It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
And if you dare 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’ve touched the center 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 the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, 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’s not pretty
And if you can source you 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 for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know and 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 will truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer May 1994