I found The Invitation by Oriah on one of my favorite blogs, Stripes & Sequins, and was instantly enamored with the spirit it provided. The poem is towards the end of the post, so please lavish your heart with it's love. There is something about poetry that is instantly enchanting; the words are meant to soothe an ache of the heart, a misconception of the mind, an unfulfilled passion. I find that even my false interpretations of a poem still speaks to me on some level.
Many others may disagree, but poetry whispers to the tiny spaces of my soul that have yet to surface.
And The Invitation writes of love, trust, and acceptance, emotions I rarely uncover and accept in myself.
For the first time in a long time, I read a poem that moved me from a monotonous routine of sadness. I thought of the many ways this piece could be read: to a daughter, a mother, as vows. And then I read it to myself, for myself, and by myself. I embodied I and spoke to the you in myself.
And I found myself forgiving and accepting.
I thought of the many ways I measure success and happiness, and how successful and happy I truly am. It reminded me of honesty and faithfulness, of being true to myself and acknowledging that what is right is not always popular. The words of The Invitation accepted my pain and told me that it was part of my journey. The words said that maybe it hurts now, but when you smile and love next time around, they will be a little brighter, a little truer.
Sometimes I sit with myself, and I hate how I feel, how I look, and how I manifest my thoughts. But accepting faults is the antidote to all of the bad and all of the guilt. Accepting a fault frees your heart from that one burden it has been carrying. Accepting a fault doesn’t darken your soul but lightens it and makes you more beautiful.
I think this poem can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. And given the chance, I will read it to those I love and those I cherish. But most importantly, I take this poem as a gift, as an invitation to myself. I take it to lighten my soul and embody the revelation that perfection is unattainable, but acceptance and peace can be found all around us. All it takes is a little digging and a lot of forgiving.
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 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 shriveled 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.
I hope you all find this piece as lovely as I do. Please share your thoughts, and know I send my acceptance, trust, and love your way.