Inviting in the passion and zen


I was first introduced to Jack Kornfiel, while I was listening to a Manic Mommies podcast titled Passion and Zen where Angela Devlen, co-founder and President of Mahila Partnership was sharing her story at the Escape. After listening I just had to find out more about this Jack Kornfiel guy and so I’ve been listening to this audio book.

Last night, while it was playing in the background as I was working, Jack read part of a poem call  “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer that really spoke to me. So much so, that I had to stop, rewind, and take the time to really listen. So I thought I would share it with you on this glorious Friday afternoon and maybe it will speak to you too.


The Invitation  
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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 dreams
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 center 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
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 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 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 a 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,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

  1. Wow! I not only love the poem, but I want to know all of those things about myself. I'm going to have to reread and ponder.

  2. Thanks Cindy Ann for sharing this poem! It is a beautiful reminder of how life needs to be lived. :0)

  3. I am so delighted to have turned you on to Jack Kornfield! This poem is incredible and I have to share this today. It reinforces my FB status today which read: "I work in disaster management and my husband works at a cancer center ~ every day reminders of how precious life is. So LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH. There is really no other way to do this thing called life."

    Not nearly as eloquent of course! :)

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