what matters…

When I started this journal, I told myself that I was not going to do posts that were cutesy little quotes about things that were important to me. I have changed my mind. I am hungry, I am emotional (because I am hungry), and dammit I am entitled. It was originally sent to me by my father’s partner, Katrina, who is an amazing woman. This is usually framed on the first wall people see when they enter my house, that way they know what matters and what to leave at the door…

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 hearts 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 square your moon… I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been open to life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from the fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without having 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 stay 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 be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you source your life from it’s 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 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 know 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 empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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~ by aikaterine on August 1, 2007.

12 Responses to “what matters…”

  1. Wow. I’m speechless.

    I’ll be honest (which i always am. can one be pathologically honest? i have no idea..), these are the sorts of things that my family forwards to me constantly. I’ll admit that most of time I don’t even read them. So when I started to read the first line of this I groaned inwardly.

    For whatever reason I kept reading and I have to tell you by the third or fourth stanza I was completely taken in. I read it three times in a row and each time the imagery was even more vivid in my mind. I hate using words like this because it’s so over done, but that is truly inspiring. Absolutely beautiful, and a hundred other adjectives that I can’t think of because it’s midnight and I really should be in bed.

    Thank you for sharing it.

  2. what he said….

    I agree.

    Except about the midnight thing. Oh to be in bed by midnight…Oh, god how tired am I? Still I must drag my aching carcass out to help the needy. This helped.

  3. velinn –

    Yes, one can be pathologically honest. It is the only way to be. And I, like you, groaned when I read the beginning of this for the first time. But, Christ, does it get good as you get into it. The great Native American leaders have a way of speaking that touches… a natural truth (little t, no big ‘T’ truths implied).

    darkentries –

    As long as whatever keeps you up at night is… stimulating…

  4. I would have to say yes to all of the above or sure, *nods head* except sometimes I want to “fix” my pain.

    And sometimes when morbidly depressed it’s hard to get up and do…what needs to be done (I don’t have any children so I can’t take that literally.) And when a bit messed up, what sustains me when all else falls away? That’s a toughie too.

  5. You would be surprised what a child can make you do that you would do for no other…like getting up for no good reason at silly hours of the night. You cease to think about yourself when your child needs you. Its just a thing that happens…

  6. Children are glorious

  7. Beautiful, and yes, ‘agree with all the above’. :-)

    Houses here don’t have big walls to hang such elaborate welcome messages, so mine goes something like:
    “Welcome! Relax, settle down, and converse. Don’t be bothered by all the mess around. Things are not always like this – they’re usually much worse!” :-)

    Well, it’s half past midnight here and I really need to cuddle up with my baby daughter…

  8. Mahendra –

    That sounds very, very nice.

  9. PA –

    Emotional pain can’t be fixed, you cannot fix an emotion. All you can do is feel it.

    “And sometimes when morbidly depressed it’s hard to get up and do…what needs to be done (I don’t have any children so I can’t take that literally.)”

    Sometimes what needs to be done, for everyone, is just to lay there for a while.

    “And when a bit messed up, what sustains me when all else falls away?”

    You, you, you – the answer is always – you.

  10. Quite thought provoking!! Well done.

    Doug

  11. Doug,

    Welcome and thank you. I do love this piece.

  12. Oh, I agree aikaterine about “fixing” things. It’s taken me a long time to learn that you can’t–or try and “unlearn” the behaviour that I feel that I can. Sometimes I still slip back into that mode of thinking when the emotions become hard to bear but in my head (where I live so much of the time anyway) I know that I need to just give things their time and due.

    I agree with also taking the time to lay around and heal.

    And also good point about relying upon one’s self. For in the end that’s all you really have?

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