The Tribe Experiment Day 4
March 1, 2015
The Tribe Experiment Day 6
March 3, 2015

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What We Ache For

I’ll admit it here: I’m allergic to small talk, and chatting makes me break out into a case of the I-Don’t-Cares. This makes me a terrible party goer, unless I’m the host. I love the depths, sharing one-on-one or with a small group, delving into what we find most compelling about life, art, soul, beauty, pain, hope. When I came across this poem by David Whyte in the 90’s, I was rushed with a sense of relief and love, “Finally! Someone gets it!” I felt he spoke to my longing for connection, and tapped a vein that sang of my hopes for relationship.

David started giving workshops and used this poem as a writing prompt, encouraging his writers to begin their lines with “It doesn’t interest me…” and then following it up with “I want to know…”

One of his workshop attendees wrote the below piece, and it circulated the Internet in the late 90’s. It set many hearts on fire with its vulnerable truths and furnace-like daring. I melted into the screen thinking “Oh my God. She’s put my soul on paper…”

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 doesnt interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if 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,
“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

So I’m encouraging you, today, to take some time to ponder what doesn’t interest you, and what you really want to know. Use this format, and write your heart’s desires. You don’t have to be a poet. You don’t have to even use a writerly format, or be artsy or creative. Just tell me.

Me, for one? I’m waiting to hear you. This is not a ladies garden party or a water cooler chat. This is me and you. And a bunch of US. Sitting around a campfire as its smolders, sending smoke signals into the heavens, taking a swig on a bottle, staring up at the stars, sinking our feet deep into our longing, and daring to reach for our Belonging.

Go ahead. Tell me. I’ve got all night. And the stars are listening.