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i want to know if you can see beauty.

February 5, 2010

It’s a long winded post and I haven’t even started yet. I was inspired last night and must share…

It’s Wednesday night and I’m working at my art table that’s cluttered with pencils, nibs, inks, paper, animal crackers (oh yes), and so much more. I’m tired and need to get to bed before morning arrives. I get in bed and remember I have something important to add to my to-do list. I shuffle the unorganized stack of books by my night stand in search for a sheet of paper. I come across a dusty, old book, but one of my favorites…. The Invitation. I open it and read every word of Oriah’s beautiful poem.

It shook me. Not the kind of shake you forget about in the morning, the kind that stays in your bones for days reminding you of the very moment it happened. I am still in awe of every word in this poem, but particularly last night the part about beauty. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty. We see beauty in a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and shiny stones set in a silver band, but sometime we miss the beauty in everyday things, the things that don’t stand out as particularly “pretty”…like the wrinkles in your mother’s face, from years of loving and supporting you. The tree outside your window that’s ever changing with the seasons of life. The smell of your sheets from weeks of cuddling with your loved one.

Be open to the beauty that surrounds you and let it pull you deeper into life.

The Invitation

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
be realistic
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.


Enjoy life and appreciate its beauty in every moment. Ride a bike today and appreciate the smell and view of the world … is beautiful!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Hope permalink
    February 5, 2010 5:32 am

    Oriah’s poem is beautiful…as is your message and your notecard. You are now, and will continue to be, an inspiration to so many people. I know you have traveled to many places on a bike, and will travel to many more. Thanks for sharing your ride with us!

  2. Justin Fouse permalink
    February 5, 2010 4:19 pm

    I enjoyed the poem so much and it is almost a literal representation of how you view life, love and the people you share them with. I especially get a grin when I think about you on a bike riding through a meadow with a smile on your face. I see how the beauty in that moment makes you happy. Thank you for giving me a happy place today, thank you for sharing that with me, thank you for being part of it.

  3. February 5, 2010 6:35 pm

    Little Allie,

    I’m so glad you love the book! And the poem… that is just so ironic…. let’s just say, you are going to LOVE your birthday present (if you didn’t already see it in my camera little snoop!). 🙂

    I love Oriah. I think our generation is raised to be so one track minded. It’s so nice to have reminders like this to just stop… and look around; see what is going right in our lives, what brings us joy, and in which parts of it we might be compromising happiness. You’re so right, life is just too short. Live it up!

    Love you!

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