Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Recovering from my recent trip to New York, so decided to share an excerpt from my book The Dance. It's a piece that takes me back to what I need to remember again and again:

“When we believe that we are by our very nature deeply flawed- self-indulgent, selfish, judgmental. . . sinful- our efforts to fulfill our soul’s longing to live fully become efforts to control, chastise, reshape, improve and change ourselves. Believing we are by nature lazy and unworthy we believe we will not change, will not become the people we want to be unless we are pushed or forced by suffering to do so. Given this belief the methods we use do not cultivate mercy and compassion for ourselves but rather foster a hardness towards our own suffering and the suffering of others who are failing to curb, or rise above their basic nature. And in the face of these methods we do not learn to . . . dance, or dream or be all we are. We do not really learn to love fully or allow ourselves to receive love freely. We’re too busy surviving.
In the poem “It Felt Love” translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, the 14th century poet Hafiz talks about another way of learning, a way based on the assumption that to grow is to reveal the innate beauty we hold within, a beauty best brought forward by tender encouragement.

Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain
Too frightened.

If we believed that we were in our essential nature compassionate, gentle and capable of being fully present our task- living our soul’s longing for deep intimacy- would be a matter of finding and placing ourselves within the warmth of the internal and external “encouragement of light” in our lives so we would open and open and open to all we are. I am not suggesting that this is easy- especially for those of us who have spent a lifetime surviving the sink-or-swim school of self-improvement. Often we don't even know where these lights of encouragement are in our lives.” 

May we each discover and receive fully the lights of encouragement- inner and outer- in our lives. For surely allowing ourselves to be who and what we we- unfolding- is why we are here and how we offer our beauty to the world. 

Oriah (c) 2012


  1. Thank you Oriah. I also need to remember that again and again. -your gentle reminder couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

    1. Thanks Amy. Amazing how we need to remember what we thought we could never forget, isn't it? Maybe we are here together just to remind each other as we take the journey called Life. :-)

  2. I love this poem by Hafiz.
    Thank you for the beautiful reminder that as I continue to walk my path I am always unfolding.