Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Max Ehrmann

Sometimes I am faced with hard situations in life in which I find myself questioning how my life is unfolding, and am I really following the right path. 

In these times I take into consideration the inspirational words of some wonderful people who have come before me. For example I really enjoy "Wear Sunscreen" by Mary Schmich, or "If" by Rudyard Kipling. Charles Swindoll helped me through trying times in the past with his motivational prose, "Attitude" which reminds me that it doesn't matter what someone does to me... the only power I truly have is how I react to what they've done.

By contrast, Desiderata is for me more of a list of attributes I aspire to.
I would be interested to know what others look to in turbulent times. Please feel free to add to the comments section those writings which you use for reflection.

-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

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.

And for those who are more ... visual
post signature


G in Berlin said...

I used a line from Desiderata for my younger child's birth announcement. It's a beautiful poem and I also find it very calming, real, meaningful, and worth deliberation.

Anonymous said...

...especially when applied to bloggers:-)


Snooker said...

Wow Ian, that is great!
I seem to remember reading it in the distant past. But it's even better today than it was then.

All bloggers, off to Ian's Desiderata for Bloggers at once.

Here again is the link.

Maria said...

I still have my old Desiderata poster that I got for my 17th birthday...