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 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.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and 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 dark 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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Desiderata as Tapestry
by Rebekah Choat
In a book I’m currently reading, the young protagonist is shown a series of tapestries, which ‘will show something of themselves, and remind the deepest part of you.’ As he stands before each one, ‘one bright image (shines) for an instant,’ revealing and reminding him of ancient sources of strength.
I’m having a similar experience as I read this poem. Certain lines burn bright in each section, reminding me of things I know deep down, things essential to my well-being.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly. That middle phrase, the one about being on good terms with everyone, was ingrained into my character as a child; I wish I’d heard the parts about without surrender and speak truth so early as well.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. It’s all right to enjoy your achievements, to celebrate the hard work you’ve put in and accept well-deserved praise, rather than brushing compliments off with a shrug and immediately burying yourself in the next big project.
Many persons strive for high ideals – but they don’t have to be same ideals you think most important.
Do not feign affection, even for your mother’s brother or your husband’s best friend, if you have reason to be wary.
Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Envisioning the worst case scenario and making plans for how to survive it wastes time and strength that should be spent for love and joy.
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should; maybe not as you picture it, but according to a master plan beyond all you could ask or think.
Therefore be at peace…it is still a beautiful world. Wonder is all around you, waiting to restore and inspire you. So be cheerful…strive to be happy.
Becka Choat is a reader, a writer, a lover of the printed word, dedicated to bringing people books to nourish mind, soul, and spirit. Her website is www.booksbybecka.com.