In our modern, materialistic world, it’s easy to lose touch with the rawness that makes us human. We hide parts of ourselves, carefully curating impressive but superficial identities. Fearful of judgment, we shrink from embracing life fully.
But spiritual teacher Oriah Mountain Dreamer issues a bold challenge to live authentically aligned with our inner truths. Her inspirational poem “The Invitation” urges readers to shed limiting beliefs, expose their most vulnerable selves, and awaken to their deepest purpose.
“The Invitation” Poem:
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, ‘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 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.
Meaning of “The Invitation”
At its heart, Oriah’s poem calls us to connect to our core being rather than getting caught up in superficial identities. She asks what we ache for beneath social roles and expectations. Oriah emphasizes being real over appearing impressive, prioritizing inner truth over external validation. She challenges us to feel, express, risk, and live completely without self-imposed limits stemming from shame or fear.
About the Author Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Oriah is, first and foremost, a storyteller and spiritual teacher. Raised in rural Ontario, her transcultural upbringing nourished an early calling to explore life’s deepest mysteries. Oriah studied social work and philosophy but found her passion in sharing stories that uplift our spirits.
Her bestselling books and teachings blend honesty, compassion, and humor to encourage sacred self-discovery. Having faced her own adversities, Oriah urges infinite kindness toward our own and others’ imperfections. Her insights help readers embrace their full humanity in all its rawness – fears, failures, passions, and purpose.
Lessons from the Poem
Several powerful lessons emerge from Oriah’s “Invitation”:
- Don’t conform or limit yourself to meet others’ standards. Shed inauthentic identities that compromise your truth.
- Feel and fully process difficult emotions rather than hiding your pain. Wholeness integrates shadow aspects too.
- Release pretensions and fear. Be honest and unapologetically express your distinctive self.
- Take risks, question assumptions, and live passionately. Don’t let caution shrink your aliveness.
- Seek continuous growth through authentic self-examination, challenges, and reflection. Keep evolving.
- Discover your unique calling. Living aligned with your inner wisdom brings deep fulfillment.
- Stay grounded in your core values amidst external pressures. Don’t betray your soul.
- If you fall short, accept your humanity. Let failures strengthen rather than diminish you.
Oriah’s courageous invitation asks us to shed limiting roles and beliefs, sit with discomfort, and fully embrace living. By sinking into life’s messy beauty and standing tall in our imperfect but sacred wholeness, we can discover meaning, purpose, and freedom. Her words inspire us to live vibrantly aligned with the distinctive truths within our souls.