By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(A Native American Elder)
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 in 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 dreams, 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 in 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 tip of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you're 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.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God's presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a 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 for the children.
It doesn't interest me who you are, 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.
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
Black Elk - Oglala Sioux
"There is no such thing as 'part-Cherokee.' Either you're Cherokee or you're not. It isn't the quantity of Cherokee blood in your veins that is important, but the quality of it . . . Your pride in it. I have seen full-bloods who have virtually no idea of the great legacy entrusted to their care. Yet, I have seen people with as little as 1/500th blood quantum who inspire the spirits of their ancestors because they make being Cherokee a proud part of a their everyday life."
~Jim Pell: Principal Chief of the North Alabama Cherokee Tribe ~