Mountain Dreamer
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Climbing is dangerous! Every year many climbers are broken, maimed, and killed. Don't be so foolish as to trust your life to what you see here. I'm not a guide and neither is this web site. If you don't know what you are doing or where you are going, please take a course or hire a guide!

The Invitation

This poem is one of my favorites. It has circulated on the Internet for years, usually credited to "Oriah, Indian Elder, Mountain Dreamer".

When I went looking for a clean copy to post here I was surprised to find out that it was actually written by a Canadian woman who goes by the name "Oriah Mountain Dreamer". She is admittedly not an Indian Elder. Nonetheless, the poem is special and moves me each time I read it. There are many variations of the poem floating around on the web, even on "official" looking sites. I chose to post the first version that came into my life. Enjoy...

The Invitation

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, and 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 if you 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, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't matter to 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. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life 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 a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for 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 center 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 Dreamer


This page was last edited on Saturday, July 03, 2004
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