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 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 centre of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life's betrayals or
Have shrivelled and closed from fear or further pain
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own;
If you can dance with wilderness and let ecstasy fill you
To the tips 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 are 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 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,
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 centre 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.
ORIAH MOUNTAIN DREAMER, Indian Elder
Go placidly amid the noise and haste & remember what peace there may be in silence. As
far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high
ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it
is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture
strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours
& aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.
Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore; Dated 1692.
CHIEF SEATTLE'S 1854
Seattle Sunday Star on
Oct. 29, 1887, by Dr. Henry A. Smith.
Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for
centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change.
Today is fair.
Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.
My words are like the stars that never change.
Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty
as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.
The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and
This is kind of him for we know he has little need of our friendship in return.
His people are many.
They are like the grass that covers vast prairies.
My people are few.
They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain.
The great, and I presume ~ good, White Chief sends us word that he wishes to buy our land
but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably.
This indeed appears just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need
respect, and the offer may be wise, also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive
There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover
its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes
that are now but a mournful memory.
I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers
with hastening it, as we too may have been somewhat to blame.
Youth is impulsive.
When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces
with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel
and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them.
Thus it has ever been.
Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward.
But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return.
We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men
who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.
Our good father in Washington ~ for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since
King George has moved his boundaries further north ~ our great and good father, I say,
sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us.
His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of
war will fill our harbours, so that our ancient enemies far to the northward ~ the Haidas
and Tsimshians ~ will cease to frighten our women, children, and old men. Then in
reality he will be our father and we his children.
But can that ever be? Your God is not our God!
Your God loves your people and hates mine!
He folds his strong protecting arms lovingly about the paleface and leads him by the hand
as a father leads an infant son.
But, He has forsaken His Red children, if they really are His.
Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us.
Your God makes your people wax stronger every day.
Soon they will fill all the land.
Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return.
The white man's God cannot love our people or He would protect them.
They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help.
How then can we be brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our
prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness?
If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface
We never saw Him.
He gave you laws but had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled
this vast continent as stars fill the firmament.
No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies.
There is little in common between us.
To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground.
You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret.
Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you
could not forget.
The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it.
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors ~ the dreams of our old men, given them in
solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is
written in the hearts of our people.
Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the
portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars.
They are soon forgotten and never return.
Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being.
They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains,
sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond
affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground
to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.
Day and night cannot dwell together.
The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before
the morning sun.
However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will
retire to the reservation you offer them.
Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the
words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.
It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days.
They will not be many.
The Indian's night promises to be dark.
Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon.
Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance.
Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching
footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded
doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.
A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts
that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great
Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful
But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people?
Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea.
It is the order of nature, and regret is useless.
Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose
God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common
We may be brothers after all. We will see.
We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know.
But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the
privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends,
Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people.
Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or
happy event in days long vanished.
Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent
shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and
the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than
yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious
of the sympathetic touch.
Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little
children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these sombre
solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits.
And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have
become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my
tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store,
the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be
In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude.
At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them
deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love
this beautiful land.
The White Man will never be alone.
Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless.
Dead, did I say?
There is no death, only a change of worlds.