This is a poem (below) that I first found in 1999. I had it framed and it has hung on my wall ever since. I think it speaks to me now more than it ever has. The meaning goes even deeper than I first understood. It speaks about being real, authentic and looking beyond the external and material world.
I am very much a right brained person (if you’re not familiar, look it up) and I don’t always follow the logical approach and I prefer the intuitive approach. (In fact, sometimes the intuitive approach is essential.) It’s the one that works for me. Now, that I am getting a bit older, I find that I really like who I am. I don’t desire to conform or fit in. I don’t want to be told how I should feel, think, look or act. If I want help specifically, I will ask for it. It’s been quite the interesting weekend because there have been several discussions with various people. I’ve been told how I should react to grief. (Really?) I’ve been told what “closure” does or does not mean. I’ve been told my opinions on certain topics are not logical, and therefore, invalid. I’ve deleted a lot of things off my facebook wall because of the arguments things generated. (But this is a given, anything you make public will generate an argument and facebook has become an enormous waste of energy sometimes) I just want to shout, “STOP it, STOP it, STOP it!” Just let me BE who I am! I want to be entitled to what I feel. My opinions are my own whether they are intelligent, stupid, logical or irrational, they are MINE. Not sure what the answer is…..to stop expressing myself? I don’t think so. To stop expressing would be to implode. Not even sure why other people’s assessments of what I “should” be bother me so much. I suppose I don’t like external pressure and I have not yet learned to just shake it off like water off a duck’s back. I have yet to really embrace Wayne Dyers’s teaching that “What other people think of me is none of my business.” And I’d have to take it a step further and say, if you don’t want anyone’s input, then keep your mouth shut!!
Sometimes we need a friend to just sit with us and validate what we feel, maybe even hold our hand. This is what Oriah means when she says, “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.”
We feel what we feel, no matter how ludicrous other people might think it is. I had a friend who was a healer and although he was very talented, his practice did not do well. I think this was because he did not have the ability to simply listen and have sympathy for what his clients were telling him. Sometimes, we do think people are absurd, but what they feel is very real for them and they deserve the right to express it without feeling condemnation or ridicule from friends or therapists. We all need that person who can just sit with us and listen and allow us to be who we are. True friends can laugh with us and they can also cry with us. We all want to “fix” the problems that others face, but some things, only time can heal, or only the person themselves can fix. I chatted with a friend over the weekend and I can only hope that I did that for her. We were both mourning a loss. Yet, someone said to me today, “You can’t let these thoughts occupy your mind. You have to move on.” I think we move on when we are ready to move on. Emotions unexpressed lead to much greater problems. Whatever emotion you are feeling is valid and it can run the gamut from indignation to anger to fear to sadness.
“Lord make me an instrument of your peace…” (St Francis) Everyone has their agenda. I hope that the Universe will make me aware when I am having one and trying to force someone else to fit into my mold. I would go so far as to say that if and when I do this the next time, I invite the Universe to give me a good slap upside the head (just don’t leave any lasting damage, please, like, don’t use a lightning bolt). Everyone is unique and perfect the way they are. We don’t need to shame them or force them to fit into a mold they don’t belong in. (Visualize this and you will see how crazy it really is. Take a snowman cookie and try to force it into a star cookie cutter ~ after you bake it~ what happens? ~ it shatters, it crumbles~ it’s no longer a cookie but a pile of crumbs.)
It’s funny that this topic has been my theme repeatedly. I wrote an earlier blog about non-conformity. I think that as we moved deeper and deeper into the new energies, we must be authentic and it is becoming more and more difficult to be anything other than what you were born to be. We all have our grain and when something rubs against it, we feel it much more acutely than we ever have before. (I have a feeling that the energetic shifts may be the topic of the next blog because it feels like we are in the midst of yet another one….. ) ~Kathy Lee 11/26/2012
by 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.
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, ‘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.
(Oriah Mountain Dreamer)