Thursday, December 13, 2007
In Which I Finish Reading a Book I read Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation because I enjoyed the poem so very much. I was a little worried that the book wouldn’t live up to the prose poem but soon found myself nodding as I was reading The same was true as I read the sequel, The Dance. I don’t like the poem for this book as much as I do for the previous one but the content is still strong. Oriah’s spirituality is different from my own. She speaks of shamans and other Native American teachings which are the foundation of her faith. She also shares her personal stories about her marriage, about her being a parent, and more. These details of her faith and her life are not the same as my own. Her divorce was more amicable, so much so that she and her ex live close by so that their sons can easily spend time with both parents. I can’t even say whether my ex is alive or dead. I have never been drawn to Native American teachings, in spite of my recent totemic dream, and she is obviously very much immersed in this spiritual path. And yet I am able to say with all confidence that I was nodding throughout the time. If I had to describe my personal life philosophies, I would simply point to Oriah’s books. Below are some of the quotes I collected from the book. Also, although the chapters conclude with guided meditations some of them are written meditations, journaling exercises to help reinforce the ideas presented in the chapters. (Although, I definitely would prefer to have the guided meditations available as recordings and not just via the audio book version.) The question is not why are we so infrequently the people we really want to be. The question is why do we so infrequently want to be the people we really are (7). At some point it occurred to me that pushing the edge for some of us was not about doing more or trying harder or going further or faster but about doing less, trying easier (75). The elders . . . do not understand how you expect to be able to talk with each other if you cannot be quiet together and listen to the earth. If people cannot hear the earth, how can they expect to hear one another? (118) This is what home is—not only the place you remember but the place that remembers you, even if you have never been there before (121). I want to say, “I don’t want to change the world anymore. I just want to learn how to love the world.” (139) It is not what we do but how we do whatever we are doing that makes a difference (140). I tell love stories because I want to learn how to love well (151). [New Age philosophies] deny the reality of our separation, claiming that it is only an illusion of time and space. But I live here, in time and space (157). I think our task—and this is sometimes very difficult—is to live with all that is hard in our lives without being able to know why it happens and still find a way to fully choose life, every day (169).