Desiderata

What part of “Desiderata” do you need today?

Do you struggle to speak your truth and be heard? Do dark imaginings haunt your nights? Are you having trouble believing that it is a beautiful world?

I had a poster of “Desiderata” in my room at university; its words steadied me through four years of study. I often glanced at those words on the wall in times of stress, frustration, or joy. No matter what was happening in my life, something in “Desiderata” fit the situation.

“. . .  whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should” is a touchstone phrase for me. I sustains me through those times when I wonder why this crazy life if unfolding the way it is.

When a loud and aggressive person disturbs my day, I think,You are a vexation to my spirit.” The phrase helps me determine the people with whom I should spend more time or less time.

I celebrated my 50th birthday recently, so the phrase, Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth” ran through my head often.

Read through these words today, and draw from them what you need to approach the day with a smile and renewed hope.

Desiderata

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 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 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 critical 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 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.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on November 23, 2012, in Belief, good faith, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest, modern faith, progressive christianity, religion, spirit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. once again, you have touched on something that was a part of my growing up. we had this poster on the wall of the bathroom, of all places, when I was a teenager. when asked why, my mom would answer that it was the one place that was a sure bet that you would take the time to read it. she figured that the more we read it, the more we were likely to believe in it and maybe it would help to lead us through life. thank you for reminding me that no matter what I am going through, that it is still a beautiful world.

  2. My copy also resides in the bathroom and is read often. It doesn’t surprise my Arlene that it has helped you cope over the years.

  3. I had a Desiderata poster in my room when I was a teenager. I used to read it all the time, but I haven’t thought about it in years. Thank you for reminding me of that wisdom…just when I need it, too. Again. 🙂

    And I am seriously considering finding a copy and hanging it in the bathroom!

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