More from and about
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

I want to know if you've touched the center of your own
sorrow, if you've been opened by life's betrayals, or have
become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

   

Tell me, can you see beauty?  Can you let it renew your commitment to life, every day?  I don't want to wait for death to be near to receive the beauty in my life.  I want to be awed every day by the truth--pretty or painful--and let it open me to the beauty that surrounds me and draws me deeper and deeper into my own life.

      
We know that what we do and how we think affects the quality of our lives. Many things are clearly up to us. And many others are not. I can see no evidence that the universe works on a simple meritocratic system of cause and effect. Bad things happen to good people - all the time. Monetary success does come to some who do not do what they love, as well as to some who are unwilling or unable to see the harm they do to the planet or others. Illness and misfortune come to some who follow their soul's desire. Many great artist's have been poor. Great teachers have lived in obscurity.
  
  
We know that what we do and how we think affects the quality of our lives.  Many things are clearly up to us.  And many others are not.
  
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!
   

You cannot trade the courage needed to live every moment for immunity from life's sorrows. We may say we know this but ours is the culture of the deal-making mind. From infancy, we have breathed in the belief that there is always a deal to be made, a bargain to be struck. Eventually, we believe, if we do the right thing, if we are good enough, clever enough, sincere enough, work hard enough, we will be rewarded.

     

My invitation, my challenge to you here, is to journey into a deeper intimacy
with the world and your life without any promise of safety or guarantee
of reward beyond the intrinsic value of full participation.

   

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And I found that I can do it if I choose to - I can stay awake and let
the sorrows of the world tear me apart and then allow the joys to
put me back together different from before but whole once again.

   

Every act I live while I am fully awake can not help but be both prayer and lovemaking.

   

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

   
    
From her website at oriahmountaindreamer.com:

Oriah is first and foremost a story-teller, a lover of words and symbols and the stories that lift our spirits, open our hearts and offer us ways to see patterns and create meaning in our lives. The focus of her life and work has been an on-going inquiry into the Sacred Mystery. Her writing, teaching and personal journey all explore how we can each become the individual we are at the deepest level of being and how we can co-create meaning together in the world. Blending humour, insight and compassion for our human struggles Oriah encourages herself and others to be ruthlessly honest and infinitely kind toward our own strengths and our weaknesses.

Raised in a small community in Northern Ontario, Oriah’s family encouraged her to bring her questions and explorations to the Christian tradition they espoused. At home in the wilderness she was drawn to and at home in the ceremonies and earth-based teachings of the First People’s, eventually teaching and sharing what she learned. Her daily practice includes ceremonial prayer, yoga, meditation and writing. A graduate of Ryerson University’s social work program (Toronto) and a student of Philosophy at the University of Toronto she has facilitated groups, offered classes and counselled individuals for over thirty-five years. The mother of two grown sons, Oriah lives with her husband Jeff in a home surrounded by forest stillness several hours north of Toronto.

Oriah is the author of several best-selling books: The Invitation (now translated into more than fifteen languages), The Dance, and The Call: Discovering Why You Are Here. Her book, What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul, explores the challenges, rewards, and necessity of doing our creative work. Opening the Invitation is a small book that shares Oriah’s story of writing and sharing her much-loved poem, “The Invitation.” All five of Oriah’s books are published by HarperONE, San Francisco. Using story and sharing meditations Oriah’s writing explores how to follow the thread of our deepest heart's longing into a life where we can choose joy without denying the difficulties we each face. Facing the challenges and finding the joy of living who we are is further explored on her Sounds True CD, Your Heart’s Prayer. Oriah has shared her insights and stories with audiences throughout the world at conferences and retreats and through radio and TV appearances (CBC, TVO, Oprah, NPR, PBS, Wisdom Network.)

Oriah is currently focused on writing. She is working on a novel, another non-fiction book-- a collection of stories about deepening our inner lives-- and writing a weekly blog, “The Green Bough” at oriahsinvitation.blogspot.com

The Name

Oriah has a long and unusual history with her name. In 1984, at thirty years of age, after the onset of severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she had a dream where several elderly women- those she calls Grandmothers in the dream- told her to change her given name to Oriah as part of the process of healing. Nervous about doing something others might see as strange, but desperate to be well, she took the name Oriah and has been called this (by everyone but her mother) since that time. Twenty years later, while doing a book tour, on three successive nights, in three different cities, she was told by people at the bookstores she was visiting that Oriah means light of God in Hebrew, and that it is an ancient Jewish custom to change a patient’s name when doing a healing, to invite new and healing energies.

A year after taking the name Oriah, still seeking healing, she went to a shamanic teacher who gave her the medicine name "Mountain Dreamer.” The shaman told her that a medicine name tells someone what gifts they have to offer the world in their lifetime and that Mountain Dreamer meant "one who likes to find and push the edge."

  

  

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