Desiderata

I’ve had the poem, “Desiderata,” on my mind for a few days. On a recent walk in the neighborhood, I saw that The Hillbillies, my next-door neighbors,  named their over-built pile of stucco “Desideratus,” i.e. a thing desired. (The plural, desiderata, means “things desired”.) While I find my neighbor’s grandiosity idiotic, I am personally struggling to bring peace and positivity into my own world. Today I felt worn out by lies and laziness at home and pettiness percolating around me. [It must be bad when I resort to passive voice.]

I need more spirituality and less negativity. I need more quiet and less noise. I need more peace in my soul and less strife in my home. I need to read “Desiderata” again, after many years, and heed its message.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or 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 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 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 (1920s)

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2 thoughts on “Desiderata

  1. I love it. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I know what you mean about changing…I am not an optimist by nature. I struggle daily with my negativity and I often wish I were someone else, someone who didn’t feel every bump in the road. But we can do it—we can change! I can tell that you are really working hard and I support you, friend.

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