“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 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 center 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
remember the limitations of being a human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
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’s not pretty every day.
And if you can source your life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine,
and still stand on 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
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
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.” – Oriah (1994)
I go back and forth with poetry. It was my entry point into writing, my first love affair with words. But because I never studied poetry, I hardly felt like I could call myself a “real poet“.
Slam poetry has been an amazing form of expression for me over the years. I love the stage and the immediate feedback from the audience, not something a writer typically experiences. Although, admittedly, it’s been over two years since I’ve written a full-length piece, I got into it for the fun, for the energy, for the community, all things I miss and am looking forward to re-igniting one day (soon).
I am often captured by poetry. Rumi is one of my faves. But it’s been a while since a poem struck me quite like this one. The Invitation–so perfectly titled–and Oriah herself, even just the little I’ve read, have been my latest muse. (Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come;)
There is something magical about painting such perfect pictures in so few words. An art I will likely never master, yet I won’t let my lack of study stop me. Almost every piece I’ve ever written, was done so in flow–free form writing with very few edits. For that reason, I wait out the inspiration. It’s worth not forcing … that’s the beauty of it; it just arrives on the page.
Another reminder in The Year of Magical Dreaming the useless sense of trying to come at something from a point a perfection, because it is only the imperfection that makes it accessible at all. Instead we start, here, at authentic. At where we are right now, and learn and grow in the process. Making it all about the ever loving journey, as always!
I leave you with this: What quiet inspiration do you nurture? Anything you might take more seriously if you weren’t waiting to be more well read or fine tuned? In the spirit of awesome imperfection, what might you go after anyway?