My Invitation

Hello folks,

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be apart of a community recently, and trying to figure out what type of community I want to build in my new home. Some of you know that I am very close to my immediate family, and that in the years before I left for Seattle I found some of the most amazing people who became an extended part of my family and the center of my Midwest community. Now that I have made the leap and headed West I am confronted with a situation wholly new to me- for the first time I don't have my family here to lean on while I build new friendships and (hopefully) a new PNW community.  I am not trying to create anything supplementary or superior to my Midwest community, but rather to create a new addition- a group that mutually cares and supports each other as we grow and change in the Pacific Northwest.

But what does that mean? What does it look like or feel like- what community type am I searching for? These are excellent questions, and I have been struggling with them for longer than I care to admit, because honestly I don't have the words to describe what I am searching for. The closest I can come to describing what I am hoping to join/create/develop here while in grad school is a poem written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer called "The Invitation."

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 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 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 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 the empty moments.

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If those words move you, if they touch an ache deep in your soul, if they move you to joy or to sorrow- I invite you to join me. Let's create a community both here in the Pacific Northwest and via this weird quirky world called the interwebs. Come join me fellow transplants, whether you are still near your home or, like myself, far far away. Let's be pen pals, adventure buddies- let's share laughs and, if the occasion calls for it, tears. Let's build a community together. Let's start today.