A friend of mine emailed me this poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer and asked me what it means if a woman sends (him, a guy) this kind of email. And I’m going to go into more details about what I told him to shed some light on this behaviour.

It means nothing much when woman or a guy sends you a poem by another person, especially a well-known one like this. It takes great creative effort to write your own poems. You can read a selection of my own original poems on Allpoetry.com and post feedback on that website. The reason it means nothing much is because most people send emails, poems, jokes like this to a whole bunch of people. And very seldom will they even write a personal comment as to what this mean to them.

Now who is Oriah? She is NOT THE NATIVE AMERICAN as name sounds. She is a White/Caucasian woman most likely took this name “Oriah” to sound more acceptable to the spiritually concious and New Age aficionado’s. As one reviewer on Amazon.com described it, “This book was chosen for our December book club thinking it might be an uplifting book for the holiday season. Not a single one of us liked the book (7 in all). We made our decision based on the poem which indeed sounded promising. We all found she contradicted herself quite often and it really was more or less one big pity party! Really deserves less than one star!”

And another one said this “This book is written as if it is a parody of a new age self-help book. I simply can’t believe that any intelligent person would take it seriously. I heard of the poem and it is sort of nice in a new agey way. The book, which I looked at in a bookstore, is just laughable. Come on, people!”

Well I think its a complete waste of time for my friend, a guy to think this means anything from the woman who sent him this. A personal email directed from him to her would be much more meaningful. And sending this poem is a huge cop-out and probably says something about the state of her confused mind. If she had more self-esteem she would write him an email directly and just tell him how she feels.

Few men or women are able to express themselves as honestly and directly as what I imply. Society conditions us to hide behind our true selves because of “respect” for other people and also to be polite. Well being polite almost never gets you what you want. And to break down society programming you need to be true to yourself first! And the best analogy I hear of recently is like they explain in a plane before take off. In the event of a problem when the oxygen masks drop down, you have to get oxygen to yourself before you try and help anyone else, even children around you.

So STOP THINKING about other people first. Don’t waste other people’s time by sending them someone else’ poem or words. Write your own and send that instead.

The Invitation

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

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 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,
be realistic, or 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.
I want to know if you can be faithful 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 life from God’s presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine,
and still stand on the edge of a 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 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 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.