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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 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

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Oriah's quest to discover why her daily choices and actions were often inconsistent with those deep longings for intimacy with another and with oneself expressed in THE INVITATION, lead her to this insight:
BECAUSE WE HAVE NO FAITH THAT WHO WE ARE IS ENOUGH. Our true nature as human beings is compassionate, and this essential nature makes us capable of being intimately and fully present.
She wrote this poem as a response:

THE DANCE

I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don't jump up and shout, "Yes, this is what I want! Let's do it!
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiraling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don't tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without
abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don't tell me how wonderful things will be ... some day
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next ...

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the
clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other
let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving
those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance,
the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet
and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show my how to take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us
shout that soul's desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children's children to
remember. And I will show you how I struggle
not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging.
Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind,
dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale
of the breath that is breathing us all into being,
not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don't say, "Yes!"
Just take my hand and dance with me. ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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In her journey of continuously surrendering, Oriah discovered:
Not-doing does not depend on whether or not my body is moving or my mind is active. Not-doing is about letting any movement flow from an awareness of the deep and ever-present stillness that is what I am at the most essential level of being. It is here, in the awareness of my essential nature, that I find the meaning I seek in my life, not as an idea or an ideal but as an implicit knowing folded into my very being.
She wrote this poem as a response:

THE CALL

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.

Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.

But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There's no safety in that!

Remember what you are and let this knowing
take you home to the Beloved with every breath.

Hold tenderly who you are and let a deeper knowing
colour the shape of your humanness.

There is no where to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.

There is no waiting for something to happen,
no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.

You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.
Come home and rest.

How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying.
Give it up!

Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the Beauty you are.

Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.

Remember- there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don't be tight-lipped and stingy.

Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together. ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe. ~Daisaku Ikeda

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Life is what happens while you are making other plans. ~John Lennon

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Life is not meaningful to us unless serving an end beyond itself, unless it is of value to someone else. ~Abraham J. Herschel

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Perhaps the flaw in man is exactly this: that he doesn't know how he ought to live. ~Daniel Quinn in Ishmael

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All you need for success in life is ignorance and self-confidence. ~Mark Twain

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Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help you create the fact. ~William James

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To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It's easy to say no, even if it means dying. ~Jean Anouilh

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How, then, to invite the lover within? If you experience yourself as the vessel that life penetrates, which is so, then all you have to do is to let that penetration touch you as fully and deeply as possible in every moment ... For me, the way in has been to approach any place where I am withholding energy — keeping it in stasis — whether in my unexpressed longing for union, or my fear that I won't have enough money, or my anger at the man who didn't love me as I wanted him to. Wherever there is energy in stasis, there is an engorgement, a honey pot waiting to flow, I do whatever I know how to allow the energy into my awareness, to encourage it to move, and then to surrender to it ... For me, nothing is so exciting as to image that life is my lover — and is always courting me. To relate to life in that way is a challenge and a surrender that invites me deeper into being alive in every moment that I can manage it ... When I can trust opening past the possibility of having X to the possibility of satisfaction with or without it, then my capacity for pleasure expands. ~Julie Henderson

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He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe. The significance of you will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume you are fulfilling your significance if you apply yourself to converting all your experience to highest advantage to others. ~Buckminster Fuller

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The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced. ~Aart van der Leew

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People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life ... I think that what we're really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive. ~Joseph Campbell

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In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on. ~Robert Frost

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Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it! ~Mother Teresa

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Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes along. ~Samuel Butler

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To live in this world you must do three things:
(1) to love what is mortal,
(2) to hold it against your bones knowing your life depends upon it,
and when the time comes to let it go,
(3) let it go. ~Mary Oliver

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Don't take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive. ~Elbert Hubbard

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To the fully alive, the future is not ominous but a promise; it surrounds the present as a halo. It consists of possibilities that are felt as possession of what is now! ~J. Dewey

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If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again. ~Mary Beth Danielson

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Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson

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The first element of greatness is fundamental humbleness (this should not be confused with servility); the second is freedom from self; the third is intrepid courage, which, taken in its widest interpretation, generally goes with truth; and the fourth — the power to love — although I have put it last, is the rarest. ~Margot Asquith

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Life is a path that you beat while you walk it. ~Machado

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All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it. ~Samuel Butler

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Life reaches out slowly,
And slaps my face.
Startled and shocked
I look up in confusion.

I thought I was doing it right,
I followed all the rules,
But the rules always change
And I am caught.

Wait a minute...
What if...instead of fear,
I laugh out loud
And realize the rules are mine all along. ~Michael Hines

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How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. ~Annie Dillard

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The past is a guide post, not a hitching post. ~L. Thomas Holdcroft

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There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning, and yearning. ~Christopher Morley

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Life becomes religious whenever we make it so:
when some new light is seen,
when some deeper appreciation is felt,
when some larger outlook is gained,
when some nobler purpose is formed,
when some task is well done. ~Sophia Blanche Lyon Fahs

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The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Life is a culmination of the past,
an awareness of the present,
an indication of a future beyond knowledge,
the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter. ~Charles Augustus Lindbergh

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As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. ~Carl Gustav Jung

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A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. ~D. Elton Trueblood

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Try looking at life as a beautifully well-organized dynamic. Trust the universe. Trusting means that the circumstance that you are in is working toward your best and most appropriate end. There is no when to that. There is no if to that. It is. Release your specifications and say to the Universe: Find me where you know I need to be. Let them go and trust that the Universe will provide, and so it shall. Let go of all. Let your higher self complete its task. Feel your intentions in your heart. You will not find God in your intellect. Divine intelligence is in the heart. ~Gary Zukav