what i'm reading: the invitation

I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by women who have given me the big 'ol gift of mentorship since I was a wee lass. What's different now about 15 year-old mentored Jess is the content, context and depth of conversation (so...pretty much everything) I have the privilege to have with my now mentors. 

What has stayed the same is that those who have crossed my path have always offered tools to move through something, get past something or learn something. Skills and professional advice have recently taken the backseat in the conversations I have been having, and this wild and wonderful thing called 'LIFE' has been center stage as of late.

One such lovely lady I've had the pleasure of not only receiving mentorship and coaching from, along with the opportunity to do some work with her to define and grow her online presence, is Alison Van Buuren. An executive coach whose work goes SO far beyond the operational or strategic partnership executives look for in a coach, she works on another level with her clients, drawing them into conversations that explore their ego, their way of being and elevate their leadership to a place of purposeful contribution and seeing their vision come to life. 

Alison handed me a book at the end of our last (which was also our first) face to face conversation. My 'busy' mode was kicking in and I put it on my coffee table, saying I would dig into it 'soon'. I navigated three or four weeks of a LOT of work and some significant life changes before I tucked it into my suitcase when I was packing to come to Galiano for 10 days. When I brought it out here in Cabin 5 and my co-cabin-camper Alex's eyes lit up, I knew I had brought it for a reason, and that it was time to get reading.

The book is called The Invitation, by Oriah - and the first two pages brought me to a dead stop. There was so much of everything in the words used to introduce the book—the actual invitation—the I couldn't NOT share them, in hopes that you fly STRAIGHT to amazon.com and pick it up so you can take it in for yourself and dive down this rabbit hole of meaningful reading.

So here it is, 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 LIMITATION 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, EVERY DAY, AND IF YOU CAN SOURCE YOUR OWN LIFE FROM ITS PRESENCE.
I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU CAN LIFE 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 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

Go get reading. There's so much more magic in the pages that lie past this poem.