This book. These words.
I last read them over a decade ago. Life was very different then. And even though I wasn't ready to etch them onto my soul at the time, they've circled around and around in my head for the past week. A jumbled collection of recollections. Part phrases. A deep knowing that revisiting these words would send me clarity and strength.
The verses continue;
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, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling 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 it's 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, "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.
-The invitation, Oriah-
******* I wracked my brain to try to remember where the words had come from. The few parts I could recall turned up nothing on a Google search. "Is this the one?", Laurie declared, with one hand on my shoulder, the other dangling a musty, beige book in my line of vision. What are the chances?
******* This time last week I was at a memorial service for one of my runners. It's stripped me bare emotionally. Not that she lost her fight. Although that is pure sadness. That I knew so little about her life. She was impactful. A prolific volunteer and community strengthener. I never knew. I never asked.
There are so many people in my orbit that I'd love to know more about. Enough superficial. Enough small talk. I want to know...