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Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin’

Gone fishin’, metaphorically. The day I woulda-coulda-shoulda been writing today’s post, I hit a wall. The wall miraculously dissolved on its own, and I’m grateful. But I needed to take a break and re-group. Today’s Resources for Recovering Resilience will post tomorrow, with the reasons why.

In the meantime, I’m posting two of my favorite poems from forever and forever. David Whyte’s Self Portrait, a sincere and profound grappling with the vicissitudes of life, and then Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation, written in a workshop with David Whyte from the prompt “It doesn’t interest me….” Enjoy, and thanks for hangin’ in there.

Self-Portrait

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing.
I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
The gods speak of God.

– David Whyte, Fire in the Earth

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 dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring in 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 you 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, 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,
or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling 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 be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty,
even when it’s not pretty, every day,
and if your 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,
“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 are, 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.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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