Desiring Desiderata

Today is a day for simple and profound wisdom/advice.

I was blog crawling this morning – clicking on links of blogs on links of blogs on link of blogs on links of blogs – and stumbled across a particular blog that had the Desiderata poem embedded in it. It has been a while since I had read this particular work so I delved in.

I remember the first time I was introduced to this poem; it was around my high school graduation. In fact, I believe it was on a “congrats on your graduation” card I received. At that time, I was moved by the simplistic advice within the few lines of prose. I remember feeling so excited by its simple message and thinking that the wisdom was some of the easiest-to-follow advice I’d ever been given.

The poem has come in and out of my life at varying times, but it’s been absent for quite some time. It seems appropriate that it has resurfaced right now, as I’m facing into the momentous changes in my life. It reminds me to keep in mind the simple facts while I’m walking in the middle of a voracious storm of transformation…

desiderata – by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and 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 to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and 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 and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to 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 and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and 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 should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

I feel so grateful for this life I am creating. I feel grateful that I’ve stuck to it, even when – or, maybe, especially when – I was so scared and uncertain. Doing so has allowed me to see this day. What a blessing.

And, as I was finishing up this blog post, one more memory came to me in the form of a song about living life wisely. Enjoy…


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