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.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I think I must be growing old. Because the things that used to matter to me when I meet a new friend, a new love, no longer matter to me.

When I was 15, I wanted to marry a boy who wore Nike shoes, played tennis, and was Eurasian. Any boy. As long as he fulfilled that criteria.

Don’t ask me how I remember these details. Maybe it’s because they are so silly.

Then as I got older, different things started to interest me about a person. What did he do for a living? What has she accomplished? What are his passions? Her dreams?

But even these are starting to lose its interest for me. What does it matter what a person does for a living? How old he or she is? Where they live or how much money they make? What car they drive?

It matters naught to me.

This poem captures so beautifully the essence of what matters, underlying the superficial trappings of the external.

A person – man or woman, rich or poor, educated or uneducated – is so much more.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer 3

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