Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

from the book, “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 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 tip of your fingers and toes without cautioning
us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations
of being a human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re 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 be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even
when it is not pretty every day, and if you can
source your life from ITS presence. I want to know if
you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still
stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver
of the 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 for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, 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.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Comes the Dawn (by Veronica Shorffstall, 1971)

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning And company doesn't mean security,
And you begin to understand that kisses aren't contracts And presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
You learn to build your roads
On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
A way of falling down in midflight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you can really endure, That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn ... and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The legend of the Sky Maiden

The legend of the Sky Maiden, derived from West Africa

Once upon a time there was a tribe that was greatly blessed. It owned cattle and lands that produced fruits and vegetables in great abundance. But over time, tribe members noticed that their lands and cows were producing less and less milk and food. They could not understand why. The harder they worked, the less was available.

One young warrior decided to find out what was happening. He thought that perhaps someone in the tribe was taking more than his share of food or that thieves from other tribes were stealing the food at night. So he stayed up all night day after day looking for the thief. Finally, one night he saw a wondrous sight. A beautiful young woman descended from the stars carrying several large baskets. She milked the cows, picked vegetables and fruits and filled all of the baskets to the brim. She then returned to the stars.

The warrior was entranced. So he set a trap for her and continued his vigil until she returned again. When she descended, he captured her. He asked what she was doing and where she had come from.

She said that she was a member of a tribe in the stars. She told him that they had little food of their own and so she came down to find food for her community. She asked him to release her and let her go home.

He agreed on the condition that she return and marry him. She promised to return in three days.

When she came back she was carry a large box. She told the young warrior that she would marry him, but he must promise never to look in the box.

For months the couple was very happy with one another. But, one day when his wife had left to gather food, the warrior's curiosity got the best of him and he opened the box. He was amazed! There was nothing in it.

When the young woman returned, she soon realized that her husband was staring at her as though she was very, very strange. She gasped and turned pale. "You looked inside the box. I can't stay here anymore."

He replied, "That's ridiculous. There is no reason for you to leave. There was nothing in the box."

She said sadly, "I am sorry. Its not that you looked into the box. I expected you might grow curious. But, you see, I filled my box in the stars with everything that was important to me in my world: the air, the smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes."

"I can't love you anymore now that I know that you find those treasures to be nothing."

From the book, "Who Needs God" by Harold Kushner