Hope & Healing Through Photography and Poetic Expression

Will You?

Will you meet me there? Beneath the muddy surface…
Where we shed our armor..remove our masks…
Where we strip down the layers;
Where we go, willingly…
to unveil our hearts’
deepest truth.
©Robyn Lee

Please allow me to share this wonderful prose poem entitled, The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
It is a favorite of mine, and challenges us all to find the inspiration, the intimacy,
the courage and the commitment to live fully, every day.

Enjoy! ~RL

The Invitation
by Oriah
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,

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.

from the book: The Invitation
© Mountain Dreaming,
published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved

85 responses

  1. What an incredible poem – I love it!

    October 1, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    • Thanks Julie — I too feel very connected to this piece. It was shared with me by someone many years ago – resonated big time, and had a profound effect on my approach to living life. xxoo So glad you enjoyed it dear friend ~ RL

      October 1, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      • I also loved your own words and the photo – forgot to say that!

        October 1, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    • Thank you Julie — the short verse in my words on top, was inspired by reflecting upon the message Oriah has shared in her provocative poem – along with the feelings conjured by mediation on this image… I am so glad you enjoyed it all ~ Helped me get some grounding as well! 🙂 xo

      October 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      • You are such a winner of a person!

        October 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM

  2. Pawan Hira

    Every word here echoes our living life, it raises questions and again settles with answers that write harmony. It is spiritual, and each stanza is a quote of inspiration. Every philosophy that we read is here, all-in-one. A beautiful share. A graceful picture to go with, Robyn.
    There is pain in acceptance, but that is how we move ahead. 🙂

    October 1, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    • So lovely to hear this from you Pawan. I agree with all you have said — and all these years after finding this piece still return to it to remember what really matters. This time it inspired my short verse and pairing it with this particular image that I’ve had for some time. Yes – there is pain in acceptance – but also a sort of freedom when we let go of resisting – and that is what propels us forward … it has to! Thank you , & Much Love your way ~ R

      October 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

  3. I love both of these poems Robyn, especially because they express the most important part about ourselves – the inner “us”, deepest truth…oh… I am actually still pending on all the words you have put here 🙂 Great picture as well! 🙂

    October 1, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    • Poojy – thank you so much. So much clarity comes when we strip away all those layers that mask who we truly are, or as you say, “the inner us” — Very glad you were touched by this — yes – the poem by Oriah has always been an inspiration (and reminder) for me. Yesterday it inspired me to write my verse and pair it with the image above. Just thrilled you enjoyed it — and so flattered for your reblog!! xo

      October 1, 2012 at 11:08 AM

  4. Reblogged this on poojycat and commented:
    poems about living our life fully, every day with a harmony that begins in a deepest parts of ourselves… beautiful!

    October 1, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    • Again — So grateful – and touched! Thank you dear friend! xo

      October 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

  5. Robyn you made my day..stunning heart warming pieces..

    October 1, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    • So wonderful to hear this …. Thank you, and may the day be ‘full’ of love and joy my dearest Soma ~ xo RL

      October 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

  6. All I could think off while I was reading these two peoms, that only a child or a man wih childs heart can be worthy of this invitation … Spontaneous, pure and raw … Life works on us over the years to round off all our rough edges, the unique self hat we once had, and we end like stones , smooth , rounded and alike, and every now and then you find a strange looking gem that retained still a character … The child , the poem and the photographer … Like you ..

    October 1, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    • Tarek, what you say here is so important. To me, a pivotal concept inherent in this poem by Oriah (and also my short verse), is that we all truly ARE that same “child’s heart” you refer to!! As we progress through the winding roads of life’s journey, so many layers are added to that pure heart …by time, by hurt, by influences projected upon us by society, government, industry etc. etc. Yes dear friend, “life works on us” and many begin to loose that connection with their source… with their deepest self – their truest heart.

      Now you accusing me of being a “strange looking gem” — is the ultimate compliment, I know 🙂 Thank you – though the inner work is a life-long process for me. An awareness and acceptance that I must return again and again to who I ‘really am’, is obvious to me now…. and why I shared this today. I think we all know this on some level, but poems like this ~ and introspection of this sort is always grounding for me, and hopefully helpful to others.

      Gratitude for your loving spirit here Tarek ~ you are clearly one of those unique stones, one of those special gems among us. ~ R

      October 1, 2012 at 11:29 AM

  7. Always have loved her. I have all her books. Thank you for sharing.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    • Oh Millie – that is so wonderful ~ me too, I am going to pull out mine. I’ve had them for years and years – but has been a long time since reading them. This piece I go back to over and over — it’s clearly my favorite – and in complete alignment with my truest heart. So glad you enjoyed ~ x R

      October 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    • thank you Millie – as you are! x

      October 1, 2012 at 2:44 PM

  8. How I love these two poems…. yours with the photo, always inspirational…. the second so profound and deep, I love it….
    Life is to be taken by the hand and enjoyed, to walk with, to ignore all the set backs and rather to seek the future improvements… live life to the full and look for the good in everything one does and undertakes… live it, (life) it could end tomorrow…. Lost a friend last Thursday, a man with money that could have retired years ago, but continued to work with all sorts of pressure and problems, died from a heart spasm brought on by pressure and stress… all could have been avoided…. and learnt this morning of another friend that is on her way for a bypass, to much stress…. this poem should and could be a lesson to all… if one could only answer yes to most of the poem… life for all would be so much better… to aid friends, to ignore the stress of life and to support each other… oh wow what a world it would be…

    October 1, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    • Thank you bulldog– you are so wonderful for continuing to visit here even while you are away. I agree with you … to savor all the good we can possibly conjure up in this lifetime… what is a better way to take this journey? And how we often forget that, as you point out – can all vanish tomorrow. Sometimes people loose sight of this fact – and get bogged down in the layers – the armor, the masks – and forget what is really the essence of our existence. It is sad when this occurs – as you have shared here. I am so sorry to hear this about the friend you recently lost, and the other who is suffering. It does take a lot of ‘inner work’ to come back to who we really are over and over — and our society makes it really tough… Yes – ‘
      “what a wonderful world it would be…” I do agree dearest friend ~ Sending Love xo R

      October 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM

  9. absolutely touching this poem and photo of yours Robyn and that book you quoted from is now destined for my shelves, thank you for sharing as my best wishes and prayers are being sent to you with sincerity as always ….:) Jim

    October 1, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    • Thank you dear Jim… yes – a good reminder about what really matters as we progress on life’s journey. I will have to pull out my book as well now… though I know this poem stayed with me above all else. So appreciate your loving wishes and prayers — Sending them right back to you my friend ~ x R

      October 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

  10. Yaz

    I’ve seen this before, a long time ago. Today I’m going to pore over it and meditate on the words. Thank you for the gift, Robyn! It fits the lovely photo.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    • Oh thank you Yaz… Yes – a long time ago for me too… but the heart of this poem came to mind the other day and I had to revisit. Grounding and validating for me — very much in alignment with my own perspective and every now and then — so helpful to reconnect. Sending you warm wishes and love today ~ Robyn

      October 1, 2012 at 12:35 PM

  11. Wow! I do remember this…but it means MORE…I appreciate each word and call of it…..thank you Robyn for the Deep Sharing of Soul Heart in your own beautiful Poem which OPENS, loves and gives of itself….you are such a Soul of Love and giving forward to others….healing love does mark your path in each ‘step’ that you boldly and bravely take…oh I love you so much, dear Friend and lovely Soul…Linda

    October 1, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    • Thank you so much Linda. Not exactly sure what made me return to this piece — but sometimes things like that occur and it’s a gift. So appreciate your words here, and also your appreciation of my own expression…. and encouragement as I continue on my ‘path’ – Gratitude and Love to you always ~ Robyn

      October 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM

  12. Daniela

    Great … just amazingly great!
    Thank You,
    Take Care,

    October 1, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    • So happy you were moved by this Daniela! Thank you for letting me know – means a lot ~ xo R

      October 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM

  13. f you have been opened
    by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    Your theme is a valid and responsible way of looking at life instead of anguishing in victimhood. But the quoted part above is hard to do and I have increasingly become a pessimistic cynic. But the call of this poem reminds me to do the best I can to break out of it and to know that a status quo does not have to be accepted. . .

    October 1, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    • Carl, thank you so much for this thoughtful comment. I really do hear you. I also agree – very hard to remain open after ‘life’s betrayals’ …our reflex is to close down and put up all kinds of defenses. I do believe, as you say – that the status quo does not have to be accepted….and If we do our best to reject the reflex to close down – become cynical or negative, than I do feel we will be the beneficiary of that difficult inner-work. It is not easy — I am not always so good at it either – especially after being disappointed over and over… but I just know deep down – I will be empowered if I can hold on to who I really am – and disempower the crap. Maybe this will resonate for you too… I hope so dear Carl — Much Love ~ R

      October 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM

  14. Love the poem you shared Robyn, but the self portrait is what really moved me. Very stoic, very graceful! Loved it!

    October 1, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    • Thanks so much Robyn. I am excited that someone noticed my shadow portrait !! Thought it must be really boring compared to this provocative poem. I’m glad you liked the combination — me too!! 🙂 Love to you sweet friend! xo

      October 1, 2012 at 2:46 PM

  15. momentswithmillie

    By the way, as always, your words are touching and beautiful. Thank you!

    October 1, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    • oh Millie – I am so happy you thought so– was just moved to write them after meditating on Oriah’s – and focussing on the image. Much Love and gratitude for you!

      October 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM

  16. Love

    October 1, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    • Thank you boomie – that makes me so happy to hear!! Love to YOU!

      October 1, 2012 at 2:48 PM

  17. Your poetry Robyn always stirs such emotion…very lovely. I have never read The Invitation before but I will now treasure it so thank you for sharing. I hope you have a restful week. 🙂

    October 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    • Oh Thank you so much LuAnn. Very glad this touched you. I will need to pull out my copy of Oriah’s book too – it’s been a while, but the poem has stuck with me ever since reading it many years ago. Just really helps me feel grounded in my myself. So appreciate ~ much love, RL

      October 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM

  18. What a wonderful way to start of my favorite month, October, than to enjoy a Robyn Lee original. The poem adds a delightful touch to your wonderful gift this morning. As always, best wishes and warmest thoughts.

    October 1, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    • Thank you dear Stan… & I know you will stand in the center of the fire with me — right? 🙂 Thank you for your lovely comment today ~ I am glad you enjoyed the image ~ and also found the words to add as special touch. May your October be filled with all of wonders of autumn joy!
      Sending Love ~ R

      October 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      • …Right there by your side RL! 😉

        October 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      • Aww thank you Stan – i know you are ! 🙂

        October 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM

  19. braunrcb

    That poem is fantastic. I love it

    October 1, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    • Thank you Renee, knew you would enjoy this! xo

      October 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

  20. Your words and The Invitation touched me to the core. Sharon

    October 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    • So wonderful to know that Sharon ~ I so appreciate and so happy it had this effect – Oriah’s poem had this same impact on me when I originally read it years back…and it’s stayed with me~ and then yesterday inspired me to write the verse above as a personal compliment. Much love dear one ~ RL

      October 1, 2012 at 3:47 PM

  21. Yes, I have seen this and love it! often when I am with newer people and the question going around is ‘what do you do for a living? I will ask what is your passion? And the transformation is amazing.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    • Thank you dear Jane. Yes — it’s funny when we ask others to take off their mask. I often think that is one of the amazing things about our friendships through the blogsphere… no pretense or reasons to guard against … freedom of expression and a safe place to reveal our more sensitive natures… Should do a psych ph d thesis on this ~ I like your approach ‘ What is your passion’ ~ bet they pause and light up if they have one! xo

      October 1, 2012 at 9:45 PM

  22. Thank you Robyn, so very moved by this piece, your poignant and moving words, the photograph, her amazing words…all, the answer is “yes I will” my dearest friend, again thank you just beautiful, much love and hugs to you this day! Penny xox

    October 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    • So wonderful to hear Penny… I had a sense this might resonate with you too. Thank you for your expression. And you were the first who actually made this commitment to me — and said YES to it all!!! So excited that someone will join me on this quest. I thought I might be going it alone 🙂 — now I’m giggling…. Very glad you are up for the ride – and so happy you enjoyed this — Sending lots of Love your way ~ Robyn

      October 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      • Of course I said yes, (hello?) Giggling, a very good thing! Thanks and returning same to you! Lots and lots! Penny 🙂

        October 1, 2012 at 9:57 PM

  23. Robyn, someone shared this poem with me some years ago and it is just lovely to see it again – very special. I will meet with you anytime to share our inner truths – blessed we are, love Ruth x

    October 1, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    • Thank you Ruth! Glad I could help regenerate a focus here today. And soooo excited that you are also willing to meet me!! 😉 I agree – very blessed ~ and grateful for knowing you here ~ x R

      October 1, 2012 at 9:53 PM

  24. a wonderful poem, Robyn:)

    October 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    • So happy you enjoyed nightlake! Thank you so much 🙂 ! R

      October 1, 2012 at 9:51 PM

  25. ~Lady Day

    I love this…’Yes!’…and yes. Thank you so much for sharing this one…the whole combination is very deep, introspective…and amazing. Thanks Robyn. xo

    October 1, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    • Wow — I think we have at least 4 who have said yes today ~ I knew you would Lady Day – actually had no doubt in my mind. Very happy you enjoyed ~ and the combination of my musing – the image and Oriah’s poem touched you this way. Was meaningful one for me too…. Sending lots of Love your way dear friend ~ RL

      October 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      • ~Lady Day

        Lol..I did run errands today, and yes, the post office was one of them. Hugs dear Robyn. Hope your night goes well.

        October 1, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    • Can’t wait — think will hang with my small collection of my art photos. 8×10 yes? Looking forward xo

      October 1, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      • ~Lady Day

        lol…I’m thinking either 8×10 or (to just through a wrench in things) 9×11…I have a multi-media pad that said 9×11, but I think that was with the coils? I don’t know…lol, again, perfectionism, so not my thing! lol I hope you like it, I’m rusty with my watercolours..I had tubes, that were a pain to mix and blend, so, I bought a fresh set of the pats for this..so much better 🙂 Any way..if you find it wall worthy (which I sooo cannot promise it will be) I hope you find a frame…I know IKEA is great for frames and matts and various sizes..:)

        October 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM

  26. victoriaaphotography

    Wonderful words & thoughts in the poem you shared.
    Thankyou Robyn.
    (another great photo & words from yourself too).

    October 2, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    • Thanks so much Victoria. Glad you enjoyed the combination here 🙂 ~ R

      October 2, 2012 at 11:17 AM

  27. Such a lovely poem to accompany the photo! Great one, Robyn!

    October 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    • Thank you so much Fergi! So happy you liked the post ~ grounding for me as well. In the midst of everything every now and then I need to focus on that which really matters… Sending good thoughts dear one! R

      October 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM

  28. Lovely. Oriah, visited my blog way back when, when I was first blogging. 🙂 You and I share so many connections.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    • Wow… that is exciting. What an honor – and yes – we do have so much connected!
      Thank you dear Sam — sister of the sea!! xo

      October 2, 2012 at 6:03 PM

  29. Nikunj

    This reminds of the poem “if ” by Rudyard Kipling , which always keeps buzzing deep inside my mind . This is awe inspiring to read through this piece. Simple , sweet and stimulating the senses , filling the nectar of wisdom with poetic syllables . Wow is my word ….

    October 2, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    • ooo Nika – I just went and read Kipling’s piece – and yes — can see how it would have a similar impact — will buzz in my head too I am sure! Thank you for sharing that. I am thrilled you enjoyed – and got to taste a good sip of the nectar tonight dear friend… Wow is a wonderful thing ~ Sending Love and Light your way ~ RL

      October 3, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      • Nikunj


        October 3, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    • One of my favorites! I share it in class for “Poem in Your Pocket” Day!

      October 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM

  30. Wonderful words. I wanted to shout YES to each question. Yes to it all… Thank you, such a wonderful post

    October 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    • Oh Valerie… So so wonderful to hear that… Your vibrant self is so evident…Thank you dear one!–R

      October 3, 2012 at 11:34 PM

  31. Thanks for sharing these magnificent words – your’s and Oriah’s. They strike me on the deepest level. Cheers.

    October 4, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    • Andy, thanks so much for your lovely and thoughtful comment. Very happy this touched you ~ Blessings and Love ~RL

      October 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM

  32. In short, to answer you…I will.
    To rephrase the wonderfully selected second….I want to know if I have GROWN

    October 4, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    • Oh thank you Dan– so happy to know 🙂 And …Yes – I believe you have GROWN ~ can feel your expanded spirit through the blogsphere here !! Sending good thoughts your way ~R

      October 4, 2012 at 5:51 PM

  33. Chris

    And the truth will show,
    Our inner selves,
    In the truest of form,
    Of pure essence.

    I love this post Robyn, and the continuation of your pain shadow series. I hope you are bearing up well. x

    October 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    • Thank you so much Chris… Your words here are lovely! very happy to see you again – was a little worried — hope you are managing ok— xo

      October 7, 2012 at 9:28 PM

  34. Chris

    Forms even, oops. x

    October 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

  35. So beautiful…both of them. Your questions…so honest and raw, thoughtful and important. To be asked, to be thought about and to be answered.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:40 AM

  36. Amazing poem. Thanks for sharing it 🙂

    October 13, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    • Robyn Lee

      Thank you so much Otrazhenie ~ so appreciate and very happy to know you enjoyed!! 🙂

      October 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

  37. One line struck me.
    “Where we shed our armor..remove our masks” — we are constantly in armor, yet we wear masks…. and that too one with a fixed smile on.
    Robyn, its a very lovely space you have here.

    October 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    • Thank you so much silent fingers ~ what a lovely, and insightful comment. Yes I agree, if we could only be genuine and true to self with others, what a wonderful world it would be. Unfortunately there is the “fear” factor ~ and societal influence etc. I do think awareness is the first step ~ and honest relationships are the best ~ Sending good wishes your way ~ and welcome here! ~RL

      October 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM

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