Skip to main content


I wrote the prose poem, The Invitation one night after returning home from a party…

 I don’t usually attend parties but on this occasion, berating myself for being anti‐social, I made an effort to go and be friendly. I returned home feeling frustrated, dissatisfied with the superficial level of the social interaction at the party. I longed for something else.

As I write in the beginning of my book The Invitation is “. . . a declaration of intent, a map into the longing of the soul, the desire to live passionately, face‐to‐face with ourselves and skin‐to‐skin with the world.”

It is the story of a very human woman who longs to live fully awake. It is the story of the human heart’s capacity and longing to live intimately with all of it‐the joy and the sorrow, the hope and the fear.

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
 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 wilderness 
and let the ecstasy fill you
 to the tips of your fingers and toes
 without cautioning us
to be careful 
to be realistic
 to 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’s 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 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 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 Dreaming,
(The Invitation was published by HarperONE, San Francisco in the spring of 1999. 
It became a best‐seller and has been translated into over fifteen languages around the world.)

Oriah is first and foremost a story-teller, a lover of words and symbols and the stories that lift our spirits, open our hearts and offer us ways to see patterns and create meaning in our lives. The focus of her life and work has been an on-going inquiry into the Sacred Mystery. Oriah was raised in a small, wilderness community in Northern Ontario. A graduate of Ryerson University’s social work program and a student of Philosophy at the University of Toronto she has facilitated groups, offered classes and counseled individuals for over thirty-five years. Her daily practice includes ceremonial prayer, yoga, meditation and writing. Oriah is the author of several best-selling books all published with HarperONE, San Francisco, found here. Oriah is the mother of two grown sons and lives in Toronto, Canada. You may visit her at her website here, on Facebook, or e-mail her at

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


Popular posts from this blog

I AM STILL HERE by Janavi Held


This was composed by a very gifted and beautiful soul: a regular contributor to our poetry project, and dear friend of mine, Janavi Held, whose life is gradually being taken from us by an incurable illness. She has been suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Internal Adhesions for six painful years now, and neither her insurance nor the government healthcare will help her. She reaches out to us, her sisters, as a last plea. This is a poem she wrote yesterday on her birthday, in which she offers us the gift of her friendship. May it touch your generous hearts and inspire you to reach out to her in her plight.

Dear Friends,

The last time I was able to leave the house was by ambulance on my way to the hospital. After many long hours in the emergency room I was admitted and taken upstairs. After everyone left I sat on the hospital bed, knees to chest, bracing my body against the pain and trembling.

The light of this cold day was fading. I turned my eyes to the la…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…

DEPRESSION by Veronica Carpenter

Here goes my vulnerability A heart on a sleeve The typical person who looks at me May not see the same me that I live with daily The mind in the air, swirling with possibility When the darkness rallies/gathers/swirls When I am left to solitude This paper-thin garb unzips Here comes depression          
No I don’t want to advertise So flash a smile Those who are close get to see Through the veil, it’s really not that thick Circumstances in life like to stab at the rib Stumble, fall behind the door Shut out the world Feelings well and weigh down Strength hidden deep in the core So deep that sometimes it’s forgotten Here comes the darkness My old friend Sweeping through my every move  Doubts, fears, un-named masked men Oozing like honey, sticking to everything
Patience is required to get on this ride There is a cycle but its pattern is unknown Slowly my gift will unwrap itself Stay on the path Coming back to that which never truly left me Just laid sleeping out of exhaustion from the fight Dormant in winter…