Oriah wrote the poem "The Invitation" late one evening in May of 1994 after coming home from a party feeling frustrated and disappointed. Following her intuition, she began writing what she really wanted to say to the people she had met, modeled on a writing exercise she'd learned from David Whyte. This book, which has sold millions of copies, unfolds the prose poem she wrote. What is it about? Oriah answers that herself: " 'The Invitation' is the voice of my soul calling to you, to myself, gently reminding us that we ache for something more than just continuing, asking us to remember our capacity for deep intimacy, our ability to live the meaning at the center of our lives, to be aware of the mystery that can hold it all."
The opening lines of the prose poem are about the important role yearning plays in our lives:
"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."
In a few pages, Orion conveys the power, the beauty, and the fierceness that's wrapped up in our desires. She then moves on to fear and the ways it can serve as a roadblock to our ability to take risks for love or for our dreams. How we live with pain and sorrow says a lot about our souls and our inner courage. There is no escape from these burdens which help define our character.
Thank God that Oriah also makes a place for celebrating the erotic delights of physical sensation: it comes under a chapter on beauty. Other aspects of living more fully and honestly are handling failure, standing by your commitments, walking bravely through the fire, and patiently being able to wait. The last section of the prose poem deals with making the most of solitude and finding our way home again.