The Dance

Another beautiful poem by Oriah…re-published with her permission, with deep gratitude….

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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, every day.

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 okay 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 me how you 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.

 

By Oriah from her book, THE DANCE (c)2001. Published by HarperONE, San
Francisco. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the author.
http://www.oriah.org

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I love how this poem reminds us to live in the Now. The past is over. And Ondrea Levine says, “tomorrow is a fantasy”. There is only now. This sounds simple but I haven’t found it easy to do…but I try to practise.

I diverge a little from what the poem says though –  I want to change the world, even as I love it, and change myself in the process.

What speaks to you?

 

The Invitation

I am so happy to be given permission by Oriah Mountain Dreamer to re-publish my favourite poem here….

 

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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
to 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 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.

By Oriah from her book, THE INVITATION (c)1999. Published by HarperONE,
San Francisco. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the
author. http://www.oriah.org

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I see themes of authenticity, courage, integrity in this poem. I’ve highlighted my favourite lines. They point to what lies at our Core, our Essence and how we feel about it.

What speaks to you most about this poem?

Hope for our World translations

Mattie, Jeni and Micah on Larry King Live, spreading the message of peace and hope

Dear Friends,

In March I had appealed to you to help translate a peace poem, “Hope for the World”, by the late Mattie Stepanek.  Amber Sawyer, a reader and friend, mobilised her contacts to translate and we submitted translations in Chinese, Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, French and Malay to Mattie’s mum, Jeni.

Huge gratitude to Amber, Kanya Kanchana, Sujata Cowlagi, Jocelyne Girard, Padma Navaratnam, New Fang Fang, Rachel Neo, Govind Cowlagi and Hayati Suaidi for enabling this poem to reach more people around the world.

Mattie’s new website is complete and the translations have been posted! So if the poem speaks to you, please send it on, use it in class/place of worship/at home in a language that is useful for your community.

Mattie inspires me because despite his illness and struggles, his didn’t become embittered about life. His resilience, hope and optimism shone through. He inspires me because he believed that to have peace in the world, we need to practise it in our lives, moment to moment. We can learn much from him.

Watch Jeni speak about Mattie’s life

Peace, Vadivu

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Here’s the poem again:

FOR OUR WORLD

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment…
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

Mattie J.T. Stepanek ©
September 11, 2001

Hope Through Heartsongs
Hyperion, 2002
Just Peace: A Message of Hope
Andrews McMeel, 2006