Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Invitation

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
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.

The depth of my communication with people I care most deeply for is often shockingly shallow. I'm more open with my classes at times than I am at home. It's just easier to be silent or to go with the flow of, "I'm fine. How are you?" kind-of-conversations rather than have the real, hard talks that are required for transparent, authentic relationships. I was taught from a young age to guard my feelings, veil my emotions and not to talk about the "dirty laundry" of life.

I don't want to trip into the mistake of going unbearingly deep here. However, authenticity (satya, truth) combined with empathy toward the other is what I'm hoping to cultivate and nurture more fully. I read yesterday that a new study shows that young people today are 40% less empathetic toward their friends than they were in the 70's. The root cause? The disposability of friendships due to the virtual world. (We can now "Facebook" someone, ask them to be our "friend", and they can choose to accept or IGNORE our solicitation for "friendship". Years ago, we'd never consider just ignoring someone. And yet, it was pointed out to me that even I ignored someone speaking to me in person while I was on the computer. Yikes! Did I really do this?)

This poem struck me deeply this morning as I re-read it... "am I able to stand in the center of the fire with someone and not shrink back"...


2 comments:

  1. I love how electronic diaries capture exactly where we are at the moment. This poem at that time had me reflecting on my communication with others. And, this past weekend, it allowed me to showcase how to put love into the action of service which cultivates more love within us.
    I love how time heals. How yoga heals. How love heals.
    I stood in the fire with an amazing group of people and we all shared our sankulpas... from our hearts.
    overwhelmed by gratitude. and of course, love.

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  2. Thank you love for sharing this poem with us on Sunday. It opened up a well of emotion in me during our practice as though I had already asked myself each and every question presented... but to hear it from the sweetness of your voice somehow seemed to touch my soul in an indescribable way.. as though you reached in and placed your hand on my heart as you do every time I am in your presence.

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