire and not shrink back. Kalisi did and was rewarded with dragons…

I’d like to know what sustains me as well. What is it my path and where the hell is it?

Yes! I do truly enjoy my own company.

These are the thoughts that fill my day 🙂

2 thoughts on “An invitation for reflection

  1. Really love this poem!

    Something I have learned about pain is that going into it, coming into full awareness of it, heals it. Pushing it away or resisting it is painful, and just prolongs the agony. It doesn’t accomplish anything, and is actually harmful because it kind of freezes the pain and makes it a part of you. That’s my experience anyway 🙂

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