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The Invitation

I am not familiar with Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poetry, but, when I found this poem, it reached out and called me.

What questions do I ask myself, that I cannot answer. There is an eloquence in those questions that leads me to new questions, without knowing the answers. When I sense the world in one way or another, I am unable to sense it in any other way.

What if I live the wildness of life and I allow myself some abandon, not carelessness? I can dance with that wildness and not care about what others may think, hopefully making the world a better place.

When we open our hearts to the other, their standing in life is about who they are as a person rather than what identifies them: their job, their age, where they live, etc. When we open our hears to the other, it is an invitation to be human and humane with them.

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 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.

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,


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.




About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

35 responses »

  1. I read her book that is based on this poem and it was amazing! The poem is beautiful and the book does a chapter on each verse πŸ™‚

  2. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    I have known and loved this creation for many years. It speaks to me in ways few things ever do. I heard that she came back from a party displeased with the content of the party chatter and wrote this in response.

    With Love,

  3. It would be wonderful to have a person like this for a friend.

  4. I interviewed her twice (three times?). She’s got some truly thoughtful sharings out there.

  5. One of my all time favourites!

  6. I found her maybe 10 years ago and have always enjoyed her insight into the human condition.

  7. i love this – thank you for sharing it

  8. These are strong and powerful words to feed the growth of humanity. Wonderful find.

  9. wonderfully questions
    old answers, ivonprefontaine πŸ™‚

  10. She is one of my fav poets, and this poem always resonates with me. Thank you for sharing.

  11. This has been one of my favorite poems since I found Oriah’s writings several years ago and have been following her blog – The Green Bough – ever since. I smiled in appreciation to find it here just now. I came across your blog today following a search on Margaret Wheatley’s and Parker Palmer’s wisdom words regarding healing and wholeness in organizations, and I was delighted to find so much inspiration. Thank you for sharing all this Ivon.

  12. Please forgive my memory if I have asked before and forgotten, but now that this has been posted a little while, would it be okay to reblog it?

  13. Reblogged this on Busy Mind Thinking and commented:
    I love this post, so it was a must share. Please, direct likes to the original site if you can. Thank you.

  14. What a wonderful post, Ivon! Thank you for sharing this poem too.

  15. Insightful! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Ivon. πŸ™‚

  16. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.


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