Monday, December 27, 2010

Desiderata: Old Words, New Meaning

Odd isn't it that words that can be so familar, after a time when we come upon them again, seem suddenly deeply resonant with new meaning? The good old Desiderata hangs on the back of so many toilet doors and in so many hallways that it has almost become wall paper. After speaking with a friend the other day - who surprised herself by bursting into tears as we spoke about an issue close to her heart - I was inspired to look up this classic peace poem and share it with her... and after it's new resonance for me, with you also. Enjoy. 

(By the way, there's a rumour that the Desiderata is not "by Anonymous" and wasn't found in "Old St Paul's Church" but was actually written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s. I'd be interested to know the truth... if any readers know it!)


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.

Wishful Thinking
Finding Joy Each Day
Beautiful, Perfect, Broken