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 vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself to 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 not this 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 it’s sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

by Max Ehrmann, 1927

I found this poem on a plaque in a thrift store when I was sixteen. I have returned to it again and again throughout my life, each time finding a different portion of it most meaningful and apropos, depending on the circumstances surrounding me.

~m

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2 Responses to Desiderata

  1. Kris says:

    I don’t have any tattoos, but I’m tempted to get one with the words “…whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

  2. Katie Howard says:

    As you know, a framed copy hangs on the wall in my house…Like you, every time I read through it, I find a new kernel of truth. It has gotten me through many days, in my life…

    Love you, My ❤

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