My Favorite Poem About Relationships

Since we’ve been jamming on how to take the different relationships in our lives to the next level, I thought I’d share with you one of my fave poems about them, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. This poem changed so much for me when it came to what I look for in people that I let into my life. I got so clear because it seemed to articulate what I couldn’t.

As you read it, think about the types of boundaries someone would need to set in order to honor these values:


The Invitation, Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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.

how old you are.

It doesn’t interest me

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 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

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.

Two of these areas really stand out for me when it comes to the topic of boundaries:

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.

This is about the skill I taught you in the last email – how to be with difficult emotions. It is so important to know how to be with them, allow them, and not just push them away. Otherwise that sh*t just blows up eventually. Ask me how I know…

And this:

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.

When you set boundaries, you are bound to disappoint someone. AND you will be staying true to yourself in the process. If you let people be wrong about you and accuse you without letting it bring

you down, you will be so much more free and authentic. When you say, “No, thanks” when you’re not feeling it and, “Hellz yes!” when you are psyched about something, people will know they can trust you. That you won’t be harboring resentment.

More importantly, you’ll know you can trust yourself.

I invite you to step into your authenticity. To expect more from others – and yourself. Sometimes, all it takes for someone to step up and show up as a human with integrity is an invitation, someone saying, “I see that you are capable of this and expect you to show up this way.” This applies to ourselves as well.

Sometimes people don’t care to accept the invitation. Often it’s because they don’t see the possibility themselves. But that’s not about you.

That, my friend, is all about them.